It’s not often you hear South Africa’s friendly city mentioned in the same sentence as trendy or up-to-date, yet if you’ve spent any time in Port Elizabeth recently, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the list of trendy eateries that are right on the money when it comes to vibe, flavour and crowd pleasing entertainment.
Having spent a little bit of time here in the sunny city of PE I discovered a handful of restaurants that both surprised me with their original menus and delighted me with an energy I thought was reserved for the Mother City, I decided to make this list of restaurants that have more than impressed me.
Found amongst the row of buzzing restaurants and coffee shops along the rejuvenated Stanley Street in PE’s Richmond Hill area, this restaurant sets the bar pretty high for other Asian inspired menus. To say Fushin has great sushi would be the most average compliment you could give. Their Japanese inspired menu which includes delights such as seared pepper crusted tuna, seaweed salad, saki and all manner of sushi rolls; goes far beyond any expectations. It’s genuine, it’s original and the service delivers as promised. Don’t expect to get away with much change in your wallet, but it is worth every penny.
A rugged, honest Italian eatery set in an antique shop may seem an unlikely combination but you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The winner at Mangiamo’s is definitely the food with classic Italian combinations prepared just as though they came from Mamma’s kitchen deep in the Italian Countryside. True Napoli style pizza, hearty pasta dishes and more antipasti than you probably need makes certain the way to your heart is through your stomach.
You won’t feel like a stranger here as you sit beneath the giant tree sipping some of the best cappuccinos in PE or sharing their giant Meze platter with flat breads. Situated in one of the oldest buildings in the friendly city, believed to have been the Harbour Master’s house once upon a time, this is the place to find your inner creative. Home to the city’s creative the walls are adorned with unusual artist work that is for sale and the vibe is non-stop. Try and coincide your visit when they have entertainment planned or just head there for brunch, you will have a hard time choosing what to order. They’ve also just introduced craft beer on tap and they’re sharp with their banting friendly options, need any more reasons?
Bridge Street Brewery
Just across the way from Friendly Stranger this is one of the city’s great pub style eateries set in a microbrewery. You’ll definitely go here more for the beer than the food but with pub meals and delicious tapas style snacks you can keep drinking all afternoon. We went when there was live entertainment and this certainly adds to the vibe and they do a good job of keeping the beer flowing.
Do not visit here unless you are willing to forego any kind of carb or sugar restrictive diet you may be on. As you enter you are met with a long line of baked goodness generous with chocolate, nuts, caramel and carbohydrates. Even if you are tempted to turn away you’ll only be met with a stack of artisanal breads begging to ripped open and dipped in olive oil or eaten with a warm bowl of soup. It’s much more of a breakfast and lunch spot especially if you grab one of the comfy couches outside in the morning sun you’ll be the envy of everyone that passes by.
— Rob (@Bloggeries) May 5, 2014
Rows of countless craft beer kegs, walls of graffiti and a simple easy menu are a combination that set this beachfront restaurant aside. For beer aficionados this place will have you tongue hanging out as you peruse the menu of beers on offer and you’ll definitely want to order their thin crust pizza to go with your naked Mexican. The view out over the Bay from their outside seating is just the kind of place you’ll want to be seen; you know everyone driving past will be jealous.
Also found in the trendy renewed Stanley street area this newish eatery has an irresistibly authentic Mediterranean menu. I could have sat all day overlooking the street below sipping on wine and stuffing my face with their endless list of tapas or starters. The beauty of restaurants along this street is the vibe that drifts along from venue to venue and this place really benefits from its location. One thing is for certain you’ll definitely eat more than two olives while you’re here.
No trendy eatery list is complete without a noisy Mexican restaurant to shake things up. If you live in Cape Town you’ve got places like the Fat Cactus to get your tequila on, Chingadas is PE’s answer to any burrito craving. Even if you’re just after nachos and a beer you’ll find yourself sipping margaritas like Jack Kerouac and hoping you remembered to choose a designated driver. Luckily when I went to visit the guesthouse was walking distance away. Also no good Mexican joint is complete without serious jalapeno popper and Chingadas certainly delivers.
Nattis has to be included in this list not because it has a particularly noteworthy vibe or original menu, but mainly because it is the best Thai food you will find in PE. Don’t expect fine dining or even a wine list (they are not licensed) but do expect to eat absolutely authentic Thai jam packed full of flavour. Natti herself slaves away in the kitchen and you’ll taste the effort in her cooking.
With so much noise surrounding the award winning restaurant scene in Joburg, Cape Town and Durban it’s so exciting to find equally impressive eateries down in Port Elizabeth. One thing is for sure when you visit here you’ll experience top quality food in a city that’s working hard to re-create itself. So why not head to friendly city for your next getaway and get some of that Eastern Cape magic.