How does a stressed-out workaholic recover from writer’s block? Pasta and red wine, that’s how! So when a friend suggested a bite to eat at Lupa Osteria – a ‘casual Italian dining’ spot a stone’s throw from me in Hillcrest, Durban – I jumped at the chance. And, if you’re ever in the area, so should you! Here’s why:

Image courtesy of Lupa Osteria 
  1. It has a vibe going on – my sleepy suburb is not exactly known for its fine dining (one has to trundle down the hill into town for a more sophisticated culinary experience), so I wasn’t expecting much more than a run-of-the-mill franchise-format Italian eatery. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into an establishment which wouldn’t have been out of place in the heart of the city. The happy chattering of diners, the clinking of glasses and scraping of knives and forks on the plate mingle in this comfortable, cosy and contemporary space…lovely!
  2. There’s a cocktail bar – it must be my Mediterranean heritage, but I believe that lunches and dinners should be protracted affairs. Too often, it seems people are in a hurry to gobble and go – and that dreadful Natalian habit of eating at sundown and then bolting home to bed. Happily, not here! The cocktail bar encourages you to linger awhile – enjoying an aperitif and idle chit-chat before heading for the table. Folks were still drifting in after 9pm…Nice!
  3. Great food and wine – This should be obvious, but too often restaurants overcharge for underwhelming offerings. Lupa will have none of that, thank you – superb dishes, beautifully presented and reasonably well-priced, considering the quality, plus a decent wine list. Well done to chef Chris Black and restaurateur Guy Cluver on getting this right!
  4. Great service – Waiters tend to be overbearing, checking in every five minutes, or completely absent altogether. Our waiter struck that delicate balance – attentive yet discreet, we hardly noticed he was there at all…a very good thing!
  5. Homemade pasta – just like mama makes it, maybe better! 

What to Try…

Describing itself as an osteria – the Italian version of the simple French bistro – Lupa offers up many traditional Italian dishes – pasta and sauces and wood-fired pizza, of course, but also hearty meat dishes, like lamb shank, Veal Saltimbocca and Chicken Marsala. In the mood for comfort food after a long week, I had Penne Puttanesca – it combines all my favourite things…olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and tomato…and was simply delicious! Can’t wait to go back for more…

Have a peek at their menu here…Or book a table and try it for yourself…

  • Call them on: 031-765 3059
  • Find them here: Shop A20, Lillies Quarter, 15 Old Main Road, Hillcrest, Durban.