An authentic Mexican restaurant to Claremont, revolutionised Mexican food and hospitality, the authentic Mexican food is full of all the wondrous flavours associated with the region
Food is delicious and service good. Margiritas are devine. Will definitely go back for more.
Found this cozy spot by flook.
The food is average but the portions are generous and the service is great.
The restaurant is warm and cozy - perfect for a quiet night out. If your aim is to carbo load before a night out then the 2 liter margarita jug is definitely the way to go.
We had a great chili concarne and nachos.
Being a fan of Mexican cuisine, I was intrigued to try out this restaurant I had only driven past previously. It was definitely on my To Do list.
Taking the opportunity to try and impress a new partner, I suggested we try it out on a Thursday night. Arriving before my partner at around 7:30pm, I was relived to find the restaurant virtually empty as I hadn't made a booking. I was greeted by an authentically alternatively attired waitress and told to take my pic of tables. I chose something away from the street-facing windows as the restaurant was fairly chill inside, there being no visible sources of internal heating and it being mid-winter in Cape Town.
Taking it all in, the decor is "authentic" Mexican meets quaint cottage and it is clear that El Jimador tequila is a BIG sponsor of the venue, as half their walls inside (and entire menu) are covered in El Jimador's distinctive stripe branding.
If an alcohol brand is going to force their imagery and brand message on patrons in a dining environment (that isn't a bar or nightclub), at least make it worth their while?
Choosing table unfortunately close to the kitchen, I was shown a drinks menu by my gothic waitress and shortly thereafter ordered a Ginger Hibiscus Cranberry mojito. At R43 it is within standard cocktail prices for Cape Town.
My date arrived before my drink did and when it did arrive as a solid chunk of ice in an otherwise flavoursome pink liquid, I was left wishing for summer, where this drink perhaps makes more sense to order.
We shared a few sips of the mojito before it began to taste oddly soapy, and we both decided wine was probably a better bet,
Summoning the waitress over (she was fortunately sat just across the restaurant at a table with what was presumably the manager, or other, and his new puppy), we asked to see the wine list. This was presented as a list of wines scribbled on a small chalk board. Our waitress indicated that the first half of the wines were whites, the rest were reds. We enquired into one or two of the less familiar names of the reds and it was suggested we try the wine the only other table in the restaurant had at their table, as it was "what the regulars" always ordered, we were informed. Thinking that both regulars can't be wrong, we asked for a taster and unfortunately decided against the brand the regulars were drinking, opting for the one brand we both recognised on the menu instead.
For our meal, my date felt like nachos and we were titillated to see the menu describing theirs as a "Mountain of Nachos!"
Being vegetarian, my options seemed fairly robust as most of the usual mains dishes (enchilada, burrito, quesadilla etc) were available in veggie options. I settled on the refried beans and cheese quesadilla (recommended by the waitress). I also ordered a starter side of chilli poppers.
After about three glasses of wine, the food came. The chilli popper starters arrived at the same time as our mains and whilst I am on a crusade to find, eat (and rate) every chilli popper dish available in the Western Cape, Zapata's poppers offer no danger to even the crummiest I have tasted. Coated in a "batter" (?) with the colour and consistency of dried brown wall paint, and packing all the heat of a grocery store green pepper, they fell well below standard average. Three poppers at R45 is R45 too much to pay for these insults to the Mexican favourite.
Over to the mains, and served on a cold enamel tin plate, the "mountain" of nachos was more like a hillock, where the cheese was little more than sparse vegetation and the bland nacho chips little more than stale stones. (The date was not impressed).
Over on my side of the table, I was left to to dig for my quesadillas beneath a mound of week-old and wilted coriander. Similarly served in a cold, desolate enamel plate, the quesadillas were sparsely filled, barely warm and under-done. After two, I could do no more and by then my date was left turning over pale nacho chips in search of any stray cheese that might have fallen through the cracks.
By this point we were the last patrons in the place and it was clear the staff on hand were eager to get home or be somewhere else. The friendly waitress came over to ask if we wanted anything else and we informed her we would just finish our wine and be on our way. The bill arrived on our table immediately thereafter and with it the clear intention to make sure not to take our time sipping on the wine.
With the bill in the region of R430 (bottle of wine and tip included), this was sorely not a value-for-money meal, even by Capetonian standards. Still, the waitress was kind and my date got to play with a terribly small puppy over at the manager's (?) table before we left so there was that.
But all in all, a disappointing first, and last, visit to Zapata.
Here's the truth about this Mexican restaurant
The milkshakes are to die for the natchos bad and has no flavor the waiter we had was very dissappointed that we didn't tip her even though the service wasn't great. The outside area is nice but the decor needs urgent attention. And to be honest you don't feel like you in Mexico, not by a long shot. The words chili spicy and hot comes to mind but not when seated in this restaurant as we had none.
Unfornately the key elements aren't here and it's sad to say the least. Love Mexican food but Zapata isn't Mexican!!!