Cape Town's strategic location off the Atlantic coast contributes greatly to the dining scene exploding with a plethora of fresh seafood options. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town is bursting with restaurants that boasts fresh seafood, and if making a decision on where and what to eat is not difficult enough (oh the woes of being spoilt with so many excellent choices!), we could be eating at any of the V&A Waterfront restaurants and still have views of ships, cruise liners, and the majestic Table Mountain in front of us.
Admittedly, the dining options at the V&A Waterfront could be somewhat tourist oriented and although we generally try to steer away from these places (we like to go where locals eat), we were told that Baia is among the better fine seafood options at the waterfront. This piece of information we got could not be true enough. Located on the second floor of Victoria Wharf, we navigated ourselves to Baia and walked past a great number of restaurants that were bustling with visitors and tourists before finally arriving at Baia. Tucked away at the very end of the strip of restaurants, it was significantly less hectic with an atmosphere that does not scream touristy. It was elegant waterfront fine dining at best with so much natural light flowing in to the dining area.
With fresh oysters in abundance, it was difficult not to get excited over them. The best part yet about oysters in South Africa was that we got to eat wild oysters instead of only cultivated ones. All the oysters we've eaten in the U.S. were cultivated and farmed, and we have yet to find wild oysters served at restaurants back in Chicago. One obvious way to tell apart wild and cultivated oysters is that wild oysters have uneven and rough shells while cultivated oysters are in smoother shells.
Baia was serving Namibian oysters on the day we were there and we each had a dozen of them.
The wild oysters were huge and very fresh, so full of flavor with a nice briny taste to them. My glass of chenin blanc was a perfect complement to the oysters.
We shared a pan fried line fish of the day (named so from the fishing technique using a line with baited hooks) that came with flavored rice and ratatouille. The fish was very well prepared and each tender and moist bite of the fish was impressive.
The menu at Baia offers plenty of options we only wished we could try them all, including a tremendous mix of seafood platter with langoustines, lobsters, etc, but alas we made sure we had stomach space for an afternoon tea at the historic Mount Nelson Hotel that same afternoon. Baia definitely set us in the right mood from having a very good lunch, with the added bonus that it offered an atmosphere of a quiet seafood oasis in the midst of the hectic and bustling V&A Waterfront.
130 Victoria Wharf Street
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town 8002