This looks like an uber cool vibe, and I am excited to check out Septimo Italian Market & Restaurant – the latest addition to the busy Nelson Mandela Square.

This chic establishment is the brainchild of Paul Lycos, a third-generation restauranteur, whose family has owned eateries in both France and the US.

Septimo is Italian for ‘seventh’ and represents the seventh decade of a tradition of preparing family recipes, which started in World War 2 and the traditions are now on their third installment, bringing 70 years of flavours, family, and fun right here to you in the world-famous Nelson Mandela Square.

Some of the dishes on the menu are those from Lycos’ childhood and which he describes as “Italian American cuisine that you would find in any restaurant in Little Italy in New York or South Street in Philadelphia.” They can be found on the nostalgia section of the Septimo menu and include chicken or aubergine parmigiana, ricotta lasagna, homemade ravioli with Napoli sauce and spaghetti and meatballs.

Signature dishes include pan-seared sea bass with crispy skin, blistered cherry tomatoes and citrus emulsion; grilled Mozambican prawns served with polenta cake and arrabiata sauce; wood fired whole baby chicken and a 350g, 45-day, dry-aged, grass-fed New York strip (sirloin) with a coffee and black pepper rub which is served with a delicious jus and thrice-fried parmesan black pepper chips.

For diners who want a more modern take on Italian food there are dishes such as chargrilled octopus, served with cannellini bean hummus and pickled onions; kale salad with crispy pancetta, apple, roasted pine nuts, croutons and a parmesan vinaigrette or crispy pork belly with creamy polenta and a passion fruit balsamic glaze.

The pizza from the wood fire oven have thin crusts and come with a variety of toppings from Margarita with fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil to Prostitutto with pancetta, fig and wild rocket.

Well-known architect, David Borchardt used copper and stained concrete to craft an industrial-look-and-feel for the restaurant, with layers of wood to soften the room. Mike and Rita Collaro, from Collaro Design, added the furniture and fixtures, and the result is a space that’s both chic and inviting – perfect for a long, lazy lunch, smart intimate dinner or a spot of people-watching on the square.

Says Lycos: “With Septimo I wanted to create a space where people can do multiple things; it’s all about a lifestyle.”

The team behind Septimo include third generation restauranteur Paul Lycos and his cousin Andreas Kaiafas, with chef Nikita Zoulis heading up the kitchen.

A: 31 Nelson Mandela Square, 139 West St, Sandown, Sandton
T: 011 077 7777
W: www.septimo.co.za

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