Authentic Italian deli Mafiosi expands its offerings

Mafiosi is a charming Italian deli in Blubird. We popped in to find out about the family owned restaurant run by Italians who know a thing or two about cooking.

When Mafiosi opened up in April 2017, they had two tables. They now have 15, and are planning to expand further so the deli has evolved into a restaurant. It’s quite telling when a restaurant expands in tough economic times, but they’ve built a loyal clientele who pop in to eat and drink, order meals to heat up at home or use the team for catering.

When they first opened they served only sandwiches. They’re now possibly the only restaurant in the country serving pizzas and pasta that are vegan and gluten free at the same time. They worked on getting the recipe right for a year, and it’s up and running.

They now also serve Pizza Al Taglio, a rustic, thin “tavern style” rectangular pizza just like they serve it on the streets in Italy.

We chose the delicious gluten-free vegan base Bianco Carciofi: topped with mozzarella cheese, artichokes, black olives, red onions, fresh rosemary and seasoning. It is utterly fresh. And to keep the experience truly Italian we had a glass of the popular Aperol Spritz, which has a refreshing kick (There’s a special on at the moment which has the Aperol Spritz and aperitive platter for R99).

The fridges are groaning with ‘home-made’ Italian goods such as fresh pastas, sauces, ready-made meals and soups, as well as their new exclusive range of gluten free and vegan products including melanzane, cannelloni and lasagna, vegan cheeses and more. Their minestrone soup is popular (they make seven litres on an average day but have been making up to 14 litres a day during winter). “We also do Italian piadene, and people go mad for our olive bread,” says Romina, who runs the restaurant while her uncle is the chef and husband is in charge of import/export.

The vegan and gluten free options are so popular they’re now selling through a few Pick n Pays, a few Spars and are opening up a new restaurant in Craighall Park that will sell only vegan/ gluten free, called Vegan Italy.

They’re also apparently the only retailer of donkey’s milk in the country. Referred to as ‘liquid gold’ it’s said to be a natural immune booster and has one of the lowest fat contents resulting in a watery consistency and has for hundreds of years been used for infant nutrition. END



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