Last Thursday we had dinner at Asta Italian Restaurant in Stellenbosch. We’ve been going to Felix, Rosa and sons’ restaurants in various guises for many years (from the Al Frascati days!), and Asta in Dorp Street is the latest, and possibly best, version. The restaurant is not that easy to spot unless you know what you’re looking for, and situated in one of Stellenbosch’s lovely old buildings, with a ‘stoep’ where you can dine and watch the world pass by.
From the outside the restaurant looks unassuming but once you get inside it becomes a modern Italian restaurant with clean lines and busy tables. Best of all, out the back there is a lovely deck or raised garden with more tables and the all-important pizza oven! Pizza was the one thing missing from the authentic Italian menus in the previous restaurants, and now that they’ve added pizzas I am a very happy customer!
We booked a table outside in the garden, for 5 people in total. Service was prompt and as the others in our party are regulars they knew straight away what they wanted, though the fresh ravioli was unfortunately not available.
Asta’s pasta is fresh and homemade and though the menu may look short it has something for everyone, with lighter meals as well as bigger mains. There are a few options for vegetarians, but like most places vegan options as very limited. I deliberated between pizza and pasta but eventually pizza won! As a substiture for the ravioli, we ordered lasagne and our other order were Pescatore pasta, Margherita and Siciliana pizzas and a Carpaccio Antipasti. Our first wine choice was unfortunately also not available, but we were quite happy with the Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc they did have.
As it was a scorcher of a day we were very happy to be sitting outside and the atmosphere was chilled and relaxed. Service is not overbearing but adequate for the amount of customers they had. Our food soon arrived and my Siciliana with anchovies, capers, olives and chilli was very tasty – though for me it could have done with a bit more chilli! Fortunately they supply a small pot of chilli on the side for those who like their food hot. The Margherita was also a great success, with Brian proclaiming that it is the best pizza he’s had in Stellenbosch so far. The pizza bases are very thin and somehow they manage to ensure that the pizzas are not too oily, something that is often the case with pizzas and can be very off-putting. The Pescatore looked very good though I didn’t taste it, and the lasagne had an amazing Bolognese sauce. The Carpaccio is definitely a smaller option and of course not as carb heavy as the other meals. We didn’t have any room for desert though I would love to try their tiramisu at some point. Asta is a lovely restaurant with a lot of regulars and with its fresh ingredients and great food it’s easy to see why – I can definitely see myself becoming one of them!
Ambience – 5/5
Service – 4/5
Food – 5/5
Asta Italian Restaurant
103A Dorp Street, Stellenbosch
Phone: 021 887 7300
Web: Asta Italian Foods