… and hoping to retain the top spot as South Africa’s favourite pizzeria
Last year, Cape Town-based Ferdinando’s Pizza claimed the number one position in the Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge after being voted South Africa’s favourite pizza makers by a hugely enthusiastic and loyal fanbase. This, after placing second behind Gino’s of Robertsham, Johannesburg in 2021.
This year sees the two establishments return to tussle for top spot, along with other favourites including Gino’s Stellenbosch, Julia’s Eatalian (Potchefstroom), Enzo’s (Scottburgh) and Corlie’s Italian (Somerset West).
With less than seven weeks to go before voting closes, we caught up with owner Diego Milesi over a slice of his signature pizza, the Turbanite (grilled baby marrow, homemade caramelised onion jam and feta), and a glass of Porcupine Ridge Syrah to find out if his win last year had any impact on the business and an update on his menu.
How did it feel to be voted the country’s favourite pizzeria last year?
Winning is a great reward. We have always wanted people to feel at home at our establishment and we have always wanted to bring the best Italian food - made with passion and consistency - to our customers. The win gave me a lot of confidence that we are doing just that.
Did the win have any impact on the business?
Winning the competition definitely impacted my business for the better. People who didn’t know about us before made a point of visiting to try out our pizzas and see if the voters had got it right! Sometimes in the restaurant trade patrons visit with their own expectations of how things should be instead of simply enjoying what is offered to them. The people who learnt about us through the competition knew what we were about and bought happy vibes with them. It was about love, service and experience. People from out of town visited us to try us out and many locals who visited are now repeat customers. Our day trade also increased significantly.
Are you planning on doing anything different this year to get more votes?
I’m currently working on a chef’s special menu. I recently returned from travelling around Europe and have some great new ideas. I have taken some inspiration from Greece, so watch this space! We are adding more vegan pizzas and we’ve introduced some classic cocktails so you can now sip on a pina colada or negroni while enjoying your favourite pizza.
Why do you think you have such a loyal fanbase?
It’s because we care. I’ve always said that running a restaurant is not a business, but a lifestyle. You have to fit into the requirements of your area and community. At Ferdinando’s we always try to do it with a smile on our faces. It’s a place with a vibe and quality food without being pretentious. We try and show love for what we do in our food.
For more on the Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge, go to www.votewine.pizza.
For more on Porcupine Ridge wines, visit: www.boekenhoutskloof.co.za/porcupine-ridge
Ferdinano’s Pizza is located at 205 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town.
Tel: 084 771 0485