Review: Basilico restaurant

The first thought I had when I arrived at Basilico restaurant was “Oooh fancy. Bae things.” Located in the heart of the city, nestled in a posh suburb just behind the State House in Gaborone, Basilico is the ideal location for both business lunches and romantic dinners. Due to its strategic location in a residential area opposite the Central Business District (CBD), Basilico is a favourite meeting place for the upmarket, young professional who wants to wine and dine in an exclusive setting.
Basilico is the brainchild of Arianna Francioni, an Italian woman who fell in love with Botswana after visiting with her husband a few years ago. “In Italy, the good restaurants are in houses because we want to have the feel of eating a good meal in a homey place. So I had the idea to open a traditional Italian restaurant in Gaborone after realizing that there was no fine dining restaurant,” she said.
As you enter the place you are welcomed by a beautiful setting, a delightful marriage of antiques and the luxuries of modernity. Stone floors, vintage art and an airy house with lots of lighting is what makes the restaurant unique and homey.
Basilico serves generally traditional Italian food, revisited in a fine dining way. Most ingredients used are homemade, from scratch- from the bread to the pasta…which makes the wait for the food a little bit longer, but a lot more worth it.
I enjoyed a 4 course meal of traditional Italian food. For starters, I enjoyed a seafood salad made from calamari, shrimp, olives, sundried tomatoes and a dash of avocado. The meal was a delight for the seafood lover in me, which made it my favourite.
The next course was ravioli, a type of dumpling composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin pasta dough (patrika). The patrika past was stuffed with oxtail, celery sauce and served with a traditional pasta sauce originated as a traditional food in Italian cuisine. I enjoyed the pure, subtle flavour of the fresh pasta.
The third and main course was the King clip fillet. Italians are known for their deep respect for quality produce; fresh fish only needs the lightest of culinary touches for spectacular results. The fish was complimented by baby potatoes, baby spinach, yoghurt and a sprinkle of herbs.
And finally: dessert. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’m not a big fan of sweet things. But this creamy dream made me lose my senses that I forgot it’s name. The dessert can be described in three words: gentle, airy and refined. Made of cream and sprinkled with a chocolatey powder, this traditional Italian is a very delicate creamy pudding served with fruit and chocolate. It had just the right amount of sweetness for those without a sweet tooth like myself.
The menu
A beautiful design made to depict a leather notebook/journal, the menu is made up of a nice mix of different pastas, pizzas, salads and ofcourse a wide range of wines and drinks. The dishes are on the pricey side, and the meals are served in small portions. But as the owner of Basilico said, “We serve an upmarket clientele”…which means those who frequent the restaurant can afford it!
The wines and prices
All the products were fresh and the dishes had the warmth of home-made food, evidence of the Italians’ love for fresh produce. The chefs take great care in selecting the best quality ingredients. The restaurant also caters for all tastes by providing a large selection of the best wines of the region, which are pricy but worth sampling.
The service
Friendly waiters, clean and well-kept bathrooms and an all-round good service. Orders take a little bit longer because everything is made from scratch upon placement of orders.
If you are looking to wine and dine in a fine, exclusive establishment hidden away from prying eyes, then Basilico is just the place for you.