The emphasis here is on fresh, good quality seafood – from Knysna oysters to linefish, calamari, queen prawns, crayfish and the rest of the crustacean family. At its heart, Bel Punto is an Italian restaurant owned and operated by an Italian family that specialises in seafood, steaks, poultry, game and Italian specialties.
Starters entice, with dishes like deep-fried olives or squid legs served with various sauces. The mains embrace the sea, from the linefish to seafood platters wholly or partially dedicated to shellfish. The red meat and poultry dishes are equally enticing. Vegetables and side orders are served from a silver platter.
Cherries flambé, Italian kisses in caramel and chocolate, or homemade ice-cream round out some of the dessert choices. The portions are large enough to satisfy sweet cravings, but not overwhelming.
Bel Punto has an award-winning wine list offering both South African and European wines and champagnes. Its expanse means patrons are presented with a stylish tome so lengthy that perusal is worth ordering an interim drink like a sumptuous cocktail or craft beer. There are also extensive options for wine by-the-glass.
The service is exceptional, with professional waitrons consistently ensuring drinks are served, orders are on the table and dirty plates are swept away without notice.
Chic and modern with an open-plan approach and large bar. The glass windows ensure a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean regardless of where you are seated.
Making a reservation can secure a table in front of the window for the best views.
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On a sunny day you’d be mad not to head out to Bel Punto, just a short drive up the north coast to Umdloti, to spend a lazy afternoon admiring the magnificent views of the Indian Ocean, whilst enjoying some of the finest food in town.
Snack on the complimentary garlic focaccia while perusing the extensive menu, which includes an array of fresh seafood, as well as grills, salads and pasta, which the Cantatore family have infused with authentic southern Italian flavours. Take your time and order some starters to share before deciding on mains. Delicious bites include plump feta-stuffed olives, served warm with homemade mayo, chicken livers – served with a crispy roll to dunk liberally into the spicy tomato sauce – and deliciously plump and succulent lemon and herb calamari.
You obviously can’t go wrong with a seafood platter. They burst with any combination of queen or tiger prawns, langoustines, mussels, calamari and linefish – and throw in an oyster or ten if you’re feeling like Rockerfeller – these fly out of the kitchen as if he were paying everyone’s bill.
A creamy gorgonzola and bacon salad is perfect for a hot afternoon, and the prawn tagliatelle in a light chilli cream sauce hits the right notes.
Finish off with Italian kisses, which are served as lollipops over ice, or leave room for baked cheesecake topped with fresh strawberries.
A large wine list offers a good variety of cultivars, with a temperature-controlled cellar in the centre of the restaurant, plus there’s a cocktail offering, and the customary after-dinner Italian drink, Limoncello, is a must to round off your meal.
Owners Vanessa and Emanuele are hands on and ensure that service is swift – a restaurant full to capacity runs like clockwork. Servers are friendly and efficient.
World-class views can be admired from the comfort of a large deck – close your eyes and imagine you’re on a yacht! A very cosmopolitan crowd gathers over the weekend to see and be seen.
Book in advance, as this is a very popular eatery, but enjoy a drink in the bar while waiting if you manage to get a walk-in booking.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.
An Italian-style menu with a heavy seafood leaning, which is expected considering the oceanside location. The menu is large and extensive. The mussel starter in a white wine sauce, cozze all marinara, has a generous portion of fat and succulent mussels and the sauce settles like a broth at the bottom of the bowl. It’s renowned for the crab soup, the zuppa di granchio, but it is very rich and salty, so be prepared. When we added a splash of the more acidic wine sauce from the mussels into the soup it helped cut through the richness a bit. The crab meat in the tomato-based soup is quite substantial and for R89 it was a reasonably good starter, all things considered.
The marinara pasta is delicious and has a plentiful amount of seafood in it, which includes clams, prawns, mussels and calamari, amongst others. For something a little different, the calamari ripieni is prawn, red pepper and spinach-stuffed calamari tubes smothered in napoletana and mozzarella and baked in a wood-fired oven. It’s a very robust dish in flavour, although the helping is a little small with only 6 pieces for R189.
Best to avoid the cassata if that is your choice of dessert. It is nothing like the authentic Italian cassata and is a disappointing grainy confection. The ice cream tastes synthetic, leaving an unusual residue on the tongue, and the candied fruit pieces are just a layer of chopped green and red glacé cherries on the top later. Rather opt for the home-made tiramisu.
The large wine list compliments the varied menu, and the restaurant is equipped with a bar so the wine is supported by an extensive cocktail selection as well.
We were greeted by the friendly hostess at the door, who quickly seated us and organised for the waiter to serve us. But it is best to come in the evening or during the weekend to enjoy continued good service. Halfway through our meal our waiter left for his lunch break and did not return. We had to flag down someone else for assistance. Presumably this occurred because it was a mid-week lunch.
The décor is classy ocean-inspired fine dining. White furniture and linen emulate the bright coastal feel of outdoors. The covered outdoor seating area is a must during the day as the ocean view is beautiful. Patrons are a mix of locals and tourists and the atmosphere is relaxed and chatty.
If going through the whole menu is not your thing, there is a convenient ‘meal of the day’ section, selecting one dish for each day of the week and giving you something new to try every day.
The seafood here is always fresh and cooked with subtle but beautiful flavours and the risotto is heavenly. If you want a easy-eating starter, the deep-fried olives are delicious. The incredible sea views are an added bonus.
One of my favourites in Durban. Their risotto is one of the best I've ever had!
Great pizzas and steaks, cooked to perfection. Too much choice and all delicious.
The views are beautiful and service very good.
The most divine seafood restaurant that my husband and I have been to! Delicious food, great service and a view of the ocean - what more can one ask for?
Comments, Recently ate lunch here with 2 North Coast girl-friends who assured me this was the only place to eat for miles about. How right they were. We shared three courses; fish soup in a light broth to start, with tender young calamari, delicate fresh mussel and prawn, delightful. We followed with a specially requested and perfectly executed prawn and asparagus risotto which was fragrant and scrumptious to taste, lastly we shared a salad of grilled calamari heads on a bed of rocket. The calamari was nicely crisp and the rocket fresh and tender. I cannot remember the last time I ate out where I did not feel that something was less than perfect. This restaurant delivers good ingredients that are cooked to perfection with no airs or graces or pretensions. It is also owner managed - which says it all. Beautiful food and I cannot wait to return.