Cape Town’s vibey Bree Street has been the home to BOCCA restaurant since it first opened in 2014 and now, with new owners, a new menu and a new look, it has a new Italian-inspired energy!

New owners Guido and Adnana Brambilla were previously based in Bermuda – Guido as Executive Chef for a major international hotel and Adnana in charge of sales and marketing for a collection of restaurants. “After eight years in Bermuda we were looking for a change, and of course our first thought was Cape Town because we really love the city,” explains Adnana of their decision to relocate to South Africa. “We had had enough of working in hotels, and were looking for something more personal.”

After a month of renovations, the new-look BOCCA (meaning ‘mouth’ in Italian) is now open and offering diners a refined yet relaxing experience. “We wanted to create a space where people can experience a taste of modern Italian cuisine,” says Adnana. “You can come by yourself and sit at the counter for a glass of wine and a few small plates, or arrive as a group and experience a selection of dishes. It’s really a place for people to connect over food.”

In the BITES section, the menu features a selection of small plates that are ideal for sharing. “This section is all about uncomplicated Italian flavours, the kind you would enjoy if you were invited for dinner in an Italian household,” explains Guido. Dishes include Stracciatella with roasted cherry tomatoes and confit eggplant, Panzanella salad of sourdough and seasonal tomatoes, and Polpo of Atlantic octopus with potatoes and basil pesto.

In the CRISPY section of the menu, there’s Ortofritto of zucchini, asparagus and artichokes, Polpettine meatballs of beef, pork and lamb with a fresh ‘mayo verde’, and Misto of calamari, white bait, prawns and mussels. “These dishes work so well when you’re dining in a group, with a selection of plates to share around the table,” adds Guido. “But for couples, or people dining by themselves, the portion sizes still allow you to order a few plates to discover different flavours.”

In the GRAINS section, Guido has created a selection of pasta dishes, and diners can expect a slow-baked Ragù with fusilli, Basilia, a dish of rigatoni tossed in home-made basil pesto and green beans, and Cassiopipa, a Venetian seafood ragù on penne.

On the new menu the PIZZETTE are rolled smaller (roughly 16cm across) than a traditional pizza, allowing for experimentation and sharing around the table. “Right now, if you order a pizza in a restaurant, that’s it. You have no more appetite to discover other flavours,” explains Adnana. “With a pizzette, you can order a few different flavours for the table.”

And lastly, for the LAST STOP section, diners can tuck into desserts such as Tiramisu with Mascarpone Cream, Pineapple Carpaccio with Muscadet marinade and pineapple fritters, or fresh Lemon Curd with chocolate crumble and seasonal strawberries.

“We expect the menu to change four times a year, as I really want to work with the seasons,” adds Guido, who has already tapped into leading local suppliers, including charcutier Richard Bosman and respected cheese producer Puglia. “I have tasted so many olive oils and meats and cheeses, and I don’t see any reason to use imported Italian products when there is such wonderful produce made right here in Cape Town.”

The restaurant’s striking décor revamp has added a more modern flair to BOCCA. Design highlights include shimmering green tiles, leather banquettes in the mezzanine space as well as counter seating which allows couples and solo diners to view the kitchen below.

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