The Cousin’s Italian Tratoria (Cape Town CBD)

This wonderfully authentic Italian restaurant in the Cape Town CBD a has become an institution, part of the fabric of the city. It’s family owned and run, and they’re known for their Cousin’s pasta – mama-made pasta tossed in a huge shell of Gran Padano cheese at the table.

Service has always been great, and the pasta is authentic Italian, fresh, and hand made.

We had a Caprese salad and beef carpaccio for starters. The Carpaccio was the star of the show for me – thinly sliced, cured in the dressing, and melt in your mouth deliciousness like I’ve never had before. The Caprese was good but nothing amazing.

Me and Annie had the Cousin’s pasta last time we were there so this time she ordered the baby chicken, and I had the Lamb Ragu Gnocci – both were absolutely delicious. The rest of the table had the Cousin’s pasta and we sampled from everybody’s plates, just the way you’re supposed to eat Italian. Great dishes all round.

Their wine list is small, but concise – well curated, so whatever you choose you’re bound to get a good one. Look out for what’s on offer by the glass on the specials board. I had a glass of the Ayama Vermentino – a white blend, and followed that with the Glen Carlou Cab Sav which was nothing short of heavenly.

Then dessert – when you can’t choose, order one of everything. We’d heard great things about the Tiramisu, so of course we had to try one of those. But I’m a sucker for a good Panna Cotta, so one of those too, and the kids wanted the chocolate something, so one of those too. Desserts were uh-mazing. My best was the Strawberry Panna Cotta – it was right up there with the best firm wobble ever. Perfection. The Tiramisu was excellent – no alcohol, and just the right amount of sweetness. And then that chocolate orange something was next level. Desserts were just as much of a hit as mains.

Our waiter was great and very entertaining. When Annie asked him whether she should order the chicken or the Cousin’s pasta again, he said she should order the chicken and if she didn’t like it he’d pay for it himself. Of course he wasn’t serious, and he knew she’d love the chicken. He didn’t know my wife was serious, if she didn’t like the chicken … she would have made him sweat a little but never pay.

We didn’t have any problems finding parking, and the area is pretty safe – it’s right outside SAPS.

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