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Nelson’s Eye

Nelson’s Eye
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Cost
R100+ avg main
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Italian, Seafood, Steak
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R35

Critic's review

Greg Landman

Food
The menu is vast, with classic starters like avocado Ritz and steamed mussels with fresh chilli and garlic butter; there’s even seafood like line fish, sardines, calamari, prawns and sole. But what’s kept this long-running act so popular is the meat. Even when approaching it with a jaded attitude of “so, show me”, I’m still bowled over by the 600g of superb T-bone steak perfectly done. When you ask for medium-rare and specify still red in the centre, that’s exactly what you get. Other well-aged cuts of fillet, sirloin and rump strut their stuff to great effect. Delicious.

The open grill is where it all happens to give that elusive flame-grilled touch so sought-after by carnivores. The basting sauce is non-obtrusive and perfect, but if you want to up the ante there are fabulous sauces like snails and blue cheese, béarnaise, mushrooms and asparagus. The standard steakhouse veggies are great, too: superb creamed spinach and slightly sweet buttered pumpkin. The salads are fresh as can be, and the classic desserts of flambéed cherries with vanilla ice cream and crème brûlée have fans from all over.

Drinks
The wine list has something for most tastes and pockets, with emphasis on good reds, obviously.

Service 
Good steaks should rest before being served – but not too long or they are ruined. Here it is a balancing act, which has to be watched.

Ambience
Deceptively small from the street, the place is cavernous with many quiet corners and bars and a well-frequented upstairs area with TV screens. It has a lived-in, very comfortable quality, with plenty of wood and some nautical touches to give it that “Nelson” feel.

And…
If you want your steak on a room temperature plate, ask for it – or you’ll get one that’s designed to keep the meal hot, but often goes on cooking the steak.

The verdict
The s
ervice and the wine list let Nelson’s Eye down a bit, and the place looks like it needs a good clean. Nevertheless, the loyal crowd keeps going back for a reason: the steaks are genuinely great.

 

(May 2015)

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User reviews

  • This was a lovely restaurant for a big group - our party of 10 were placed upstairs in this surprisingly big restaurant (every room we went through, I expected that to be the end, but there was always another one on the way!). The service was good, though obviously it being very busy our waitress seemed a bit harried. I like that each person is assigned a number, so orders don't get mixed up - clever, and simple, system. The food is what we came for, though, and it didn't disappoint. Those steaks were brilliant. It's quite unusual to get the steak cooked exactly as you ordered it, but that was exactly what we got. The Spring Special menu was definitely worth it (something like R30 off starters, and R70 off main meals!). From the main menu, I particularly liked the combo garlic sauce, with onion rings on top for a mere R20 extra. Will absolutely be back!
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  • The welcoming is very warm, our waitress was excellent, she answered questions, ran the specials past us, and even knew what vegetables were served, unlike so many other establishments I have been to when you get that “let me check with the chef answer”. Our waitress was very attentive without being all over you or pushy. She also understood that we had a show to get to, we were appreciative not having to remind her. She didn’t drop the ball once! I was told that the steak here was the best in Cape Town, so of course, I had to have the steak. I loved the variety of cuts, as well as the different size options and the hardest part – the many delicious sauces to choose from. I opted for the Sirloin with the Princess Sauce – an Asparagus and béarnaise sauce, medium rare – what I got was beyond my expectations. Perfectly grilled, hot steak, without being smothered in basting – you could taste the meat and let me tell you the quality was excellent. The sauce was beautiful and light, the perfect accompaniment for such a delicious steak. Served with the steak was creamed spinach and pumpkin. Finally a restaurant who understands what creamed spinach and knows how to perfectly season their vegetables. I was also told that the onion rings are to die for…so of course this was ordered too. I was not disappointed! Do order the onion rings as a side to any of your meal choices! Everyone at our table enjoyed their meal, and can say I do agree, the best steak I have had in Cape Town thus far. A huge menu to choose from and the meal can get a little pricey, I will have to go back and try more off the menu! I can defiantly not fault the service or the food, however the credit card machine was not working that night, which is by no means the establishments fault, but it was a slight inconvenience. The restaurant is a little cramped; I can imagine it being uncomfortable when full. I can also imagine the later you get there the more painful parking will be – just like anywhere else in Cape Town. All round a great dinning experience.
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  • Packed into a small, double story, building with wooden floors and walls, lies the best steak in not only Cape Town, but South Africa.

    Tender, melt in your mouth steak will be brought, by itself on a plate, and soon a delicious accompaniment of butternut and creamed spinach will land on your table drooling for more. The chips and onion rings are heavenly and one simply cannot have the meal without a bottle of Dimersdal Merlot.

    The owner who will chat to you for hours is always happy to show you around the restaurant, and then will leave you in the good hands of the staff who have been there for years and probably know what you want before you do.

    Although the meal can get pricey, the taste and texture of the steak is worth every cent and will leave you booking for your next sitting when leaving the restaurant.

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  • The steaks are good, but the service shoddy. I think they should focus less on getting as many people crammed into the restaurant, resulting in long delays. An hour wait for food is excessive. Increase the kitchen/staff rather than dropping service standards. Waiter training would also help.
    Pricey for the overall experience.
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  • Went to their website and saw the Winter Warmers they had advertised. Upon arrival and asking about the the special, got a 'I dont know what you talking about' look. Upon the managers arrival, he also didnt seem to clued up and said sorry, that only 'starts on Monday' |(even though the website stated no dates)
    Needless to say walked out and had a better meal at Panama Jacks.
    Glad we left though, as 1800 Degrees is still the best place to go.
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  • I cannot adequately articulate how bad my experience at this restaurant was. All I will say is this: the quicker this place loses its undeserved reputation, the better.
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  • Terrible placeI Do not recommend! Poor service, not quality food, owner is useless and it stinks!

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  • Do not waste your time thinking this is somewhere to have the "best steak in Cape Town". Horribly over-priced especially considering its location and ambience (think not-so-great London pub). You would be better off somewhere else.

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  • Would not recommend this place to anyone. Hideously overpriced considering all the other (better) steak houses in Cape Town. Salad was like something you'd find at a Wimpy, peppercorn sauce was made from a packet and, although the steak was good, it was not as spectacular as promised. Restaurant itself is a little grotty, chairs need to be cleaned. To reiterate, very expensive, and not worth it. Try Hussar, Carne or Beltazars instead...

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  • I wish I had read these reviews before going. Most expensive steak in town. Shockingly bad service (which was charged for on our bill. Very disappointing.

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  • When you charge premium prices for steaks, you should offer premium service. The steak was good, but no better than other places.

    The food was served seven minutes apart from start to finish. Some of it was cold. The onion rings never arrived. Pumpkin and spinach is also fairly boring for vegetables. The crowning glory was on over charge on the bill of R 560 - not a great experience.

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  • This place has really declined over the years. So many other good meat places to choose from now. Nelsons Eye is overpriced and service is hit and miss. More miss than hit these days. Steak isnt the best in town!!! Want a true meat experience, great service and value? Try Carne. From an ex Nelsons Eye fan.
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  • We decided to go to the best steak restaurant in town for my partners 30th. What a let down. The service was rubbish (no cutlery or drinks service). What ambience? It was so noisy in the alcove due to the amount of tables crammed in. The Camembert was under cooked and over priced, the steak was completely average - after it went cold as we had no cutlery. Didnt bother with pudding after paying R68 for the starter. It certainly IS NOT the best steak restaurant in town. @Home in 2nd ave, Harfield or Rondeboschs Hassar Grill beat this supposed best steak restaurant in town by miles.
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  • Excellent steaks! Im very fussy about steak but this place know how to cook up a decent one! The wines are over priced so I would recommend that you pay the corkage and bring your own wine.
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  • Steaks not cooked as requested -sent back. Chips were digusting and veg cold (tasted like oil in fryer needed changing a long time ago). Complained to the owner and was accused of wanting a freebie. I could not believe what I was hearing! The owners attitude was the worst I ever encountered. He offered 10% discount. I would not reccommend this restaurant. You do not treat guests like this.
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  • My fiancee and I recently were shocked after our recent experience at Nelsons Eye. Nothing wrong with the venue, vibe, or ambience as such, BUT what they charge for the food is horrendous. The cheapest starter on the menu is a hotdog-sized garlic role for R25, if you would like some snails be prepared to cough up around R65. The main courses are even more expensive with line fish around R120 and the cherry on the cake for me a 380g sirlion for R135! Fair enough it was superbly prepared and very tasty, but still in my eyes no piece of grilled steak is worth that amount of money. The chips served with the steak are the quickly to prepare frozen type and were not very tasty at all.
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  • If all you need is a good tasting steak to meet your criteria of a good meal out, then, Nelsons Eye might be for you. In my opinion, for a R700 meal (2pax), I need a little more than that.Although the food was tasty and served in a timely fashion, we were left with dirty plates in front of us for the better part of half an hour, this along with no-show side orders and long drinks wait could have been overlooked had we not also has the pleasure of being screamed at for smoking in what was told to us (by the waitress) as a smoking area. With the whole room quiet aside from the owners screams, even the tables around us felt uneasy.This restaurant needs a good manager and it might just turn around, but as it stands at the moment, I would not return.
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  • This place USED to be fantastic, and was a regular on my calender....but it has really lost its charm. The whole room fell silent each time the chef shouted at the new waiter, making it extremely uncomfortable for everyone in the room. On top of that, it seems they have seriusly spiked their prices.One more thing....unless youre as dedicated to Red Hot Chilli peppers being played...on repeat, for the whole dining experience, you to will get annoyed.
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  • i have been to nelsons eye many times. one of the best steaks in the country for sure.ive been around so i can vouch for that. the meat is excellent quality. as for the below comment that a steak is steak, you obviously dont know a damn thing about meat. the veggies are done simply but it is great.kind of good ol fashioned. service fluctuates - sometimes excellent, sometimes poor but in all its more often better than worse. unpretentious and real - great restaurant
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  • This was my second visit...my firstbeing six years ago....the only thing that has changed is the smell...it reminds me more of an old age home sort of smell.....mothballish. Was the food good....well what can I say steak is steak is steak......could be more flavoursome...the accompanying packet spinach and sugar sweetened pumpkin is old school.......very old school....I agree retro is back but imagination at Nelsons Eye is lacking.........Dutch friends of mine said that they make chips the way they like them........now I know to burn them just like Nelsons Eye the next time I cook for them......oh one more thing.......the prices are whacked......R42 for a soup..R64 for a salad.....and R45 for a creme brule......thats when I decided eat dessert here or go to the Engen around the corner.......needless to say the Engen won.......overall what did I think of the Nelsons Eye.....maybe Ill return in six years to see if it smells different
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  • an absolutely fantastic steak restaurant, eating there for years!!!! and guess what they had a complete makeover!!!! this award winning steak hse is the mother of all steak houses!! beat it, get your meal for free!!!! its a winner!!!
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Menu

Set menu - Food Menu - Updated April 2018

Facilities

  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Smoking
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

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