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“Fantastic authentic northern Italian food .. in the middle of Africa” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Castelli Restaurant

Castelli Restaurant
Infront of Mahmoud music shop | Piassa, Mahatma-Gandhi St, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
571757
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Ranked #43 of 150 Restaurants in Addis Ababa
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Doing business, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Hanoi, Vietnam
Top Contributor
464 reviews 464 reviews
194 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 119 cities Reviews in 119 cities
344 helpful votes 344 helpful votes
“Fantastic authentic northern Italian food .. in the middle of Africa”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2012

Yes, the owner / manager is a 'character' and I can understand why some reviewers might have had an issue with that ... but for me, after living many years in Italy, it was like coming home.

The initial entrance (first impression) should be something else (unless you look to your left, fantastic antipasti buffet) , we were made feel very bad that we brought one extra person beyond our reservation ... and hot a pretty mean eye from this guy who presides over his restaurant of probably 40+ years (including mirrors, to check if everything else is going smoothly) ...

but in two words: FANTASTIC FOOD!

I have been weeping ever since leaving Italy that I missed authentic Italian food .. especially northern ... and while everyone can cook up some pasta ... here it is home made .. and cooked to perfection.

Everything else was very nice, too. Beef with mushroom sauce, oven roasted lamb and then great Tiramisu. And red wine .. and Grappa ..

While the room we were put in was way too stuffy with 3 tables in about 9 sqm, we on the other hand had the pleasure meeting Haile Mariam (aka 'Volvo') who not only spoke Italian very well, but who was an excellent waiter and a very charming person.

In terms of price it is on the higher end of places in Addis, but the quality is great. the wine list is understandibly limited and pricy (of course compared to Piemonte). We never found out how much we paid for the appetizer buffet 'pick yourself' platter ... but overall the pricing was alright.

We even managed to get a smile out of Signore Castelli when we asked if he has any way to get white Alba truffles when they are in season.

Highly recommended if you can get into the Italian attitude .. and just want really great food!

Making a reservation at least a day in advance is highly recommended.

  • Visited March 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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169 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Good food but needs an upgrade on service!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2012

Good Italian food and impressive salad bar! The antipasto was very good and the wine list was decent. We also ordered some fried calamari which had a light batter and calamari was fresh. A couple of bottles of wine, 3 beers, 4 salads, 2 plates of antipasto, 3 pasta entrees and 3 desserts ran us US$188. One star off for surly service!

  • Visited March 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Top Contributor
237 reviews 237 reviews
133 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
161 helpful votes 161 helpful votes
“excellent food - great service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2012

Ok, we all know that the owner has his own style but this is part of the restaurant which is an institution in Addis to say the least. Once you managed to make a reservation and you made it past him (he sits on some sort of throne at the entrance of his restaurant and controls all movements in and out) you will be greeted by very helpful waiters and escorted to your table. Our waiter (nickname "Volvo") works at the place already for 30 years and was one of the most attentive waiters we have ever met. And the food was simply excellent. Good hearty Italian food cooked to perfection. There wasn't a single dish on the table we wouldn't have raved about. The wine and desert was also excellent and we rounded up the evening with some grappa. Ok, maybe two very minor things: there were only two grappa on the menu and there was NO panna cotta on the desert menu - one of my favorites. But taken our overall experience into account this minor glitch shall be forgiven!

  • Visited March 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Blaine, WA
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Friday night and closed up tight - from the reviews probably a good thing”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2012

I called twice to get a reservation using the number in Bradt's Guide and got no answer. On the assumption that we might get squeezed in if we just apeared we got a ride the the resturant - Nope - closed up and it looked like it had been for some time. In reading the reviews it seems we avoided a rude reception and overpriced food. Oh Well!

Visited March 2012
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CT
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Great vegetables/antipasto!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2012

One of the best Italian restaurants in Ethiopia. One of the few places where I felt comfortable eating everything. Only place I had Nile Perch though it was offered on many other restaurant's menus but was never available.

Visited January 2012
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