Italian restaurants are a dime dozen these days, mainly because everybody loves a good pizza, right? If you're looking for a fresh experience then some of the best pizza in Jozi can be found in the heart of the northern suburbs: Melville.
7th street in old Melville is known for its niche second hand stores and authentic eateries. One such place is the Ant Caf?. Once inside, the d?cor grabs you. It is as if the best parts of music, art and pop culture from the last four decades has exploded into a collage of eerie awesomeness inside the Ant Caf?. Charcoal on paper artworks from the '80s, photos of legendary rock bands and the odd Betty Page postcard line the walls. This is the trick here, the menu is authentically Italian but none of the sights and sounds inside this little caf? gives you the impression that there's ravioli and marinara sauce cooking in the kitchen.
The Clash's Rock the Casbah plays over the radio and in one corner the barista smiles at you as he brews up that much needed cup of java after last night's festivities. The Ant opens at 12 noon, just in time for lunch - I'd suggest the B.A.F. (bacon avo and feta, with mushrooms) pizza - people have travelled as far as New York City to enjoy this custom creation and serves as a local favourite. The base is hand rolled, from a secret recipe, until it is as thin as a beer coaster, and then topped with tomato paste and mozzarella. We all know that a good base makes or breaks a good pizza and the Ant has managed to nail the detail with a perfect ten.
The price is on par with most fast food restaurants but packed with double the taste. Because of the neighbourhood's varsity party vibe, no children are allowed at the Ant Caf? after 19h30. Note that a fifteen percent increase is added to parties of six and more, and reservation for such gatherings is asked to be booked in advance. My humble suggestion is that you brave the winter winds that are upon us and head to this quaint little nest and stock up on those much needed carbs to get you through the cold. The Ant boasts various vegetarian options when it comes to pizzas, pastas and salads. What are you waiting for? Go check it out for yourself.
Where? 11 7th Street, Melville, Johannesburg
Contact? 076 476 5671
by Shawn Greyling