Why Il Contadino in Parktown North is about to change Joburg’s food scene

If you’re a devotee of Joburg’s burgeoning restaurant scene, you’ll know that Chef James Diack is the force behind three of the city’s most popular eateries: Coobs, The National and The Federal. Now, with the opening of Il Contadino last month, Diack has consolidated his position as one of the city’s favourite foodies.

ALSO READ: 6 Fabulous Joburg restaurants that are perfect for date night

Il Contadino is different to its sister restaurants, though, because it’s Diack’s platform for doing what he really wants to with food – and that’s keeping it sustainable. This is already his trademark, with most dishes at his restaurants made from ingredients harvested at his family farm. At Il Contadino, he’ll be taking this even further – so if you’re craving a dish made with veggies out of season, you’ll have to look elsewhere. 

If, on the other hand, you’re in the mood for robust Mediterranean flavours with ingredients of unsurpassable freshness, this is the spot for you. The menu is decidedly on the robust side – think of what you’d choose to eat if you’d been working all day on an Italian farm (cue images from Under A Tuscan Sun). 

New addition to PARKTOWN NORTH dining scene by @chefjamesdiack Congrats Booi!! #ilcontadino

A post shared by David Higgs (@davidhiggschef) on

The Farmers’ Board starter is one of the best way to sample these fantastic flavours: think bread straight out of the oven, to be spread with a variety of meats, preserves and cheeses. For mains, you can’t go wrong with the ossobuco, rich, tomatoey and infinitely satisfying – although Diack’s pork dishes (which may well be considered his signature) are also tempting. There’s also a choice of rustic pizzas (the focaccia with grapes, dolce latte, red onions and rosemary gets a definite thumbs up) and not-so-simple salads.

For dessert, the sweetness of orange offsets dark chocolate perfectly as a finishing touch for ricotta-stuffed beignet, but the ice creams are also stellar. My favourite? Fig and ginger.

Sit on the sidewalk and sip on an Aperol, and you’ll be enjoying the best of the Joburg Summer. 

Il Contadino is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 


10 Restaurants in Joburg that will cure your craving for Italian food

Looking for the ultimate pasta? Perfect risotto? Read this! by: Mamello Sijake | 23 Nov 2017 (image: iStock) There's something timeless about Italian food. A creamy risotto can carry you through heartache, a slice of Tiramisu can heighten your happiness, a bowl of spaghetti Bolognaise on a cold day is unlikely to disappoint you and something about lasagna says family time.