Vivi con passion.
(Live with passion)
Passion, pure style – and pasta, combine to entrench the new-look Pronto Italian Deli as one of Johannesburg North’s favourite local restaurant destinations.
When partners Paul Maciel and Davide Casalvolone first opened their doors four years ago, they were following a dream. And while they may have harboured modest hopes of running a small but flourishing authentic Italian restaurant, they could not have anticipated the phenomenal success that today is Pronto Italian Deli.
“Paul left corporate life to follow his passion for food and Italy – and the result is what you see today,” says Natasha Maciel, who together with her brother, took over the running of the restaurant upon her return from the United Kingdom in late-2005.
In October, this much-loved and now iconic neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Craighall Park celebrates an expansion, a new look and exciting additions to its already-esteemed menu. A renovation in July 2008 saw the restaurant increase its capacity and the slick, upmarket aesthetic is matched by functional changes behind the scenes. A brand new state-of-the-art kitchen now serves pizzas and all-new signature dishes, such as tagliatta al rucola (sirloin steak with rocket and parmesan shavings) and Umbrian inspired Salsiccia with grapes. Line fish is soon to be added.
Already well-known for its superior pastas and speciality dishes, Pronto fast developed a reputation for serving up consistent quality and friendly service. The best local and imported ingredients form the back-bone of the menu, and Paul and Davide make regular ‘tasting trips’ to Italy to sample ingredients and ignite new ideas. An extensive wine list offers local, Italian, Spanish and French choices, while the house wines are bio-certified organic from Treviso in Italy. On the dessert menu can be found such tempting delights as homemade crème brulee, panacotta, lemon sorbet, pistachio icecream with pistachio brittle and, at Christmas time, a decadent selection of pannettone.
But apart from great food, what sets Pronto apart has been its ability to establish itself as ‘neighbourhood local’ in an industry flooded with franchised chains. “Our customers consistently report that they feel at home here, that they can relax and enjoy good honest food in a familiar environment and among people who know them,” says Natasha, noting that some 90% of Pronto’s clientele are regulars. “We love being a neighbourhood restaurant and the sense of community that comes with it,” she adds.
But while families and locals are a familiar sight at Pronto, so too are the slick executives and well-heeled professionals from the Sandton CBD hub and surrounding office parks. Many a harried businessperson can be seen collecting take-away sauces for family dinner in the evenings.
“Lunch-times are a hive of activity and we’ve been incredibly lucky to be seating a full restaurant on most evenings,” says Natasha. This is in spite of the current economic downturn and is testament to the partners’ decision to keep prices reasonable. “People know they get great value for money here – and great food,” she adds.
Over the years, Paul, Davide and Natasha have received numerous accolades for their gastronomic gem but none of these quite capture the essence of what makes them unique. That is something perhaps best summed-up by the happily satiated customer who recently remarked, “What’s great about Pronto is the people - and their passion. This place is an expression of who the owners are, and that’s what makes it so special.”
- Winner Best Neighbourhood Restaurant Best Of Joburg 2013
- Winner Best Independent Italian Restaurant Best of Joburg 2012
- Winner best Bistro Best of Joburg 2012