Polpette Napolitana pasta with meatballs in a napolitana sauce. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
Polpette Napolitana pasta with meatballs in a napolitana sauce. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
Meatball panuozzo and a steak sandwich made with fresh Italian bread. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
Meatball panuozzo and a steak sandwich made with fresh Italian bread. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
Authentic Italian dessert. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
Authentic Italian dessert. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
The New York-style exterior of Ben's brick Oven Pizza on Loveday Street. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
The New York-style exterior of Ben's brick Oven Pizza on Loveday Street. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
Pizza galore! The Spare Rib, The Boss and The Brigadier. Picture: Lebohang Mosia
Pizza galore! The Spare Rib, The Boss and The Brigadier. Picture: Lebohang Mosia

Indulge in thin-base authentic Neapolitan pizza, pasta, torta and calzone made with quintessential Italian love at Ben’s Brick Oven Pizza in Marshalltown. It’s not easy to finding decent restaurants in the heart of the central business district, and Ben’s is more than a decent restaurant. It feels almost exactly like a New York City pizzeria, right down to the red-and-white checked tablecloths.

The New York-style exterior of Ben's brick Oven Pizza on Loveday Street. Picture: Lebohang Mosia

I love the location. Marshalltown, one of my favorite parts of downtown Joburg is the next best thing to the Maboneng Precinct and has evolved into a collaborative hub of culture, business and lifestyle that entices curiosity, encourages exploration and promotes a sense of urban togetherness. The area around Ben’s Pizza is equally abuzz with shops and office buildings, and crowds of locals and tourists create a hub of activity.

Meatball panuozzo and a steak sandwich made with fresh Italian bread. Picture: Lebohang Mosia

There’s no two ways about it; to prepare a true Neapolitan pizza you need a wood-fired oven - which is the central feature of this homey and cosy pizzeria. The panuozzo, cheese-stuffed Italian meatballs, are irresistible, melt in your mouth starters.

The pastas are nothing short of glorious - especially the Delizioso pollo with shredded chicken in basil broth, mushrooms, garlic, chilli and olives, the Polpette Napolitana with meatballs in napolitana sauce, and Ben’s flagship steak pasta - which tastes exactly like home.

Polpette Napolitana pasta with meatballs in a napolitana sauce. Picture: Lebohang Mosia

You’re spoilt for choice with the pizza offering. Try the aptly-named Brigadier with bacon, spicy chicken and salami and the Boss with spicy beef mince, bacon, salami and Parmesan cheese. If you’re famished, any one of the torta di pizzas should do the trick. They’re double pie pizzas which are a celebration of all things Italian. The spicy beef steak with onions, green pepper and chilli is fantastic and they have vegetarian options too. End on the mint chocolate tartufo - which is an Italian ice cream dessert that is to  die for.

Pizza galore! The Spare Rib, The Boss and The Brigadier. Picture: Lebohang Mosia

Ben Bentifraoine and his wife Carla created the menu exclusively with secret family recipes from generations ago still in use, prepared with only the freshest ingredients.  Marshaltown’s best kept secret offers you a taste of Naples: a chance to experience traditional Italian meals prepared as they were in Italy many years ago.

Authentic Italian dessert. Picture: Lebohang Mosia

If you’re still nervous to venture into the CBD, I urge you to check out this part of town. It’s safe, clean, and delightful. Street parking is freely available on weekends, although parking can be tricky during the week. Ben’s is open Monday through Thursday until 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 8:00 p.m - but closed on Sundays. This is meaningful because lots of restaurants in this area are are only open during the day on weekdays.

Ben’s is on Loveday Street, right near the little Joburg turret, Gandhi Square, and the pedestrianized section of Main Street.