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Primal Eatery

Primal Eatery
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Cost
R165 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Quick meals, Special occasions
Food
Greek, Mediterranean, Modern, Steak
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R70 (only on vintage vines)

Critic's review

Jenna Abraham

This place is just too good to keep quiet about. Primal Eatery is co-owned by husband-and-wife team Brynn Felix and Kristina Klonaris, who are trying to keep the opening of the restaurant quiet for now “while they iron out their kinks”, but it already runs smoothly, with attentive service, a swift kitchen, delicious food and great ambience.

Food
Primal Eatery is a restaurant for purists who love the taste of meat – not the basting or sauces, but the naked goodness of the cut.

Before we get to the main event, however, we’re served a complimentary board of babaganoush, grilled red-pepper dip and butter made from pork fat, as well as triangles of grilled pita and sourdough.

The dramatic entrance of the flaming saganaki starter sets the tone for the night. A Greek cheese called kefalotiri (similar in texture to halloumi, but softer) arrives in flames in a small pan, accompanied by grilled pita. Lemon juice is squeezed over to dampen the flames.

We have to order the grilled watermelon to satisfy our curiosity about what happens when you do such a thing. Nothing sinister: It’s an interesting take on the popular watermelon salad that has become a classic at Sunday lunch. It features pickled watermelon rind, cubed feta, stoned Kalamata olives, sprinkles of burnt onion and a smattering of micro leaves. The fruit is grilled super-fast just to tss-tss on each side. It’s delicious.

For mains we both go for the butcher’s cuts of the day, a medium-rare 250g fillet and 300g sirloin off the bone. The meat is accompanied by textures of onion (onion purée, flame-grilled pickled baby onions and burnt onion) and truffle mustard.

For sides, we opt for chips with oregano, flame-roasted sweet potato and no sauces, as we suspect this is one of those rare moments when the meat won’t need any disguising. We’re not wrong.

The beautifully sharp steak knives finely and easily slice through our juicy meat.
In the past, my partner has struggled to get a piece of meat cooked the way he wanted it. After I tentatively ask him how his meat is, he looks up from his plate, surprised, and answers: “It’s rare.” His struggle has ended.

For dessert it’s a difficult choice: How do you say no to deep-fried oreos? (The neighbouring diners don’t.) How do you say no to rose-geranium cheesecake? (We certainly don’t.) The subtle flavour of rose geranium blossoms into heaven in the mouth. Utter bliss. It comes with no crust, but is so light and fluffy you barely realise it’s a cheesecake. Burnt strawberries, fresh blueberries and raspberries, and a strawberry sorbet accompany the star of the show.

(In honour of Valentine’s Day, the bill arrives with complimentary flaming shots and My Broken Heart, a chocolate fondant filled with strawberry purée and cut into two, and sprinkled with tiny pieces of strawberries.).

Drinks
There’s an extensive wine list with Champagne and MCC on offer, options of the usual red and white varietals, and dessert wines. Cocktails include the Peaty Smoked Sour, made with Singleton of Dufftown Tailfire Whisky, shaken with a grapefruit-and-rosemary marmalade, lemon and a dash of Lagavulin scotch, and decorated with a slice of dried grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary. Despite the mention of sour in the name, it’s quite sweet. You could also opt for the Foraged Bramble with Inverroche Amber Gin, Kalymnian Dream with Ketel One Vodka churned with Greek yogurt, and many more, as well as the usual classic cocktails.

Service
Despite the restaurant having been open for only three weeks, the service is faultless. We are welcomed by a smiley front-of-house manager; our waitress has an extensive knowledge of the menu; and our food arrives in a timely manner. Our water glasses are never empty, and we are always under the watchful eyes of the attentive staff and owners. The other guests seem to have the same experience.

Ambience
You can choose to be seated inside or outside the buzzing restaurant. On a warm summer night the terrace is the place to be. The inside décor is a medley of oranges and reds with wooden tables and a subdued grey textured wall. Many of the tables within are two seaters, which creates a cosy, intimate setting. If you visit when the DJ is on duty, the music might be just a little too loud to have a comfortable conversation.

And…
A good indication of a restaurant’s standard is the quality of the restrooms. At Primal Eatery there’s two-ply toilet paper and hand soaps and moisturisers by Africanology, an eco-friendly brand that also smells delicious. Needless to say, we are very well taken care of.

(February 2017)

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

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User reviews

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  • Brilliant service and equally brilliant food. The staff were polite and attentive.
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  • We absolutely loved Primal, we were greeted by name at the door and the service was slick but discreet the whole night. We opted for the winter special which is fantastic value for money, the pitas and dips to start were divine, as was the Oreo dessert but the best by far was the steak, absolutely the best steak I’ve ever had! So tender and flavoursome. Can’t wait to go back and experience more of Primal!
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  • I normally write shorter reviews and let the photos of the food speak for themselves, but Primal delivered a lot more than expected and deserves the effort. My mom arrived in Cape Town for my birthday and what better way to celebrate a fire sign than a place known for using open fire to make everything? Two large fire heaters at the entrance let me know we were in the right place. AMBIANCE Primal has an interesting balance of luxury and familiarity. There's a doorman in a suit to escort you in, but once you're inside, it feels like home. The interior is both chic and homely. It's beautifully decorated with modern, warm lights and luxurious booths and elegantly and intimately set tables of both two and banquets of large parties. We went on a Friday, so the resident DJ was there setting the mood. Almost all of the other guests stayed for a drink on the outside terrace after and in between their meals and the staff genuinely love talking to and entertaining everyone. It was extremely busy so I highly recommend booking a table. FOOD For starters we ordered the flaming saganaki (kefalotiri cheese flambéd with brandy and lime) that was as delicious as it was theatrical, and enjoyed it alongside the complimentary bread board. It has a similar texture to halloumi but with a sharper taste. Being in a coastal town, it's strange that most restaurants don't have a more diverse offering of seafood, so we eagerly ordered the charred Kalk Bay octopus on offer and honestly, I could go back for this dish alone. The pork belly. Oh my. My mom went on about this pork belly for two days and actually phoned two people after the dinner to tell them about how it was the softest pork belly she's had in her life. I think she may have found a greater reason to visit Cape Town than her own child. It's no surprise though, the pork is cooked in a sous vide bath for 6 hours until it's perfect enough to melt in the mouth! I opted for the steak. This is what Primal does best and it's the perfect place for purists who don't want basting and scoff at the term 'well done'. I chose the tenderstem broccoli as a side; once again a unique offering from this hidden gem. Why most restaurants serve normal florets, I can't say. We had absolutely no space for dessert, but I'll be back in no time to try every single one. This is definitely a hidden gem in the city (tucked behind Fire and Ice Hotel in Gardens) that has made food sexy again.
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  • Primal Eatery is a must visit for any steak connoisseur. No... in fact, Primal Eatery is a must visit for everyone. The Food It’s really the best quality food at affordable prices. I am a self proclaimed steak snob. I can’t order steak anywhere because the quality never meets my own standards. But Primal blew me away with the quality of their steak. The whole menu is just a perfect fit. You can see a lot of thought went into the menu with everything on there is complimenting the plate it is assigned to. The flavor is good enough to make any foodie come back. Ive been to supposedly upmarket steakhouses all over the country and Primal Eatery is just in a league of it’s own. Service: The service is such a core part of the success that Primal Eatery is. From reception, waiters and even the kitchen staff were amazing. Everyone working towards the same standard of food, service and general experience at Primal. I can honestly say that Primal Eatery is what Cape Town is all about. Its vibey, it’s something special and definitely a must visit.
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  • (Cont)... if not for it being included in the special we wouldve skipped. I know complaining about food coming out too fast is such a #firstworldproblem but it did disrupt the pace of an otherwise enjoyable meal. The special is one of the best in town value wise.
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  • We went for the winter special last night. Due to our Dineplan reservation apparently showing up late, we got a not so great table at the bar- the manager apologised and explained. The table was actually fine. What did distrupt the flow of the evening was that our mains were served literally less than 10mins after we sat down! The waiter hadnt even brought our wine yet and I was about to take a taste of the bread platter (nice touch). We ordered additional sauces which only arrived halfway through the meal. The steak was well cooked, despite it being quite thin and the hand cut fries really delicious. We asked the waiter to give us some time before bringing out the dessert as we had an entire bottle of wine to get through and our main meal experience was quite rushed. The dessert was good, but if n
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  • A couple of friends and I went for the Winter Steak Special which was paired with a Bellingham Shiraz and the most amazing dessert. My steak was cooked to perfection, the wine complemented all aspects of the dish and the deep fried oreo explosion was an event to remember. Owner Brynn and his wife Kristina are wonderfully warm, down-to-earth and they understand hospitality down to every last detail.
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  • Primal Eatery... Where do i even begin..... From the welcome at the door, to the stunning setting and ambience and TOP CLASS service. But most importantly the most AMAZING food. My daughter took me their my 60th birthday. The owner and staff pulled out the stops! What a memorable occasion! We haven't looked back. Primal has become our go to restuarant for the best steaks ever! Primal never disappoints!!
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  • It's hard to find an eatery in Cape Town that matches the cities vibrancy and beauty, that has the same unique essence that you experience when visiting the city. Yet, Primal Eatery has managed to encapsulate so much of what I think is special about our City in both its decor, passion for service excellence and phenomenal food. We probably spent more time talking about our experience at Primal Eatery than we have eating anywhere else, mostly trying to find some aspect of the evening we could fault, yet from start to finish it simply ticked every box! Simply put, this is one you HAVE to experience and can be assured, you will NOT be disappointed!
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  • What an absolute treat of an evening! The food was sublime, the ambiance electric and the service was extraordinary. 10/10 would recommend.
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  • Mouthwatering Steaks. Highly recommended. This is the Package deal if you’re looking for an outstanding meal, exquisite ambience and excellent service. Knowledgeable mixologists will be able to advise on a cocktail to fit the mood and season (moscule mules always great) when visiting the pre-dinner Welcome lounge. Excellent wine pairings to accompany scrumptious dishes that appeals to all of the senses. Definitely worth booking a visit.
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  • A repeat treat, Primal Eatery has spoiled other restaurants for me as each time we go out, we go back to Primal. The steaks are sublime, every time. My favorite simple sweet potato side is turned into the perfect accompaniment. Amazing service, the owners are hands on and the attention to detail is evident in the continued consistency of what they offer, produce and serve!
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  • I have been here on three occasions and I have never been disappointed. I love their cocktails, the steaks were cooked to perfection and their sides were delicious. The Primal Old Fashioned cocktail was the best I ever had. The cocktails are half price Tuesday to Friday. My fiancé and I had the winter special which comes with a fantastic bottle of wine, we ordered a second bottle, just be careful walking down the stairs afterwards! If you want to impress or just have a special dinner with a loved one, this is the place to go. There are also Banting options.
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  • Visiting Cape Town from London next week and Primal Eatery is on the top of my to do list. Longing for the best steak in town! The food, service and ambience never disappoint. Looking forward to booking my table for an excellent evening with my family.
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  • Will keep going back for my favourite steak and cocktails. Just Love this place!
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  • One of the bests steaks in Cape Town
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  • One of the best steak ever at this cute restaurant. Putnam on your to do list number one
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  • Superb - had little expectation having only recently heard of it, but was blown away by how good everything was. Great service, lovely vibe on a Thursday night, and the steak was out of this world! 100% coming back!
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  • Awesome vibe, amazing food, great concept of open fire cooking. The manager is present. Attention to detail. AMAZING!!! I want to try everything on the menu. I'm close!!! i just can't help myself from going back!! #beststeakever
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  • Incredible dining experience! I recently had the pleasure of dining at Primal Eatery. Nothing about this restaurant disappointed! It is evident that Brinn and Kristina have made it their mission to ensure that every detail meets their high standards, which has left them with a very sophisticated and classy establishment. The service was flawless, the ambience was fantastic and every dish served was absolutely delicious and beautifully presented - including the cocktails. Thank you Brinn for welcoming us so warmly, we will undoubtedly be back!
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  • Primal Eatery has been operating for less than a month yet everything runs like clockwork.The staff are all friendly and attentive and the place has an awesome vibe.The creative menu makes you want to try everything and believe me, your tastebuds won't be disappointed!The food was outstanding and the desserts were absolutely sublime.5 Stars all round!
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  • We had dinner at the Primal Eatery about 3 weeks after they opened. Food was really strong and well prepared. We had the fillet which was prepared to perfection as well as the Pork Belly with Peaches and Fennel (we enjoyed especially the sides). Dessert have been delicious. The atmosphere is nice but maybe they are trying a bit too hard to be "hip" - no need. The service was attentive, friendly and professional (big thank you to Sarah).
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  • We dined at Primal Eatery for Valentine's Day evening and were pleasantly surprised by the menu. A lot of the dishes listed we needed guidance and explanations on which is in line with concept of the menu having items not seen anywhere else. For starters we had the octopus and the ox-heart tartare which were flavoursome and well put together on the plate. With mains we decided to go for the restaurant signature offerings which is displayed confidently in the middle of the menu as 'Butcher's Cut Of The Day'. We selected different cuts, the Flat Iron and the Fillet, we often swapped plates to make sure neither of us missed an opportunity to try a new flavour combination. Each cut of the day arrived with textured onions and truffle mustard which was delicious. This steak experience easily fits into my top 3 for Cape Town restaurants visited. The winelist offering looks perfectly suited for the dishes on the menu whilst the cocktail list was well put together by a mixologist with passion I could imagine.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • WiFi

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