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Cape Town’s most popular seafood restaurant is nowhere near the sea – SeaBreeze, reviewed

We know the places you’ve been checking out on Eat Out this festive season, and are shocked to see that the most popular seafood restaurant* in Cape Town – in the whole of South Africa, actually – over December and early January, is in fact nowhere near the sea, but on Bree Street.

SeaBreeze Fish & Shell serves scrumptious seafood in a stylish but relaxed space. A visit here almost feels like taking an – admittedly, very short – seaside holiday. Our critic Jeanne Calitz reviews.

The fish and chips at SeaBreeze is one the seafood offerings at this Bree Street restaurant.

The fish and chips at SeaBreeze. Photo by Claire Gunn.

Fast facts

Food type: Fresh seafood.
Best for: A bite when the weather’s sunny – be it with colleagues for a work lunch or a lingering sit-down over the weekend. Start with some oysters and take it from there.
Star rating: Food and wine 4, service 3, ambience 4

Food

Seafood is the name of the game here, and a very good job they do of it, too. You’ll want to start with some fresh oysters, naked or dressed – and it’s a great opportunity to improve your shellfish education: order a Saldanha and Knysna oyster side by side and compare. They do a popular half-price oyster happy hour twice daily (12-1 and 5-6), which only adds to the appeal. But the starter menu also offers items like hake ceviche, an oyster po’boy, and a tangy little anglefish taco to whet the appetite.

Mains range from accessible items like the (very popular) hake and chips, a couple of seafood curries and a SeaBreeze Caesar salad, to more exotic dishes like whole grilled bream, as well as grilled swordfish with a fresh green herby pesto, new potatoes and broccolini. The dessert selection holds a cheesecake and a chocolate and lemon tart, but if I were you, I’d head straight for the pina colada panna cotta: a dreamy little mould of coconut-flavoured panna cotta is served with a piquant sauce of poached pineapple and, of course, a shocking pink cherry on top. It shouldn’t work – it sounds absurd! – but it does. A light, frothy little pudding to lift the spirits.

Seafood options like oysters also come dressed, in various guises, at this Cape Town restaurant on Bree Street

Oysters also come dressed, in various guises. Photo by Claire Gunn.

Drinks

The wine list offers plenty of variety both in terms of origin and price point and – always a good thing – loads to order by the glass. There’s a good selection of MCC as well, but what makes SeaBreeze unique is its selection of rum. Apart from a whole range of signature rum cocktails, they’ve got quite a selection of different rums, arranged according to country of origin, which makes for interesting reading (who knew France produces rum?) even if it’s not your particular poison.

Service

Relaxed but efficient.

A plate of seafood can be enjoyed at outside tables, which offer prime people-watching opportunities on Bree Street

Outside tables offer prime people-watching opportunities on Bree Street. Photo by Claire Gunn.

Ambience

Fittingly, the décor has a maritime feel, but not in a cheesy way. The white, blue and light wood accents, combined with the spaciousness of the venue, instantly creates a relaxed atmosphere. The outdoor tables make for some nice people-watching over Bree Street (which is hipster central, after all); you can grab a seat at the white oyster-and-bubbly bar inside, and there’s even a small private room at the back. Plus, a lovely little hidden terrace which would be perfect for sundowners. Overall, use of the space has been very well-designed.

Have you been to SeaBreeze on Bree? Write a review now. Also download our app to get access to the country’s best restaurants nearest to you or wherever you’re going. 

*We looked at the number of page views of restaurants on the site from 7 December 2018 to 7 January 2019.

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