We had decided to go in pursuit of authentic seafood served in a restaurant set in the working docks of Cape Town’s Table Bay Harbour. What a pity that we chose the wettest day of the Cape Town winter, but that did not dampen our enthusiasm to enjoy a memorable lunch. Panama Jack’s restaurant is renowned for authentic seafood and is situated a little beyond the Royal Cape Yacht club amongst warehouses and container storage depots. If nothing else, it is a foodie destination far removed from the touristy thrum of the V&A Waterfront.
Panama Jacks is set in a timber, cabin like building on the edge of the docks with plenty of parking. On entering the dimly lit restaurant , the many nautical collectibles together with a low ceiling draped with flags of the world instils the confidence that you have chosen the right place to eat. As you are shown to your table you may notice the concrete tank with crayfish swimming; patiently waiting for your order. A nautical map of some exotic part of the world becomes your tablecloth on the rustic wooden table. There is a good wine list featuring some of the Cape’s best and a reasonable selection of wines available by the glass.
We chose the seafood platter for two which arrived in less than 15 minutes, served by a friendly and attentive guy wearing a pirate bandana. The large frying pan that has become ubiquitous for seafood eateries was brought to our table set in a wrought iron table stand. The platter was a feast for the eyes -pride of place on the platter was a pair of grilled crayfish halves; 4 scallops with roe served in the shells, a brace of Portuguese mussels, a dozen perfectly grilled succulent prawns, a large chunk of fresh Kingklip on the bone, nestled above a mountain of tender breaded strips of calamari (cuttlefish) and savoury rice. Conveniently nestled in the platter was a bowl of Sauce Tartare but also served separately was a trio of little jugs containing lemon butter, garlic butter and truly spectacular peri-peri sauce to ring the changes. Every part was cooked to perfection although the rice was a little on the oily side. There was so much food that we could not finish it all and took home the calamari to enjoy for lunch the next day. This has to be the definitive seafood platter that sets the standard. The menu is small but interesting; with some Caribbean specialties and a few surprises like half a crispy duck.
We liked the relaxed but busy atmosphere; the dockside setting and nautical ambience. We had a memorable lunch of seafood and resolved to return to enjoy the duck, but somehow I think that it will be seafood special again for me.
Panama Jacks is reached from the City by travelling down Christiaan Barnard St toward the harbour; ducking left under the N1 highway into the harbour precinct. Be sure to stop at security where the entrance is controlled by daunting retractable spikes. From there turn right and proceed past the yacht club where you will see the sign for the restaurant. For bookings Tel : 021 447 3992
Because our visit took place on a dim and miserable day we have chosen to use and give credit for some of the pictures taken from the restaurants website : http://www.panamajacks.net/
By : affordable Cape Town holiday accommodation