Did you know?
The poaching of abalone (perlemeon in Afrikaans) is an enormous threat to South Africa’s resources of the shellfish.
South African seafood is superb, with a varied assortment of linefish and shellfish available owing to our geographical situation on two oceans – the cold Atlantic and the warm Indian.
Thanks to the Cape Malay influence, pickled and curried fish have become traditional fare, while all South African cultures enjoy fish braais (barbecues). More recently, sushi has become very popular, with a profusion of Asian-style restaurants and fast-food outlets across the country.
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, Kalky’s in Kalk Bay 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.
On the Garden Route, the Robberg Seafood Safari in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay has a good reputation, while Durban’s Glenashley Fisheries, Café 1999 and New Café Fish are recommended.
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.