The Hidden Gem
Nestled within the vibrant core of Cape Town, away from the customary tourist trails, lies an undiscovered culinary gem. The Cousins Trattoria, a sanctuary of bona fide Italian fare, offers an intriguing expedition into the soul of Italy as much as it is a gastronomic delight. Upon entering its precincts, one is immediately transported from the Mother City to a quaint kitchen in the ancient Italian region of Romagna.
The Cousins Trattoria is the ingenious creation of three cousins – Simone Briganti, Andrea Biondi, and Luca Pantani – who introduced their passion for quintessential Italian food to Cape Town in 2012. Yearning for the heartwarming Italian gastronomy they had been raised on, they decided to construct a dining experience that would mirror the extraordinary culinary customs of their grandmother’s kitchen in Romagna.
Luca, the manager of the front-of-house, proudly declares, “Our specialty is homemade pasta,” – a powerful testament to the restaurant’s resolve towards tradition and quality. Each morning, a diverse selection of pasta options are crafted by hand for the evening service, a practice that is rare even in their native region of Italy. This commitment to freshness is not a mere indulgence, but an ethos that fuels the Cousins’ overarching culinary approach, ensuring each dish presents a taste of bona fide Italy.
Situated a mere stone’s throw away from Parliament on Barrack Street, The Cousins Trattoria has thrived in a location where many dining establishments have struggled to secure a solid presence. The secret to the restaurant’s triumph lies in its unbending refusal to forsake traditional values.
“We stand firm in our beliefs,” Luca proclaims, emphasizing the restaurant’s unwavering allegiance to tradition. This obstinate refusal to yield to prevalent trends is not an obstacle, but an asset. They have discovered that their resolute commitment to authenticity has drawn customers who value the authenticity of their cuisine and the overall dining experience they provide.
Steering clear from the run-of-the mill pasta dishes encountered in many Italian dining establishments, the menu at The Cousins pays tribute to time-honored Romagna cuisine. While the à la carte menu features a broad array of dishes, the seasonal specials are a must-try. One such special is the caramelle ai gamberi, a squid-ink pasta filled with prawns, lemon juice, white wine, and garlic, served on a creamy prawn bisque base. This gastronomic marvel is finally garnished with pan-fried king prawns, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors that is both unique and gratifying.
Despite its modest façade, the trattoria entices patrons with its cozy ambiance. The emphasis here lies not on ostentatious décor but in crafting a comfortable, intimate environment where food remains the protagonist. “We strive to create a homely atmosphere,” Luca notes, encapsulating The Cousins’ endeavor to emulate the vibe of a traditional Italian trattoria, where family and food hold precedence over everything else.
The prices at The Cousins Trattoria might exceed some of their rivals, but the generous portions and the superior quality of food justify this premium. From the delightful crostini misti starter to the irresistible tiramisu dessert, each dish is a reflection of the cousins’ culinary expertise and their dedication towards their craft.
Enhancing the dining experience is the selection of premium Italian wines that impeccably complement the food. The amalgamation of a warm ambiance, meticulous attention to detail, and the genuine flavors of Italian rustic cooking render dining at The Cousins Trattoria a sensory delight.
For a deep dive into the most exquisite traditional Italian cuisine that Cape Town has to offer, visit the cousins at 3b Barrack Street, CBD, Cape Town. The warm hospitality and the authentic flavors of The Cousins Trattoria eagerly await to take you on an unforgettable culinary exploration.