For foodie visitors to Port Elizabeth there’s plenty to explore all year around.
For starters, head to Stanley Street and surrounds in Richmond Hill for fusion cuisine, steaks, tapas and other Mediterranean offerings, sushi and Asian delights in a vibey atmosphere that spills out onto the fairy-lit pavements, often with live music in tow. Check out Charlie Super Star and YiaYias for pizza, Two Olives for tapas, Fushin for sushi and Asian, Sticky Fingers and Bain St Grill for steaks, Flava for fusion cuisine, Le Med and Fushin and Seafood and Salt for pub fare.
New addition Soho Molecular Lounge with its ultra-modern white interior is the uber-cool spot for cocktails, champagne, cigars, sushi and artfully-presented snacks from sister restaurant Fushin, and late-night schmoozing with the hip ‘n happening.
Or watch the action on “The Strip” from the balcony of PE’s one and only genuine wine bar, For the Love of Wine. They’re on a mission to introduce new and different wines, with a wine-by-the-glass menu that changes monthly, and the peckish can order up food from the surrounding restaurants.
Artisan bakeries and coffee shops are A Big Thing. Check out the old faithfuls like Vovo Telo in Richmond Hill and Bocadillo’s in Walmer, or head to Bridge Street for happy-hippy-chic at The Friendly Stranger, housed in the old Port Captain’s quarters.
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, and the buzzy Palomino bistro just off Stanley Street for up-scale burgers, steaks, pizzas in an invitingly warm and casual atmosphere.
PE obviously has a wealth of spots from which to dine and wine with a sea view. On the beachfront, try old favourite Blue Waters Café for reliable quality and a great view over Hobie Beach, its neighbour Angelo’s for coffee, cocktails and light fare, or the chic Verandah at the Beach Hotel over the road.
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.
Every Sunday in December, head out to the almost-countryside for the Back to Earth Organic Market at The Old Cash Store on Sardinia Bay Road. Offering natural products, local fresh produce, home-made food goodies, arts and crafts, the market runs to about lunchtime.
Best solution to post-market fatigue is to hang around, enjoy the live music and indulge in the Cash Store’s legendary Sunday buffet or a beer ‘n pizza on the deck. A very kid-friendly spot to while away an afternoon, there’s a jungle gym and plenty of space to run around.
In the same neck of the woods, Sacramento in the picturesque seaside village of Schoenmakerskop is 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.
Sacramento is probably the more kid-friendly of the two, with acres of grass just across the road, and plenty of rocks to scramble on and rock pools to explore.
The Granary in Stanley Street hosts regular markets, with the Christmas edition on 16 December from 3-9pm. Local wine-maker Michael White will be there with his Highlands Road wines from Elgin, there’s a cash bar and a wide array of home-made and deli treats, farm-fresh produce, and interesting crafts, designer and vintage clothing and jewellery from local artists and entrepreneurs. Live music and a street market vibe all add up to a festive affair.
The grand-daddy of markets in PE is the Lady’s Slipper Farm Market out on the old Cape Road in St Alban’s. Get there early every Saturday for a country atmosphere, play area for the kids, loads of farm produce from fresh veggies to pickles, preserves, venison pies and baked goods, and good old South African takeaways like curry ‘n rice, samoosas, pancakes, moerkoffie and braaivleis.
Happy times in the Bay!
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