Portugal holds a very special place in the heart of Cape Town. They were the first explorers -Bartholomeu Dias in 1488 – to journey along the west coast of Africa and discover the Cape. Upon arrival they spotted the flat mountain, naming it ‘Toboa da caba’, which translated means ‘Table of The Cape’.
The Portuguese also brought their cuisine and spices with them to the Cape. These spices – piri piri (small fiery chili peppers), black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and saffron – took the city by storm, with the locals putting their own unique twist on these flavours. Today some of the finest restaurants in Cape Town make use of these Portuguese spices to bring you unique and exciting flavours and tastes.
Here are some of the top Portuguese style restaurants in Cape Town:
Alfama’s: Alfama’s is a delightful Portuguese restaurant that serves up traditional Portuguese flavours with a twist. Try the toasted Portuguese bread with liver pate or the beef or chicken prego rolls – a must for the spice lover. The rump steak in white wine and cream is definitely a must-try. Other popular dishes include trinchado, peri peri chicken, esperada and mouth-watering prawns – all made by special Portuguese style cooking methods.
Tasca de Belem: Tasca de Belem is one of Cape Town’s finest tapas restaurants. Located at the V&A Waterfront, the restaurant offers guests views of Table Mountain, Signal hill and the harbour. The restaurant has a truly Mediterranean feel to it, with a Turkish-styled Portuguese menu and a relaxed, welcoming and vibrant atmosphere.
The dishes on the menu represent the best of both Turkish and Portuguese cuisine with traditional favourites, such as trinchado and espetada, as well as shish kebab and ali naizk. Tasca de Belem gives diners a cross cultural cuisine experience that they will never forget.
Dias Tavern: The Dias Tavern is a well decorated restaurant that is oozing with warmth and has a cosy tavern atmosphere. The restaurant has beautiful views of Table Mountain and a menu that is brimming with tempting choices. Try the fresh line fish or other seafood specials. Or indulge in charcoal grilled steaks, such as spicy trinchado or Portuguese fillet steaks.
The restaurant also has a wide variety of traditional dishes, including eisbein, espetada, vegetable platters and salads. Soak up the fantastic atmosphere and enjoy some of the best Portuguese cuisine at the Dias Tavern.
Pigalle: Seating over 300 guests with a spacious dance floor, live band and elegant fine dining, Pigalle is a fantastic seafood restaurant in Green Point. The menu focuses on seafood and Portuguese specialties. From crayfish, prawns and langoustines, and traditional Portuguese seafood platters to traditional starters such as pan-fried prawns, Pigalle has it all. This eatery is definitely for those who enjoy fine dining on seafood with a Portuguese twist.
When you visit Cape Town, be sure to try one of these fantastic Portuguese restaurants. Just be sure to brush up on your Portuguese translation so you can pronounce the dishes correctly when you order them.
This is a guest post by Chantel Harris.