Venues

1890 House Sushi and Grill

1890 House Sushi and Grill
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Cost
R80 - R100 avg main meal
Ambience
Authentic culture
Food
Chinese, Sushi, Thai
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500
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Critic's review

John Maytham

Food
It’s all about the sushi. Yes, there are standard Thai and Chinese options available, and these deliver competently made plates of food – amongst them spring rolls that are tasty and refreshingly free of oiliness, and a crispy duck that is succulently moist under the crispy coating. But most regulars, and there are many of them, return for the fresh sashimi, the nigiri with the deliciously sticky rice, and an especial favourite, the salmon roses. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the dragon rolls with roasted eel are a reliable choice. The seared tuna roses also please the eye and the palate, and spicy prawn on bean curd is an intriguing contrast in texture and taste. There is fancier and more delicate sushi available in Cape Town, but none that delivers this combination of price and quality. The front section, with the kaitenzushi conveyor belt of single item plates, is the most crowded. For a more leisurely evening, book a table in the back section and pick your way through one of the delicious mixed platter options.

Drinks
The wine list is small and unimaginatively compiled, but the mark-up is low. The imported beers are not always available. Take your own if food and wine pairing matters.

Service
Service can be casual, almost haphazard. But it’s never short of amiable, and somehow never frustrates.

Ambience
Décor is basic – the colour and atmosphere come from the bohemian and cosmopolitan diners and from the happy buzz of satisfied customers.

And …
Don’t worry about the grime of the surrounding area – 1890 is an oasis.

(August 2015)

  • Ambience
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  • Food
  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    A favourite among Cape Town locals, this eatery in Observatory offers good quality sushi that won’t corrupt the purse.

    The sushi at 1890 never fails to impress. It’s not the most delicate in town, but when it comes to balancing quality and value, it’s perhaps the best deal in the city. The rice is always perfect, and the fish cut generously. A range of platters offer even more value, alongside the Chef’s Special sushi and à la carte options. The dragon rolls with sweet roasted eel are particularly worth a try. There’s a limited menu of stir-fry and Asian dishes if you don’t fancy sushi, but then you’re rather missing the point of 1890.

    Drinks 
    They offer a limited list of everyday quaffers at laughably low prices. For something special rather bring your own, or opt for the Asian beers available.

    Service 
    Speedy service has never been a hallmark of 1890, but it’s friendly enough and doesn’t detract from the great food.

    Ambience 
    1890 is a restaurant of two halves: the front section with sushi counter has more energy, and you can watch the chefs at work while dipping into the sushi train, while the back of the restaurant is cosier and better suited for lengthy sushi feasts.

    And...
    Before you ask, the fish in the tank at the front window are just for show… not the kitchen.

    (July 2014)

  • An outstanding sushi spot where quality and value trump airs and graces. Consistently fresh food at reasonable prices makes this a favourite spots for locals. Go early or phone ahead for a spot at the carousel to see the chefs in action. Pluck prawn tempura California rolls, sweet sticky tuna, edamame beans, seared tuna and dragon rolls off the belt, or order Chinese noodles and more off the menu.
  • Richard Holmes

    Almost everything is good here, but few people bother with the menu of Chinese noodle dishes – just stick to the sushi. Dragon rolls are a must if there's eel in stock, else cast your net wide with fashion sandwiches, nigiri and more. There's a sushi counter for solo diners and quick dinners, but you'll be more comfortable if you book a table at the back.

User reviews

  • Our go-to Friday night dinner, the first thing you'll notice is that nearly everyone seems to be a regular, warmly greeted by Charlie and the staff. Sushi is always good, and kids love choosing their own dinner from the conveyor.
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  • Amazing!
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  • Consistent, clean and not pretentious. 1890 is not even my go-to sushi in Obs- it is my go-to sushi in Cape Town!
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  • Definitely the best place for sushi in CT. I've had sushi at many different (more expensive!) sushi places and I keep on going back to 1890. Fantastic and highly recommended. Rustic as well. No pretentiousness here!
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  • Easily my favourite sushi bar in Cape Town. Consistent quality, great salmon roses and crispy tuna. Convenient conveyor belt for truly delicious fast food. And always a warm, warm welcome.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian

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