How deep are your pockets? That’s the first question you need to ask yourself before setting off for an evening of sushi in Cape Town.
If they’re not too deep, you’re in luck: Cape Town abounds with affordable sushi restaurants. What’s more, if you dine at lunchtime you’ll find set menus and discount a la carte offerings that make a sushi meal seem like a bargain. In the city centre Active Sushi is usually a good bet, while the low-key Café Paparazzi in St George’s mall serves office workers a quick sushi lunch at good prices. Out of the city centre, Salushi in Claremont and Empire Sushi on Sea Point’s Main Road both offer top-notch sushi at good prices.
If you have a few extra rands to spare, you’re spoilt for choice. Locals swear by Willoughby’s & Co. at the popular V&A Waterfront shopping precinct: the sushi is excellent, and well priced for the quality. The downside? You’re eating in a shopping mall. If you’re going to eat sushi in a mall, rather do it at nearby Balducci’s where you can at least enjoy the harbour views.
Or, better still, head for Izakaya Matsuri. Hidden behind The Rockwell hotel in Green Point it’s a little hard to find, but worth seeking out. Forget boring old California Rolls and look forward to the likes of crunchy tempura eel, and spider rolls with real crab legs. Make sure you start with the excellent miso soup.
In the bohemian suburb of Observatory, 1890 Sushi House is a local favourite with plenty of charm to match the excellent sushi. It’s a little off the beaten track for tourists, but combines excellent value with extremely good sushi. Ask if they have eel available: their Dragon Rolls with roasted eel are memorable.
Takumi in the city centre is also memorable, not least for the famously cantankerous sushi chef known simply as Papa-san. Tucked away a few steps from buzzy Kloof Street, this is a great option for a platter before a party. Papa-san likes to get creative, so although you’ll find good rolls and sashimi here, get ready to be adventurous.
The same goes for Kyoto Garden, just up the road. This serene, stylish restaurant offers perhaps the most authentic Japanese cuisine in the city, and before you move on to sushi you shouldn’t miss out on the array of Japanese-inspired dishes. It’s expensive, but worth every cent for top-notch cooking. The sushi blends authenticity with adventure, and some of the finest fresh fish in the Mother City. Save your rands and pay it a visit.