Spoiler alert: I didn’t actually eat fish here but I thought it made for a nice title. Nick’s Fishmonger in Illovo is a pricier and a more upmarket restaurant than the usual Fishmonger franchise you might know. The seafood served is organic hence the larger price tag. Situated in the Thrupps Centre in Illovo this restaurant was packed on a Friday night. The restaurant set up felt disjointed with three seating areas that don’t flow together nicely. We were seated near the service bar which was a little too bustling and busy for my liking. I would describe this restaurant as one for a functional dinner as it’s neither romantic for date nor vibey for a dinner with friends. The patrons were mainly older couples and family dinners. The menu has an extensive array of dishes on offer including fish, shellfish, Mozambican curries, platters, meat, chicken and seafood specialities. I like that there are different fish to choose from: linefish, kingklip, trout, pangasius, sole and salmon. Expect to pay at least R160 for a main meal here as there are only a few options below this price.
The best thing about this restaurant was the service and calibre of the waiters. They were quick to clear tables, always there to take a drink order and just overall amazingly good at what they do. We were served complimentary rolls with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I wished they served bread which I prefer over rolls and would distinguish them from the other Fishmongers. For starters we had the fresh black mussels in a creamy garlic wine sauce for R60. The mussels were average, a little too chewy for my liking. The sauce was extremely salty and grainy due to garlic bits not being blended down/strained out.
We also tried the fried squid heads for R50 served with a tartare sauce and lemon wedges. The squid heads were rubbery and chewy. I thought both starter portions were generous sizes.
I had the 10 queen prawns served with either butternut and spinach or chips for R 250. Our prawns didn’t seem that fresh and didn’t peel off the shell easily. The prawns weren’t grilled enough either and the lemon butter sauce was slightly burnt. The bf thought his cream spinach was good – but we didn’t exactly go there to eat good sides! Paying that price for not so fresh, slightly burnt tasting prawns is a waste of money and calories. We were served peri peri sauce and chilli as complimentary condiments but you have to cough up R15 for lemon or garlic sauce which I think should be served standard. They also have this strange addition of olives to all the dishes – not sure what this is about!
We had warm cloths to clean our hands after our main meal as well as complimentary caramel kisses which were nice touches.
The crème brulee for R45 was disappointingly bland and eggy with burnt not caramelized sugar on top.
Overall this restaurant was extremely pricey with average food and amazing service. I can say that looking around at other patrons dishes that the calamari and fish did not look appetizing. I don’t mind paying for fresh quality seafood but that’s not what I got here.
Ring: (011) 206 0067
Hop: Thrupps Centre, 204 Oxford Road, Illovo
Mussels & Prawns,