This year the event was held at the Two Oceans Aquarium with the main event taking place at the I&J Predator Exhibit. It might have been an excellent idea at first but the sharks and the giant stingrays stole the show from a presentation that was just a bit on the sad side.
It lacked excitement and was a rushed affair. I would have liked to hear from the actual owners and managers of the winning restaurants who put in the blood sweat and tears to make their restaurants great.
This year you can find all the winners and listings for the Waterfront's restaurants in a tiny little guide called Eat Drink 2008/9 (did I emphasise small?) It's so small that I took three because I knew I'd lose it. I've already lost two between the event and digging in my bag for it this morning.
It's obviously very cost effective and a good size for a magazine supplement, perfect to chuck in your handbag or drop in a bowl at a restaurant's entrance. But it looks cheap and it doesn't fit with the Waterfront's image as a premier tourist destination. I also don't think it will make any lasting impression on the thousands of international tourists who stampede the Waterfront year in year out.
This judging panel was headed by Cape Town's first lady of restaurant awards, Abigail Donnelly and three other judges. All the eateries were divided into 6 categories with a winner and a runner-up prize awarded at the event.
1. Best Deluxe
Emily's got the nod with the Cape Grace's fine dining restaurant, onewaterfront taking the runner-up spot. Food24 will soon be sharing some exciting news about onewaterfront's new chef and the Cape Grace's revamp.
2. Best Smart
The Belgian restaurant Den Anker took first prize with the popular Societi Bistro taking the second spot. I recommend that you also check out Salero in the new section. Their tapas and wine choice by the glass is top notch and I found the service outstanding. And keep your eye out for Sevruga. Our blogger The Quaffer raved about it in her latest blog.
3. Best Casual
Willoughby's & Co, one of Cape Town's stalwart sushi restaurants took the honours with the Paulaner Bräuhaus close on their heels. Bräuhaus is a worthy runner-up and I recommend their delicious warm pretzels and a large Weisbeir for any day of the week.
4. Best Café Culture
Café Bascule took top honours while Vida e Caffé got the runner-up prize. I find this quite a strange category and am puzzled how you can make your average café/coffee shop compete with a place like Café Bascule that is managed by professionals skilled in the art of gourmet food preparation and service.
5. Best Pub Style
Bascule Whisky Bar got the nod followed by Ferryman's Tavern. Once again, I struggle to see Bascule and Ferryman's in the same league. I love Bascule for a fine whisky in elegant surroundings while Ferryman's is perfect for a pint and fried goodness. I also need to add Alba Lounge above Hildebrand restaurant to the list. It's one of my favourite places for a decent cocktail and a gorgeous view, before or after dinner.
6. On The Run
Simply Asia Thai and Noodle Bar took top honours followed by everyone's favourite frozen yoghurt shop Marcels.
What's your favourite restaurant in the Waterfront?
Ilze Dreyer is the deputy editor of Food24.