The best calamari in Cape Town

Any time somebody tells me they’ve found the ‘best’ of anything, I have to try it out. That said, I don’t exactly trust opinions. It took me quite some time to narrow down the best ice cream in Cape Town (I can now definitely tell you it is Sinnful on Camps Bay beach – not least because you can get your rich, creamy ice cream and then sit on the beach watching the beautiful people – or the view! – while you eat it).

There’s contention over the best pizza (Col’Cacchio vs Woodlands Eatery)*, the best market in Cape Town (Tokai Porter Estate vs City Bowl Market)**, the best cupcake (Charly’s vs Lazari)***. But so far, everyone I asked where I could get the best calamari in Cape Town said the same thing: The Chapman’s Peak Hotel in Hout Bay.

Five different people all told me the same thing. I had to go.

So on a Friday evening in early autumn, we headed to the Chapman’s Peak Hotel: in the mood for a sundowner with something of a view, and a plate full of calamari. We had been warned that the service was extremely slow, so we gave ourselves plenty of time and ordered a round of drinks. The Chapman’s Peak Hotel is one of the last buildings before Chapman’s Peak Drive, and has a lovely view of the ocean and the houses of Hout Bay (slightly obscured by a parking lot with one of the best views in the world). There’s a wide verandah to relax on, or a cosy indoor pub area, and it seems as if everyone there is on holiday, a lovely atmosphere. Of course, Murphy’s Law, as soon as you expect service to be rubbish, it’s surprisingly quick, so our calamari arrived before we’d finished our first round. It was large rounds of calamari, tender and lightly fried, with a spicy seasoning that gave it a great bite. Was it the best calamari in Cape Town? That remains to be seen… I still have to unearth any other contenders. Do you have any suggestions?

*Col’Cacchio has a huge variety of thin-based, crispy pizza. Woodlands Eatery has a lamb pizza that makes people grin with delight.
** Porter Estate in Tokai is in a lovely wooded area, City Bowl Market is in a large hall in the middle of town; both have delicious goodies.
*** Charly’s cupcakes are enormous whipped icing creations, Lazari cupcakes are regular-sized with a secret pale pink icing that may or may not be white chocolate…

Image: herval

Our Readers Comments

  1. I have tried the calamari at Chapman’s Peak. The best is still HARBOUR LIGHTS in GORDON”S BAY (old harbour, next to bikini beach) Together with their restaurant, they also have stalls at the various Festivals (Cheese,Getaway & KDay) J&B Met etc. where hundreds of patrons commented, on theirs being the best calamari they have ever tasted.

  2. I’m with the five who told you Chapman’s Peak was the best. Had it in 2005, but it’s still memorable. It may have been the atmosphere, stopping late afternoon on a drive back from the Cape, added to by an excellent bottle of Chenin (de Wet’s??). But it was a stunning meal. Would revisit SA (from UK) just to eat there again.

  3. Best pizza in town is by far Buratta, a new authentic Italian style spot in the old biscuit mill, woodstock. We are talking imported italian tomatoes, imported double O flour, an imported wood fired pizza oven that cooks a pizza at 450 degrees celcius in 90 seconds. What is even better is that the pizza is not rolled, but hand pulled, to order. Enjoy 🙂

  4. You have got to try Lady Lucy’s Kitchen cupcakes! Visit our website to order, collect at Eleven Food Venue in Woodstock. Alternatively, we will be at the Earthfair Market in Tokai and Bay Harbour Market next weekend only. We look forward to meeting you 🙂

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