Sometimes windy and nestling against the ever-present ocean, Port Elizabeth is a proper melting pot of diverse cultural mixes, including students, surfers, high flyers, creative minds and the ever-changing visiting crowd. Add to that a British Colonial heritage and a strong modern African awareness, and you begin to grasp the immense variety of appetites catered for by the Friendly City.
Barney’s Tavern, one of the oldest restaurants in town (with a vast sea view) has patrons regularly jostling for space on one of the decks with their draughts and Portuguese peri-peri chicken. Beer Shack in Humewood offers craft beer and live music, as well as a backyard pool – a winner with the student crowd. BeerYard does burgers and beer, but save space for the buttery apple cake. Bridge Street Brewery blends industrial with rustic eclectic and offers amazing food with a vast array of beers, ciders and brews.
For the Love of Wine in Stanley Street offers wine tastings and evenings, with a massive retail selection of bottles to take home. If you’re a devotee of the grape, Cork Wine Garden in Walmer, set amongst ancient trees, hosts hugely popular Sangria Sundays.
Grass Roof Farmstall, with its pitched roof covered with grass and wild flowers, offers great meals, is fully licenced and has a tractor and jungle gym to keep the kids happy.
Brioche in Walmer lures guests in from the parking area with the aroma of fresh bread to its delightfully painted red-and-white wall facing the street. Vovo Telo in Richmond Hill with its quirky décor and brilliant food has a wraparound stoep, providing a street view over bushes of lavender and a beautiful cast iron fence. The Tea Merchant Shop in the newly built Baywest Mall is a sensory experience not to be missed: they have different tasters going all the time and you can buy your tea per weight. Bocadillos Bakery and Café is a beautiful space, open until late, with counters of irresistible temptations…
Moving on to something fresh and savoury, look no further than Fushin in Stanley Street for mindblowingly fabulous little morsels, or their recently opened little glamorous sister, Fushin Champagne & Tapas Bar in Baywest Mall, which comes complete with crystal chandelier and a baby grand piano.
Mellas Noodle and Dim-Sum Bar in Bain Street, Richmond Hill, is a small and casual family-run Asian restaurant that’s always busy and buzzing, serving truly delicious eats. Natti’s Thai Kitchen in Mill Park is laidback to the extent that guests fetch their own glasses from a cupboard and the menu is chalked up on a wall in the passage. The food is made to order and the exotic smells drive you mad until your food arrives.
Ginger at the Beach Hotel offers incredible fusion cuisine served in exquisite crockery, while the Tabú Grill at the Radisson Blu Hotel with its ultra-stylish décor and swish cocktails will ensure you have a night to remember.
Have we missed your favourite eatery in Port Elizabeth? Let us know all the juicy details in the comments below.
*This story was amended on Friday 7 August 2015 to remove mention of two eateries that had closed since the reviewer’s last visit.