If you’re an avid foodie in Cape Town, you more than likely frequented Limoncello Ristorante Pizzeria in Gardens. For 12 years it was much loved by locals and tourists alike.
Celebrated for its authentic Southern Italian cuisine, Luca and Cecilia Castiglione re-opened Limoncello in 2019. Today, you can find Limoncello nestled under Chapmans Peak in Noordhoek with beautiful mountain and sea views.
When Luca and Cecilia moved to Noordhoek, they fell in love with the venue that currently houses Limoncello Ristorante. They promised that if they were ever to re-open Limoncello it would be right there with stunning views of Noordhoek and an intimate community of locals.
Head Chef Luca Castiglione trained under executive chef Ciro Musto at Ristorante Il Gallo Nero in Napoli for four years. Born in Napoli, Italy, Luca brings proper Italian cuisine to Noordhoek in a relaxed and welcoming setting.
We were invited to sample some of Limoncello Ristorante’s famous dishes.
Let’s take you through the delicious journey that is the Limoncello menu…
Cecilia describes the setting as a “community” due to the laid back and friendly nature of the surrounding restaurants. We were able to experience that community for ourselves as we watched table after table enjoying their time dining at Limoncello.
With ample outdoor seating and a jungle gym for the kids, it’s the perfect setting for family get togethers, birthday parties with friends, and, of course, casual dining. We arrived at 6PM and were treated to a warm sunset over the sea. Fairy lights adorn the trees outside and the darker the night sky got the more magical the setting began to feel.
Luca was very kind and took the daunting task of ordering out of our hands by serving us a range of dishes to taste.
The starters that we tried were the Parmigiana di Melanzane, Carpaccio di Pesce, and Tagliata di Manzo.
Carpaccio di Pesce: Fresh fish carpaccio of the day
On our visit, the fresh fish of the day was yellowtail. As big fans of yellowtail poke bowls, we were ready to try this beautifully presented dish.
It had soft and fresh flavours with plenty of complementary elements, from the baby carrots to the delicate dollops of sauce.
Parmigiana di Melanzane: Aubergine, mozzarella, basil, tomato and parmesan cheese
For me, this was a surprising winner. Perhaps I am a bit of a snob when it comes to vegetarian dishes, but wow. This parmigiana di melanzane delivered. As I was sharing the dish with a fellow content creator, this was one I snuck more onto my plate when they weren’t looking.
Tagliata di Manzo: Beef sirloin tagliata with parmigiano fondue, cherry tomato confit, balsamic reduction, basil green oil and fried rocket
Another favourite of mine. The cherry tomato confit was absolutely perfect with the beef sirloin. A combination of flavours that I will definitely be back for.
Pesce del Giorno: Grilled fish of the day
Grilled yelllowtail plated next to a generous portion of veggies felt refreshing after my overindulgence in the deliciously cheesy parmigiana di melanzane. The yellowtail was perfectly done with an almost homemade flavour that added to the welcoming and “at home” atmosphere that Limoncello embodies.
Spaghetto allo Scoglio: Spaghetti pasta with prawns, calamari, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, chilli and garlic
We were especially excited for the spaghetto allo scoglio, as it was a must-have on the menu. The calamari and prawns were divine in the subtle flavours of the sauce and plated on al dente pasta. It was a little messy, but well worth the fight over the prawns – definitely not a dish you want to share if you’re a seafood lover.
Filetto al Pepe Nero: Beef fillet with a brandy and black pepper sauce
The beef fillet was another dish that had a “homemade gourmet” aesthetic to it. Done to perfection, the brandy and black pepper sauce was a delicious pairing.
What I especially loved about the main courses from Limoncello is the fact that they have a wholesome and healthy feel to them. Each dish has a certain nostalgia to them that makes dining at Limoncello truly special.
Caprese Cake: Chocolate and almond tart (gluten free)
The menu felt inclusive of most dietary restrictions, so the gluten free caprese cake was a lovely look into how they cater to each. It had a brownie-like quality to it that gave it a rich and decadent flavour.
Pastiera Napoletana: Napoletan ricotta cake
This Napoletan ricotta cake was my colleague’s favourite. It was a dessert that boasted a range of textures and flavours for a deeper look into Italian cuisine.
The meal was, of course, finished with a shot of limoncello. Sipping on this lemony liqueur while observing the bustling tables and listening to the chatter of happy patrons was a delightful end to a wonderful evening.
Overall, Limoncello Ristorante is a must-try if you’re in and around Noordhoek. The laid-back vibe and beautiful surroundings makes for a serene and relaxing visit. A special shout out to our waitron Gertrude for being so helpful and making us feel right at home.
Luca and Cecilia are so welcoming and accommodating – you’ll feel a part of their community in no time at all.
Feature image: Supplied