Seafood is prepared in many ways in South Africa – braaied (barbecued) on an open fire; battered and fried; drenched in Cape Malay pickles and curries; cooked Cajun-style; grilled and sauced with lemon butter; and, more recently, prepared Asian-style. You’ll find excellent seafood restaurants both at the coast and inland.
The overfishing of our waters is a pressing concern and initiatives such as the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) are welcomed. SASSI has introduced a colour-coded system to indicate to consumers when a fish is endangered or unsustainable – green indicates the product has been responsibly harvested and can be eaten freely; orange shows that the species may be threatened; and red denotes that it should not be touched. SASSI Restaurant Supporters will have the initiative’s logo on view in their restaurants. Support this initiative by checking the status of fish before ordering or eating.
South Africa boasts an impressive range of establishments offering seafood, from high-end exclusive eateries to countrywide restaurant chains (Ocean Basket; Cape Town Fish Market; John Dory’s) to seaside takeaway kiosks that do the freshest of no-frills hake and chips.
Coastal cities score high marks for quality fish eateries. In the Mother City, the Black Marlin in Simon’s Town, and Panama Jacks in the Table Bay harbour are worth a try. There are also a number of restaurants specialising in fish at the V&A Waterfront, as well as in the fishing villages of the West Coast, such as Paternoster.
Further up the coast, in Port Elizabeth, the Old Austria Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in the city and is known for its delicious seafood dishes.
Inland, Johannesburg’s Fishmonger in Illovo is packed on a nightly basis, while Montego Bay Seafood Restaurant, Sushi & Oyster Bar on Nelson Mandela Square does brisk business. Portuguese, Mozambican and Brazilian restaurants in general are renowned for excellent shellfish.