Venues

1890 House Sushi and Grill

1890 House Sushi and Grill
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Cost
R120 avg main meal
Ambience
Authentic culture
Food
Chinese, Sushi, Thai
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500
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Critic's review

Bernadette le Roux

Food
One of the most under-rated sushi restaurants in Cape Town, at this hidden local gem you will find Japanese food artistry of the highest order. Garnishes are hand-carved and sushi beauteous. The sushi conveyor belt is convenient for a quick lunch or dinner and always well stocked with favourite menu items such as the seared tuna salad, spicy prawn on bean curd and caviar sandwiches. Classics like salmon roses and rainbow rolls abound for the less adventurous. Portions are generous at very affordable prices – it’s obvious that the owners know their clientele, who are mostly students from nearby UCT residences. An extensive Chinese menu and a couple of Thai options are also available, but the sushi steals the show.

Drink
The wine list is limited but there are by the glass options for a quick sushi-belt lunch.

Service
Service is laid back in a modest, friendly sort of way but don’t expect silver service as both the staff and the clientele are mostly students passing through.

Ambience
Situated in a quaint old Observatory home that has been converted to a restaurant, there are many seating options: a covered, indoor patio at the back, which is ideal for romantics; a courtyard beside the bar; and the counter-style seating at the conveyer belt at the entrance. It’s certainly not lacking in charm by night and is always buzzing.

And…
Take care where you park at night, as this is not the best neighbourhood.

(September 2016)

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  • 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)

  • 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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  • This is by far my favourite sushi place in Cape Town! Unpretentious, decent pricing, intimate setting, friendly staff and brilliant food! Found this little gem a few years ago and have been going regularly ever since. Haven't had a bad experience yet! Highly recommended!

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  • Love this place! Found it 2 weeks ago and going back tonight. Delicious sushi, intimate setting, feels very authentic.

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  • What a brilliant find, the wife and I popped in there last night to find friendly service with great food.

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  • Certainly amongst the best sushi we have ever had. Chinese soup to die for! We will certainly be back on our next visit.

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  • My new favourite restaurant. Filled to capacity with regulars - sushi the best I have tasted in Cape Town. Where else do you still get desserts for R15?

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  • Amazing, fresh, basic and original delicious sushi. Friendly service and really affordable! Can't wait to eat here again!

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  • Hands down - the best sushi in Cape Town! Charlie and his team are great. If you want to sit around the sushi belt, make sure to book in advance!

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  • Great restaurant, fabulous service. Jewel of Obz.

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  • Best sushi in Cape Town! Awesome vibe and service - salmon roses are incredible. 10/10 without a doubt!

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  • Sit at the carousel to get your tasty sushi straight away. My favourites are the seared tuna salad and the prawn tempura California rolls.
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  • Favourite place to go for sushi in Cape Town.
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  • Best Sushi place in SA.
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  • A hidden gem. Fresh sushi and good Chinese food at a great price!
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  • Fantastic sushi with great service.
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  • I love this place and keep going back. The crispy tuna is a must have every time.
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  • This is the only place in town for sushi.Charlie and the other staff know all their customers as well as their favourite dishes. Their sushi is fresh, delicious and extremely well priced (too cheap but dont tell them!) Its our regular spot and we cant get enough.
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  • Good food, good prices, cute and quaint!
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  • Some of the best sushi in town! Great staff and ambience and very well priced. Such a shame earlier reviews of this gem have been removed from the site. Id recommend it to everyone. Its the only place we eat sushi!
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  • This is a real cosy, small sushi bar with excellent chefs and staff who makes you feel welcome.All they prepare is fresh and wont break the bank. In comparison with other sushi bars it is actually cheap but with often better quality. Their crispy tuna is a favorite as are their bamboo rolls. Also for non-sushi lovers there are many warm dishes as crispy duck, noodles, and delicious soups. We have never been disappointed and this is the only sushi bar we visit for the moment.
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  • The atmosphere is unpretentious and authentic,the staff is friendly and welcoming, and the sushi is well priced,fresh and delicious.The crispy fried tuna is sensational and not something Ive ever had anywhere else.
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  • Favourite! We eat there almost weekly - almost cheaper than to cook yourself, and the BEST sushi ever.Love the staff (first name basis...), the chefs and the especially the Salmon Roses...And the Crispy Fried Tuna is delicious!
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  • A great place for excellent sushi (better than most upmarket restaurants), with the added bonus of it all being at a reasonable price.
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  • i discovered this place a few weeks ago. the sushi is ABSOLUTELY MIND-BLOWING. you have NEVER EVER in your life tasted sushi this great! oh my goodness. i cant explain to you. all i know is that it has changed my friday nites forever. it really does put ALL the sushi places in cape town and NEW YORK (and ive had some great sushi in NY) to shame.
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  • Fantastic! Went there on Sunday night. Sushi was fantastic, the sweet and sour prawns were great. Prices were reasonable as well. Service - perfect. We will definately become regulars there...
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  • I discovered 1890 sushi shortly after they opened, and it truly was a gem of a find. The food is excellent and the service, well for starters, there actually is service as opposed to so many other restaurants. the atmosphere is just superb and the chefs know practically all their clientel. I now make it one of my once a week must haves, its affordable, unpretentious, essentially a gem, if you are lucky to go there once, guaranteed you will be back a second time.
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  • We discovered this little gem a short while ago. It really puts all the other sushi restaurants in Cape Town to shame! The restaurant is unpretentious, the prices really good and the sushi out of this world! We have been back several times (my son and I) and the standard remains consistently great. We have recommended them to several of our friends, who have all be extremely impressed as well.
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  • Great food at excellent prices. The sushi is truly magnificent. Cooked items are also delicious - try the deep fried tuna bits - crispy heaven with a hint of sweet chilli. Service was adequate but didnt necessarily detract from the evening - we were sitting around the sushi conveyor belt and not a table. Definitely give this a try - fantastic value for money and delicious food.
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  • What a great place. We were invited with friends. Friendly, fast, efficient service. And that food......OMW, yummo. I had the garlic chille calamari, and would go back for that ALONE! We are going back this Saturday. Well worth a 2nd, and 3rd visit
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  • Great place. The best sushi I have eaten in years. Lovely outside section as well. good waiters and reasonable prices.
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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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