Cape Town Fish Market Restaurant and Sushi Bar
Victoria Wharf (in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront complex)
Western Cape 8001
Mo-Sa 0900-2100, Su 1000-2100
(four other branches:
Grandwest Casino, Goodwood
Canal Walk, Century City
Gateway, Umhlanga Rocks
Sandton City, Sandton)
Cape Town Fish Market Restaurant and Sushi Bar reminds me of Legal
Sea Foods, which is not a bad thing. Bostonians love to rag on Legal's, but in fact the seafood's quite good, if arguably somewhat overpriced. Like Legal's, this is a fish market and restaurant. Unlike Legal's, it has kaiten sushi, which I did not try as I just came from Asia.
And the seafood is pretty good. I ordered the abalone soup (R. 28.95, $3.96), which surprised me. I'd never had abalone except in Chinese seafood restaurants, and this was a completely different way of preparing it: a cream and wine stock with tiny shreds of abalone. It looked so much like cream of mushroom soup I thought they'd gotten my order wrong, but one mouthful proved the little shreds were in fact abalone. Not bad, if somewhat bland.
I ordered one of a number of seafood combinations, the mussels and calamari combo (R. 42.95, $5.87), and added a 100g order of linefish (R. 16.95, $2.32). I had the choice of having the linefish grilled or fried, the mussels in a red or white sauce, and rice, new potatoes, chips (fries), or a side salad. I ordered grilled, white sauce, and rice.
The calamari were great, cooked just right, with a bit of paprika and salt. The linefish was very nicely done, grilled with a brushing of seasoning which served to bring out the flavor of the fish. The mussels would have been better without their white sauce, but they were nonetheless quite good. Even the rice was interesting: cooked red with peppers which made them more memorable
than the usual run of rice pilaf. Some roasted vegetables (again, nicely cooked, but not overcooked) completed the dish.
Other available combinations are calamari and linefish (R. 43.95, $6.01), sole and calamari (R. 49.95, $6.83), prawns and linefish (R. 65.95, $9.02), and prawns and calamari (R. 69.95, $9.56). They also have crayfish (these are the big ocean kind) at R. 59. ($8.07) per 100g. There are also various local specialties, like Cape Malay Seafood Potjie (R. 42.95) which I considered but decided to go to an actual Cape Malay restaurant to try, some curries, and a paella. There were two other chef's specialties which I decided sounded interesting: Three-flavoured fish (R. 59.95), which is a chef's choice of linefish prepared as cajun, lemon butter, and sashimi; and sizzler (R. 65.95), which is a hot skillet of calamari, prawns, mussels, and linefish topped with peri-peri sauce.
I wonder at having sashimi and cajun fish on the same plate, because I'd think the spiciness of the cajun seasoning would overwhelm the delicate flavor of the sashimi, but maybe it works.
Langoustines were on special, but I'd forgotten my antihistamine.
There are also three sizes of seafood platters (R. 129.95-R. 495.95) which include calamari, prawns, mussels, linefish, and zero, one, or two crayfish, all on a bed of rice. These must be quite large and meant for groups to share.
The regular menu also has a variety of salads and light meals, and there's also a short listing of dishes (4) which can be prepared as low-fat meals.
I glanced at the sushi menu and the prices looked like those back home in the States ($3.25 for a california hand roll, I think), and the selection wasn't very wide, so I decided to give that a pass.
This being South Africa, there's an extensive wine list. They do charge R. 16.50 ($2.26) for a litre of water, so you might as well order wine.
If you really don't like fish, there are steaks, chicken, and pasta, and as a concession to vegetarians there is a vegetarian platter. (A note in the menu notes "only the V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk branches serve Halaal meat and poultry".) However, if you really don't like fish, there are lots of other places to eat in the V&A Waterfront that don't serve fish.
There was a lot of food. So much so that I waddled out.
There's a 10% service fee, but it's only added for groups of 8 or more. Service, by the way, was professional and excellent.
The restaurant is on two levels with the larger section, and the kaiten sushi, downstairs.
This franchise has been growing since 1997, and given the quality of the food and the resulting business, I imagine they'll keep growing.