Sunshine, a light sea breeze and seafood go hand in hand. Don’t waste your time with overcooked fish or tiny prawns – here’s where you can go to eat great seafood in and around the Mother City:
Fish ’n chips
Kalky’s, which overlooks the Kalk Bay harbour, is a beloved local fish ’n chip eatery. Over weekends queues are known to curl around the harbour, attesting to the good food served there. As the restaurant operates as a café rather than as a formal restaurant, tables can’t be booked in advance. Be sure to visit just before or after lunchtime to miss peak traffic; you will also be more likely to snag an outside table with a gorgeous view of the harbour.
Another community favourite is the Salty Sea Dog, situated at the Simon’s Town harbour. This tiny seaside restaurant packs a punch and has a gorgeous view of the bay. Similar to Kalky’s, the Salty Sea Dog can get quite busy over weekends, so plan your lunch or dinner around peak times. Keep in mind that the Salty Sea Dog does not offer its full seafood menu on Sundays, just good, old-fashioned fish ’n chips options.
Walk past the V&A Waterfront on a sunny day and you’re bound to notice Quay Four, with its packed sundeck. Famous for its fish ’n chips and other staples such as calamari, mussels and seafood platters, Quay Four is a place where you’ll be tempted to sit for hours on the deck, ogling the ships and yachts coming into the harbour.
A hearty meal
Café Orca in Melkbosstrand is one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets. Having built up a reputation for serving delicious seafood over the past 20 years, the restaurant now has it down to a fine art. The elaborate menu features classics, as well as innovative and exciting flavours incorporating locally sourced fish. Since it is located in an old beachside house with an uninterrupted vista of the ocean, you’ll have to search far for a better view. Secure one of the tables on the outside patio to have the ocean breeze in your hair for the complete experience. Be sure to book a table in advance, but bear in mind that the restaurant does not take bookings on Sundays – it operates strictly on a first come, first served basis.
Panama Jacks has also cemented its status as a favourite local restaurant, having been in business for almost 30 years. Because it’s situated right on the busy Cape Town harbour at the cruise terminal in Table Bay, you’re bound to see a few large ships and cruise liners pass by. Shellfish is the name of the game at Panama Jacks, so keep your cravings for prawns for this laid-back fisherman’s-style restaurant.
If you’re looking for a little bit of everything, the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay is the place to go. With nine different dining areas (each with a beautiful view of the bay), it offers everything from old-fashioned fish ’n chips to elaborate seafood platters. If you’re bringing the kids, pack their swimming trunks so that they can splash around in the tidal pool while you are dining.
Something a little more decadent
The Harbour House restaurant chain serves decadent seafood, alongside glorious views and elegant and memorable experiences. The restaurants are located at the V&A Waterfront, Kalk Bay harbour and Constantia Nek, although only the V&A Waterfront and Kalk Bay restaurants offer a seaside setting.
Pigalle in Greenpoint offers fine-dining flair along with live music and a dance floor. Renowned for its classic seafood dishes, Pigalle is where you’ll find old-school glam in a refined and stylish setting.
For a more metropolitan feel, visit Sea Breeze in Cape Town’s chic Bree Street. Known for its MCC (Methode Cap Classique) and oyster bar, the restaurant also offers a small but delectable seafood menu. Combine your visit with the daily happy hours between 1pm and 2pm, and between 5pm and 6pm, for a great deal on oysters. That’s your starters sorted!