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Societi Bistro

Societi Bistro
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Cost
R180 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Bistro fare, French, Italian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Lynda Ingham-Brown

Food
It’s all about comfort food here. Starters include a salad of the day, snails with garlic and lemon butter, a salad of beetroot and orange with sesame seeds, deep-fried goat’s cheese, rocket and honey, and a traditional Caesar salad. There is also bonemarrow with parsley, capers and charred ciabatta for those who like things rich, and mussels with oven-roasted garlic, cream and white wine for the Francophiles. For mains, choose from the likes of Karoo lamb shank with tomato and braised vegetables, free-range chicken with crispy potatoes, venison Bordelaise with buttered mash, bonemarrow and red wine, or go for a pasta. The Toni Younghusband, penne with cream, gorgonzola, feta and grana padano, is as rich as it sounds. And the Willem Jacques – risotto with pumpkin, sage butter, pumpkin seeds and grana padano is a perennial favourite. Those who prefer to forgo meat will be happy with a vegan Thai curry. Desserts include a lemon tart, The Chocolate Nemesis, baked cheesecake, crème brûlée, sorbet and ice cream, as well as a local cheese board.

Drinks
A competent wine list, mainly of local origin and including some Italian varietals, with some great-value options by the glass.

Service
Friendly and well-informed.

Ambience
Warm and cosy in winter (there’s a fireplace); the outside area is very popular in summer. The Snug, the attached smokers’ bar, is a popular spot on a chilly evening, and is available for private functions.

And…
The Culinary Tour Through France menu, which lasts for 10 weeks, is a good introduction to French cuisine. (LIB)

(September 2016)

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

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  • Sandiso Ngubane

    Food
    The menu fuses French and Italian cuisine and is adapted seasonally. The winter menu offers a lot of hearty mains, including a tender, deboned, free-range half chicken, served with crispy potatoes and roasted carrots, with a sufficiently creamy velouté. The 25-minute wait for this meal, which the menu warns you about, is absolutely worth it. Other mains include prawns with oven-roasted garlic and chilli, served with garlic bread; and a Karoo lamb shank with tomato, braised vegetables, red wine and buttered mash. The venison is served with buttered mash and a bone marrow and red wine source. Before delving into the mains, you may want to dip into some moreish West Coast mussels with croutes, onion and garlic, cream and white wine source. Pasta options include a spaghetti carbonara and Kamil’s spaghetti, adorned with trout, vodka cream and courgettes, among things. Vegetarians may consider diving into a mushroom or pumpkin risotto.

    Drinks
    The wine list features mainly local vineyards, including Groot Constantia, Mulderbosch and La Motte. Italian varietals include Terra del Capo Pinot Grigio and Bellenda San Fermo Prosecco. Bubblies include brut varieties, rosé’s and brut reserve, with the average price at R200 a bottle.

    Service
    The dining experience is made even better by the attentive, but not overbearing waiters. They seem to be on-point at just about everything, including keeping your glasses filled. They’re professional, well versed on the menu and mostly quite charming.

    Ambience
    Societi Bistro is a less than five-minute walk away from the bustle that is Long Street, located just below trendy Kloof Street. Based in a restored 200 year-old Georgian-style home, the restaurant strikes a perfect balance between classy and low key. The walls around the restaurant are high enough to keep the bustle of Orange Street out, making for a relaxing experience. The age mix is just right, reflecting the establishment’s balance of class and comfort.

    And …
    During summer, the outside seating area is simply perfect for long afternoon lunches and dinner beneath the stars.

  • Sandiso Ngubane

    Food
    The menu fuses French and Italian cuisine and is adapted seasonally. The winter menu offers a lot of hearty mains, including a tender, deboned, free-range half chicken, served with crispy potatoes and roasted carrots, with a sufficiently creamy velouté. The 25-minute wait for this meal, which the menu warns you about, is absolutely worth it. Other mains include prawns with oven-roasted garlic and chilli, served with garlic bread; and a Karoo lamb shank with tomato, braised vegetables, red wine and buttered mash. The venison is served with buttered mash and a bone marrow and red wine source. Before delving into the mains, you may want to dip into some moreish West Coast mussels with croutes, onion and garlic, cream and white wine source. Pasta options include a spaghetti carbonara and Kamil’s spaghetti, adorned with trout, vodka cream and courgettes, among things. Vegetarians may consider diving into a mushroom or pumpkin risotto.

    Drinks
    The wine list features mainly local vineyards, including Groot Constantia, Mulderbosch and La Motte. Italian varietals include Terra del Capo Pinot Grigio and Bellenda San Fermo Prosecco. Bubblies include brut varieties, rosé’s and brut reserve, with the average price at R200 a bottle.

    Service
    The dining experience is made even better by the attentive, but not overbearing waiters. They seem to be on-point at just about everything, including keeping your glasses filled. They’re professional, well versed on the menu and mostly quite charming.

    Ambience
    Societi Bistro is a less than five-minute walk away from the bustle that is Long Street, located just below trendy Kloof Street. Based in a restored 200 year-old Georgian-style home, the restaurant strikes a perfect balance between classy and low key. The walls around the restaurant are high enough to keep the bustle of Orange Street out, making for a relaxing experience. The age mix is just right, reflecting the establishment’s balance of class and comfort.

    And …
    During summer, the outside seating area is simply perfect for long afternoon lunches and dinner beneath the stars.

    October 2015

  • Tudor Caradoc-Davies

    Food
    First off, let’s deal with what doesn’t work. Societi Bistro has an odd menu gimmick: 70% of the dishes are named after people. Unless you work in media circles or keep a keen eye on Societi Bistro’s regular customers, you probably won't know who these people are. Even if you do, it’s a little confusing. The Ham Hock, for example, is named after Arthur Malan (the GQ fashion director) while the pasta arrabiata is named after Maybe Corpacci (a leggy blonde Italian). Whether you want to munch on either depends on your proclivities. Similarly, the snails are named after photographer Richard Keppel-Smith, who is renowned for his black leather jacket and skinny black jeans wardrobe. Is Societi Bistro implying that the delicious slimy black mollusks resemble the man? Or is it simply his favourite dish? The point is not clear and the waitress couldn’t give a clear answer. It feels a bit like an in-joke.

    As for the food, for the record, Richard Keppel-Smith (a.k.a garlic snails – a pet name is ever there was one) were perfect: garlicky, but complemented by lemon and parsley, they hit the moreish sweet spot between leaving you wanting more and igniting your anticipation for the next course. The Willem Jacques (no idea who he is), a risotto of pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, sage butter and grana padano (available as all risotto and pasta dishes are in starter or main portions) was excellent. With rich, perfectly complementary flavours, it’s the kind of stuff you dream about for a cold winter evening. A starter portion (R53) is just the right amount to tee you up for a main.

    The mains selection is clever in that it covers most bases for dishes that qualify as favourites. So from seafood (linefish, prawns) to free-range meat, grill and roast-based dishes and even a vegan curry named after Harry Enzo (squeezed between a free-range chicken called Tarryn Oppel and a 300g sirloin without a name). A Venison Bordelaise is the meat in the sandwich of a Tony Jackman (lamb shank) and Justine Drake (free-range ostrich burger). The Arthur Malan (ham hock) was good. Responsive in the way slow-cooked pork should be, it fell off the bone with a gentle prod and settled itself into a pillow of mash accompanied by a pot of dark intense gravy. The sirloin, which came with a choice of sauce béarnaise, moutarde or mushroom brandy (the winning option) was another win on the favourite front. It’s not higher-grade cuisine, but if you can cook a decent steak, throw in some hand-cut chips and salad and nail the combo as Societi Bistro did, then you can name it after Steve Hofmeyr for all anyone cares.

    Drinks
    The wine list is well padded, but not ridiculously overly extensive like Caveau of old. More importantly, if you are dining with a non-drinker, someone gestating or an underling behaving him or herself over a business lunch, you can order every wine by the glass. If you prefer to drink from a wingback chair impersonating a Bond villain, Societi Bistro’s bar, The Snug, offers you that opportunity. It is just that, snug and a great place to hide out on a cold wet evening. It has its own menu of canapés and you can book out the whole bar provided you spend R3000 for said nibbles. Chris Martin from Coldplay allegedly made an appearance at The Snug once, starting a mini-stampede. Whether that’s an endorsement or indictment, and whether the stampede was towards or away from him, probably depends on your music tastes.

    Societi Bistro’s patio, on the other hand, is perfect for those peachy Cape days where sun and a lack of wind come together and you want something cold and wet in your hand and a view of Table Mountain for a backdrop.

    Service
    Spot on. Orders were taken timeously, wine glasses were filled when low, the food arrived at appropriate intervals, giving you just enough time to take a few breaths between courses, smiles were genuine and their tips more than earned.

    Ambience
    Excellent. Busy on an early weekday, the restaurant manages to maintain a warm, cosy feel at most times. A word of advice, though. If it’s wet, cold or windy outside, try not to sit in the front room as each time the door opens you will receive a blast from the great outdoors.

    And…
    Illustrating the care taken with their wine menu, Societi Bistro has special pairing menus that change with different countries. You can take a food and wine trip through an Italian province or meander through a French region from the comfort of your seat.

    Run by the same people who have Jonkershuis at Groot Constantia and The Brasserie in Tokai, you can’t fault the Societi Bistro team for effort, as other extras include a Chef’s Table (minimum R300 per head to watch Chef Stefan Marais at work), a voucher for first-time users of taxi service Uber, and they provide complimentary Wifi (perhaps if your companion is dull?).

    (July 2014)

  • A place for all occasions, with a seasonal menu as well as timeless favourites by chef Stefan Marais. Monthly ‘tours’ through regions of France or Italy add something extra. The chicken liver parfait is ricidulously smooth and lip-smackingly delicious. The converted house offers fireplaces in winter and a lovely terrace in summer. Stand-outs: mussels marinière, fillet au poivre, risotto (both the wild mushroom and the pea), and the Chocolate Nemesis.
  • Food
    This is bistro-style cooking in the French manner with no nods to health along the way. Try the ox tongue with Dauphine potatoes and caper cream to take the edge off the richness; the pancetta risotto with apple; or the generous portions of ricotta gnocchi with sage butter. Move on to fish; roasted free-range chicken with buttered mash; aubergine and lentil curry with vetkoek; or steak. Desserts include baked cheesecake and a chocolate nemesis to die for.

    Wine
    Very good. A well-chosen and well-priced list, available by the glass, carafe or bottle.

    Service
    Like being at home, but better.

    Ambience
    Cosy inside, this converted town house attracts the cognoscenti year after year. Always warm and friendly, the mood is delightful in the enclosed and sheltered front garden, especially on those sultry Cape summer evenings.

    And...
    Don’t miss the cosy bar for befores or afters. (GL, October 2012)

User reviews

  • This used to be my favourite restaurant in Cape Town, but I've been very disappointed the last few times I went there. The pumpkin risotto I ordered last time was a joke. Not at all cheap, and when it arrived it was just risotto, with one tiny piece of pumpkin, swimming in a sickly pool of melted butter, or oil of some sort. The mushroom risotto is generally good, however. Another problem: Over the winter they decided to light fires in the restaurant but the chimney was malfunctioning and the smoke blew into all the rooms, in huge clouds. People were running out, gasping. We had to leave. I hope they have sorted out this problem. Gas heaters would be preferable to being smoked half to death. At least this isn't a problem in the summer months.
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  • Top class food along with top class service. We were blown away by the friendly waiters, amazing food and excellent wine. Will definitely be back soon. The vegan Thai curry was the best ever (coming from a non-vegan person).
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  • Recently I hosted some foreign guests and wanted to take them somewhere that prepared quality food in some local ways without the gimmicks. As per usual, Societi did not disappoint! Karoo lamb, West coast mussels and locally caught sustainable fish, served by a friendly waiter who offered some good wine recommendations! We topped the meal off with a slice of chocolate nemesis and a scoop of lemon sorbet - standard ;)
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  • From the moment you enter this eatery's front door, you know that you've found a special place. Buzzing with clientele (you really take a chance if you don't book), young and old were grouped in tables of various sizes in the six or so rooms that make up the restuarant. This was our 2nd visit in less than a month and took a group of seven on Friday 26th June 2015. Our very experienced and attentive waiter handled our sometimes difficult table with ease, food and drinks were served quickly with assistance of other staff who were abundant and easy to catch the eye of. Our table was laid with fresh linen, crystal glasses and small oil candles. An easy to understand menu with a few specials is, I believe, part of the winning recipe of "Societi". The immediate serving of fresh baked bread with our drinks relaxed us and eased the hunger pangs. The salads looked and tasted fresh, My steak was good, rare as requested with a mushroom brandy sauce (i definitely had the chips), great reports about the pork, yellowtail, pastas and lamb. Most went for the ice cream deserts with the Grappa "infused" vanilla being the favourite. The bill for the evening including two bottles of wine and a 10% tip came to just under R250 per person. Overall a great Cape Town experience. Thanks to all the staff for creating a delightful evening with friends.
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  • Sandra Muller 24 April 2015 7pm Friday evening out with friends: good company, attentive service and relaxed ambience. Food was mediocre: arrived very quickly after the order was placed: reheated lamb shanks, sirloin steak more well done than medium rare and lukewarm pasta. I won't be making another reservation anytime soon
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  • I've been to Societi Bistro before a few years ago for my work's end of year function. We had a set menu and service was not as efficient due to our huge numbers. The meal was good but didn't leave a lasting impression. Fortunately my second was a different and wonderful experience. My cousin won a tasting table for 10 and treated my mom, aunts, cousins and I to a feast to celebrate her upcoming 30th birthday. With the chef (famous after appearing on Chopped South Africa) telling us in-depth of the various six courses we were about to savour, all our mouths were watering and we were not disappointed (except the risotto, sorry Chef). We had four waiters attending to our every need and my only disappointment was my cocktail. A truly awesome dining experience with the ladies in my life and I would definitely visit a third time and hopefully more in the future
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  • We had such a great experience at Societi recently for a double date. Corkage was affordable so we brought our own bubbly and dived straight into the food! The pork belly was the win of the night and the dessert duo of the chocolate nemesis and the ice cream with cheese cake and orange (bf had the nemesis, I had the ice cream) was the perfect blend of chocolatey richness and tart citrus (backed up by the luxury of cheese cake crust). As a young group in our mid-20's we felt really welcome and all agreed our rands were solidly spent!
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  • My husband and I went to the bistro for a late lunch. The outside area looked lovely and with all the accolades on the wall we thought perhaps it would be a bit too 'posh' for a quick, spur of the moment lunch. But how disappointed we were. I ordered the T-bone special, medium rare, which came well done. My husband ordered the ostrich burger medium rare which also came well done. The meal as a whole was quite bland and boring and the end of a lemon does not count as garnish on a steak!!! Such a pity as we won't be going back.
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  • Societi is a wonderful place to go have a sundowner in the courtyard and catch up with friends. Its gorgeous under the mountain on a summer evening.
    However, it is not the place to go for food. We were all rather disappointed. The steak was good (It tasted like a steak) but the sides were heart breaking. Whilst the actual 'pasta' in my Prawn Pasta dish was really good it was let down by the 'rest' of the dish which consisted of sparse ingredients. Again the portion was sad and we were all left thinking everything was a bit over priced. It's frustrating to leave a restaurant hungry and feeling that you wished you had spent your money else where.
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  • Societi Bistro gets better each and every time I visit it. Last night's meal yet again cemented the restaurant's ranking as my personal Cape Town favourite. If you haven't been yet, go! Top pick from last night was the delicious Moroccan-inspired venison (kudu). Still thinking about that meal today - which is always a good sign. Service is friendly and informative, and the ambience cosy and homely.
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  • We ate at Societi Bistro last night and had a delicious meal! We almost cancelled our booking due to the average reviews I read but glad we didn't! Only disappointment was my line fish for R120 was literally just fish.. No veggies (unless you count the cauliflower cream which was sauce!) and no mash/potato or other starch! So I was left hungry! The chocolate nemesis was to die for and crime brûlée also superb! Will definitely go back!

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  • Hi,

    Had dinner here with my wife on Friday. Sat outside and it was great. The baked figs with porchetta and rocket was great!

    Jaco

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  • I have heard about Societi Bistro and we made a special trip to have dinner with another couple.

    I liked the compact menu with a good variety of options for diners with all sorts of tastes and the wine offering. The restaurant is quaint with lots of character! I had the sirloin with fries and salad and sadly found it to be unexciting. Perhaps I should have tried something else but was disappointed as I held a high expectation after only hearing good things. Finished meal with creme brule which wasn't bad but not the best I've tasted. The sugar topping tasted burnt.

    The jury hasn't decided on this establishment yet - perhaps we need to give it another go

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  • Societi Bistro has obviously caught on in.
    Tokai so fills a gap. Impressive and appealing bistro menu, just wouldn't want one of the tables squashed in near the entrance door. Enjoyable, although service seems to falter when busy and we were unsure who the manager was.

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  • Had a perfect Birthday dinner here. The service is relaxed and yet really professional. The food is great (particularly the chicken liver parfait starter). The ambience is lovely. Highly, highly recommend.

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  • Put this bistro on your list to visit! Eve, our waitress was superb - good wine pairing advice, as well as friendly and efficient. Lovely views outside, but just as cosy inside. The menu is interesting and varied - we had the pasta starters. The truffle spaghetti is recommended. For mains, venison is an interesting taste sensation, but I definitely made the best selection with the prawns - beautifully done! Every wine on offer has a "per glass" option, which is great. Try the Doolhof Dark Lady - lovely! Ended off with a cheese board and part - goat's cheese and fresh strawberries burst in your mouth! Highly recommended.

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  • An incredible first experience at Societi on Friday night. The evening was warm and still which made for a romantic alfresco meal in the beautiful courtyard. I tried the venison bourguignon (kudu) with buttered mash, bacon lardons, pearl onions and baby button mushrooms. It was quite sublime. A taste of my partners lamb shank was equally delightful. We finished with the chocolate nemesis and lemon tart which were both fantastic. I quite literally cannot wait to go back - thank you.
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  • Truly home away from home. We are locals and try and dine at Societi at least once a week. The daily specials on the black board keep you coming back for more. Look out for the culinary tours that Stefan Marais produces. Last year it was a new part of France every week. A week without Societi is like a week without sunshine.
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  • Dear Phil,

    Thank you so much for all your positive comments, it is guests such as yourself that make all the hard work sourcing the best produce, prepping fresh every day, and putting our hearts and souls into the bistro worth while! Keep coming back, the black board specials change daily as we look towards Italian alfresco dining for inspiration this summer. The summer menu also launches in December with some exciting additions to the menu, as always it will be seasonal, simple, but most of all delicious. Thanks again. -Stefan Marais. Head Chef - Societi Bistro
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  • I NEVER write reviews, but the experience we had last night warrants it, Were from the burbs and loathe the parking situation in town, so we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a parking right outside the door! But this is about the food, Shared starter of squid, light chili and mint = Excellent. For mains my wife had the fillet which was good, but the reason for my writing this was my spring lamb! Easily my favorite meal of the year and one of my All Time top 5! That flavour combination was spectacular and had me feeling rather like a judge in one of those TV reality chef shows! This is complemented by a very well thought-out and flexible wine list (EVERYTHING available by the glass!).
    Loved it and will be back soon. Thanks!













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  • Dear Twanette, Anna, Monique and SophiaThank you for taking the time to write such positive and encouraging reviews. We love our bistro as much as you do! Have you tried our new Autumn menu? All three fireplaces are lit in anticipation of welcoming you home soon!
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  • I had a great night celebrating my birthday here with a handful of friends on a cold and rainy April night. It was cosy and warm with the fireplace crackling away, our friends toddlers could be let loose to play and the food was just great. I had the chefs special of tuna - generous portions in a red wine sauce with potato and spinach; the others sirlion, pork neck and fillet were also top class. The prices are very reasonable and the portions satisfyingly big (especially the pasta).All in all, a great experience! Ill definitely be back this winter.
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  • Fantastic meal and great service. The ox tongue starter was superb as was the ginger froth oysters and the cider mussels. We will definitely be back.
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  • Ive been dining at Societi for years now and introduced an old friend to the restaurant this week. She was not disappointed. The food was phenomenal - silky chicken liver parfait that melts in your mouth and beautiful crisp broccoli in the gnocchi dish - just what the doctor ordered after a long hard day at work! She was also impressed that the waitering staff remembered what I had the last time I was in - the little things make a huge difference. The atmosphere was fantastic - as usual - and its tough to get a word in when we are catching up! Thank you for a marvellous evening - hope to have many many more!
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  • I recently read the review by Tony Jackman in the Argus of last week... and boy did he hit the nail on the head. Havent been for a while, but last nights dinner was fantastic! Service spot on; the menu just beautiful - overall I agree with Mr Jackman, This is the best in the City Bowl. Be back soon! X Twans
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  • We have been eating at this Societi Bistro for many years and have always enjoyed the food. However, after eating there last week Friday evening we doubt we will be going back. The food was below par, tasteless, not well presented and certainly did not match the descriptions on the menu. We even asked if the Chef had changed recently.
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  • Something of a disappointment. We were placed next to a wood fire which needed re-starting three times, issuing copious gusts of smoke. Not exactly conducive to enjoyable eating. However the restaurant IS cold (why else the blankets provided?) so we put up with the smokey chimney. The Coq au Vin which I had was basically tasteless, and the spinach which I ordered (no greens with the main course) was so tough as to be inedible. It went back. However the burgers met with general approval (I remember that they were excellent at the Waterfront venue).
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  • I am not sure if Basil followed the debate a few months ago that the owner participated in? IE. Did Basil raise his dissatisfaction with the food on the night, and not have it corrected and that is why he is choosing a public forum to criticize the restaurant? I have never had a bad meal at Societi, however once my steak was slightly undercooked and it was corrected without fuss!
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  • My wife and I just had a great Suturday lunch at Society Bistro. The service was freindly and efficient and the food tasty and delicious. Starters of beef tongue in mustard and caper sauce and warm oysters were terrific and second courses of a light cheese souffle and a beetroot risotto with melted camembert were also extremely tasty and just the right size. The house red at R20 for a generous 250ml glass was also excellent. Highly recommended.
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  • After a first time visit to Societi we were generally pleased. The service was very friendly, the food was cooked well and definitely in the better range of a bistro level. My two dishes (starter portion mushroom ravioli and main seared tuna) tended to be on a borderline temperature but tasted well. Wine selection is too small and a little too expensive for average labels. We will definitely be back (with our own bottle) and look forward to another visit.
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  • Last night I had the pleasure to dine with a friend at the new Societi Bistro. The new location with views of the mountain is unbeatable, the inside has a rustic feel with naked brick walls, the outside section is what I fell in love with the most - it reminded me of the restaurant La Colombe dOr aux portes de Saint Paul de Vance, situated in Provence, France. Last night was a particularly magical night to be dining outside, it was warm, but not too warm and not windy at all. The food was sublime, I had their signature Fillet Steak Au Poivre and it was one of the best steaks Ive ever had. For dessert we both wanted to try the Parisian Chocolate Truffle Cake purely just from our love of chocolate and all things Parisian, but we ended up getting the Baked Cheese Cake as well, and Im not a big cheese cake fan, ordinarily, but just this once cheese trumped chocolate - we didnt even finish the chocolate truffle cake. The service was attentive, familiar & professional. The whole evening was just delightful - I cant wait to go back there again.
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  • I absolutely love this restaurant, its new location, the food and its staff! A winner in every category... I will definitely keep going back again and again! Keep up the good work!
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  • Being lovers of both food and restaurants and always looking to try something new, we were keen to give the ‘new’ Societi Bistro a try and in late December last year we took the plunge. On popping by to make a reservation and peruse the menu, we were greeted by a very friendly and convincing manageress, Leanne, who immediately left us looking forward to the experience ahead. That first night at Societi was a complete winner, the ‘new’ location with views of the mountain is unbeatable, the food of the highest standard and the service deserving of very special mention. Leanne took the time to visit our table on several occasions and along with a very attentive waitron, Paul, was very helpful in her suggestions, displaying just the right degree of friendliness whilst remaining at all times highly professional. After that first fantastic experience, we have returned almost weekly and been impressed each time to receive the warmest of welcomes. Leanne along with her staff have always gone out of their way to make our experience memorable, from allowing us to choose our tables, to providing unbiased advice on both wines and meals, even going so far as to bring us a “taster” or two! It is so refreshing to find a restaurant in Cape Town where the staff are focused on making the guests evening a special one, as opposed to the suggestive selling practices of many of the city’s other top restaurants. Combine this level of service with a varied, somewhat creative menu, which has never disappointed, and a ‘top-notch’ wine list and Societi ticks every box as a consistently great spot for either a casual dinner or that special occasion!
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  • A lovely venue, but somehow the ambience suffers. Service is too frenetic, too prone to hyperbole (every dish was oversold, then under-delivered), and akin to being pecked by small, sharp-beaked birds. Languid would suffice, and bring out the best in a laid-back venue.As for the food. The Fatoush salad had not a sliver of mint, the pita bread seemed neither toasted, nor fried, the sauce reminded me of a ranch dressing. The risotto, which I had heard praised, and wanted to like, was at best a one-note affair, without subtlety. (My home-cooked version is way better.) We were on our way to a movie, and were promised the food would be delivered in good time. It was delivered in the nick, which also spoiled the experience.All in all, lacking in subtlety, which can be forgiven in a bistro with soul. But that was sadly lacking too. And that wont do.
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  • My biggest complaint about this fantastic venue is that it was so good, my wife has stopped cooking, and we now end up eating there at least once or twice a week. The menu is varied and seasonal so you never get bored, and with phenomenal chef’s daily specials, you can’t go wrong. With its central location in a grand 1813 Georgian manor house, internally with exposed brickwork revealing the layered history, or the wonderful garden with framed views of Table Mountain, it’s the perfect place for those “surprise your wife”, I’m being romantic occasions or like us, pop in “we’re not cooking tonight” meals that won’t break the bank account. What more could a man ask for. Plus the bar is great! All I can say is we feel like one of the family, and thank you Peter and all at Societi for some very special memories.
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  • What a fantastic experience. Very light hearted, definitely a great place to relax after a busy day in Cape Town. Started in the new bar area and moved across to our table for our meals thereafter.My family and I enjoyed the delicious pork belly with a side portion of mushroom risotto and had the wonderful home made ice cream for dessert. Thank you for the wonderful experience. And say hi to your new russian waitress for me.
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  • My sincere apologies for the poor service. It is only through constructive criticism and compliments that we can continuously strive to improve.I have checked with Stuart, who served you. You were unhappy with the Puttanesca when it arrived as there was no pomodore based sauce (our menu does state that it is Olive oil based and not a traditional presentation “Olive Oil Puttanesca – anchovy, olives, capers, fresh tomato, olive oil”. Stuart offered to take it back and add pomodore sauce or bring you a portion of the sauce to add to the pasta. It was agreed that a portion of the sauce be brought to the table, which you then added to the pasta. During the course of waiting for the pomodore sauce, the pasta had become cold. You brought this to Stuarts attention, and he took it back to the kitchen immediately, had it remade and a fresh portion of pomodore sauce separately. He checked if you were satisfied, which you confirmed. The plates that came back to the kitchen were empty.No mention was made of the disappointing steak? According to Stuart you were extremely happy when you left and complimented on our desserts but that we need to work on our pastas. The bill total was R 720.00 and you tipped him a further R 90.00, for which he is very grateful. Please could you verify that he is telling the truth?Your bill was as follows, 1 Bottle Hartenberg Cab/Shiraz R 87.00 1 Bottle Durbanville Hills Chardonnay R 90.00 2 Glasses House Red @ R 20.00 R 40.002 Glasses Dville Chard @ R 30.00 R 60.00 1 Full Puttanesca R 90.00 1 Full Pork Belly R 92.00 1 Ribeye R 105.00 1 Bacon and Mushroom Pizza R 60.00 2 Cheesecake @ R 38.00 R 72.00 1 Earl Grey Tea R 10.00 1 Americano R 10.00 Total R 720.00 I cannot begin to apologise for your poor experience, however, I urge you to raise your dissatisfaction with anything with your waiter immediately, and if you are not satisfied with their solution to ask for a manager. We strive to make every guest happy and to have a memorable experience.I can understand using a public forum such as this if we had not made any attempt to rectify your complaint or if anyone had been rude to you or your guests. Please appreciate we are a small business and negative publicity like this is very damaging. Many of the people we employ are sole bread winners for large families. It is my responsibility to these people to make sure Societi is a success. My philosophy is to offer value for money in an informal bistro environment, which under promises and over delivers. Every guest’s satisfaction, within reason, is vital to the success of our business and the continued employment of all our staff, we take every complaint very seriously. Once again I apologise for your poor experience, and please let me know should you decide to give us a second chance, as I would like to personally express my apology and attempt to compensate for ruining your experience.Kind regardsPeter Weetman
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  • My sincere apologies for the poor service. It is only through constructive critism and compliments that we can continuously strive to improve. Our policy is to work as a team - each waiter is allocated a section of tables however, they are not able to be everywhere at the same time. In order to avoid sorry I am not your waiter syndrome, everyone helps everyone.Please can you let me know who your waiter was (the name will appear on the bill) as our waiters are formally employed and subject to formal discipline.If you could also describe the manager who dealt with your complaint, as it was clearly not dealt with adequately on the night, which has prompted you to use a public forum such as this to air your disappointment.Our management team is committed to making every guest happy, within reason. As a small business it is crippling to receive such bad press and could affect us to the extent where we would have to lay-off staff because people stop dinning with us. Many of our staff are the sole bread winners for large families, and would loose their jobs. I would like to assure you that the manager who dealt with your complaint on the evening, will also be subject to a disciplinary enquiry. We take any complaint very seriously.Once again I would like to express my gratitude for bringing your poor experience to my attention.Please let me know should you decide to give us a second chance, as I would like to personally express my apology and attempt to compensate for ruining your experience.Kind regards,Peter WeetmanOwner
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  • We had the most disappointing dinner experience at Societi Bistro. The Puttenesca Pasta I ordered was cold and almost completely dry - for R90 - absolutely atrocious. My wife had a Ribeye steak - R105 - overcooked and miniscule. I have had some good meals when they were at the Waterfront (lamb shank and slow roast pork belly) but spending R800 on a meal like this was a total loss.
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  • My last experience at Societi ensured that my girlfriend and I would never return, despite the convenience of living 2 minutes away. Our main gripe was definitely the service. We had a total of 4 different people serving us at different times. The person who read us the specials didnt bother facing us, mumbled his way through them and didnt even finish his sentence when something else took his interest and the previous waiter took over. Already put off, we just went for a main course and I asked for a small variation on a side item. My girlfriend ordered Ribeye steak and a serving of grilled veggies. When our order eventually arrived, this time with the head waiter, my girlfriend politely mentioned that she hadnt received her veggies. He obviously forgot the order--we only received the veggies when our food was finished and we were about to leave. We were still charged for it though. We were both actually quite amused at the waiters obvious dispair when he didnt receive a fantastic tip...what did he expect?
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  • Have you seen their bar? Its amazing - especially their cosmos!
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  • Ninety for two courses and one of their gigantic glasses of wine is phenomenal value for money! Pitty its only for lunch- any chance of extending it for dinner?
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  • Thank Goodness theyre open for breakfast again! I have been getting eggs benedict withdrawal syndrome!
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  • Had a delicious early supper here on Friday (21 Nov). The chicken livers with port sauce and lentils is a nice tapas-sized starter and goes down well with fresh ciabatta. Will most certainly return for the cheesy pizza bianco with anchovies, olives and capers. The menu is so well priced and the new location is awesome - with fast, friendly service to boot!
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  • A wonderfully charming spot with quirky relaxed atmosphere.Other than fantastic food, the artistic table cloth idea allows for friends to let their hair down and enjoy the full bistro experience
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  • great restaurant, staff very friendly
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  • As you described, laid back and good steaks/seafood. Nice to go to the WF and relax a bit instead of the usual pretenciousness. Simple food done well. Service was attentive without being overbearing. Pretty good value considering the location. We will go back.
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  • 19 Oct 07. Party of 4, celebrating my birthday. Saw the waiter 4 times, when he took our drinks order, brought bread, took our meal order and after I proceeded to the pay point to pay. We were given 2 tiny pieces of butter between the 4 of us, had to go and ask for more. My grilled vegetables was a soggy mess of over-cooked vegetables. The replacement portion was also over-cooked. My glass was taken away half-way through the meal without being asked for a refill. I asked another waiter to help. Needless to say, we did not stay for dessert and coffee and will certainly not be returning or having our company year-end function at Societi Bistro again.
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  • We had a wonderful evening at Societi. The ambience is fantastic and the food was served quickly, hot and tasty! Its 5 star dining with a relaxed atmostphere. Even though its based at the Waterfront its got meals to suite all budgets. Its romantic and cosy and well definitely be back.
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  • Had lunch with a business colleague and was very disappointed. The starter was absolutely delicious (caramelised onion pizette) but it was all downhill from there. I had the kudu loin (served at room temperature - which I was warned about, and was ok with) but the outside was so charred that hte only flavour was a burnt one. And the apricot and raisin relish was completely undercooked. The homemade iceccream was very good. The service was arbitrary and the overall experience was not good enough that I would want to return. Cant believe it made the top 15!!!!
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  • Had a late dinner with friend visiting from England. Children were kept busy & happy. Dinner was delicious - provided great options
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  • I enjoyed the pork neck steak. My guests also complimented the food. I just find the prices of the wine truly way out of line. Why so pricy?
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  • I had a mussel starter - it had about 10 - 12 mussels in the plate of which 3 were still closed -this is very dangerous as a person who does not know that you shouldnt eat closed mussels could get very sick - I also had the lamb shank and it was so unbelievably tough. For the price you would expect more!!
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  • I had a truly bad expierence here last week. I ordered a chateaubriand. (flambeed) When the waiter brought it in a seperate little pan, while lifting it out of the pan, he dropped it back into the pan. My finger started burning as well as my jeans (he dropped some of the burning cognac on my pants). I do not mind the mistake, as it was human. But all the waiter did was say sorry off-handedly and walked off. I thought it was a bit disrespectfull.
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  • Just a note to say thank you for a really great lunch. I entertained friends from the UK at Society, and it was great. Thank you for a at least one restaurant that cooks from the heart, and for the soul. WELL DONE!!! Of the best pork neck in the city. I just found the wine prices very high.
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  • An experience not to be missed! It occurred to me, whilst sitting in this wonderful restaurant in the Waterfront, smelling the sea, that we really are blessed to live in Cape Town. A friend and I decided to try this restaurant after reading that it was the most popular choice in the Waterfront. We were not disappointed. I could almost believe that I was in France.....the decor has been cleverly sourced. ( The paper tableclothes are a bit confusing, considering that the rest of the decor is so classy! ) The food was fantastic.....try the Springbok Carpaccio and the Almond Tart for dessert. Wonderful Cappucinos! Service was friendly but not invasive. We had a wonderful Girls Night Out.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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