la parada del mar: a slice of spain in camps bay

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A slice of Spain can be found on the white, sandy beaches of Camps Bays’ glamorous seafront strip; a short drive from the center of Cape Town. La Parada Del Mar, a lively and colourful tapas restaurant celebrates Spaniards’ passion for social eating. Communal tables stretch across the length of the shabby-chic space and lend themselves well to the relaxed and convivial atmosphere. The restaurants’ interior is a nod to the building’s heritage and a visual cue reminiscent of coastal Spanish-inspired decor – fresh whitewashed walls, glorious blue and white mosaics, and tiles, and natural woods. Café tables at street-level are popular for people-watching and soaking up the buzz of Camps Bay’s beachfront.

Just a few steps away, dominating one wall here is the elegant mosaic-clad Grey Goose bar, where suave barmen in suspenders and Panama hats shake up an enviable range of cocktails. Their signature cocktail; Gin & Tonic Del De Barra, is given a lift by mango, rosemary, grapefruit and orange zest – an ideal refresher for the hot summer day.

The menu is focused on serving fresh seafood dishes, prepared simply and plated beautifully, and there’s no shortage of delectable fruits de mer on the extensive selection of tapas plates. The first selection of tapas included the Mozzarella Stracciatella – a cream soaked mozzarella with cherry tomatoes, melba and salsa verde served with a crispy pan fresco. The flavours are bold yet perfectly balanced, while plating retains the focus of traditional tapas with a welcome dose of local panache.

The second tapas was the Chorizo al Diablo; beautifully fragrant and spicy wood-fired chorizo with roasted cherry tomatoes, fried homemade bread and dollop of aioli delightfully decorate the plate and certainly invigorate the gustatory senses.

Alongside the tapas options are larger Plato Principal crafted for sharing. Plump and fresh West Coast black mussels are expertly seasoned with white wine, garlic, parsley, and saffron cream. The portion is hefty enough to share between two (or three, depending on appetites) but I will sparingly admit I devoured this on my own, it’s just that good.

The Flanco de Carne, grilled beef flank served with chimichurri, pickled mustard seeds and roasted garlic toast, was the highlight of the meal and will satiate even the hungriest diner.

Service throughout from our lively waiter is friendly and knowledgeable, whilst the manager pops over once to check on our meal. The challenge is whether the team can maintain this standard with a busier restaurant.  We leave La Parada satisfied and satiated after a relaxing and nicely paced meal that marries well-executed classics with a touch of creativity in an amazing location. Easily one of the more memorable dining experiences in the city.

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