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SA’s top tapas spots

Looking for a variety of small plates packed with a combination of local and international flavours? These restaurants across the country have you covered, with a selection of tantalising tapas to share and enjoy.

Want to see your favourite tapas spot win at the 2019 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries? Remember to vote for your favourite by reviewing them. It’s now easier than ever with our free app. Write a review now.

This selection comprises all the tapas restaurants that made the cut for the 2019 Eat Out 500, the list of best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2019 edition of Eat Out magazine (on sale now). We have also added new restaurants that opened after the 2019 magazine went to print and have since been rated and reviewed by our critics.

Johannesburg

Artivist (Braamfontein)

The Artivist free-range burger, in an activated charcoal brioche with butter-bean chakalaka and baby spinach, is highly recommended. For shisa nyama lovers, the nyama choma main of Karoo lamb, beef wors, pap and tomato relish is a smoky, tasty option. Pulled skop – served with dombolo and sous vide beetroot – is delicious, beautifully seasoned and tender. The limited dessert options include poached guava and dark chocolate brownies. Besides the must-try coffee and tonic cocktail, there are big-name bubblies by the bottle, and some boutique wines available by the glass.

Baha Taco (Norwood)

The focus is squarely on tasty, fresh and authentic Mexican fare; think wood-roasted nachos, cheesy quesadillas, gluten-free, soft corn tacos and flaming jalapeños. Try the surprising flavours and textures of the potato-and-chorizo quesadilla, or stick with the free-range chicken quesadilla. There are plenty of vegetarian options, including a lively mushroom, pepper and jalapeño chilli quesadilla; or try the halloumi, veg and refried beans taco. Sink your teeth into the beer-battered hake taco – light tempura-fried hake on top of a delectable slaw.

A prawn taco at Baha Taco. Photo supplied.

A prawn taco at Baha Taco. Photo supplied.

Lonely Hearts (Melville)

There’s an interesting mix of crowd-pleasers – like crispy squid heads with lime aïoli, or fried halloumi with punchy mango atchar – and more unusual options like the three-cheese fondue with goat’s cheese croquette and crispy poppadums. Order a side of truffle fries to lap up this melty mix of blue cheese, mozzarella and emmenthaler. Also go for the duck cigar – slow-cooked duck wrapped in phyllo – or the miniature bunny chow. Cocktails are the focus, with the classics plus inventive concoctions available.

The Marabi Club (Maboneng)🍽 

Katlego Sebastian Mlambo is the new head chef at The Marabi Club, after leaving the role of group sous chef for The Test KitchenThe Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club. He also helped open street-food hotspot The Commissary. Katlego is still developing the menu, but it will likely feature a variety of small sharing plates with what he describes as crisp, clean, aggressive flavours; limited starch; and a balance between the buttery, creamy hues of his French training and the fresh, clean influences of Asian cuisine.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

A dish at The Marabi Club

A dish at The Marabi Club

Marble by David Higgs (Rosebank)

Even though this is a steakhouse with a well-used open-flame griller, chef David Higgs’s past in fine dining shows. Expect an enticing spread of light Mediterranean starters and heavier Argentinean-inspired grills, with some South African twists. Shell fish on a braai is a visual feast and a tender treat; another must-try starter is the grilled aubergine with baba ganoush, kimchi peanut brittle and sesame. The rib-eye steak with a rich béarnaise and smoked bone remains a fan favourite, but the grilled pork belly is popular too, served with mustard sauce, teriyaki sweet potato, pork crumble, and apple salad with lime-honey-ginger dressing. Desserts harken to childhood treats: think ice-cream sandwiches and a cheffed-up rosewater koeksister with khulfi ice cream and a pistachio tuile. Legendary cocktails feature, as well as everything from old favourite wines to rare gems.

Lamb cutlets with chimichurri dish at Marble

Lamb cutlets with chimichurri dish at Marble. Photo supplied.

Mezepoli Meze & Wine Bar (Melrose Arch)

Expect a fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine with a wide variety of mezze delights, seafood, salads and meat dishes. Kick off with a selection of olives, cheeses and dips. Mains include souvlaki skewers – beef or chicken – grilled on an open flame, yiros and home-made meatballs, to name a few. The grilled lamb chops, seasoned with salt and oregano, are a satisfying, flavourful option. If you prefer seafood, the line fish is a favourite, while other tasty options include baby octopus with a tangy lemon dressing and mussels with fresh tomato, white wine, feta and a bit of chilli. End with traditional baklava. The abundant wine list will make any wine-lover happy. They also have a short list of cocktails and local craft beers, in addition to champagne and sparkling wines.

A selection of tapas at Mezepoli. Photo supplied.

A selection of tapas at Mezepoli. Photo supplied.

Momo Baohaus (Greenside)

The burger of the east is the bao, just lighter and better. But first there are tapas-type starters, like gyoza pot sticker dumplings, pan-fried with a kimchi-and-tofu filling, served with Japanese plum sauce. The popular firecracker prawn comes butterflied,        crisped with Japanese seven-spice flavouring and wasabi mayo. A bao as a main dish is just ideal – perhaps the Lucky Bao, a steamed bun containing tender smoky-sweet Chinese brisket, spring onion and coriander. A bao with a completely different but immensely satisfying flavour profile is the Kung Pow with Korean beef, kimchi, gochujang and mayo. For mains there are ramen bowls and a unique take on sushi. BYO, or have a lemongrass-yuzu gingerbeer, imported tea or coconut water.

A table laden with Asian tapas at Momo Baohaus. Photo supplied.

A table laden with Asian tapas at Momo Baohaus. Photo supplied.

Momo Soko (Sandton)

Winner of the Asian-inspired category in Gauteng at the 2018 Best Everyday Eateries

Expect to find nothing less than perfect mapo tofu braised in Szechuan pepper sauce that’s headily aromatic and spicy. Fiery green beans are slathered in ginger, chilli and garlic and perfectly al dente; or try the twice-cooked baby beef ribs in barbecue sauce. The Matterhorn soko – lamb with green basil-mint drizzle, toasted sesame seeds and spring onions – is a must. Move onto fluffy baos, stuffed to the rim with various fillings. The Baohaus bao is a favourite, with teriyaki beef, hoisin, Japanese mayo and pickled onions. Or try the exotic Kung Pow bao with spicy Korean beef, kimchi, sesame, gochujang, mayo and spring onions. Whet your appetite with coconut water, yuzu gingerbeer or Turkish delight lemonade.

The signature soko (skewers) at Momo Soko. Photo by Miss Lucky Pony.

Rockets Lolita’s (Bryanston)

The cocktail bar is where you’ll find tapas, the likes of which include golden fries tossed in pesto and parmesan, salt-and-pepper calamari, and slow-braised pork belly with a honey-and-soya glaze. At the main restaurant space, go for succulent Jack Daniel’s fillet medallions topped with garlic-sautéed shimeji mushrooms or pan-seared kingklip linguine with lemongrass velouté. Finish with the Rockets caramel chocolate bomb – salted caramel ice cream encased in a chocolate ball with hot caramel sauce. On the drinks side of things, indulge in inventive cocktails, then choose from the number of red and white wines, MCCs, champagnes and prosecco.

Dish at Rockets Lolita’s. Photo supplied.

The Royale (Craighall)

It’s a Cuban-inspired bar and eatery – inexpensive and unpretentious. You’ll find an eclectic mix of burgers, sandwiches, ceviches and even curry on the menu, which is divided into bar snacks and mains. From the snack offering, the crispy fried chicken bites are great: tender deep-fried nuggets covered in tangy home-made mayo. Favourites from the mains include crisp salt-and-pepper squid with a papaya chilli dip and mojo-rubbed pork roast that’s slow-cooked and sticky with orange basting, served with a fresh and crunchy mayo-free slaw. For dessert, opt for ice cream or an almond waffle with rum and caramel. A great selection of rum-based and classic cocktails. Wine offerings are cheap and cheerful.

 

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Perfect to warm you up. Mussels and clams with garlic and coriander in a creamy white wine sauce with fresh rolls.

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Tonic (Linden)🍽 

It’s all about delicious food to go with the gins here. The drunk olives in warm gin and citrus are outrageously moreish. Flatbreads with smoked butter are another must. Then there are the small plates, like molten pork belly and crispy slaw or beetroot and gin-cured salmon. On Sundays there’s a fixed-price braai including a starter and a G&T. In both presentation and taste, cocktails have a botanic quality. Tonic’s drinks are flirty, fun and even a little crazy – try the Mother Fluffer with marshmallow-infused gin, toasted marshmallows and candy floss. There are over 15 tonics and the gin range is encyclopaedic, with over 40 South African gins and 17 others from around the world.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

Dishes at Tonic. Photo by Angie Battis.

Urbanologi (Ferreirasdorp)🍽 

Winner of the tapas category in Gauteng at the 2018 Best Everyday Eateries

The menu is divided into raw, cured, steamed, fried, kushiyaki (skewered and grilled) and desserts. Standout plates include herby seared venison with sriracha emulsion, cucumber salsa and ponzu; duck pancakes with kimchi, horseradish emulsion and hoisin; coal-fried broccoli with smoked gorgonzola and broccoli gremolata; and crumbed line-caught chokka (squid) served with piquant mango salsa and micro basil. Say yes to the churros with lime frozen yoghurt, cinnamon and orange jelly – they are light and fresh. Each dish comes with a wine recommendation. Pleasingly, many of the wines are served by the glass.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

A selection of winter sharing plates at Urbanologi. Photo supplied.

A selection of winter sharing plates at Urbanologi. Photo supplied.

Workshop 55 (Parktown North)🍽 

Small-plate dining meets gin bar at this quirky eatery that offers a choice of three dishes at a set price. Starters include asparagus spears topped with a perfectly poached egg and whipped hollandaise, or creamy duck-liver pâté with shavings of duck ham and granola crumb. Your second dish could be pasta, as both the mushroom tortellini and confit duck gnocchi are worthy contenders. Or consider a heartier option: dry-aged sirloin with chilli-and-herb pesto, or Middle Eastern quail with textures of aubergine and corn. For dessert there’s a gooey dark chocolate fondant with spiced biscuit crumb, honeycomb and summer berries. An extensive gin offering is best enjoyed infused with a selection of seasonal fruits, berries and herbs. The wine list includes a respectable selection from top local producers.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

A dish from Workshop 55. Photo supplied.

Pretoria

Capital Craft (Menlo Park)🍽 

While this spot is known for its good burgers and beer, the offering doesn’t end there. Head over for shareable snacks like deep-fried biltong with béchamel sauce, mac-and-cheese balls with jalapeño, spicy wings with a hot and tangy sauce, mini cheese-filled corn dogs, jalapeño poppers stuffed with cream cheese and cheddar cheese, and peppers served deep-fried. If you’re dining in a crowd, the platters of sausages, wings, chicken lollipops, pork ribs and falafel balls is a great option. The drinks menu is rather extensive.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

Priva Gastrolounge (Waterkloof Heights)🍽 

Priva offers four different menus. The Mediterranean cruise menu offers starters from Greece and southern Italy, mains from southern France and Spain, and dessert inspired by the Turkish baklava. The regular menu’s starters include smoked springbok carpaccio. For mains, there’s braised lamb shoulder rolled with red onion, thyme and garlic. The gastronomique tasting menu is a five-course feast of flavours from the regular menu. The Priva lounge menu – served in the cigar lounge and on the sky deck – has gourmet sliders, chargrilled peri-peri chicken, sticky ribs and bowls of biltong. A large selection of local and international wines is available. The full bar offers spirits, single malt whiskies, cognac and cocktails.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

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A variety of dishes from Priva Gastrolounge. Photo supplied.

Durban

The Big Easy (Central Durban)🍽 

The Big Easy is unequivocally South African in its meaty dominance. There’s the sheer scale of cuts and types presented, as well as the hearty incorporation of local spice and flavour. Meat aficionados relish starters like the lamb done three ways – masala-spiced lamb boerie with tomato relish, lamb-shoulder fritters with apricot chutney, and lamb burger with cumin raita. The salmon croquettes are served with a dill-and-shallot emulsion and a leek-and-horseradish compote. Also look out for the Cape Malay Shrimp samoosas with a homemade spiced coconut chutney. Grill orders include a butcher block’s smorgasbord of premium-grade rump, sirloin and fillet steaks; pork and lamb ribs; lamb cutlets; and chicken as a peri-peri baby or as a spice-rubbed breast. An extensive collection of selected quality wines is also available. Champagne, whisky and cigars are on offer too.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

Dish at Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill Durban by Ernie Els

A tapas dish at Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill Durban by Ernie Els. Photo supplied.

Café 1999 (Berea)

The menu at this Durban eatery is divided into small bits and big bits to encourage communal eating. Favourites include ricotta-stuffed Kalamata olives that are crumbed, deep-fried and served with chilli-herb mayo, and chickpea-and-feta balls with minted yoghurt and olive-and-tomato salsa. Meatier options include duck-and-date samoosas with feta; grilled pork skewers with peanut satay; and chicken livers with grilled polenta. Grilled calamari and chorizo with crispy tentacles are served on a romesco sauce with a lemon mayo. To end things off, try the triple chocolate brownie served with white-chocolate and poppy-seed ice cream or the vanilla-and-rooibos crème brûlée. Café 1999 offers a well-balanced wine list.

The simple interior at Café 1999. Photo Supplied.

S43 Home to That Brewing Co. (Morningside)

The Durban-inspired tapas and street-food offering here lends itself perfectly to beer- fuelled evenings. Kick things off with tapas like moreish deep-fried Kalamata olives stuffed with ricotta, or lentil, chilli and feta samosas with a minty yoghurt dip. Meat-eaters will enjoy sticky beer-braised chicken wings or the parmesan- and herb-crusted marrow bones. The vegan black-bean tacos with guacamole and tomato are a surprising hit, and the pulled pork or spicy chicken versions have a good kick of chilli. Other comforting mains include great gourmet burgers, mild butter-chicken bunnies, pork spare ribs, and an indulgent fried chicken waffle with bacon. End on waffles with home-made beer-and-honey ice cream and salted caramel praline.

Tapas at S43 home to that brewing co. Photo supplied.

Cape Town

Bao Down (Oranjezicht)

This incredibly popular spot is run by Graham Oldfield, former head chef at Chefs Warehouse and Canteen, and his wife Phillipa, a former caterer. Highlights include prawn toast with spicy dressing and lemon mayo, Korean fried chicken bao, pork belly bao served with barbecue sauce and cucumber, and spinach-and-pea cake with shiitake mushrooms and spicy dressing.

Bistro Sixteen82 (Tokai)

Chef Kerry Kilpin has an air for showcasing fresh seasonal produce in exquisite compositions that pop with flavour. Bistro Sixteen82 has an extensive menu featuring a variety of breakfast options, including the signature eggs Benedict served with a rich hollandaise. The Asian-inspired lunch menu features dishes ranging from tempura prawns with pineapple salsa to beef tataki with truffle corn, chilli and sesame. The tapas menu includes a variety of small plates like West Coast oysters, chicken wings, pork belly, fish cannelloni and basil velouté, pickled fish tacos served cold, bourbon peppered chicken livers, and a selection of local cheeses.

Bouchon Bistro (City Bowl)

This sophisticated urban hangout situated in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre offers a weekly menu that boasts uncomplicated, flavoursome and seasonal tapas, as well as delicious desserts. Expect tapas dishes like wild mushroom risotto with tarragon, freshly grated pecorino and roasted garlic oil; roasted jalapeños stuffed with feta cheese, sour cream and smoked bacon; grilled tiger prawns with saffron and garlic; and tender and succulent lamb ribs. Dessert options include deconstructed berry crumble and macerated berry parfait, and vanilla-bean panna cotta with miso caramel sauce and milk chocolate shards.

 

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Our pomegranate & honey glazed lamb cutlets with mint raita. #bouchon #bouchonbistro #tapas #lambtapas #pomegranate #foodie

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Cape to Cuba (Kalk Bay)

This stalwart of the False Bay coast pulls a loyal crowd with Latin fare, eclectic décor and seaside cocktails. Kick off with tapas-style starters from the wide-ranging menu inspired by Spanish and Cuban cuisine. Try the popular peri-peri chicken livers, sticky pork ribs or the grilled sardines with salsa verde. Highlights from the meaty mains include spicy lamb curry, mojito chicken marinated in rum and lime, or the hunger-busting diabro rum burger. Alternatively, go for the signature paella dish piled high with fish, calamari, prawns and chorizo. The chocolate cigars are definitely a quirky end to the meal.

Chefs Warehouse & Canteen (City Bowl)

Chef Liam Tomlin’s tapas-for-two set menu changes regularly, but the result is always a delicious fusion of cuisines (think Japanese, French, Mediterranean and South African influences) prepared using some of the best local ingredients. Highlights include miso-charred salmon with soba noodles and mentsuyu dressing; deep-fried squid with fragrant Cape Malay pickle and a curry emulsion; as well as the fresh tomato gastrique with homemade ricotta, semi-dried tomatoes and olives. The dishes may change every day, but there’s always a risotto (try the celeriac version with truffle cream). Dessert isn’t included in the set menu, but the lemon posset is legendary.

Tapas-inspired dishes at Chefs Warehouse & Canteen. Photo by Claire Gunn.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia)

Chef Ivor Jones creates punchy flavours, each dish better than the next, and the best of them are inspired by Asian cuisine, like the Thai sour curry with fermented lime; Korean chilli chicken tacos; umami-laced risotto with coal-fired oyster mushrooms that lie beneath a thyme-infused milk froth; line fish with caraway and burnt butter dressing; and a simple tartare garnished with a barbecue-garlic aïoli. End with wild honey and lavender crème, served with honeycomb and smoked cassia bark ice cream.

A fish dish from Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia. Photo by Claire Gunn.

Cheyne’s (Hout Bay)

The menu at Cheyne Morrisby’s popular Hout Bay restaurant features fantastic Asian-inspired tapas divided into four sections: sea, earth, land and happy endings. Highlights include the soft-shell crab with roasted fennel, miso and lime aïoli; hot and sour risotto with prawn ‘popcorn’; baby-back pork ribs with sweet yakiniku glaze and toasted sesame; and croquettes of duck, lime leaf and miso served with squares of fresh watermelon.

 

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Duck, miso and Lime leaf croquettes

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Ding Dong Bar (De Waterkant)

Ding Dong Bar is the latest installment in the Cheyne empire, which has taken over the small space previously occupied by De Waterkant’s Lucky Bao outpost. The formula at Ding Dong is much the same: small plates of Japanese-inspired dishes with fun cocktails. Start off with a yellowtail sashimi that comes with liquid kimchi and a coconut-and-lime dressing. On the bao side of things, the ‘Bao Chikka Bao’ quite simply can’t be skipped, with juicy chicken encased in crispy dried ramen noodles and doused with a spiced gochujang mayo. Vegetarians won’t go without, as the tempura tofu bao is equally tasty with the satisfying lightly fried tofu, which is wedged into a bao and sauced with garlic aïoli.

 

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The FoodBarn Deli & Tapas Bar (Noordhoek)

The FoodBarn offers deli food by day and tapas by night. Lunch options reflect the refined farm stall space – think freshly made pies filled with the likes of braised pork in red wine or classic chicken and mushroom; flatbreads topped with interesting options such as butter chicken or smoked salmon, dill cream and watercress. The dinnertime tapas menu includes dishes like fresh tuna poké bowl; arancini (risotto balls with aïoli); field mushroom and asparagus gratinated with parmesan hollandaise; barbecue pulled pork or chicken enchiladas; and free-range chicken livers with chilli-and-port cream.

Foxcroft (Constantia)

The lunch menu prepared by chef Glen Foxcroft Williams is set up for diners to enjoy any two small yet flavour-packed courses, followed by a more substantial dish and dessert. The longer evening menu features dishes like roasted tandoori cauliflower mousse with lemon pickle, sultanas and naan bread; fragrant-poached line fish with charred corn, seaweed and Thai broth; and glazed free-range duck with nectarine, garlic, green olives and mushrooms (which boasts a perfect balance of richness and sweet acidity). Desserts include rhubarb financier with Valrhona Dulcey, yoghurt, celery leaf and lime; or buttermilk panna cotta with grapefruit, oats and Thai basil.

A colourful dish at Foxcroft. Photo Supplied.

Hemelhuijs (City Bowl)

The beautifully designed seasonal menu features small plates separated into sections of sea, garden and pasture. Highlights from each include raw sliced scallops with radish, citrus, miso and sesame; marinated tomato and Karoo olives with whipped parmesan; and pickled carpaccio with pickled fennel and horseradish dressing.

 

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Food shots #hemelhuijs #capetown #food #coffee #design

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La Boheme (Sea Point)

The dishes at La Boheme change according to what’s fresh and abundant at the market. Look forward to pulled pork, and goat’s cheese ravioli with wilted greens or with roasted butternut, tomato and beetroot chutney. There’s a Mediterranean-inspired tapas menu featuring dishes like beef carpaccio with basil pesto, rocket, caperberries and pecorino, mushroom-and-bacon arancini with mushroom sauce, grilled ostrich fillet with potato croquettes and cranberry jus.

Macau (City Bowl)

The menu at this Macanese-inspired restaurant offers a menu of tasty bites to share with a blend of southern Chinese and Portuguese cuisines, with ingredients and seasoning from Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa and India. Think potstickers and bao, salt cod fritters or crispy duck pancakes to share.

Mink & Trout (City Bowl)🍽 

Tapas are popular at this wine bar bistro and restaurant on one of Cape Town’s trendiest culinary strip of Bree Street. The relatively small dinner tapas menu features dishes like West Coast mussels steamed in a Cape Malay broth and served with brioche bread; risotto arancini with mushrooms and cauliflower; and ham hock terrine with dukkah-spiced beetroot celeriac and apple. They also offer classic desserts like yoghurt panna cotta, crème brûlée and a flourless chocolate cake.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

 

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Beetroot falafel with goat milk labneh .#valentines #eat #breestreetcapetown

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Mulberry & Prince (City Bowl)

The short paper menu at Mulberry & Prince features small plates (intended for sharing) prepared using interesting seasonal and local ingredients. Options might include a generous serving of market fish carpaccio laid out on a bed of sour hot sauce; salt cod fritters with chermoula; beef tartare with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, buttermilk and sesame cracker; raw yellowfin tuna with tonnato, yuzukoshō and dulse; and gnocchi with fontina, fried shallots and spring onion. Desserts could include butterscotch budino with salted caramel, chantilly and hazelnut; or milk gelato marsala zabaione.

The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock)

The Pot Luck Club offers a variety of lunch and dinner sharing plates divided into five flavour profiles: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami. The menu features innovative tapas dishes such as peri peri chicken served with charred pepper and kale salad, almonds and feta; beef tataki with hoisin dressing, coriander pesto and ponzu mayo; fish sliders; fish tacos with fresh ceviche, black bean puree, avo and sour cream; and hazelnut-and-apple tart with salted caramel and smoked cinnamon ice cream.

Different tapas-style dishes from The Pot Luck Club. Photo by Andy Lund.

SHIO (De Waterkant)

SHIO offers an extensive Japanese-inspired tapas menu separated into four sections: Umi, with ocean-inspired dishes like tempura scallops with miso mash, kimchi butter and tobiko caviar; Tochi, featuring land-inspired dishes like crispy pork belly with pickled wakame, pan-fried shimeji and nashi pear gel; Chikyuu, with earth-inspired dishes like steamed edamame with lemon butter; and Amai, with sweet treats like coconut cream and a cinnamon doughnut.

Thali (Gardens)

The tapas plate for two at this beautiful Indian establishment by chef Liam Tomlin is the star of the show. Start with oysters, before tucking into a crispy spinach bhaji with mint-and-coriander dressing and a smoky date-and-tamarind sauce; fish tacos topped with deep-fried kingklip and a curry aïoli; or the tender duck in a coconut milk and cardamom sauce. Dessert includes kulfi ice cream and chai custard with almond praline and spiced banana bread.

Tapas-style dishes from Thali. Photo by Claire Gunn.

Upper Bloem (Green Point)🍽 

The menu at Upper Bloem features six Cape-inspired tapas to share. Highlights include Boerenkaas croquettes with curried aïoli and shaved radish; braised beef short ribs with pickled tongue, bone marrow and mushrooms; and triple-cooked potato with Muizenberg sour figs and curry sauce, goat’s yoghurt and Bhaji powder.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

A selection of dishes at Upper Bloem

A selection of tapas dishes at Upper Bloem. Photo supplied.

The Willaston Bar at the Silo Hotel (V&A Waterfront)

The Willaston Bar boasts an extensive menu ranging from breakfast, salads, sandwiches and small plates to desserts. The small plates section includes peri peri prawns, salt-and-pepper squid and ostrich tataki. Other dishes include a classic club sandwich stacked with bacon and smoked chicken; steak served with French fries; and the dense apple treacle sponge with tonka-bean caramel and vanilla ice cream to end the meal.

A variety of meaty dishes from The Willaston Bar. Photo supplied.

Winelands and surrounds

Bramon Restaurant (Plettenberg Bay)

The menu consists of fresh tapas-style dishes showcasing South African produce beautifully. The long mezze-style list includes freshly baked bread served with a fresh salad – think pear, nut and blue cheese; or citrus, baby spinach and toasted walnuts. Also on offer are dips, pâtés and meaty dishes like springbok carpaccio, bobotie cigars and Spanish meatballs.

 

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Chefs Warehouse at Maison (Franschhoek)

Expect a fresh, seasonal and signature tapas-inspired menu prepared by dynamic chef duo David Schneider and Liam Tomlin. Highlights from the menu include the Maison MCC and honey-infused duck liver parfait; cauliflower risotto; as well as the Karoo lamb ‘sout-ribbetjie’ with braaied cauliflower, spiced red-pepper glaze, smoked celeriac and tahini dressing, feta yoghurt, pine nuts and a wood-fired blini crisp.

A tapas dish from Chefs Warehouse at Maison. Photo by Claire Gunn.

Genki Sushi Bar (Stellenbosch)

This small Japanese-style eatery consistently provides fantastic food prepared with passion and dedication. The menu includes a variety of classic sushi options, as well as tapas-style dishes like yakitori grilled skewers served with homemade teriyaki sauce; crispy king-sized prawns with avo wrapped in spring roll pastry and served with ponzu sauce; or the signature calamari tentacles served in a tempura batter with spicy Japanese mayo and ginger soya.

Makaron Restaurant (Stellenbosch)

Chef Lucas Carstens’s small plates menu sees him blending modern cooking methods with traditional flavours of the Cape. Diners have the option to choose four to seven small plates. Standout dishes include celeriac risotto with horseradish and turnip; duck, rhubarb, black garlic and lettuce; pork with slaphakskeentjies (small onions preserved in mustard) and onion ash; and a yoghurt, celery, lemon, and honeycomb dessert.

A pork belly celeriac and apple dish from Makaron Restaurant in Stellenbosch.

A pork belly celeriac and apple dish from Makaron Restaurant. Photo supplied.

This selection comprises all the tapas restaurants that made the cut for the 2019 Eat Out 500, the list of best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2019 edition of Eat Out magazine (on sale now). But we know there are many more great spots in the area. Please tell us about your favourites in the comments below.

Want to see your favourite tapas spot win at the 2019 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries? Remember to vote for your favourite by reviewing them. It’s now easier than ever with our free app. Write a review now.

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