Food pozzies: ‘Yay or nay’

SO now we know which Eastern Cape eateries made it into the Top 10 of The Herald’s big Restaurant Survey of 2014 (get your copy of our special Christmas edition of The Herald to find out).

Below are the mini reviews our team of reviewers compiled on the remaining 40 establishments on the list, in order of how each fared, and with their overall scores out of 100 indicated below each.

Bear in mind that each review is based on a single visit by a reviewer, based on their personal experience on that night.

11. CHINGADA’S MEXICAN CANTINA, 54 Main Road, Walmer, 041-5810098. Hours: 11am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 3pm or 4pm depending on how busy it is on Sunday.
There’s a certain charm about having dinner by candlelight, especially when the candle – and not an oil lamp of some sort – is in a tequila bottle covered in multi-coloured layers of wax drippings. Throw in some live music and a smorgasbord of desserts (for those of you who can’t decide on just one dessert) and you’ll find it difficult to leave. Some of the dishes are bland, but my dinner companion’s cumin coated fried calamari strips, the frozen margaritas and service more than make up for that.
Score: 87

12. E-STREET CAFE, Fountains Mall, Jeffreys Bay, (042) 293-0095.
E-Street Cafe is one of Jeffreys Bay’s newest restaurants and already buzzing for good reason. It offers great value for money and has a very lively atmosphere. It is also situated next to a Funky Frogs play centre– convenient for parents wanting to slip away for lunch without running around after the kids. The menu has something for every taste – from tapas and hunger-busting burgers to seafood and something for those watching the waistline.
We decided on the grilled calamari for R35 which was very tasty. For the main course we settled on the prawn and rib combo for R105 which was really good value for money and the grilled chicken and sun dried tomato wrap for R60 which was delicious although the the chicken was slightly overcooked.
To top the meal off we shared the cheescake for R45.
The restaurant also boasts a good-quality wine list and some great cocktails.
Score: 87

13. GORDON’S RESTAURANT, 100 Cradock Street, Graaff-Reinet, (049) 892 4575. Hours: Arrive between 7pm and 7.30pm and leave whenever you have enjoyed your “slow Karoo food”.

ARGUABLY the best food in the Karoo can be found in an unassuming Graaff-Reinet home-styled restaurant, where guests from across the globe come to savour the tastes and flavours of the countryside. With simple decor and table settings, the focus at Gordon’s is fully on the food – which chef and owner Gordon Wright guarantees are made from organic, local meats and home grown vegetables.

The set menu changes daily with a choice between two starters, two main meals and two desserts at R300 per person. The wine list, boasting some of the top South African wines, is on the pricey side but good quality wine can also be ordered by the glass, with an ice-cold complimentary sweet wine served just before dessert. The soft drink options are a bit more limited.

While the Wrights, famous for their Karoo hospitality, were not at the restaurant when I visited it for a meal, I was equally impressed by the competent staff who served the carrot and ginger soup with home-made bread, hearty chicken casserole cooked in rosemary herbs and served with oak-smoked mash potatoes and frozen nougat in granadilla sauce to perfection. Truly a mouth-watering recipe for success, the restaurant is child-friendly although best suited for couples looking for a special dining experience.
Score: 86

14. FUSHIN, Stanley Street, Richmond Hill, (041) 811 7874. Hours: Noon until 10pm.

One of the most progressive restaurants in Port Elizabeth, consistently good and leading from the front with an innovative menu. Service always great also. This is THE place for sushi and other eastern delights in the city and its position in the middle of Stanley Street does not hurt. If Fushin is full (it is quite small), you can enjoy its meals at the sister bar two doors down the street.
Score: 85

15. FLAVA, 17a Bain Street, Central, (041) 811-3258. Hours: noon to 3.30pm for lunch and 5.30pm until last customer for dinner.

This gem of a restaurant has a reasonably small, but delicious menu. The service is good without being obtrusive and the food is prepared with love. From starters to dessert, the dishes are fresh and the innovative side dishes burst with flavour and are beautifully plated. The ambiance is fantastic with diners able to see the chefs in the kitchen as they cook.
Score: 85

16. CHARLIE’S PIZZA AND PASTA, Summerstrand Village, Eighth Avenue, Summerstrand, (041) 583-2832. Hours: 9am to 10pm Monday to Sunday.

Charlie’s is a trendy and inviting cafe by day that seamlessly morphs into a restaurant by night. It has great atmosphere and service is attentive without being annoying, making it a place where good times are sure to be had. The menu shows innovation but the dishes, though nicely plated, are likely to be less memorable than the actual experience of a great night out. The pizzas are excellent though and I especially enjoyed the one with flaked, cooked salmon, onion, yoghurt, dill and rocket (R86 for large) , though it is on the unusual side and won’t appeal to everyone. The wine list, though not comprehensive, was carefully thought out and has some great offerings, including artisan beers.
Score: 82

17. HARICOT’S, 32 New Street, Grahamstown. Hours: Re-opening January 6 at 9am; open till 10/11pm. Closed Sundays. (046) 622-2150.

LOCATED in Grahamstown’s bustling New Street, this bistro offers a lovely ambience with both an outdoors and indoors option.
Service in terms of placing a food order and receiving the meal was a bit slow, but a starter of a calamari, warm potato, and cherry tomato salad (R75) was excellent, if a little pricey.
The main of lemon butter grilled cob (R110) was somewhat on the bland side, but tasty enough – again rather expensive, considering – while the cheesecake dessert (R45) was really good quality.
Score: 82

18. THE COACHMAN ON THE BAY, Brookes Hill, Humewood. Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday, 12 to 10.30pm. Phone number: (041) 584-0087.

The overall experience was an excellent one, the service was above standard and the atmosphere great. The starter of crumbed mushrooms for R42 was substantial enough for my partner and I to share, but the mushrooms mushrooms were slightly underdone.

The main: 300g rump (R135) for me and grilled calamari (R99) for my wife came with excellent sides of fresh veggies and chips. The chips were piping hot while the rest of the food was slightly cooler, an obvious indication that there was a wait for the chips. But all in all we were tempted to lick our plates clean.

The calamari was tender and served in a beautiful lemon seafood sauce, while the rump was perfectly medium rare.
The dessert of crème brulee (R39) was attractively presented and had a hard burnt caramel topping, not always easy to achieve in Port Elizabeth’s climate. The royal blue dresses worn by the waitresses and the Christmas décor in the restaurant made it a romantic, luxurious atmosphere. And of course, everything goes down a little easier while watching the waves just meters from your table.
Score: 81

19. OLIVE TREE, Wood Mill Lane Centre, Main Road, Knysna. Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday from 6.30pm until closing (kitchen closes at 9pm). Phone number: (044) 382-5867.

The restaurant was bustling on a Thursday afternoon when we arrived and after our experience, we know why. They have a menu with a great variety of hearty meals – mostly proudly South African dishes with a few surprises.

The menu presentation was a bit cumbersome as there is only one menu written on a chalk board, which is taken to each table. Every meal is described in detail by the waiter, so you know exactly what to expect.

We settled on bobotie springrolls at R48 as a starter which was delicious. For the main course we decided to try lamb loin chops at R160 and Dutch beef meatballs – the owner’s grandmother’s recipe – for R85. Although the chops were a bit tough, the dishes came in large portions and were good value for money.
The crème brulee at R38 was also delicious.
Score: 81

20. RAASOIE INDIAN KITCHEN, 79 Heugh Road, Walmer, (041) 581-0333. Hours: Monday to Saturday noon to 10pm; closed Sundays.

This value-for-money Walmer restaurant is surely one of PE’s best-kept secrets. It’s an unassuming place with lacklustre decor and no-frills service, but the quality and authenticity of the food distinguish it. Expect excellent Indian cuisine that packs a punch when it comes to flavour and freshness. Standout dishes are their hand-made pyramid-shaped samoosas (R22 for three) that bear no resemblance to those hideously oily supermarket ones; a fantastic chicken and spinach curry (R64) with great subtlety of flavour considering it is a curry, after all, and splendid side dishes like naan and rotis clearly made without corners being cut.

Desserts, too, are sublime, especially the deep-fried milk balls drenched in delicately flavoured syrup. Your cravings will lead you back as it did me.
Score: 81

21. DIE WALSKIPPER, Clapton’s Beach, Jeffreys Bay, (042) 292-0005. Hours: opens noon to 10pm from Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 3pm Sunday and closed Mondays – booking is essential.

Die Walskipper has a breathtaking view of the ocean and is known for its fabulous variety of fresh seafood. For the non-fish lovers, meat has a strong presence on the menu with braais and other meat dishes available.

The hake and calamari combo with a seafood sauce was a highlight. The portion was generous and delicious.
The waiter did bring the wrong drinks but otherwise, the service was very good.
Score: 81

22. YI-PIN RESTAURANT, Shop 42, The Boardwalk, (041) 5836688. Hours: 11am to 2pm and 5.30pm to 10pm.

Perhaps the biggest attraction at this facility is one of its staff – a bubbly, funny and entertaining man who came out from behind the sushi bar to usher us to our seats. The food’s not bad either, made with fresh ingredients and a wider variety of vegetables – including exotic mushrooms – than I’m used to from regular Chinese take-aways. Our affable waiter/sushi chef (who, I was later told, is in fact the owner) had warned us sevice would be slow due to staff shortages, but in this cosy and welcoming environment, we didn’t mind the wait and once ordered, our food came quickly.
Score: 80.5

23. YIA YIA’S: 20 Stanley Street, Richmond Hill, (041) 582-2848. Hours: 11am to 10pm.

This delightfully quirky restaurant with Greek terminology and translations written on the wall serves up generous portions that burst with flavour. The value for money aspect of the restaurant is also top notch with one able to order a three course meal without breaking the bank. The service is relaxed but attentive. The tzatziki is not to be missed.
Score: 80

24. BIG TIME TAVERNA, 10 Mayotte Crescent, St Francis Bay, (042) 294-1300. Hours: noon to 3pm, then 6pm until late, closed Mondays.

We have often avoided this Greek restaurant on the canals at Cape St Francis as we thought it was extremely expensive. However, if you choose carefully you can get a good value meal, and the setting on the water is fabulous, with a swimming pool for summer dips as well.
Score: 80

25. MANGIAMO AT WICKER WOODS, 50 Sixth Avenue, Walmer, (041) 581-1107. Hours: 6pm until closing, Tuesday to Saturday.

Book ahead of time if you want to get into this perennially popular restaurant in Walmer. Mangiamo’s offers a great selection of thin based pizzas and hand-made pastas as well as a few classics which when added to good wine (also available by the glass), relaxed ambience and professional service yield a winning recipe.
Score: 78

26. ELEPHANT WALK RESTAURANT, 94 Doorly Road, Port Elizabeth, (041) 372-1470. Hours: 8am to 10pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

This Cow’s Corner country restaurant with its Belgian/French influenced menu is full of fresh ingredients and delicious flavours. The Belgian mussels are still on the menu, along with many other classic dishes. Lots of room outside for the family or smokers, and a cosy pub as well.
Score: 78

27. SOMETHING GOOD, Marine Drive at the end of Eighth Avenue, Summerstrand, (041) 583-6986. Hours: 7am to 11pm, seven days a week.

Beach bliss! Something Good may be a revamped roadhouse but it is a fantastic spot to while away a summer’s night, with an extensive menu of tasty food, boosted with live music four nights a week, a children’s play area and even a movie screen.
Score: 78

28. BRIDGE STREET BREWERY, 1 Bridge Street, South End. Hours: 10am till late.

Synonymous with Port Elizabeth’s growing trends, Bridge Street Brewery has certainly earned itself a spot on the city’s must-go-to-places.

The upbeat vibe is a big drawcard. Be warned it does get quite busy and waiters are running around so much that it is difficult to be attentive to each table.

Their signature thick rump steak, with a dash of balsamic vinegar, is the best. But it is in stark contrast to their rather bland grilled calamari strips starter.
Overall it is a good chill-out place with friends this summer.
Score: 78

29. ANGELO’S, 45 Sixth Avenue, Walmer. Hours of operation: 7.30am to 10.30pm Phone number: (041) 581-0776.

While the service was mediocre, with a waitress that was not very friendly, the atmosphere was great for a Tuesday night. The restaurant was packed to the brim, which did, however, cause hassles with parking. The food, which was served in good time, was tasty and generous. A large plate of prawn, fresh chilli, cream and tomato linguine pasta costs just R59.90, but lacks something that most PE students will remember enjoying at Angelo’s in Central back in the day.

The Tuesday night special of 250g ribs and chicken wings for R49.90 was a popular choice. The sauce on the tender ribs was finger-licking good, while the chips were cooked just right. The desserts were a little disappointing, but all-in-all it was a pleasant meal, in a busy, happy restaurant.
Score: 77

30. SHANNA’S PORTUGUESE RESTAURANT, 220 Circular Drive, Port Elizabeth, (041) 367-4560. Hours: Dinner Monday to Saturday 6.30pm to 10.30pm. Lunch Tuesday to Saturday 12 to 3pm.

The food at Shanna’s transports you to the Mediterranean with a variety of spices and dishes. The staff are friendly and efficient and the food is good. However, I felt the dishes were a bit pricey even though the portions were decent. The calamari starter was delicious and the chicken main had just enough spice.
Score: 76

31. BUZZ FACTORY, Sunridge Village, 041-3601088. Hours: 11am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

A newcomer on Port Elizabeth’s restaurant circuit, this establishment offers an interesting menu that includes Asian, Italian, French, Mexican and Moroccan flavours and a range of craft beers on tap (including Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale) that are paired with some of the meals. And all this in a funky industrial loft-type set-up which provides a laid-back environment that could easily be transformed for events. Their dessert – a lavender scented crème brûlée and pistachio nut tuille – was a highlight for me.
Score: 76

32. De Kelder Restaurant, 39 Marine Drive, Summerstrand. Hours: 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 11pm.

The attentive, professional service by the waiters is no doubt the best thing about this restaurant.
The food unfortunately was a letdown on the night we visited. While the creamy potato soup starter was tasty, the lamb shank main course was just not up to scratch. The presentation was poor, the mashed potato lumpy and simply thrown onto the plate and while the meat fell off the bone, it lacked seasoning.
Score: 75

33. NINA’S REAL FOOD, 126 Da Gama Road, Jeffreys Bay, (042) 296 0281. Hours: 7am – 10pm Monday to Sunday.

Perhaps one of the top hotspots in Jeffreys Bay, Nina’s is a vibey, laid back restaurant that is representative of J-Bay and it’s surfer-style friendliness. The menu is so diverse one can spend hours perusing it. You can get anything from pizzas to curries – and the best part is the food is so cheap. The thin-crust pizzas are delicious with ample fresh toppings. The curry is tasty and the portion is generous. The white chocolate cheesecake is a winner and I would travel back just for dessert!
The service was not great though, and by the time our starter arrived we were ready to leave, so we had it as a take-away.
Score: 73

34. KITCHEN WINDOW BEACH RESTAURANT, 88 Ferreira Street, Jeffreys Bay, (042) 293-4230. Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am to 9.30pm; Sunday: 11am to 3pm.

This cosy restaurant is situated right by the beach so it has the best views any time of the day. The staff have that laid-back friendliness and the ambience is relaxed. The restaurant is child-friendly and even has a menu for the little ones. They have organic salads and flatbreads for starters and we were not disappointed with their prime rib cut of beef for main course. The prices are reasonable. Fresh seafood is also on the menu. Our waiter was a bit too laid back as he forgot our dessert spoons and we waited for a while to get them.The meal was a great experience though and we will be back.

Score: 73
35. CUBATA, 16b Arthur Street, Sydenham, 083 754 2768. Hours: Mondays to Fridays midday to 3pm and 5pm to 9pm, and Saturdays, 1pm to 3pm and 5pm to 9pm.

This popular Portuguese eatery is well known for it’s no frill approach to eating out – and for the superb taste of its specialities which are spare ribs, grilled chicken and prawns.

Don’t expect too much in the way of a sophisticated furnishings here – it’s back to basics when it comes to seating with one piece wooden table and bench combos. But that doesn’t concern the patrons who appear – one and all – to be having the greatest eating out time.

A Portuguese salad (R25) had the freshest ingredients and a zesty dressing, while a main course of 500g spare ribs with chips (R70) was scrumptious and a truly finger-licking meal.

On the down side, service isn’t quite up to scratch and you do wait a while for your meal simply because the place is always packed. But when it arrives, it’s more than worth it and represents great terrific value for money.
Score: 73

36. GEORGE’S GREEK TAVERNA, 26A Raleigh Street, Richmond Hill, (041) 582-1555. Hours: 12 to 10.30, closed on Sundays.

Festive and tasty addition to Richmond Hill’s hub, it is exactly what it says: George’s Greek restaurant, although it does also offer pasta and pizza. The “George” is the experienced restaurateur who was at the helm of Zorba’s and the food is as good as it always has been at all his establishments.
Score: 73

37. GOLDEN COAST, 77 Heugh Road, Walmer. Hours: Lunch Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am to 2.30pm. Dinner Monday to Sunday 5.30pm to 10pm. Bookings: (041) 581-8025.

We received a warm welcome from our very friendly waitress. The restaurant, which is very big, had few tables occupied. The meals were value for money in terms of the hearty portions.

My wife and I enjoyed the set menu for two for R179. This included a starter of chicken with vegetable and corn soup and vegetable spring rolls, sweet and sour pork, stir fried beef with black pepper sauce, egg fried rice, and bow ties and ice cream for dessert.
The majority of the meal was delicious with the exception of the spring rolls and stir fry.

We had a fun-filled experience.
Score: 70

38. COLONIAL KITCHEN, 1 Bridge Street, Baakens Valley, (041) 581-4488. Hours: Closed Mondays; Tuesday 9am to 5pm; Wednesday to Saturday, 9am to 10pm; Sunday 9am to 3pm.

This shabby chic riverside spot with his eclectic interior has a lovely, laid back atmosphere, especially on the nights there is live music. Care has gone into the menu in the form of heart-warming South African touches like marrow on toast (R45) as a starter, or goat curry served in a miniature black potjie (R95). Though the concept was good the cooking may still need a bit of refining: the sauce the marrow bones were cooked in was very acidic and the pap the curry was served with was starting to go stale. Wine list is small but not unimpressive; the restaurant is not wheel-chair friendly which saw it lose five points.
Score: 69

39. NATTI’S THAI KITCHEN, 5 Park Lane, Central, (041) 373-2763.

Hours: 6pm until closing, Tuesday to Saturday.
Natti’s makes my absolute favourite food in the whole wide world but the service is idiosyncratic at best. Although Natti’s loses points on The Herald scale because it does not have a wine licence, and service can be slow, I love this quirky independent eatery and, for me at least, the BYO is a budget-beating bonus. Not the place to go if you are in a hurry but the spicy Thai food Natti makes herself is so worth it.
Score: 66

40. KIPLINGS BRASSERIE at the Boardwalk, Port Elizabeth, (041) 507-9452. Hours: Breakfast 6am to 11am daily. Lunch 1pm to 3.30pm (Sundays only). Dinner 6pm to 10.30pm daily.

KIPLINGS is a real treat for the tastebuds. The use of flavours is excellent and the presentation of the food is unforgettable. It is fantastic fine dining. However, the food is expensive and even though the presentation is great, I am not sure it is value for money.
The service on a whole was good but our waitress brought us the wrong food and didn’t offer us any more drinks.
The seafood starter was delicious and the steak I had for the main course perfectly cooked.
The drinks list is extensive and impressive.
It is worth the dining experience if you can afford it.
Score: 66

41. OCEAN’S 11 SEAFOOD BISTRO, 332 Cape Road, Newton Park, 041-3640404. Hours: 11am to 8.30pm Monday to Thursday, 11am to 9.30pm on Friday and Saturday and 11am to 3.30pm on Sunday.

I’d driven past Ocean’s 11 many times and liked its appearance, including the outdoor deck. So when I arrived there for an early dinner, I was slightly disappointed. While lots of effort has gone into creating a sit-down restaurant, minor details – like toilet doors that don’t lock – detract from the overall dining experience. Being an halaal establishment, no alcohol is served but yummy mocktails, and even a kola tonic and lemonade, are given a fun twist, served cocktail-style in a jar. The food is tasty, but dessert options are limited.
Score: 66

42. TWO OLIVES: 1 Stanley Street, Richmond Hill, (041) 585 0371. Hours: 11.30am to 3.30pm for lunch and 5.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner.

If you are looking for great food and don’t mind a bit of a wait then Two Olives is the place for you. With some of the tastiest food available it is a real pity that, on the day we visited, service was slow. We ordered from the tapas menu and waited about 45 minutes. The restaurant was also out of chicken kebabs and pork shwarmas. We were also charged for one of the dishes we had not received – a definite no no.
Score: 65

43. CAFFE BIJOUX, 10 Mayotte Circle, St Francis Bay, (042) 294-0006. Hours: noon to 3pm, 5.30pm until closed, Tuesday to Sunday.

Caffe Bijoux now plonks a 10% surcharge on its bill since it opened. However, unlike at the Big Time Taverna downstairs, the surcharge is not as prominently displayed on the menu – or was not in late November at any rate – and we inadvertently added a tip on top. My own fault, I know, but … I had also asked for the price of a special, was told R99, and then was charged R129. Two black marks.
That aside, this is a beautiful venue, the food was delicious and you can keep the cost down if you order carefully. Just remember to check the price of specials and double-check your bill!
Score: 65

44. BLOO BISTRO WORLD CAFÉ, Memorial Square, just off Knysna Main Road. Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday from 11am to 2am. Phone number: (044) 382-4935.

Bloo Bistro World Café is definitely an experience for diners searching for something different. Once you enter the doors, you walk into an enchanting new world. The entire restaurant is draped in colourful saris and other beautiful fabric and the décor has touches of Morocco. Colourful LED fairy lights around the restaurant add to the magic. Loadshedding however cut the experience short a bit, but the owners quickly made a plan and we could enjoy our supper by candlelight. The power cut also limited the dishes on the menu to those that could be prepared on a gas stove, but complementary snacks were offered to all diners as a result.
We settled on a mushroom starter and at R35 it was good value for money. For the main course we decided to try the restaurant’s fillet steak at R90 and lamb curry for R85. Both meals were satisfactory, although the quality of the ingredients could have been better.
Score: 65

45. BARNACLES, 1 Elizabeth Street, Seaview, (041) 378-2058. Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 9pm; Sunday 9am to 3pm.

Few spots in the Bay can boast a better view, especially at sunset. Barnacles is a Seaview institution; slightly scruffy on the face of it, but endearing and well-run. Prices are reasonable and the calamari and fish excellent – though my partner’s grilled hake was more flavoursome than my fried. Wine list is virtually non-existent so stick with beer or any of their cocktails. Service could be sharper; also, don’t rely on the internet or GPS to get you there as the street address given online is wrong! We drove around for ages before discovering the restaurant was in a different street altogether.
Score: 65

46. OLD AUSTRIA, 24 Westbourne Road, Central, Port Elizabeth, (041) 373-0299. Hours: Monday to Friday. Lunch 12 onwards, Monday to Saturday. Dinner 6.30pm till 10pm. Sunday closed.

Old Austria consistently serves delicious food and it has that amazing ambience created by the pianist in the centre of the dining room.
I usually have a great evening out when I visit this popular restaurant but on the night of the review visit I was bitterly disappointed by our waitress and the service we received.
Our waitress took ages to take our orders and did not ask if everything was ok. We also had two waitresses at one point, so it was confusing.
The crumbed mushroom starter was tasty and the steak was perfectly cooked. My partner’s schnitzel was also very good.
Old Austria is usually an excellent dining experience but this particular night was let down by the lack of service.
Score: 64

47. EL GRECO, Shop 35, The Boardwalk, (041) 583-2950. Hours: Noon to 10pm in season.

When it comes to service El Greco can compete with the best, which is why it is so disappointing that the food is under-seasoned and bland in the extreme. Greek food is known for its rich, full flavours and the lamb shwarma and rib dishes we sampled were simply put not up scratch. You would be way better off ordering ribs at the Spur.
Score: 64

48. FARRIAGERS, Kelway Hotel, Brookes Hill Drive, Humewood, (041) 584-0638. Hours: Monday to Sunday, noon to 10pm.

Timber touches give a warm and cozy feeling to this hotel restaurant. However this is hotel food at the end of the day and there is sadly awfully not much to distinguish it; we found the plating tired, the dishes largely overpriced and not very memorable, and the desserts in particular a letdown. Service started out speedy but as the place filled up, one poor waitress was left waiting on all the tables while another idly watched from the door. The snail starter, though pricey at R42, was the best part of the meal – but why does one always just get a few tiny triangles of bread?
Score: 60

49. EMILY MOON RESTAURANT, Rietvlei Rd, Plettenberg Bay, (044) 501-2500. Hours of operation: December to March: Dinner Monday to Sunday 6pm to 10pm. Lunch Tuesday to Sunday 12 to 3pm. Cocktail Bar: Tuesday to Sunday 12 to 11pm.

Out of Season: Dinner Monday to Sunday 6 to 9pm. Sunday lunch 12 to 3pm. Cocktail Bar: Tuesday to Sunday 12 to 11pm.
We had high hopes as Emily Moon has a really good menu with delicious and modern options as well as an excellent reputation. Unfortunately, the product that ended on our table was lacking and the service not great.
The wine list is really well thought-out, with a sound selection of award-winning wines.
Also the starter – pork and prawn skewer with a papaya salsa and Asian dipping sauce at R53 – was delicious. The main course, however, was very disappointing. We went for grilled Wildebeest loin with sticky bacon potato fondant, baby vegetables and cassis berry jus for R169 and the grilled lamb rack with almond and herb crusted aubergine and tomato feuilette and a rosemary red wine jus at R159.

After waiting more than half an hour we were informed that they were out of lamb so we were asked to choose another main course and settled on the grilled Karan beef fillet with Emily’s béarnaise sauce and hand cut chips for R169.

We were seated directly next to the kitchen and heard more than 10 minutes after we placed our second order that they started prepping the meal.

The painting hanging on the kitchen wall also kept rattling as kitchen staff bumped the wooden wall.

When our food finally arrived after about an hour into our dining experience we were disappointed once again. I asked for a medium rare wildebeest loin, but most of the meat was overcooked and therefore very tough. The vegetables were also overcooked. Considering the price of their mains this was especially unacceptable.

Then the dessert menu was scooted over (a massive chalk board) with a wide variety of options. More than ¾ of the items on the menu were not available. Lucky for us one of two available options – chocolate fondant at R55 – was mouthwatering.
Score: 52

50. BUENOS, Stanley Street, Richmond Hill. Phone number: 082-920-5229.

The overall experience was pretty bad. The young waitress was slow and clueless about almost everything at the restaurant. As unbelievable as it sounds our 6pm visit to Buenos felt like we had imposed ourselves on the staff and we were just in the way from them closing up. When we ordered our main meal and asked for half vegetables and chips our waitress responded by saying: “That is too complicated.” For a starter we shared the nachos (R48) which was a massive disappointment. The fillet steak was even more unacceptable. You would think for R130 a decent meal would be on offer but instead a miserable looking and sour-tasting steak with a handful of saggy chips came out of the kitchen. The Cajun calamari was over-spiced and failed to compare to our previous visits.

We decided to skip desert because of the poor quality of the mains and starter. It has to be said that our past two visits to Buenos were great with fantastic food and speedy service. Unfortunately, they failed to live up to that standard.
Score: 34


Leave a Reply