Renowned for its picturesque location and dining rooms on the edge of the rocks, Harbour House in Kalk Bay suitably impresses, with breathtaking views, lavish seafood and a price tag to match.
The ocean-themed menu kicks things off with plump West Coast mussels in wine, cream, garlic and thyme. It continues to hot seafood soup, cold gazpacho, ceviche and the tian of prawns. For mains, the Mozambican style peri-peri prawns pack a punch of spicy flavour and glistens in the golden sauce. Coming with chips or rice and a tomato salad, it makes for a generous main. Share their shellfish or seafood platters with calamari, mussels, prawns, crayfish and line fish, or opt for their well-executed sushi.
Don't miss the specials board listing the catch of the day and sometimes old classics like avo ritz and sole Florentine. The sole Florentine surprised, with a rather modern interpretation of a smooth spinach sauce and fish grilled to perfection. While seafood is a natural choice here, meat eaters can enjoy beef carpaccio, steak tartare, prime cuts of beef, as well as a rack of lamb. Vegetarian options are scant but there is a potato and parmesan gnocchi and there are salads available.
To satisfy your sweet tooth there are few well-made classics. Choose from the New York-style cheese cake, crème brûlée, lemon tart or the trio of sorbets.
During the winter months, they do have a set menu that has a more visibly meaty appeal. Check their website to avoid disappointment.
On offer is a good selection of cocktails, craft beers, local and international bubbly and a variety of Cape wines. A personal favourite is the Cape Point vineyards sauvignon blanc, which is a perfect companion to seafood.
The service is friendly but frantic and a bit disorganised. We had to flag down a waiter to seat us at our reserved table and waited a while before being attended to. Having said that, staff are knowledgeable and the kitchen is relatively speedy for such a large restaurant.
A beachhouse theme is well executed, with white floors and walls featuring splashes of blue. Booking a table in advance will ensure a prime spot next to one of the balconies to enjoy the uninterrupted views of the waves crashing on the rocks right next to you.
They have branches at the V&A Waterfront and in Constantia.
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The inspired location of this long-standing establishment has seen it weather through some interesting times – most recently it was battered by a mighty storm that saw a fair bit of the restaurant flooded by huge seas. But in typical Harbour House fashion, the kitchen was soon up and running, churning out favourites like the West Coast black mussels steamed in white wine, garlic, onion, thyme and cream; the hearty Harbour House bouillabaisse with fresh line fish, calamari and mussels served up in a seafood bisque and comes with its signature rouille sauce – a ruddy, garlicky, bready richness that is the perfect partner to this dish.
Main course items include the fresh line fish of the day, sautéed smoked paprika calamari (can be ordered as a starter as well), grilled crayfish and, if you want a bit of everything, a most impressive seafood platter for two priced at R650 will do you just fine. For the non-seafood palates, there is a great selection of grills including prime cuts of beef and rack of lamb. To round off a whirlwind of taste sensations, dessert creations include classic crème brulee, fruit sorbet, and a heavenly chocolate delice that gives new meaning to a chocolate fondant, with its rich caramel centre.
A great wine selection, with craft beers offered on tap and served at just the right temperature.
Good. There are an abundance of waiters and maitre’d types on hand to ensure patrons are always taken care of, tables cleared with efficiency, speed and an ever-present smile.
Feels like a great big, summery house with lots of nooks and different sections featuring couches and coffee tables, dining tables and white tablecloths, every which way you turn a spectacular view. Wooden floors, beach-inspired decor and whitewashed walls complete the look.
Look out for their two-course (R195) and three-course (R215) special menus available for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday, excluding Sunday lunch. Winter 2016 featured starter options of a house salad, mussels or potato and pecorino gnocchi and mains choices of line fish, bouillabaisse or prime cut beef. Dessert was a choice between caramelised lemon tart served with vanilla ice cream, brownie crumbs and berries and a restaurant favourite, yoghurt panna cotta infused with Amaretto and served in a berry soup. Yum!
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Seafood is the name of the game here, and a fine variety awaits you. Do keep an eye on the specials of the day, as the blackboard holds a very generous choice of line fish options – pick between tuna with a warm niçoise salad, kingklip with garlic mash, green beans, poached egg and salsa verde, or yellowtail with roasted veggies, rosemary potato bake and a rather delicious dill cream. The standard menu opens with a concise sushi menu, before moving on to starters that include the likes of oysters, bouillabaisse, ceviche, West Coast black mussels and masala dusted calamari. Those not too keen on the fruits of the ocean can delve into beef carpaccio or a potato and parmesan gnocchi. Handily, a few of the starters can be ordered in main portions. Moving on to mains, there are some blow-the-budget options like grilled prawns, grilled crayfish and a seafood selection platter, but you can’t go wrong with the smoked paprika calamari, served with black olives, capers, lemon zest and savoury rice. The combination of strong Mediterranean flavours with the tender calamari works like a charm. A taste around the table (where various line fish dishes hold court) serves to confirm that Harbour House really does know how to serve top notch seafood. Meat eaters can opt for the grilled prime cu of beef with Bordelaise sauce or the grilled rack of lamb. There are a few promising looking salads for vegetarians to get stuck into, but my choice would be that gnocchi I mentioned before – served with roasted butternut, grilled artichokes, roasted pine nuts and a truffle parmesan sauce, a main portion would be just the thing.
The extensive wine list features some serious wines (with prices to match), but at the same time there are enough good choices that won’t break the budget and are available by the glass.
Friendly and very accommodating; staff are well informed about the menu and happy to make recommendations or explain the compositions of dishes.
It’s a spacious restaurant, with large windows facing the sea. There’s a big lounge area with leather couches to relax in, or take your place at the more conventional tables, with fireplaces dotted around to create a cosy atmosphere. The décor is simple and stylish, to match the food – this is not your coastal kitch kind of joint. It’s best to book ahead at this popular restaurant, and ask for a table close to the windows, to enjoy the spectacular view of the waves crashing down meters below.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s another branch, Harbour House at the V&A Waterfront, also a popular and consistent Cape Town destination.
The original outpost of Harbour House has become something of a pilgrimage for tourists and fish-loving locals, and happily the food is, almost without fail, as good as the panoramic sea views are. The sizeable menu stretches from so-so sushi to generous salads and accomplished seafood main courses. The sautéed calamari tossed in smoked paprika is reliably good, but the best choices appear on the daily chalkboard menu, created around what’s fresh from the fishing boats below. In season, the grilled yellowtail and seared yellowfin tuna are always good. It’s certainly not the cheapest place to eat in the south peninsula, but then those views don’t come for free.
It's a sizeable wine list with a good selection of whites and bubblies to accompany the fish-focused menu. There's a well-chosen mix of everyday quaffers alongside some Cape classics, but at slightly above-average prices. No vintages given.
Service is on-the-ball and friendly, and staff members are only too happy to talk first-timers through the wide-ranging menu.
The gently nautical décor suits the fantastic seafront location, with floor-to-ceiling windows taking full advantage of the False Bay views. If you want a window table you’ll need to book ahead, particularly during the busy summer months.
Look out for their winter specials, which offer an extremely good value three-course menu.
What a disappointing experience. When phoning to book we were given 2 choices, 6pm or 8.30pm. We chose the latter as we were celebrating a special birthday. Upon arriving we were ushered to the bar as our table was not yet ready. After a 20 minute wait (with no offer of a drink) I went to enquire and was told to be patient and give them at least another 5 minutes as the previous diners had left the table late. Funny thing was the table we were eventually seated at, was vacant when we were ushered through the restaurant to the bar! Once seated we noticed there were no napkins on the table. We asked for some and were told they had run out so instead we got a bunch of serviettes dumped on the centre of the table (the waiter even joked that if we had chosen the earlier seating we would have gotten napkins). We all ordered fish and when the table was re-set after our starters we asked for fish knives. They don't have fish knives (they are a prodominantly fish restaurant!) When you are paying around R150 for a main course this is just not acceptable. It's such a pity beacuse the setting is magnificant and the food was really delicious but we certainly won't be rushing back especially as we are so spoilt for choice in Cape Town with amazing restaurants.
This restaurant is so inspirational that we are thinking of using it as a template for our new extension to our kitchen this year! It has the most fantastic atmosphere and the ambience is what we want for our dining extension to our kitchen! Having said that what we really need to rave about is the food! We had the seafood platter – there were five of us – myself and my husband and my brother, his wife and my nephew. We had a lovely big table and felt very comfortable indeed. My goodness me you see the sea right outside the windows. As the light went outside the lighting inside became very atmospheric and changed the look a lot to an intimate restaurant. I think we were there quite a while consuming a starter each – then sharing two seafood platters and having Dom Pedros as a sweet. We had gorgeous, crisp Sauvignon Blanc with the meal and just totally and utterly enjoyed ourselves. We live in Wales, UK – I wish oh how I wish this restaurant was on the Welsh Coast! Please someone move it!
Very disappointing visit at Harbour House today. We waited more than 45 minutes for our table - which stood empty and just needed setting. But staff and kitchen were in chaos. There was a tourist bus group of about 60 on 3 tables that certainly caused the pathetic service we received. The menu and way food is normally presented certainly does not suit tour bus clientele. On asking the staff afterwards if they now are catering and becoming a "tour bus" restaurant, one waitress replied "yes, certainly - 7 days a week!"
This is all at the cost of the regular clients - mostly spending more money. Definitely the last time I go there or recommend it to my guests. What a pity!
The food was really bad. We had prawn and it was mushy and bland. The fries were fried in old, dirty oil. The price of the food is way too high for the bad quality they deliver and the service was not good either. Such a pity as this is a beautiful restaurant and has so much potential.
Yet another disappointing experience at Harbour House. Overpriced average food and service failures of note. This time I have learned my lesson - it was my last "one more chance" for Harbour House.
Very poor reception. Waiter very rude, just got up and left. Went to Brass Bell - fantastic
Food and drinks heavily overpriced. Very disappointing from a food and service point of view. Great views from restaurant, but this is not enough to justify the prices on the below average food.
We had our Christmas party at Harbour House and had terrible service. Despite the restaurant being quiet around 15h00, waiters ignored us repeatedly, the bar staff seemed very reluctant to take drinks orders and we waited a very long time for our drinks. By dinner-time, we had a very good waiter who more than made up for the surly service in the afternoon. What a pity!
We were staying in Kommetjie for my birthday so took the opportunity to try Harbour House. Stunning view, really quite lovely. Staff were friendly and our waiter was run off his feet so we didn't see him as much as some would like but I don't enjoy being fussed over constantly so this was fine. We shared the seafood platter for one. Pricey but it really is enough for two. The fish, prawns, musses and oysers were perfect but I have to say the crayfish was dry and bitter. A real disappointment as this was the reason I'd ordered the platter! The chocolate dessert was disappointing and not worth the R60 I paid for it. I should have stuck to my old favourite creme brulee.
This review is about the new (rather) Harbour House in V&A Waterfront. Being an almost always happy guest at the original Harbour House in Kalk Bay, we have tried out the new venue in V&A Waterfront, opposite lovely Sevruga. A really nice setting, especially outside. Nice buzz around, and very comfortable sofas! But the rest has been disappointing. You immediately feel like a tourist - staff seems to expect that you are a visitor, just because your in the shopping Mecca Waterfront. That means, a too attentive, sleek, smiley in a bad way service, and an overpriced menu. We had sushi - lots of rice, thin slices of fish. Boring and expensive. The panfried angelfish (as they called grilled) was priced R120, and was two small peices of fish (tasted good), 4 mini cubes of potatoes and some symbolically decorative spinach leaves. Accompanied by a quite greasy pastis sauce. Not worth the money. And the waiter, was in such a hurry to take orders that we had to ask him kindly to leave us alone to get some time to decide. Calamari was expensive and ok. Etc. This is the reason why the Waterfront so often feels like a tourist trap - often with people standing outside the restaurant entrants calling us walking by into the venue. Horrible. This Harbour Haouse branch doesn't at all match up to its older sister in Kalk Bay. So all locals - head for that one!
Sulky and rude staff - two meals out of 4 had to go back as they were inedilble - high prices. The view is the only worthwhile part of this experience.
We were told that there were two sittings, so we booked for the later at 20.30h and arrived promptly. We were told that we would have to wait five minutes as there were still people at our table...could we go to and sit in the lounge. We did....for 35 mins, being ignored. We left. Next morning we got a call asking why we left. Our explanation was met with "I ll have to speak to my manager" No word from them since. I wrote of our displeasure on their feedback page on their website. Result? A deafening silence!
This is what eating out should be all about! This restaurant had it all last Sunday, ambience, attention to detail, Kao, the waiter who could - and did - tell us the exact contents of every dish without overselling it, unobtrusive service, outstanding plating.. and then there was the food...I'm pretty fussy being a cooking teacher, but it couldn't be faulted!