Cape’s pizza

After a series of restaurants with dubious names, finally a deserving pizzeria in Cape Town

Big Route’s entrance, on Greenpoint’s Main Roa

Big Route’s entrance, on Greenpoint’s Main Road, in Cape Town, tel. +27.(0)21.4332530. Run by two nice half Italian half South African guys, Adriano and Alfredo, it goes far beyond the folkloristic limits of other South African pizzerias with dubious names such as Col Cacchio or Cornuti al Mare

It’s been a long time since I wanted to write something about pizza in South Africa. However, despite my researches, I had never managed to find something worth mentioning except, for fun reasons, the Col Cacchio chain or pizzerias called Morituri and Cornuti al Mare (sic). Just a short walk from the Green Point Stadium, in a nice central area of Cape Town, two nice half Italian half South African guys, Adriano and Alfredo, have opened a restaurant, the Big Route, which finally does justice to our most beloved recipe in the world.

Putting aside the kindness and fun character of the owners and staff, which always contribute to the success of a restaurant, the pizza is truly remarkable. While I’m writing, I understand that pizza is an extremely controversial topic: some like it thick, some like it thin, some like it something in between. In other words, in Italy there’s no end to the discussion, you need exceptional competence, lots of creativity and infinite experiments. Here, instead, you don’t need too much philosophy: make something simple and good and everyone’s happy.

Winter is getting closed in Cape Town...

Winter is getting closed in Cape Town...

Most South African pizzas, let’s admit it, are terrible. Even with the wood oven baked ones, even with those that state they’re 100% Italian, there’s always something wrong. Big Route’s pizza, instead, is thin, crispy and with the right quantity of salt in the dough. It may seem a pointless statement but apparently here in South Africa for unclear reasons, according to the law the dough cannot be salted. And it’s easy to imagine the result of this. At Big Route you can order a medium or large or gluten-free pizza (with no additional charges).

As for the ingredients, the choice is extremely wide: from classics (margherita, calzone, quattro stagioni), to Mediterranean flavours (aubergines, cherry tomatoes, olives, anchovies, mussels) to experiments that for us Italians are a little too bold, such as balsamic vinegar reduction, caramelised figs or pumpkin. After all, they also work for the South African clientele and their palate, I’m sorry to admit it, is impossible to educate and always needs something sweet. A special mention is very well deserved by the absence of avocado on any pizza: avocado is the curse of South African pizzas – it’s everywhere, like weeds.

Another fun thing about the Big Route are the names: they’re all in Italian, with an English translation, and for once they’re fun and not vulgar. A few examples: Pollastrone! (big lazy chicken!), Figata! (awesome!), Chiocciola (@), Cucciolone (Big Puppy), Michelangelo (famous Italian artist). For those who don’t eat pizza, the day’s selection of salads and pastas is indicated on a blackboard. There’s also an excellent antipasto all’italiana, with salami, vegetables pickled in oil, mozzarella. Draught beers, a good selection of wines, liqueurs and grappa complete the offer.

Big Route
105 Main Road
Greenpoint, Cape Town
+27 (0)21 433 2530


Giovanna a Capo-tavola

The food world in and near Cape Town told by Giovanna Sartor