On sushi in Cape Town. A personal story.

by biltong101

IMG_7732When I left Poland four years ago the sushi fashion was just starting. People occasionally would suggest going out to have pricey pieces of raw fish with rice but it wasn’t too embarrassing to say you didn’t like it (which usually actually meant you just didn’t know how to use chopsticks and was ashamed to try to learn the skill publicly).

The move to Cape Town was a source of many unexpected adjustments, one of which was getting used to eating sushi. It wasn’t a love at the first taste but my appreciation for it started to grow quite quickly until, when I developed gluten and lactose intolerance, I became a serial sushi eater.

Sushi in Cape Town is the best (although I think that use and abuse of avocado is a local thing). It’s relatively cheap, when compared with other middle class eating out options*, and is actually quite healthy. There’s also a wide range of choice when it comes to sushi places, depending on ones budget and location. Plus, there’s one place I’ve found that’s worth traveling to (even by public transport).

Let’s start with it, and Capetonians probably know that I’m talking about Beluga. With half price sushi and cocktails till dinner time daily and all day on Sunday, the quite fancy restaurant is never empty. Sushi served there is also of much better quality than in most places. Plus, it’s conveniently located in Green Point. The only thing which is not to like is that sometimes, like in Societi Bistro and Bukhara, they like to pretend their fancier than they truly are and they made you wait for a “free” table why you can see that there’s plenty of them around.

If you feel like exploring, Sea Point is an actual sushi district. I don’t know how many restaurants of this sort there are in the area but I’m sure nearly as many as Roman Catholics in Poland**. Having stayed in SP for over a year I probably tried all of them. From my personal favorites I can recommend “The Asian Palace” with portions cheap and big enough for both dinner and breakfast (and they have abalones in tanks to watch), “Shin Tai” with small but good quality pieces and friendly service and (don’t judge me!) “Ocean Basket”. The latter is a franchise and yes, I’ve eaten better but they really have decent sushi for its price.

However, for me Sea Point, is a past memory and I don’t imagine myself sushing out there too often. I just recently moved to town (Gardens) and have not found the Place yet. “Pine Gardens” is a decent restaurant when it comes to food (Satan curse take aways) but you don’t want to spend an evening there as the decor of the place is as bad as recent jokes about Bill Cosby. The newly opened “Sushi Box” in Kloof Street is okay too but holy cow, it’s cold there in winter, and geez Louise, they don’t have an alcohol license. There’s also a place, I don’t recomend, called “Nuri Sushi Factory” which serves absolutely disgusting signature sushi (I admit I haven’t even tried the “normal” stuff but only the chef’s selection) with weird ingredients such as chives (positive), butter (I think) and chocolate (didn’t taste of it but looked liked it).

I haven’t explored the sushi scene in Obs properly yet but I’ve found a place that has salmon roses specials often so it seems like a place to go for now when in the area – “Mr Lin’s”.

Surely on my Cape Town sushi odyssey there have been more places that I’ve encountered but they were either too insipid for me to remember OR I’d like to forget ever trying them (Supermarket sushi. It’s. Just. Wrong). I’m also open to suggestions you can put in the comment section below.

**according to the “official” stats – 90% of people from the country inhabited by 38,5m. Anyway, my point is 1) it’s a funny comparison and b) it means there are MANY sushi places in Sea Point.

*I don’t know why one of the commenters thought this comment was mean. A lot of middle class in South Africa leaves in a bubble. I may be saying that something is cheap but for a lot of South Africans it’s still more that they can afford, because there’s so much poverty. Cheap is relative and we should remember that, being appreciative of what we have and helpful towards those who have less.