Address: Villagers Football Club, 11 Imam Haron Road, Claremont
Telephone: 021 020 8185
Operating times: Mondays to Thursdays 11am-9pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11am-10pm, Sundays 11am-4pm
Average price of a main course: R130-R200
Parking: on site
Food type: Portuguese
The OG Dias Tavern has been a Cape Town institution since the late 1980s. The latest franchise opened in Claremont on June 7, 2023, bringing the traditional Portuguese cuisine and traditional favourites to the southern suburbs. Other branches are at Willowbridge in Bellville, and Somerset West.
Each follows the tried-and-tested food format of Caledon Street, with everything you’ve come to expect from Dias: the impressive espetada grande, cubes of rump dripping with garlic butter brought to the table on an impressive skewer that turns heads; tasty chicken or beef trinchado; prego rolls; and the ever-popular Portuguese steak, swimming in sauce and topped with a fried egg, served on a sizzling skillet in clouds of steam.
View this post on Instagram
Besides this, there are seafood dishes, for starters or mains, like calamari and sardines, hake and kingklip, on their own or in combos.
Dias brings on the spice with starters like chorizo and peri-peri chicken livers. If it’s not fiery enough, order some extra heat on the side. Desserts are pretty standard – cheesecakes, brownies, waffles – but if you want to keep the Portuguese theme going until the end, the pastéis de nata, those delicious little morsels of custard baked in flaky pastry, are superb, and served warm with ice cream or cream, which brings a whole new level to the game.
There is a children’s menu (featuring non-burny items) too, and you can buy Dias’s trinchado and peri-peri sauces to take home for the memories.
The drinks offering is extensive, served from a huge well-staffed bar which dominates one end of the restaurant – spirits, shooters, Don Pedros, cocktails, beers on tap or in bottles, and a good selection of well-priced wines by the glass or bottle. For anyone not partaking of alcohol, there are soft drinks, hot drinks, and milkshakes
On the buzzing opening night, the staff were doing their best keeping all the diners happy, to the point of over-eagerness, bringing main courses to diners not yet halfway through starters. Once readiness was indicated, the wait time was disproportionate. Other than that, everyone is super keen, from waiters to management, from checking if everything is all right, to clearing and wiping down the tables. Cutlery and paper napkins are provided in a tankard but no butter knives.
Dias Villagers is brand spanking new so everything is bright and shiny. Pristine seating is upholstered in red and green, and the flag of Portugal is displayed prominently throughout. Big screen TVs show sports channels, and on a trip to the restrooms you’ll walk down a corridor with framed sports memorabilia, a nod to the location but more likely leftovers from its previous incarnations (like the “rugby administration” sign on one of the doors).
The restaurant is situated inside a sports club fronted by an office park. On a dark and stormy night, there is no lighting and no signage to guide you, and Google Maps has nothing either. So, before you collapse in tears, look for Tiger Wheel & Tyre; it’s next to that, then along a winding road that skirts a rugby field. You’ll see the lights eventually.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.