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Sotano: Enjoy Mediterranean dishes across from the Mouille Point promenade
Sit indoors or out at this affordable eatery with great deals and 2 happy hours
Last updated: 27 October 2022
Sotano, on Beach Road in Mouille Point, is loved by locals because it loves its regulars. Here, staff get to know your name and order. Meet friends any time of the day, for coffee and breakfast, mimosas at midday or to share plates at dinner (the Steak Tartare is a moment of joy). Plus Sotano has just revamped the Mediterranean menu.
MAKE THIS CHILLED EATERY YOUR BASE
Before we talk about the food (which is really good), let’s talk about the history. Two of the partners of Sotano, Frenchman Jean Muller and South African Brendan Crew, formerly owned Caveau. It became famous for being the place to go for good wine, vibes and food, the staff knew its regulars by name and the orders were in motion before you sat down. Because of this Caveau built up an extremely loyal clientele.
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The staff will get to know your order, and service is excellent and relaxed. Image: Sotano
These same principles rule at Sotano. It has long-serving staff, who get to know the regulars, what they like, and how and when they like it. So the service is excellent, yet relaxed. Besides, the place itself has a great vibe, with a view of the sea, the promenade, and the green lawn around the Mouille Point lighthouse.
EXPLORE THE NEW MEDITERRANEAN MENU
Co-owner Jean is French, and Brendan is third-generation Lebanese, so the Mediterranean influence is strong on this menu. There are flatbreads, such as the Lebanese with spicy ground beef, mint and yoghurt. Sotano is known for its Moules Frites, and the frites are homemade, twice-fried and served with truffle parmesan. Heavenly. (That said, the Patatas Bravas are also to die for.)
The Spanish paella is made according to one of the traditional recipes. Image: Sotano
The Spanish paella is also legendary. It’s made the traditional way, with chicken pieces and chorizo, as well as prawns, calamari and mussels, and proper fish stock – it’s great to share. Also, octopus is big on the menu this season.
YOU CAN GET 85% OF THE WINES BY THE GLASS
Sotano means cellar in Spanish, and although it does not have one of those in the physical sense, it has an excellent wine list. The best news for oenophiles is that you can order 85% of the available wines by the glass. Also good news for wine lovers who just love drinking their tipple often, is that the house wine (a really drinkable sauvignon, merlot and rosé) costs only R40 by the glass. That has to be a hard price to beat on the prom.
SHARING MAKES MEALS AFFORDABLE
In keeping with its strong sense of conviviality and laid-back style, Sotano’s menu offers loads of dishes good for sharing with friends. Split a flatbread and salad – its Greek salad is made the read-deal way – no lettuce – and with goats’ feta. Share small plates – the grilled halloumi and squid tentacles are really good – and also consider the main dishes, which are decent portions, to split with your mates.
The flatbreads and salads are ideal to share between pals. Image: @Sotano
After-work drinks tip: The Tuscan Chicken Liver Paté and a house sauvignon by the glass or Super Bock Portuguese beer go down very well, on the palate and the budget. If cost is not an issue, ask for the bar’s advice. The paté comes with crispy, buttery sourdough and tomato-anchovy chutney, with hints of sage, rosemary and thyme. It’s a very reasonable opener for date night.
ORDER STEAK & CHIPS OR THE BURGER SPECIAL
It’s a well-known secret that regulars can order their favourites, even if they’re off the menu. Sotano’s owners also had HQ, the famous spot that served legendary steak and chips, and if for some reason, say, the fillet and chips is not on the menu that day, you can still order it. The steak is served with frites and a bearnaise sauce, and a small, simple, crisp side salad.
This is the kind of spread Sotano puts on - its food is perfect for sharing. Image: Sotano
You can also ask for the lamb burger two-for-one special that’s on every Wednesday night. The homemade burger is topped with onion rings, hummus, tzatziki and avocado.
SIT INSIDE, OUTSIDE (DOGS ARE WELCOME)
Another thing we love about Sotano is that there are seating options. Choose outside if you’ve just come out of the water, been for a run, or have the pups in tow (did you know there’s a pooch menu that offers meals filling enough for a medium-sized dog?). It’s chilled out there, just off the street with nice views of the sea. Or if you feel like a more intimate space, there are cute booths inside that are good for date night.
Also, regulars will know there’s music every Sunday, so you can chill to reggae vibes with local band the Rivertones.
WHEN + WHERE TO GO
OTHER GREAT SUMMER SPOTS
Nothing like having a drink outdoors on a warm Cape Town day. Go here.
Reggae is where you’ll always find laid-back vibes and a summer spirit.
For an outdoor restaurant with music, a sea view, brilliant deals, try Strolla.
This eatery on Sea Point is all about Mexican magic.
Plus, check out these +7 things to do this weekend.