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Kalky’s

Kalky’s
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Cost
R65 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Seafood
Corkage
No charge

Critic's review

Linda Scarborough

Food
Kalky’s in Kalk Bay offers Cape Town vis en tjips at its best. The former comes in huge portions, and the latter are fresh as can be, with a good combination of slap slivers and crunchy golden titbits.

In recent years the Mother City has gained a reputation for poncy nonsense when it comes to food. This Portlandia skit comes to mind, where diners are provided with the papers and photograph of Colin, the organically reared chicken they’re about to eat for dinner. But there are still places like Kalky’s, where the hallowed tarp-lined halls have never witnessed utterings of ‘heirloom’, ‘ethically reared’ and ‘artisanal’. You’re here for fresh seafood right off the boats, and the rest doesn’t matter.

You can start off with a prawn and vegetable samoosa (R7 each), or if you’re just peckish – and brave – a fried yellowtail head and chips for R20. Good bets are the hake or snoek and crumbed calamari plus chips (R78), fresh grilled line fish and chips (R105), or the eight peri-peri prawns with chips, rice or salad (R105). If it’s in season, you could plump for a whole grilled crayfish for R165. There is a vegetarian meal of potato and spinach phyllo parcels with chips, and a Greek salad, but really, this is not for fans of anything but beautiful fresh fish. Platters are popular and very affordable.

Drinks
Grab a cold SAB beer or soft drink, or buy a bag of ice for R7 and bring your own.

Ambience
It’s full of charm and character, which is why it’s bustling with multi-generation families and tourists on any given evening, but sanitised and superficial it is not. There’s salt in recycled glass bottles, red plastic tablecloths and a bucket full of vinegar on tap. Used paper napkins may flap at your ankles and you will get the occasional tang of fishing boats from the harbour. Food is served on stainless steel plates, and you help yourself to plastic cutlery at the front. Just lean into it… and try to ignore your elbows sticking to the table.

Service
Deliberate on your choice while you wait in line and order and pay at the counter. It’s cash only. Then, find a seat and keep your ears open for the plate-balancing waitresses to yell your number.

And…
Queuing to get a bay in the small parking lot (over the railway tracks) can test a hungry person's patience. If you’re up for it, rather park on Main Road in Kalk Bay and stroll down to the harbour.

(January 2016)

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  • Food
    It's all seafood all the time at this beloved fish and chips mecca. Kalky's continues to pump out perfectly battered and fresh seafood, from hake and chips to gorgeously tender and tasty calamari. Stick with local choices (i.e. avoid the prawns) and you can't go wrong. Combo platter prices compare with fancier joints, but keep things simple and it remains good value.

    Wine
    A few blah vintages in the coolers along with beer and cider. Best bring your own.

    Service
    Order at the till and keep your slip to show the friendly servers when they call your number.

    Ambience
    Smack in the middle of a working harbour, think linoleum tablecloths, bits of net hanging from the ceiling and vinegar and chilli sauces in random unlabelled plastic bottles. But the views and sea air can't be beat.

    And...
    The owner hires a boat out for fishing trips. (LM, October 2012)

User reviews

  • The atmosphere and vibe here is charming and decidedly local, love that it's dockside. The food was rather average. The fish had a crunchy battered coating but wasn't well spiced and tasted rather bland. Of course the fish was fresh, but batter maketh the fish. A fun experience if you're driving through, memorable location, forgettable food.
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  • n the spur of the moment, after work, I convinced a friend and my boyfriend to take the train to go have a drink next to the ocean. On our way there I told my friend about the Kalky's Platter that my boyfriend and I had shared previously, and hadn't finished. Since none of us had really eaten the whole day we were sceptic but decided on the platter for all three to share. With all three of us, extremely hungry, we managed to leave a tiny piece of fish, little rice and chips out of our whole platter. Once again Kalky's was and will be memorable.
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  • Kalky's is a once a month Sunday family tradition. Even though it takes forever to get there the food is definitely worth it! We always have so much left over and that's only after ordering their family platter with a side of their prawns. Waiting for food is made a bit easier when indulging in their prawn and veg samoosa's. Try it! This should be a must stop when around that area. Even when you're not its worth the drive especially when taking the scenic route.
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  • You have to go to Kalkbaai to Kalky's for FISH and CHIPS! In The December holiday this place was FUL, BUSY and BUZZING! But everyone was helped and we got a seat inside, with other people and shared the condiments! LOVELY Life and busy atmosphere with the smell of the ocean in your nose and the seals just outside and boats as your view! The service is fast and efficient, the Food is Amazing, a LOT and Cheap! You cant go wrong and this is definitely one those places you have to visit and then tell all your friends about! You will come back for sure! You cant get cheaper for that amount and quality of food
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  • This is a must visit for anyone near Kalk Bay. It looks like a dump from the outside but they serve some of THE freshest fish and calamari and prawns. So so delicious. You can only pay cash and you have to order at the till. They then have a couple of very loud ladies that walk around shouting out your order number. Don't miss it or you'll miss out. Fresh fresh seafood, you can have vinegar soaked chips if you want. I had the prawns and chips - delicious and my partner had the calamari and chips... we shared and we were both so happy. It's incredibly great value for money and you are right on the harbour so can see the fresh fish coming in. Really cool. It's not nearly a fine dining restaurant, more what one would call a dive but so worth it if you fancy a little bit of local flare
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  • Ignore the bad reviews! This is a must visit place. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the food. The decor is rustic but the food excellent. Have been here before and will definitely eat here again.
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  • I Live in Claremont.. Going to Kalky`s was a wonderful experience for me to day .. I rate it 10 out of 10 THE BEST ♥
    highly recommended . ONE CAN NOE EXPECT 5 STAR.. BUT I WILL GO BACK WHEN EVER I AM ABLE TO. CANT WAIT TO GO NEXT WEEK....
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  • Do you understand the concept of filleted fish? This means no bones. Snoekies, here I come!

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  • Id heard good things about Kalkys fresh fish and chips... but what an awful experience. Both my husband and I were seriously ill after eating at this place where the hygiene leaves much to be desired. The staff are surly and throw the food around with contempt. The fish and chips were overcooked, saturated with oil and flung onto the plate. I would hate to know what this place is like in summer when its hot and overcrowded. The setting, down at the harbour, is lovely and colourful and there is surely loads of potential for a really good chippy here, but if you want good fish and chips at a place that is clean and the staff friendly, do yourself a favour and go to the Salty Sea Dog in Simonstown.
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Facilities

  • Alfresco
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

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