Thumbs Up/ Thumbs Down: Thumbs Up!
Price Range: Avg. Price per meal R 90
Type: Greek Restaurant
Crowd: Inner City Locals/ Authentic Greek Crowd
Day Of the Week: Sunday
Time: 13:00 pm
Address: 176 Buitenkant Street, Gardens
Arguably the best calamari I have had in Cape Town. Yes, a big call I know!
So this un-suspecting little spot above the 7/11 cafe at the top of Buitenkant street in Gardens has always intrigued me. Many a time have I dined on street level at Lazari and looked up in great fascination of what may exist atop the cafe. The assumption I always found myself making was this it was probably a little grimy and probably a little underwhelming.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” I was told all too often growing up and on reflection I should have heeded that advice a whole lot more.
Marika’s is in fact a little utopia in the sky, with views over the CBD in one direction and Devil’s peak in the other. On an epic sunny day with a light breeze, I would question whether there are better open air spots in the inner city to have a spot of lunch with some friends.
Only further complimenting this what feels like a family run Greek restaurant, the service I received was next to none. There are two types of “good” service in my opinion. The first is where good service is expected, as you would find in most fine dining restaurants. This service in most cases seen as just “ok” because the expectation to begin with was set quite high. You then get the second type of good service where not only do you actually receive very friendly and efficient service, but in addition, nothing is an issue. “Can I have half grilled, half fried?” Yes sure! “Can I change the chips for a salad?” Yes sure! Marika’s embodies this second type of good service like no other and it was such a refreshing experience.
You are probably wondering about the “best calamari” claim made in my opening sentence. In the last 3 years I have done a lot of eating out in the Mother City and the one thing I always look for is a good plate of calamari. Having been privileged enough in my life to be exposed to freshly caught and cooked “chokka” or calamari, my expectations are potentially too high and in most instances I find myself being a little disappointed.
Marika’s I can positively say did nothing of the sort. Although on the somewhat pricey side for a portion of calamari, the quality, quantity and presentation of their calamari was superb. A healthy portion size of grilled (better than their fried) calamari would suffice for most men. Large, succulent, fresh tubes and tentacles served with a nice piece of lemon is my ideal serving suggestion for this dish and Marika’s do exactly that.
Around the table, all of the meals were top quality and the slight price premium was certainly warranted across the board.
I give Marika’s a big thumbs up. Although potentially a little odd looking as a location for a restaurant from ground level, I implore you to pay it a visit and if anything, try the calamari!