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Il Leone. Great Italian.

The lion.  I don’t know how many roam around Italy though.

Il Leone is an Italian restaurant in Green Point offering wholesome cooking and much variety.  I am reviewing it as my first attempt into the restaurant thing.  I know we can all Google a restaurant and get a hundred hits about the vibe, the food, the waiter etc but I am going to look at the menu, the nutrition and the food safety with my posts.

I will devote 1 paragraph only to the dining experience.  It was awesome.  Great vibe, proper Italian, good waiter and staff, great food and a good wine list.

The menu is extensive to say the least.  While a concern may be that quality is lost with such a range of items, this is not true at Il Leone.  Antipasti (cold and hot), Insalata (salads), soups, pasta and risotto, fish, meat and dolce (dessert) all adorn the menu and each section has a few choices in each.  Plus there are specials which were good enough for an entire menu on their own I think.

On your table will be the standard bread, crisp bread, olive oil and balsamic.  No butter for those who may complain.  Personally I don’t have an issue with butter anyway.  The bread tastes damn good but it is white only.

Menu options are available for vegetarians and the health conscious.  The salads are not over dressed with oil and of a fair portion.  The Caprese with Buffalo mozzarella is a win.  Buffalo mozzarella interestingly provides higher levels of protein, fat and minerals than that made from cow’s milk so is quite nutritious and delicious.  The other salads include a variety of veg, legumes, avo, nuts and seeds.  This gives some healthy fats and a high fibre start.

The pasta’s are very generous.  There are not too many creamy, buttery options which is good.  Most are lightly dressed using olive oil or reductions.  Those controlling their carb intake might not want to go for the pastas or should try to leave a few noodles behind.

The meat and fish dishes are proper.  They are served with veg (mine was tomatoes and onions – nice and fresh, uncooked) and either wedges for the meat or mash for the fish.  And you only get 4 wedges which is perfect for keeping a tab on carbs after some bread on the table.  The portions of meat/fish are good too, around about 300g, giving you about 70g of protein in your main.   There are no funny sauces, bastings, creams etc.  Good healthy oils and maybe a little butter. The linefish were cape salmon (Geelbek) and kingklip, both unfortunately on the orange SASSI list.

The dessert menu is quite extensive too.  All the favourites for an Italian are on there.  Thanks to a low refined carb meal and no added sugars, I went for the profiteroles which are superb.  Sorbets are available for a lighter option but equally indulgent are the crème brulee, Nutella pancake, tiramisu, gelatos and cheeses if you want to spoil yourself.

I was not able to see the kitchen for a cleanliness and food safety note but all food was either hot or cold as required, very quickly brought to the table and good simple cooking.

Low carb, low fat, high protein and vegetarian followers can all please themselves here! A change to sustainable fish and more in-season fresh produce are the only recommendations I can make, apart from recommending everyone giving it a visit.

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4 Responses to Il Leone. Great Italian.

  1. Nos Feb 17, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Nutritious and delicious!

  2. Matt Feb 17, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Been lucky enough to have a few lunch consultations at Il Leone! The Seafood pasta – Penne Gamberetti (sometimes I have it with Linguine) is my favourite, but a very difficult menu to choose from because there’s so much quality – and that’s before you’ve even started looking at the wines!!

  3. Dirkus Jun 12, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Very nice review, Adi. You’ve got a talent for this – and you bring a couple of really relevant angles (nutrition, food safety, sustainability, etc) in addition to the usual aspects featured in most every restaurant review. Keep ’em coming!

    BTW, I’ve enjoyed a very nice dinner or two at Il Leone; and I endorse your recommendation.

    • Adi Jun 13, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      Thanks Dirk, as long as the savings support my taste buds I will keep them coming!