Venues

Dias Tavern

Dias Tavern
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Cost
R100 avg main meal
Ambience
Bar scene, Groups, Quick meals
Food
Bistro fare, Deli fare, Portuguese, Pub fare, Seafood, Steak
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R50

Critic's review

Tshepang Molisana

Food
The restaurant has the word ‘tavern’ in its name. You’re not expecting five star cuisine, so the stakes are quite low. If what you’re after is a selection of seemingly authentic Portuguese dishes doused in peri-peri sauce, then you’ve come to the right place. Their starters include chicken livers and deep-fried calamari rings.

My dining partner ploughed through their Portuguese fillet steak, fried with white wine and garlic, in record time, so it’s safe to say their meal was good. I ordered a half chicken and chips. The plate was orange so I’m sure not a chilli was spared. Next time I will try the prawns instead, which were highly recommended.

The desserts on offer include a traditional malva pudding and Italian kisses.

Drinks
The drinks list lacks imagination. For a tavern, I was expecting a wider variety of options. I settled into my seat with a gin and tonic, which was well made. It’s not a bad wine list. It’s short and to the point, with familiar brands and a few standards like sherry and port. You won’t go thirsty.

Service
From the minute I walked in, I felt welcome. It’s the kind of neat, ‘just-enough’ service that greets you with warmth and makes you feel like you will probably be back at some point.

Ambience
The first thing my friend said when I sat down was, “This is like a tavern in a small mining town.” Which is absolutely on the money. My friend also said, “I guess the food made up for it” – so you get the point. It’s tip-toeing on dingy, with a boxing gym next door, and plastic garden seating. However, it’s warm inside, is in a semi-popular area in the Cape Town CBD, and the food is good so it walks a strange tight-rope.

And…
The restaurant is pursuing an ‘unpretentious’ feeling, with heaps of comfort food and ample plastic red chairs everywhere. Come relaxed and come hungry. There is ample parking in the evenings, because the Canterbury Street parking lot is empty. Pop into the Fugard Theater for a show while you’re in the area.

(August 2017)

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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  • John Maytham

    Food
    Every town needs more spots like Dias Tavern – unchanging, unpretentious and almost always full, with happy satisfied customers. They know that, visit after visit, they will get what they seek: comfort food, well-cooked and well-priced, without any unnecessary frills. No foams, no gels, no jus – only meat, chicken and seafood, spiced as you want it in portion sizes that leave no one hungry. Along with a mound of chips so well-cooked that even devout Banters weaken. It’s been that way for more than 25 years.

    Tuck into a hearty plate of peri-peri chicken livers, rich and savoury, with just enough bite to make reaching for the water or beer glass mandatory after every mouthful. Follow with a steak with pepper sauce or the yummy calamari, or order one of the surf and turf combos Dias is famous for. The prawns are large, fresh and full of salty sea flavour, and the prego and trinchado steaks are always very popular.

    Drinks
    The wine list is small and unimaginative, but they suit the food. There’s a decent selection of local craft beers and some Portuguese/Mozambican favourites.

    Service
    It’s very well-oiled, friendly and attentive. No matter how packed it is, there’s always someone watching out for a patron in need.

    Ambience
    It’ll never win any design awards and, when empty, probably looks a little grimy, but it's  never empty – only bustling, loud and full of laughter.

    And...
    One of the few remaining public places in Cape Town where you can spot a couple lang-arm dancing during their very festive weekend live music evenings.

    (September 2016)

    Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

  • This few-frills eatery makes no apologies for being a little rough around the edges, because that’s exactly how its loyal patrons like it. Packed most nights of the week, they serve great value fare in hearty portions. Order a prego, trinchado steak or peri-peri prawns. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    The authentic Portuguese fare will take you all the way to Madeira and back. The kitchen specialises in hearty seafood and grills, with piquant bowls of homemade chilli, garlic and tartar on the side. Expect robust, spicy Mediterranean flavours in signature dishes from chicken giblets peri peri to chorizo, sardines, calamari, trinchado (beef in red wine) and espetada (a towering steak skewer). Hearty portions and great value.

    Wine
    A good-value selection of Cape wines with Portuguese vinho verde and Mozambican beer. Try a popular catemba (red wine and coke).

    Service
    Quick on the draw, warm and friendly.

    Ambience
    Expect a lively bar and restaurant with a laid-back vibes and big television screens for the footie-mad regulars.

    And...
    There’s a live band, a big buzz and dancing on weekend nights. (GH, October 2012)

User reviews

  • A perfect place to pop in before enjoying a show at the adjacent Fugard theatre. Enjoy the same cuisine that has had patrons returning for over 25 years. Anything from the popular Joe's special (Trinchado and Calamari) to the firm favorite, Portuguese steak, served on a skillet with peri peri, Chorizo, egg, chips and fried tomato. Good vibes on Fridays and Saturdays with decent live misc.
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  • My first experience of an authentic Portuguese restaurant. The best fillet steak i've ever had. My friend had the Trinchado, one of his favourite Portuguese dishes, & he was "in heaven". All in all good food, good live music & friendly efficient service from our waiter Moses, ensured an evening to remember.
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  • Dias Tavern never fails to impress as an all-round dining offering in terms of food, service and ambience. Their prices are fair and the meals are very good. They certainly have a very well-oiled machine running with their operation. We have been there several times (particularly before and after shows at the theatre), and we are always comfortable that our meal will come out in time and be scrumptious. The rustic décor and lovely attitude of the Dias team always make it such a pleasure to go back. One of our favourite spots in Cape Town.
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  • Been coming here for over 20 years and it's still consistently the best authentic Portuguese restaurant experience in Cape Town. In my opinion it's also best restaurant in CPT. The Joe's special is one of a kind and the best pub meal you'll ever eat.
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  • Another Friday, another visit to Dias Tavern, and yet another wonderful experience. This Cape Town legend never fails to impress. With 4 "Newbies" on this visit, I encouraged them to have the Joe's Special, which they all raved about, and then proceeded to hoover the eisbein. Together with a little left over trinchado sauce from our starters and a dash of Hot English mustard, this is a meal that you will struggle to better anywhere!

    But here's the kicker, my friends ... They sell their trinchado sauce by the wine bottle! I used it last night to impress a few troops at a braai we hosted. And impress it did. 2 kg's of rump on the braai, medium rare, chopped into chunks, and served in a bowl of their trinchado sauce that has we heated up in the micro. Too special!
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  • It's probably a great place but such a rude woman on the phone that I ended up not booking and going somewhere else. (so ignore my stars for ambience and food - i just had to fill a number in on the form.)
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  • A very fun filled place where the food and service are fantastic and the party carries on once you have finished. This isn't a quiet restaurant - it's a must with friends. Generally there is a band playing while you eat.
    Well known for their Espetada which is divine!
    Overall great waiters, fantastic food and a good party! It doesn't look very clean when you walk in and needs new décor but it seems fine food wise.

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  • One of my favourite restaurants in Cape Town. Authentic Portuguese food at reasonable prices. Was highly recommended to me and I highly recommend it to everyone.

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  • Third time visiting Dias - on Saturday for the rugby - was a terrible experience. All thanks to staff member Debbie, who apparently forgot she works in the hospitality industry. Taking friends from overseas there we called to change our initial booking and make it 30 minutes later. Got confirmation from waitress Anine. But upon our arrival, Debbie, sporting her little clipboard like a military officer brandishes a baton, remarks snottily we're half an hour late and this is a big problem. Anine then points out to her we did warn them, but Debbie goes on about how unacceptable this is. And then leads us to our reserved table like nothing happened.
    Oh yes, and when we tell her that's a crappy attitude, Debbie thinks it prudent to admonish us with a 'don't get upset, man'. You think? Thanks, Debbie, we're not going to back to Dias anytime soon.

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  • Traditional Portuguese food. I recommend the peri peri chicken or trinchado. The place can get rowdy, and don’t be put off by the plastic chairs.
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  • BEST trinchado, espetada and chicken livers in town! True to autentic portugese cuisine...DO NOT FORGET TO BOOK!
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  • Be prepared for the most comfortable, down-to-earth restaurant in the whole of Cape Town. Plastic chairs, generous meals, rugby, beer and chequered table cloths. The trinchado is wonderful, the swordfish mouth-watering. Dias is a classic, and rightly so. Remember to book a table.
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  • I was last at Dias some 10 years ago - still as good as ever and value for money. Highly recommend
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Facilities

  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dancing
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Live entertainment
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian

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