Where to find the best seafood in SA

Brought to you by An Dúlamán

There’s nothing quite like beating the heat with a platter of seafood and an ice-cold gin and tonic. South Africa’s beautiful coastlines are rich in ocean-bound delights, making it easy for restaurants to show off all the sustainable line fish, salty sardines, plump prawns and succulent crayfish. Here are the best spots for seafood that appear in the 2020 Eat Out 500, the top-rated restaurants that made it into the latest issue of Eat Out magazine.


The Big Mouth Sushi and Grill (Sandton)
The diverse menu here boasts plenty of options for seafood fans. Start with The Big Mouth’s signature sushi or a less filling classic plate from the marble sushi bar. The salmon California rolls are as fresh as the prawn fashion sandwiches. Other starters include small plates such as calamari, chopped ceviche, or salt-and-pepper calamari. For your main course, order the beer-battered fish and chips, or miso salmon that’s oven-baked and served with mash potatoes. There’s also a selection of shellfish as well as fish tacos, mussel pots and seafood soups.

Mezepoli (Melrose Arch)
Shared tapas and platters define the dining style, while individual portions make it a business-lunch favourite. Choose from a variety of seafood options such as oysters, pickled octopus slices, calamari tubes stuffed with creamy feta, line fish cooked in foil and sardines served with coarse salt. There’s also seared salmon, cod goujons and queen prawns for something a little more indulgent.

Pigalle (Sandton)
Famous for its incredible seafood, Pigalle offers a great selection, cooked to perfection. Start with the prawns dusted with tandoori spice, shallow-fried and served on warm julienne vegetables, accompanied with a papino and coriander, or the duo of cured Norwegian salmon served on fresh avocado and sesame-crusted seared salmon drizzled with a teriyaki sauce. Langoustines come highly recommended – grilled in lemon butter and lightly brushed with garlic.


As Greek as it Gets (Menlo Park)
Stavros Vladislavic makes some of the best Greek food around, so if you can convince him to cook for your special occasion, he’ll haul out the best dolmades and other Greek delicacies around. Though the seafood platter – comprising kingklip and hake, prawns and mussels done in white wine garlic and cream, calamari in a light chilli sauce, rice salad, pita bread and tzatziki – may appear somewhat old fashioned, it certainly ticks all the right boxes. Other dishes include sardines with onions and green pepper, kingklip topped with spinach and feta, and crumbed hake topped with calamari.

Iskia by Alfies (Hazelwood)
The Fiachetti family owns two other popular restaurants, but chef Alfie indulges his passion for seafood here, while Mama Afra is responsible for the fresh pasta. A taste of the ceviche, with a subtle bite, or the flash-fried calamari and you’ll be hooked on these lingering flavours prepared with traditional Italian simplicity. Do try one of the speciality pastas like the luxurious linguine alla Pescatore, with prawns, calamari, mussels, tomato, ginger and olive oil.

Cape Town

Kyoto Garden (Gardens)
Starters at this Asian-inspired spot with a strong seafood slant include clam miso; tuna and line fish sashimi; sake-steamed mussels; and soya paper rolls with prawns and scallops. For mains, the steamed fish in bamboo is the highlight of the meal, with soft flaky white fish served on a bed of steamed cabbage scattered with sliced spring onions and crunchy seaweed. There’s also ramen with prawns, seared tuna and an extensive sushi menu.

Pesce Azzurro (Woodstock)
New owners have helped turn what was a bit of a hit-and-miss eatery into something special. There’s a good selection of starters, including grilled octopus, stewed baby calamari, burrata cheese with tomato tartare, and a carpaccio based on the catch of the day. The mains include calamari, prawns, octopus, mussels and various kinds of fish. Their signature pasta of mixed seafood with a spiced tomato sauce is a firm favourite.

Seabreeze Fish & Grill (City Bowl)
Expect a small but well thought-through menu, featuring exciting options like angelfish tacos, a tuna burger with house-cut chips and a moreish Cape Malay seafood curry, which comes with home-made roti and sambals. The restaurant also prides itself on its daily Oyster Happy Hour.

Willoughby & Co. (V&A Waterfront)
Good ingredients and skilled cooking make up for the shopping-mall ambience of this seafood institution. The sushi is famous, but the culinary fireworks happen on the Japanese side. The well-balanced flavours of the tempura- fried sweet-and-sour kingklip are also excellent. An honourable mention, thanks to expert cooking and quality ingredients, goes to the prawn cocktail, with fresh prawns and creditable Marie-rose sauce. If ordering the fish curry, choose kabeljou and Cape Malay over green Thai.

Sea Grill by La Boheme (Claremont)
The food is simply plated and served on tables laid with brown paper sheets. No fuss or frills. Start by sharing tasty and colourful tapas, tender calamari tubes, buttery, garlicky mussels and grilled sardines, spicy crumbed prawns dynamite and tuna tataki marinated in soy and ginger. Preparation, dressings and sauces are classic and simple, and seafood is succulently grilled. Highlights are well-priced butterflied Argentinian wild prawns, popular seafood jambalaya, and line fish seasoned with chilli, paprika and herbs.

Kalky’s (Kalk Bay)
Portions are large and, as with any decent fish and chips, well fried. The chips are everything that slaptjips should be, and drenching them in vinegar makes them even better. The fish is tender and the batter is light and crispy, though skip the tomato sauce if you can bear it. The fresh calamari, on the other hand, should be obligatory. If you’re with a crowd, indulge in one of the platters, like the family meal with hake, snoek, calamari, rolls and chips, or the Kalky’s platter with peri-peri prawns, hake, calamari, rice, chips and salad.

Beyond Cape Town

Gaaitjie (Paternoster)
Don’t miss the superb starter of plump West Coast mussels swimming in an aromatic broth of lime and cumin and served with warm potbrood. The grilled calamari is equally good, lifted by a dressing of lime, smoked paprika and pickled red onion on a bed of charred sweetcorn. Mains include flavoursome masala prawns on basmati rice or monkfish in a fragrant dhanya marinade, all served with a side of sea views, of course.

The Noisy Oyster (Paternoster)
This is unpretentious dining in a cheerful courtyard. The playfully worded menu belies the quality of cooking at this Paternoster institution, drawing most of its inspiration from the Mediterranean, with the occasional local flourish. Think pan-seared calamari tubes tossed in lemon, basil and caper berries, followed by mains of whole-roasted gurnard with Moroccan spices, fish caponata on eggplant, or a delicate Paternoster-style hake Niçoise.

The Fat Fish (Plettenberg Bay)
The menu at this restaurant just a stone’s throw away from the sea features all the hits. Start with inventive sushi or tapas plates of Cajun deep-fried squid, oysters, or whitebait in a black garlic aïoli. Then move onto mains of grilled catch of the day with buttery sauce and baby potatoes. Poké bowls and celebration-worthy seafood platters are also a treat.

Ristorante Enrico (Plettenberg Bay)
A meal here is the pinnacle of the Garden Route holiday experience, and while Italian fare is the name of the game, the seafood is a celebration of the ocean. Think fish carpaccio with the freshest line fish, olive oil, lemon and black pepper; calamari with homemade tartare sauce; and a salad of prawns, mussels, line fish and calamari to start. For mains, tuck into fresh mussels in a white wine sauce, or the Fish Enrico with fish from Enrico’s boat, served with white wine and a touch of garlic and herbs.


Surf Riders (South Beach)
The tap-house menu at this promenade surf spot features Asian influences like the Hawaiian poké with options of sushi rice or banting-friendly vegetable noodles with a choice of ahi tuna. There’s also deep-fried calamari; seafood bao burgers; fish tacos with everything from panko line fish to wood-fired prawns; West Coast mussel bowls and a soft-shell crab burger.

Jack Salmon Fish House (Glenashley)
Expect traditional seafood with fish and chips, platters, combos and pastas. Order a simple starter like calamari tubes grilled and drizzled with lemon butter, or the fresh black mussels steamed in a secret creamy seafood sauce or in white wine, garlic, basil and chilli. There are also poké bowls with tuna, prawns or salmon with pickled ginger, kewpie mayo and your choice of rice or veg. The kingklip Cleopatra – seasoned with parmesan and panko breadcrumbs, and served with a salsa of tomatoes, olives and capers – is a signature dish. A seared sesame-crusted tuna in soy sauce with fresh vegetables is occasionally on special. A stacked sushi menu rounds things up.

Seafood and sea views at Jack Salmon in Glenashley. Photo supplied.

Ile Maurice (Umhlanga)
Scrub up on your French for a seafood feast at this Mauritian-style restaurant. For starters, order crab meat in a tomato-based soup or rich béchamel sauce, the beignets de crevettes (deep-fried prawns in a peri-peri sauce), or gratin de moules (Saldhana mussels in a white wine sauce). Main courses include butterflied langoustines, grilled prawns and line fish. The bouillabaisse des îles Mauriciennes comprises fish, mussels, prawns and langoustines in a light broth and is simply delicious.

Brought to you by An Dúlamán

An Dúlamán is an Irish Maritime gin and is made by using five locally harvested varieties of seaweed, as well as six other botanicals. To capture the dry tang of a sea breeze over their wild coastline, An Dúlamán contains five seaweeds including Sweet Kombu, Dulse, Pepper Dulse, Dulaman and superfood Carrageen Moss, bringing an authentic and innovative “umami” twist to the gin category. The seafood curries are also a must.

An Dúlamán works well with any premium tonic water, especially with lemon tonic or bitter lemon. A dash of elderflower cordial and An Dúlamán topped up with soda water is a tasty alternative.

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