Lupa Osteria is a Roman-style, Italian restaurant, which was founded in 2013 by Guy Cluver (owner/entrepreneur) and Chris Black (owner/ chef) and was franchised in 2013. These owners have over 40 years experience in the hospitality industry collectively. This restaurant has nine locations around the country, with two located in Johannesburg (in Fourways and Bedfordview). The restaurant is named after the Roman wolf goddess, Lupa. They proudly boast the legend of Lupa on their website, which tells the story of how she saved and nurtured Romulus and Remus (you know — the twins reputed to have founded Rome). The legend adds to the charm of this restaurant and is a huge hit with the kids.
Having been introduced to this Osteria by a friend towards the end of 2018, we dined at the Florida Road location in Durban. I honestly asked myself why I didn't know about this place, especially since the food is amazing! We had the Sophie Bear Pizza (with Bacon, Gorgonzola, caramelised onions & rocket), and the Hot Chick (Peri-peri chicken, mushrooms, caramelised onions, garlic & feta). It's safe to say we ate until we were stuffed and we still hadn't finished the pizzas! This restaurant is a quintessential example of great food at reasonable prices.
The pizza is wood-fired with a thin but fluffy crust in truly authentic Italian-style. The pasta is homemade, which should be a prerequisite for any authentic Italian restaurant, right!? Besides the pizza and pasta, the menu is diverse with Antipasti, salads, Secondi courses and seafood. You can even buy sauces from them. There's also a cocktail menu with some delicious drinks (if you're a gin-lover, I recommend the Designer Gin and Elderflower Gin & Tonic). And let me not forget that there's a vegan menu, so all are catered for (although, to be honest, the menu could be a little more extensive). The wine list is also quite extensive and caters to different tastes with all the various options. They're divided into different categories for both red and white wine varieties: easy and delicious; crisp, dry and refreshing; rich and buttery; and nerdy, geeky and different.
The ambience at Lupa is casual and relaxed and feels like a family restaurant. It's great for quick bites or long lunches and dinners. Although it is casual dining, the interiors are modern, sleek and clean and elevate the casual dining experience. The kids will love it as well (and, yes, there's a kids menu). The service we received was excellent, with our server being very attentive. So, if you're looking for casual dining, with authentic Roman-style food, give Lupa Osteria a try.