Charming chef/owner Giorgio Nava is everywhere at this svelte Italian restaurant set in a 17th-century former stable house. You’ll find him tableside, graciously switching between Italian and English to recite the day’s specials; bustling through the dining room to fulfill special requests; and—thankfully—in the kitchen, where he oversees the execution of hearty, deceptively simple Milanese dishes. Nava even has a hand in harvesting the ingredients: most fish on his menu is caught from his own boat, and the meat comes from his farm in the Karoo (the desert valley north of Cape Town). His frequently changing offerings include snappingly fresh salads, various game and seafood carpaccios, pastas (butternut squash ravioli with sage butter is a favorite), and classic mains, like osso bucco served with fluffy polenta.
Insider Tip: Do not, under any circumstances, skip the chocolate soufflé for dessert; the pillowy pouf oozing with molten chocolate is so popular, the manager swears a revolt would ensue if it were taken off the menu.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.