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The Lookout Deck Restaurant in Hout Bay boasts what is arguably one of the best views in the Western Cape. Sitting on the spectacular wooden deck, suspended over the water, you can watch the bustling harbour with boats of all descriptions, frolicking seals, and local fisherman weighing in their catch of the day.
Beyond the harbour are stunning views of Chapman’s Peak mountain pass. The tranquil surroundings lend themselves to a relaxed, up-market feel. The restaurant’s extensive menu comprises premier seafood like freshly caught line fish (brought in daily by the local fishermen), live Cape rock lobster, LM prawns, black tiger prawns, black mussels and tuna and calamari steaks. There is also a great selection of lighter snack baskets, wood-fired pizzas, hearty breakfasts and the finest cuts of local A-grade meat.
My family and I went to the Lookout Deck on the 27th of December 2012, we had mixed feelings about our experience.
Firstly lets' talk about the food/ambiance, this is wonderful. Food was well-prepared, and though we waited a bit to get our orders, it was understandable as the restaurant was quite busy. Out waiter was friendly and overall I would recommend the restaurant to anyone was it not for what happened when we were about 2/3rds through our meal.
Now for the rest, Upon arriving with my family, including my 15 month old baby, we were immediately directed to a table near the window looking out to the harbor. We had a wonderful view and were quickly helped to a baby chair and felt comfortable. But 2/3rd's into our meal, people suddenly started lighting up cigarettes around us. Due to the fact that I have a baby with me, I inquired the waiter whether it was a smoking section. He confirmed. I was a bit shocked, as we arrived with a baby and was not told it was a smoking section. I would have never guessed, as, even though it is on the deck, it is part of the restaurant, enclosed by a wall of windows and have permanent gazebo's right through... It is closed in, even if the roof is not made from tiles. There were no visible signs depicting the area as a smoking area and I felt that in accordance to our new smoking laws the restaurant is bending the rules and gave me a seat in the smoking section whilst I have a baby with me.
The manager promptly came to my table. His attitude was bossy and he handed me an unsigned letter from the city of Cape Town which basically states that "as the wording of the law is ambiguous on what is defined as enclosed spaces", they are awaiting clarification on the term and in the meantime cannot make a call on the Lookout's deck area. He then said that he is "also a non smoker and would love the law to change so that he and his staff do not need to clean ash trays the whole day, but his hands are tied". I then pointed out that I had a baby with me and was not informed it was a smoking area. He then said it is not a smoking area, but an open space and that I have my baby there on my own discretion. I was appalled by the attitude. I was not offered another table, he just turned around and walked away after saying this and while walking said that everything he does is within the law.
I really did not realize that our law allows this kind of thing to happen, as restaurants usually have a clearly-marked smoking area, and children are not allowed.
Is this a matter of bending the rules, or illegal? Maybe just unethical? But letting children into your smoking area without informing clients that it is a smoking area does not seem right. I will not be returning to the restaurant due to this, and will take the matter further.
We have been meaning to go here for a long time. And finally made it a couple of summerdays ago. Actually revisiting, as we were here five years ago - as tourists. Now being proud Capetonians with a huge passion for food and eating out, we are dining us through town. So back to the Lookout Deck. Maybe it is because we have had so much fantastic seafood in many places in Cape Town, or this restaurant had a bad night - but we were deeply disappointed! Yes, nice view, but the food was greasy, badly presented, too much sauce, sloppy fries. Service was unattentive and preoccupied with big groups, and we were constantly recommended the most expensive items on both food menu and wine list. Will not go back. There are so many great seafood restaurants elsewhere in this town.
Disappointing experience - I'd recommend an experienced host on busy days. We were placed at a table inside, and were left there - no menus, no drinks order - left after 15 minutes.