A tip from Indagare insider Cari Gray who visited Cape Town in summer 2009: “Closer to the waterfront on Jetty Street, French chef Laurent Deslandes and his South African wife Cyrillia offer up classic yet casual French fare at this new bistro. The couple recently moved to Cape Town after a successful run with their restaurant in Sydney, Australia. Bizerca’s surroundings are modern industrial style, with big windows. Their famous salmon salad, with soy ginger and goat cheese, is one of a few signature dishes served regularly; the rest of the chalkboard menu comprises daily seasonal dishes ranging from ostrich fillet to karoo lamb.”
La Perla has been around since I was a child, and perhaps before that; it has served generations of Capetonians as a kind of upmarket canteen where they eat several times a week and know the Indian waiters by name. The menu is large and fairly traditional, with a few nods to culinary trends (like tuna carpaccio), and you won’t go wrong if you stick to it. But one of the ways La Perla keeps its regular customers is to make whatever they want, so this is where to indulge your inner diva and make special requests. It’s also the place to come to if you are in the mood for sea creatures; order one of the lavish seafood platters and a bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc, admire the chic crowd, and tuck in.
At first glance, this restaurant, in the Waterfront shopping center, doesn’t look much different from others in the complex. The interior is unexceptional—the usually packed outdoor area borders the quay and has mountain views—but the relaxed, bistro-style cooking (lamb shanks, oxtail, salad niçoise with fresh tuna) is always excellent, and the staff friendly and efficient.