Dining in the City: Republic Pizzeria and Salad Bar

By Buhlebenkosi Chinhara

“Have you ever had the kind of Margherita pizza that lures even the most carnivorous people amongst us away from their standard meaty fare?”

“The Love 4 Cheese” pizza at the Republic Pizzeria and Salad Bar is a Margherita pizza that a particular meat-loving friend of mine could not stop raving about. This had me part intrigued, and excited when I had the opportunity to visit the restaurant behind the acclaimed pie for myself. 

Situated at The Hub, a complex across Groombridge Spar on The Chase in Harare, The Republic is the pizzeria-cum-bar of the moment. Coming off of a year of quarantines, lockdowns, and isolation, Hararians want nothing more than to meet, eat and be merry. This stylish, upbeat hang-out is the perfect salve for our pandemic troubles.   

As soon as we walked into The Republic, we were warmly greeted by Melissa, a smiling waitress, who offered us seating wherever we desired. The sitting options included a large lush garden area, with ample social-distancing space between tables; a shaded patio area with a view of the pizzas being prepped and coming straight out of the oven; and an upstairs area, where the bar was situated. My partner and I opted to sit downstairs on the patio because it was a little nippy in the garden, but we also did not feel sociable enough to sit with the spirited upstairs crowd. Well, maybe next time.

Once seated, Melissa advised us that we could either place our order at the till point situated in full view of the large chalkboard menu, or she could send us the menu through Whatsapp and we place our orders online; an extremely convenient option. 

Of course, I had to try The Love 4 Cheese pizza that my usually-carnivorous friend had so passionately endorsed. So we went with that. We also ordered the “Shamwari pizza”,  another vegetarian option topped with lots of yummy vegetables including mushrooms, pickled peppers, olives and more. To counteract all the decadence, we ordered a “Happy Herbivore” salad and finally sat down to take in the vibe of the eatery.

The Republic’s ambience brings together wooden accents reminiscent of a tiki bar; the hanging tungsten lamp bulbs of a trendy Chicago taphouse; and some repurposed, rustic elements like the upcycled galvanized roofing and palettes which mix in with the décor of the upstairs bar area. All of this in combination with some unique African art gives the restaurant a contemporary yet unpretentious aesthetic for patrons to socialise in.

Not long after sitting down, the resident mixologist, Vuyani, sent down some drink menus for us to pick our preferred libations. We settled on the pomegranate gin and tonic and two mocktails: one pomegranate and one passion fruit. Vuyani personally brought the drinks down to us, and in a little while our food was served to enjoy alongside the drinks. 

The Love 4 Cheese pizza was as delicious as I had imagined it to be. It was a medley of different cheeses that made it a perfect blend of salty and gooey which complimented the tarty cherry tomatoes. The Shamwari pizza was equally delicious and its variety of toppings gave it a good amount of heft, rich varied textures and flavours. We thoroughly enjoyed the drinks and I am confident recommending the mocktails or cocktails to my sober and alcohol drinking friends, respectively.

Ultimately, I give The Republic a rating of 5 stars and I will be going back. And soon.

Originally published in the second newsletter Issue of Ndeipi.

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