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IIn South Africa, a varied assortment of superb line fish and shellfish is available due to our geographical position bordering two oceans – the cold Atlantic Ocean and the warm Indian Ocean.
It’s important to consume South African seafood responsibly, as the overfishing of our waters is a pressing concern. The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) has introduced a colour-coded system to show consumers when a fish is endangered or unsustainable. Green indicates that the product has been responsibly harvested and can be eaten freely. Orange shows that the species may be threatened. Red denotes that it should not be touched. SASSI restaurant supporters will have the initiative’s logo on display in their establishments. Support this initiative by checking the status of fish before ordering or eating.
Properly informed, it’s time to sample South African seafood at its best.
Thanks to the Cape Malay influence, pickled and curried fish have become traditional fare, while many South Africans enjoy fish braais (barbecues). Sushi has become very popular, with a profusion of Asian-style restaurants and fast-food outlets popping up across the country.
South Africa boasts an impressive range of establishments that offer seafood, from high-end eateries to countrywide restaurant chains such as Ocean Basket, Cape Town Fish Market and John Dory’s. Don’t shy away from seaside takeaway kiosks that offer the freshest of no-frills hake and chips.
Coastal cities score high marks for quality fish eateries. In Cape Town, it’s worth visiting Black Marlin in Simon's Town, Kalky’s in Kalk Bay and Panama Jacks in the Table Bay harbour. There are also a number of exceptional fish restaurants at the V&A Waterfront, as well as in the fishing villages of the West Coast (check out Paternoster).
Along the Garden Route, drop by Robberg Fine Foods in Plettenberg Bay for fresh trawls. Durban’s Glenashley Fisheries, Café 1999 and New Café Fish come highly recommended.
Inland, Johannesburg’s Fishmonger in Illovo is packed on a nightly basis. If you’re craving sushi, The Big Mouth in Sandton is definitely worth a visit.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)21 788 1726
Tel: +27 (0)21 448 1080
The Big Mouth
Tel: +27 (0)63 293 8869
How to get here
Kalky's can be found at the Kalk Bay harbour in Cape Town.
PPanama Jacks can be found at the Table Bay harbour in Cape Town.
The Big Mouth is on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton.
Best time to visit
Most seafood restaurants are open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday through to Sunday (although some are open on Mondays). Generally, South African kitchens close early – usually around 9pm. It's always a good idea to check online and book beforehand.
Around the area
Book a charter-boat adventure when visiting South Africa's coastal cities.
What to pack
Where to stay
If you are visiting Cape Town, book a guest house or B&B in Kalk Bay or Hout Bay to watch the fishing boats come in. The West Coast is very well known for its seafood, and there are numerous B&Bs and boutique hotels along the coastline.
What to eat
You can't visit the coast without ordering an enormous seafood platter of mussels, calamari, line fish and prawns. Tuck into good fish with a view of the ocean and a glass of the Cape's own Sauvignon Blanc wine.
What it will cost
Prawns and crayfish are often offered as SQ items on menus.