Ask those who work and live in Illovo to name their favourite restaurant and 9/10 will tell you Bellagio. For a brisk business lunch or leisurely dinner, it hits all the spots and conjures up memories of the stylish town on the shores of Lake Como after which it is named. The setting is convivial, and tables under trees allow for real relaxation.

Start with a signature cocktail and take your taste buds to Italy with the simple, unpretentious menu that focuses on fine ingredients. The seasonal menu changes weekly and fresh seafood is a big drawcard. Chef and owner Louise Castle was classically trained in Italy and inherited her cooking gene from her late mother, a cordon bleu cook. After nearly 25 years in the kitchen, Louise still finds inspiration from her travels, seen in dishes inspired by other international cuisines like the mille-feuille with berries, phyllo and pistachios – a real melt-in-the-mouth affair.

Louise believes in creating uncomplicated food using top-quality ingredients and serving generous portions. Her regulars opt for the popular salmon burger or crab capellini – served with ginger, coriander, white wine, tomato, chilli and a touch of cream. Consideration is obvious, from crisp white table cloths to tulips on the tables, from freshly baked breads to the varied wine list, and of course, on every plate. Service is courteous and knowledgeable, and regulars are known by name.

“I try to give people what they want; and that is seasonal, uncontrived food.” Chef Louise Castle


Address: Unit 1 Oxford Manor, 196 Oxford Road, Illovo, Johannesburg, 2196

Phone: 011 268 0869