I’ve heard such a mixed bag of reviews about La Parada that I really didn’t know what to expect. Plenty of people have praised the decor and the vibe but been disappointed by the service or the food. I’m delighted to say I had a brilliant lunch and that the service was faultless. Saturday lunch started with beers and cocktails like all good lunches should. When ordering drinks they are served with little mini tapas just as they would in Spain and Italy. The mini tapas was a little bruschetta with marinated peppers and olives – it was absolutely delicious and paired well with the beer.
They have a gorgeous tapas selection, a small listing of mains and three desserts. We opted to have a shared tapas lunch between the 5 of us. The tapas options on the menu are written in both Spanish and English but for this review I’m going to stick to English so everyone knows what I’m talking about! The menu is very clever in that all the tapas options can be chosen as small or large portions. With small sizes ranging from R15 to R38 and large portions ranging from R28 to R76. All the portions below are the large options. To use the croquettes as an example – the large portion comes with 5 croquettes and the smaller one with 3.
And so the parade of food to the table begun! This here is the Octopus with Potato for R45. It was delicious and fresh however I wouldn’t bother serving it with potatoes. No one wants slices of steamed potatoes when there are so many other amazing options on the menu! I just ate the octopus off the top of the potatoes. Lurking in the back of the photo are the amazing ham croquettes for R42 which are served with a tomato passata style sauce. There was a serious debate about the croquettes. It was a prawn vs ham croquettes debate- the most serious of all the debates!!
These beauties are the prawn croquettes for R44 and are served with a light fresh herb pesto kinda thing. My favourite were the prawns because of the serious creaminess but I was surprised 4/5 of the table preferred the ham croquettes! We needed a taste test and ordered another round. After round 2 I had won the boyfriend over and only had 3/5 in favour of the ham croquettes. Don’t get me wrong- these are both damn delicious croquettes and probably some of the best croquettes I’ve had in Cape Town especially considering the light sauces they serve with the croquettes to cut some of the richness.
Now I have heard more than a few comments about the oiliness of the food at La Parada. I was expecting the croquettes to be the oily culprits but was delighted to find them light and fresh with crispy outsides and fluffy middles. I went on to find none of the food we ordered to be oily – maybe we were lucky with our orders or maybe now that the restaurant has gotten some time to settle in they have upped their game. Whatever the case may be I’m absolutely delighted to find a wonderful tapas spot.
Here you have the Patatas bravas on the left for R35. I have no affection for what is pretty much cubes of hot chips with tomato sauce and mayo so I’m not a great judge of this dish – however the potato cubes weren’t as crispy as I would expect and I found this dish very boring. On the other hand the Octopus salad for R45 I absolutely loved! It was made up of marinated octopus, tomatoes, white onions and green papers. The vinegar in the marinade added plenty of flavour and the octopus was wonderfully tender!
These guys are the wild prawns for R76 and I ate much more of them than I expected! By the time I had finished lunch I looked down at a plate full of prawn shells! They were absolutely delicious and incredibly meaty and fresh. The spicy, sweet sauce they were served on was delicious! The trick to enhancing your meal at La Parada is to order some of their amazing peasant bread! Just wow- perfect for scooping up extra sauce and flavours left on the plate.
This is the chickpeas and chorizo sausage for R36. This again was great with the peasant bread because of all the delicious tomato sauce and the spicy chorizo. This was not a huge stand out dish for me but was great as another option to try. But you do really have to love chickpeas to love this dish! And one of our party of 5 cites this as his favourite dish and orders it regularly.
A dish that didn’t get snapped by my camera was the Serrano ham. This was a little disappointing in terms of value. All the other dishes are generous portions at reasonable prices but the Serrano ham was a few slices of very fatty ham on a plate for R55. I would rather pick up slices of Serrano at my local butcher for a much more reasonable price and chose other dishes on the menu.
The calamari with salsa verde for R45 also eluded the camera. This only got away because we were too quick to eat them! We even ordered two rounds of the calamari! The calamari salsa verde was outstanding and one of my favourites of the lunch. The calamari was brilliant – giant tubes of calamari which were incredible fresh and perfectly cooked dressed with a herbed oily sauce.
We had an absolutely brilliant lunch and have picked a few must try again for my next visit – hello croquette debate round 3! I was impressed by the wonderful food, the attentive, professional and friendly service. The waiters didn’t seem to miss a thing- food was brought out as it was ready to ensure it was served warm and fresh, drinks were reordered quickly and requests for more bread and a second lunch round was met with a broad smile and no hint of irritation. La Parada is undoubtedly a Saturday lunch spot that you could hang around for a few hours.
My warmest congratulations to La Parada for sorting out any kinks which have previously been criticised. But from my experience La Parada is faultless. An absolute gem of a restaurant with affordable prices to boot! I greatly look forward to my next visit – with hope that I can find room for dessert!
- Location: 107 Bree St, Cape Town (across the road from &Union)
- Opening hours: Mon – Sat 12pm to 10pm and Sun 12pm to 5pm
- Contact details: 021 426 0330