You get italian food and then you get italian food.
Ristorante La Trinita serves italian food. Rich, tasty and “oh-my-goodness-I’ve-come-home” italian food.
La Trinita is the place I go to when I want to feel at home. I am able to relax, and I know that I will enjoy a fantastic meal. The menu has an array of choices which sometimes makes it difficult to choose, then I leave it in La-La’s capable hands and she always brings me something I love.
Ristorante La Trinita are the recipients of some well-deserved awards:
2012: Newsweek’s 101 Best Places to Eat Around the World
2015: Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence
2016: Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence
2016: Top Choice Restaurant
Mom & Daughter duo, Tess and La-La have been in business together for 18 years.
From their website:
We have been satisfying even the most discerning palates for more than 40 years. The secret to our talent is “simplicity, passion and the best quality of fresh food”.
By merging the specialties of 3 cities (Bologna, Napoli and Perugia) we are able to bring to you Italian food at its finest.
Meet Tessa (Started studying archeology, but did not finish after she married)
Years in the industry: 18
Q: Where are your roots?
A: Bologna, Italy
Q: How was La Trinita “born”?
A: I was working with my brother in shipping, but he left SA during the years of apartheid. La-La had gone to catering hotel school and showed much creativity in the kitchen. In 1998 La Trinita was born. It is extremely difficult to cater for a business. In business you have to quantify every single ingredient/item you use. It becomes a fine balance of taste and pricing.
As our company grew, we divided the kitchen; La-La was in charge of the menu, Tessa covered the specialities as well as the bookkeeping and orders.
Q: What was your biggest challenge in the beginning?
A: The banks, having to repay the loan. Our own fear and maintaining discipline. The disappointments of humanity – empty promises from banks and suppliers. However, these challenges made us stronger, we had to remain honourable and not treat others as we were sometimes treated.
Q: Which ingredients can you never do without?
A: Garlic & Parsley, Carrots, Onions, Celery, Olive oil.
Q: Tell us about your dishes?
A: I have recipes passed down from my aunt and my mother. My aunt was more creative, as am I, whereas my mom was very traditional. I like to experiment with my food, and together with La-La we changed the dishes very slightly, by adding special touches. The original recipes became more sophisticated.
Our flavours come together to create a matrimony of tastes.
Our basic Bolognese sauce is a secret family recipe from Bologna. Our Spaghetti and Lasagne are our best selling dishes. We also created a special Vegetarian sauce.
Q: Final thoughts?
A: We are very grateful to our restaurant patrons for supporting us … Souls meeting souls.
Meet La-La (Studied hospitality):
Years in the industry: 25
“in our industry, we find that all too often – Hospitality is lacking”
Q: What is the most under appreciated ingredient in the industry?
A: The kitchen staff
Q: How important is staff training?
A: Extremely – do it daily for as long as you run your business.
Q: How do you think you have become as successful as you are?
A: The way we deal with people. The key lies in not making people feel like a credit card; that they are someone. Forming a relationship and getting to know their palates, getting to know their preferences.
Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to open their on restaurant?
A: Good luck! For a man it could be easier, it requires less sacrifice, it’s a lot harder for a woman. Be prepared to sacrifice a lot of your social time, time with your partners and your children.
Q: When you are not working, what food do you enjoy eating?
A: Sunday roasts, indian food – curries (Mom makes a good curry) Mozambique / Portuguese food.
Q: What are your top 3 most successful dishes?
A: Zucchini melanzane parmigiana. Hand made, freshly prepared gnocchi (dumplings). Panna Cotta, made with vegetarian gelatine, real honey and vanilla pods.
Q: What platforms/media do you monitor to keep track of food trends & what the public wants?
A: We don’t follow magazines and shows, we follow our instinct. We like to set our own trend, it’s the art of the sale.
Q: What is your perception of food bloggers?
A: Everybody is very quick to call themselves a food blogger or a foodie. They tell you they had a good evening, then walk out and write a contradictory review. When they should be giving us their feedback in person, they are more inclined to write something negative instead of addressing the issue with us.
In most independent establishments such as ours, we are more than willing to try to rectify the problem. We can’t do this without constructive feedback from our customers.
On the flip side, the awareness that is created from these online platforms has also positively impacted and highlighted the independently owned establishments such as ourselves.
Q: Best selling wine under R200?
A: Les Coteaux collection.
*Ristorante La Trinita is currently listed number 9 out of 947 restaurants in Johannesburg on Trip Advisor and has a 4.6/5 rating on Zomato.