Five of Durban's top spots to splurge on spectacular seafood dishes
Here's which upmarket eateries to head to when you're in the mood for shellfish — and what to order when you get there, writes Candice Botha
1. BEL PUNTO, UMDLOTI
If you want a sea view as a side to your seafood, Bel Punto in Umdloti is a great choice. It’s got serious culinary cred too, with delicious seafood dishes ranging from simple to inventive.
Standout dish: My top pick is their pairing of baby crayfish with angel-hair pasta. The tomato-based sauce is just aromatic enough to enhance the flavour of the crayfish and the pasta makes it a satisfying main course.
2. 9TH AVENUE WATERSIDE, DURBAN HARBOUR
Seafood is the focus of this newly-relocated restaurant’s menu and there are several dishes that will pique a seafood aficionado’s interest – think prawn tails with squid ink linguini, crispy fried calamari (one of the best calamari dishes I’ve ever eaten) and soupe du poisson.
Standout dish: The creamy shellfish orzo with BBQ langoustine, baby langoustine tails and lemon foam is a firm favourite for many 9th Ave fans. This dish takes simple ingredients and elevates them to gourmet heights.
3. OYSTER BOX HOTEL, UMHLANGA
Diners at The Oyster Box Hotel are spoilt for choice when it comes to seafood with several excellent dishes on the menus of both the fine-dining Grill Room, and the less formal Terrace. This includes the fragrant, full-bodied chicken and prawn curry from their famous curry buffet, and a seafood tasting plate that shows off the local fruits de mer.
Standout dish: For its sheer decadence and perfect preparation, I have to say that the Grill Room’s baby crayfish with shellfish butter is my favourite. It's savoury, melt-in-your-mouth soft, and the butter brings out the best favours in the flesh of the crayfish. It's a dish you’ll return for.
4. THE CHEF’S TABLE, UMHLANGA
The menu at The Chef’s Table is subject to change as the array of tempting dishes on the menu are designed around seasonal ingredients, however seafood is always represented.
Standout dish: Every dish created by chef Kayla-Ann Osborn is good, but if there's tuna on the menu, you’re in luck: seared until the skin is just crisp, it's full of the flavours of the sea and is served with seasonal sides.
5. ILE MAURICE, UMHLANGA
If seafood’s your thing, best add Ile Maurice to your list of must-try restaurants. There are so many seafood dishes to choose from at this Durban dining institution, from a legendary gratin de crabe served in its shell and dripping with bechamel sauce, to a rich seafood bisque and prawns any which way you can imagine.
Standout dish: The Mauritian curry served with either langoustines, prawns or kingklip. It’s a unique dish that boasts authentic, fragrant island flavours.
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