Noble Savage (he said):
Alfie’s has been a bit of a mainstay in Pretoria when it comes to Italian cuisine for a while now. They’ve always been in a little shop in Hazelwood in Pretoria, and last year (or the year before) opened a pizzeria just around the corner. We’ve been to the pizzeria – but unfortunately not the original – a couple of times, and was always impressed with quality and service. So when we found out they opened a seafood restaurant, named Iskia, we just had to check it out.
Iskia by Alfie’s is situated in the courtyard of the Village Boutique Hotel in Nieuw Muckleneuk in Pretoria. The setting is tranquil and relaxing, with a giant water feature helping with soothing away the stresses of Gauteng life. Iskia’s decor is simple yet refined; perfectly marrying sophistication with laid-back comfort to create a unique dining experience without feeling stuffy.
As they’re pretty new, the wine list isn’t expansive. One of the offerings Iskia has is the wonderful Saronsberg Earth in Motion; a Chenin Blanc/Sauvignon Blanc blend with a dash of Semillon. We were at Iskai for seafood, and the fruitiness combined with a slight hint of minerality proved to be the combination we craved.
Normally when we check out a new pizza place, I always go for the seafood pizza. It might be a bit unorthodox, but you can tell a lot about attention to quality with a seafood pizza. If there’s a crabstick on there, you know they don’t really give a shit about sourcing quality ingredients. If they feel a pack of seafood mix is good enough for a pizza, they probably take similar shortcuts with the rest of the food on menu.
Happily, Iskia’s seafood pizza has not even a hint of a crabstick on it. The mussels, calamari, and prawns are fresh and tasty, and the base is perfectly baked in their wood-fired oven. I don’t have any strong opinions about the thickness of a pizza base (Iskia’s is thin and crispy), but after Iskia’s, I might have converted to the Church of Latter Day Thin Crusts™. To round it off, the sauce is nice and tomatoey, balancing out the lightness and flavour of the seafood.
Seafood pizza isn’t everyone’s first choice when it comes to pizza. It might be because of so many pizzerias taking the easy way out, and just tossing a shitty seafood mix on the pizza. Iskai is different. You can see the pride they take in their food by the quality of the product they put in front of you. I’ve been around the block as far as seafood pizza goes, and Iskia’s is by fucking far the best I’ve ever had. I might go as far as saying Iskia gave me the best pizza I’ve ever had…
BoozyFoodie (she said):
It is always fantastic to find new restaurants in Pretoria to explore! I’ve been keeping an eye on Iskia (by Alfie’s) for couple of months – since I first got wind of this new-kid-on-the-block’s impeding opening on their Instagram account (Don’t you just love the power of social media?). It felt like home when I walked in, especially because I recognised this gorgeous wall mural:
We were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful courtyard (that actually is the entire restaurant area). On a thankfully-not-too hot day, it was marvellous to sit under the shade of the trees and just relax. Listening to the soothing sounds of the water feature and just take in the beautiful decor and ambience of Iskia.
Sipping on a glass (or two) of Saronsberg Earth in Motion, you forget that you are actually right in the middle of a city.
I must give a special mention to this freshly baked bread that was served while we perused the menu – deliciously fresh, it just soaked up the olive oil and balsamic vinegar!
I sort of made up my mind as soon as I got there – knew I would rather try their pasta, so had to choose between two options that really jumped out at me. The moment my plate was placed in front of me, I KNEW I made the correct choice!
It sure is a mouthful (literally and figuratively) “Linguine alla Pescatore con Ginger e Peperoncino” – a seafood pasta, and so delicious! I initially thought that it looked like a smaller portion, but it was so tasty and satisfying – simply divine! Every single mouthful was a treat, really enjoyed this meal!
Seeing that Iskia by Alfie’s hasn’t been open for that long, I was quite impressed with the service and the quality of the meal – but I guess, that was a given right from the start. A beautiful and cosy little spot – with totally scrumptious food! We loved it so much we booked a table to come back in a couple of week’s time, so see you guys soon!
Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iskiabyalfies/ – but preferably in real life as well 🙂
All photos taken and owned by JP Schoeman and Social Savage Blog