Was the food good? Was it worth it? Would I go again?
If you can answer all these questions, after eating in a restaurant with 100% yeses then you have struck it lucky.
After 5 or 6 visits to Magica Roma in the last 18 months I emerged answering yes to all these questions, but with provisos.
Let’s begin at the beginning, a very good place to start, as Julie Andrews would say.
It was a Monday night. Walk in with a reservation and Magica Roma is packed. It’s 7:30 pm, and the place is heaving to the rafters. Ok, good sign. Locals, couples, business types, groups.
We are seated where we can see all the action.
Owners Ezio and Franco prowl the floor restlessly, ensuring that the waitstaff keep up a solid flow of service to all the tables. Black T shirted staff, all looking like university students, rushed hither and yon with trays and clearing tables.
Most were cheerful and friendly, with ready smiles. I said most.
The decor is unapologetically 1970’s early 1980’s. Chocolate brown carpet, wooden furniture. I suppose if they revamped and let an architect have a go at the design everything would be hard surfaces and so noisy that you could not possibly earwig on your neighbour.
I couldn’t help it, but the two business men behind me discussed every detail of a company they were involved in. Balance sheets, cash flows, profitability. It’s one of the
things I love about Cape Town; there’s no need for industrial espionage, just sit and listen and you’ll hear everything.
Superb tuna carpaccio and beef carpaccio and a mixed salad arrived. The salad was huge.
Cob and salad arrive. Cob overdone, but that’s easy to let happen. Linguini Montanara, a veal ragu, is superb. Bursting with flavour.
So the food is pretty good, except for my overdone fish. But here’s the thing. You have to really know this menu to be able to order correctly. I’ve had some great dishes, and some disappointing ones at Magica Roma.
I have also been told that it helps if the owners recognize you, as they do with most of the regs, you get a better dish, even a separate recommendation. They encourage, apparently, customers to be adventurous and go off the menu, and let them decide what you are going to eat.
So the food was good. It was worth it, and I’ll go again.
But I’d like to get the menu choices right next time, and I’d even be interested in going on an adventure off the menu. Who do I ask about this? The two boys or a waitress?
8 Central Sq,
Pinelands, Cape Town.
021 531 1489
Open Lunch 12-2 (Mon-Fri), and dinner 6-10pm, (Mon-Sat).