Vista Marina: Tapas by the Sea Enjoy tasty tapas and seafood at the V&A Waterfront in style


When spending time at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, you are spoilt for shopping and eating choices and it’s not always easy to make a decision! I have my go-to-places for food, but last time, I felt like something a bit more sophisticated and luxurious and decided to pay the Vista Marina a visit.

It is well hidden behind the Two Oceans Aquarium, but should definitively not be overlooked. As we entered the elegantly designed Vista Marina, we were greeted by a friendly waitron and let to a table right in front of one of the enchanting blue aquariums that stand out as vivid highlights in the white-in-white interior design of the restaurant.

The Vista Marina offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a tapas menu from 2:00-8:00 pm. The Mediterranean-inspired food options range from seafood (think of traditional St Tropez bouillabaisse and Peri-Peri or lemon butter butterflied prawns grilled over wood fire) to grilled meats (how about a beef cut served with crushed potatoes and roast vegetables or maybe a loin of Karoo lamb with goats cheese mousseline, red pepper, aubergine and baby marrow, olives fricassee, truffle and almond croquette and African wild garlic jus?) to burgers and pizzas (served only until 6:00 pm). The breakfast menu also includes some mouth-watering combinations such as American-style blueberries pancakes with salted caramel and toasted macadamia nuts and Moroccan-style frittata-tagine omelette served with spicy beef sausage, green olives, red onions, grape tomatoes cream cheese and coriander.

Since it was early afternoon, we opted for the tapas menu and chose four tapas for two people to begin with. Vista Marina’s tapas menu is an excellent selection of different seafood, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes and great for vegetarians, too. When the bruschetta, halloumi cigars, the Mediterranean platter and patatas harras arrived, we were surprised by how much food it was. When I think of tapas, I think of small morsels of food to go with my wine, but these portions were big enough to feed the two of us. Everything was plated with style and one of the chefs even came to our table to explain to us how to eat the tabbouleh. You use the crisp salad leaves as little bowls for the bulgur salad and eat it with your fingers (in case you didn’t know, like me).

Actually, I ate all the tapas with my fingers, because it makes it an even more enjoyable experience when you add touch to the senses you use to eat, and it simply makes me happy. Afterwards, we shared a dessert, because not much else would have fitted into our tummies. But since I have a very sweet tooth, dessert is a must and we did not regret it – warm almond milk cake with amaretto ice cream and almond brittle. Do I have to say more?

In addition to their inside restaurant, which can seat up to 120 people, the Vista Marina also features a Conservatory Deck and the Blue Room. The deck is enclosed in glass and the perfect spot for the high tea (offered every Sunday) or a romantic brunch, as it offers panoramic views of the harbour and Table Mountain. The Blue Room can be booked for luxurious private dinners. The entire restaurant or only parts thereof can be booked for private functions for up to 200 people.

Breakfast ranges between R65 and R115, mains start at R110 and the tapas range between R25 to R140. And believe me, when I say, the delicious food, the great service and the panoramic vista are worth every cent you’ll spend at the Vista Marina.

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Alexandra is a tourist guide, writer, translator for German & English, improviser and environmentalist with all her heart and soul. She enjoys experimental vegetarian/vegan cooking with high emphasis on organic and locally grown food. She is also a tea connoisseur (read: total tea snob). If she isn't hiking up some mountain, enjoying a glass of wine at sunset or getting down and dirty in her little garden, she is happiest driving down an unknown road and ending up at a place that turns out to be a still undiscovered gem.
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