The 4 best seafood restaurants in Cape Town

With rich coastal ecosystems bordering both the Atlantic and Indian oceans, South Africa is known for good seafood. While Cape Cod is known for its clam chowder the best place to experience our local seafood is Cape Town. 

However, with the closure of the historic Panama Jacks in 2020 people are unsure of which seafood restaurants in Cape Town will deliver good seafood. That is why we decided to put together this list of our picks for the 4 best seafood restaurants in Cape Town. To help you find the best seafood dining experience possible.

1. Baia seafood restaurant

Since opening in 2001 Baia has gained a reputation as one of the best high-quality seafood restaurants in Cape Town. Located on the V&A Waterfront this restaurant offers breathtaking panoramic views of both the harbour and the ocean. The interior seating has a luxurious modern aesthetic with beautiful art adorning every space. Additionally, there are covered outdoor dining areas spread across four terraces, that are perfect for enjoying the fresh ocean breeze.

Baia is proudly Halaal friendly, with renowned seafood dishes like their fish platter, Mozambican prawn curry, grilled Iinefish with squid & prawn tails and many more. They also have meat and poultry dishes for those that don’t like seafood. These include dishes like flame-grilled sirloin, grilled chicken breasts and more. There is also a selection of decadent desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth and perfectly end a delightful dining experience.

Baia is open every day for dinner from 17:45-22:15 and from Friday to Sunday for lunch from 12:00-15:30. It is advised to book in advance especially if you want terrace seating. This upmarket seafood restaurant has so much to offer that it is easy to see why it is our first pick for great seafood.

2. Miller’s Thumb

Miller’s Thumb is a local favourite amongst the seafood restaurants in Cape Town. Located in a converted home on Kloof Nek corner they first opened in 1996. This restaurant has created a relaxed and cosy dining area with bright orange and green walls giving every dining experience there a festive feel. All of this is accompanied by tantalising aromas that tease your tastebuds with the food to come.

The food at Miller’s Thumb brings a spicy twist to local seafood. Chalkboard-advertised local catches are available with the option of having it grilled, Cajun, or Moroccan style. They also offer a variety of seafood dishes like red jambalaya, Mozambican curry, yaki soba, and more. There are also meatier menu options like rump or espetada if you prefer to stick to turf instead of surf.

Miller’s Thumb is open for dinner Monday to Saturday from 18:30-21:30. They are also open for lunch from Tuesday to Friday from 12:30-14:00. The casual and intimate dining area coupled with the delicious local fare makes this pleasant dining experience you won’t forget. Additionally, as a local favourite, it comes with a solid recommendation, after all no one knows a city better than its locals.

3. SeaBreeze Fish & Shell

SeaBreeze Fish & Shell provides a modern take on traditional seafood restaurants in Cape Town. Located on Bree street in the city centre with streetside outdoor seating allowing you to watch the city go by. The interior dining area has a rustic fisherman aesthetic with exposed wood beams, as well as wooden floors and tables. This decor truly celebrates the seafood heritage of the mother city.

The food focuses on locally and sustainably sourced seafood that is creatively prepared and presented with a lighter touch. These include dishes like a fresh line-caught tuna burger, hake ceviche with squid ink mayo and cream cheese, and more. There are also more traditional local dishes like their Cape Malay seafood curry served with turmeric rice and house roti. There is also a rum bar at the back of the restaurant for patrons wanting a taste of the pirate life.

SeaBreeze Fish & Shell is open every day from 12:00-21:00. With their modern twists on traditional South African seafood, this restaurant offers something unique and new to entice even the most experienced seafood connoisseur.

4. Fish on the Rocks

If you are looking for a traditional fish and chips shop, then Fish on the Rocks is perfect for you. Located by the harbour in Hout bay, this is one of the most unpretentious seafood restaurants in Cape Town. Operating for over 30 years this shop has become a Hout bay landmark that still draws queues of customers. With takeaway wrapped in newspaper or you can enjoy your meal on their lively stoep with views of Chapman’s peak in one direction, and the ocean in the other.

While the food on offer here is not as intricate or glamorous as that of the other establishments on this list. Sometimes a basic fish and chips done well is just the thing to hit the spot, and with so many years of experience, this is the place for exactly that. With fresh yellowtail, snoek, and hake available fried or grilled. They also have calamari and prawns available, and all of their dishes can be accompanied by chips. Though more unpretentious fare there is plenty of variety of fresh seafood on offer at this establishment.

Fish on the Rocks is open every day from 09:00-19:30, making them the perfect stop to refuel during the day, or at the end of a day at the beach. This landmark fish and chip shop proves that no matter how much we advance gastronomy, there will always be a place for the classics.

These are our picks for the four best seafood restaurants in Cape Town. So whether you’re looking for upmarket seafood delights, local favourites, contemporary iterations, or classic seafood staples be sure to visit one of these restaurants. As they are the perfect places to sample South African seafood no matter your preference.

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