The Port Elizabeth Foodie Guide for 2014 - 2015

The Port Elizabeth food scene is shaking off its old-school image and tapping into global trends to offer locals and visitors a veritable smorgasbord of options.

by: Sam Venter
foodie guide, restaurants port elizabeth

For starters, head to Richmond Hill where the buzzing foodie action of Stanley Street – “The Strip” to locals – is spilling over into surrounding streets with new venues like George’s Greek Taverna in Raleigh Street for a Greek island feel and all the old favourite Grecian treats.

On Stanley itself, diners are spoilt for choice, with fusion cuisine, seafood, steaks, tapas and Asian delights in a vibey atmosphere that spills out onto the fairy-lit pavements, often with live music in tow. Fortunately for those who can’t make up their minds, several of the restaurants are happy for diners to mix ‘n match, ordering dishes from different eateries at the same table.

Check out YiaYias for pizza, Two Olives for a contemporary take on tapas, Fushin for arguably the best sushi in town, Sticky Fingers and Bain St Grill for steaks, Flava for inventive fusion cooking, and Salt for pub fare. Vibey and bright Le Med brings dishes from the entire Mediterranean coast to The Strip, from the Middle East to Spain, via Greece and Morocco.

Buenos offers a no-frills Latin American vibe where no-one bats an eyelid if you ditch the cutlery and dig into hearty helpings of prawns, ribs and steaks, Cajun linefish and their signature prego chicken livers.

Meat on Stanley is another no-frills spot – butchery by day and open as a restaurant on Wednesday and Friday evenings, serving up platters of all-free-range steaks, pork belly roasts, lamb chops and salad to be communally shared by the table.

Escape the crowds down below and watch the action on “The Strip” from the balcony of specialist wine retailer and wine bar, For the Love of Wine. They’re on a mission to introduce PE to new and different wines, with a focus on the boutique and artisanal, offering tasting selections and a wine-by-the-glass menu that changes every two weeks.

The leafy suburb of Walmer has entered the fine wine scene too, with Cork Wine Garden offering a pretty outdoor setting with upcycled wine bottles and corks forming the heart of the décor. All wines are available by the glass and they offer simple and tasty meze platters.

The craft beer phenomenon is taking off in the city, with the buzzing BeerYard in Cooper Street, around the corner from Stanley, offering gourmet burgers and a wide selection of artisan beers – their tasting trays of a selection of four beers are a good way to try out all that’s new in this growing market. Sister outlet The Beershack is a laid-back beachfront option for a beer with a view.

The pioneer of craft beer in PE, the Bridge Street Brewery is a micro-brewery selling its own brews as well as a wide range of artisan beers, along with hearty tapas-style fare, overlooking the green belt of the Baakens River. Both the brewery and the neighbouring Colonial Kitchen regularly host live, local music.

Colonial Kitchen is a quirky spot where the antiques making up the eclectic décor are all for sale and the kitchen turns out hearty fare with contemporary twists on the homemade, farm kitchen feel.

Artisan bakeries and coffee shops are A Big Thing. For breakfasts, light lunches and tea-time treats – and a wide selection of artisan breads – check out Vovo Telo in Richmond Hill, and Bocadillo’s or Brioche in Walmer.

Now a national franchise, the Vovo Telo phenomenon has spawned Charlie’s Bistro in Summerstrand, for arguably the best pizza in town and a sea view if you sit in the right spot.

PE obviously has a wealth of spots from which to dine and wine with a sea view. On the beachfront, try the stylish Coachman on the Bay at Brookes Hill, or old favourite Blue Waters Café for reliable quality and a great view over Hobie Beach.

The chic Verandah at the Beach Hotel over the road offers light meals and a spectacular sundowner spot, while the hotel’s Ginger restaurant with its elegant décor, fine dining menu and seamless service is the prime choice for business dinners and romantic celebrations.

The old Something Good roadhouse on Pollok Beach has a new lease on life, retaining its casual seaside-surfer-roadhouse vibe, but now with a beach-funky restaurant and bar too. With hearty breakfasts and gourmet burgers, ice-cream cones of course, and live music on weekend afternoons and some evenings, it’s the next best thing to eating on the beach itself. Actually, better, because you won’t get sand in your sarmies.

Further along the coast, on the “wild side”, head to the Sacramento in the picturesque seaside village of Schoenmakerskop – the perfect spot to soak up some sun while watching the sea, shipping and likely some dolphins or whales. The menu is basic fare – calamari, salads, burgers and tea-time treats, but you’re there for the view.

Barnacles in Seaview is another choice whale-watching spot with great breakfasts and seaside fare to be enjoyed on its large deck, or the cosy indoors when the wind picks up.

Happy times in the Bay!

Follow @samventer1 on Twitter.

- Food24

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