Our lovely Sea Point local: La Perla

I love staying on the seafront in Sea Point. There’s so much to love. Sea views from the balcony, lovely promenade walks breathing in the sea air, meandering down Main Road for daily shopping and restaurant visits and of course the people. It’s such a wonderfully diverse area full of people from all walks of lives, in different shapes and sizes and of so many different nationalities.  And there’s always something happening and, inevitably, being discussed – from the price of eggs to who caused that car accident yesterday. How I love the constant Sea Point chatter, you soon feel like you have endless friends.

It’s very easy to slip into the life of a Sea Point local. And as a compulsory part of that life (I’ve decided anyway) you have to make regular visits to La Perla. It’s one of only two restaurants right on Beach Road (it’s mainly apartmentland around here), so it has lovely sea views and is the perfect spot to watch the Sea Point action unfolding.

La Perla has been open about 55 years (not sure of the exact opening date but I do remember that it’s older than me). And I’m  not sure how much has changed in that time. I think some of the waiters may have been at the opening. Service can be somewhat ponderous or too fast – unpredictability is the name of the game. So bear this in mind and go with the flow or you could be in for a somewhat frustrating meal. You can slow down too-fast service and if it’s too slow just relax and enjoy the atmosphere. No one ever truly suffered from taking too long over lunch. Did they??

The menu is classic Italian with a lovely selection of pasta, fish, seafood, salads and veal dishes. Sea Point is veal land, supermarkets are packed with myriad cuts of it, so if you love veal you can’t go wrong ordering it at La Perla.

Their carpaccio is also wonderful and comes in beef, salmon and tuna versions. I enjoyed one of the beef dishes several times through the Sea Point summer. It’s beef carpaccio with a mustard mayonnaise sauce to dream about, rocket and capers. A fabulously salty/sweet combo with melt-in-the-mouth meat.

Carpaccio

Delightfully delicately sliced carpaccio with a sweet mustard mayonnaise

Here’s the salmon version, served with a spicy Asian-style sauce.

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Oysters are often on my lunchtime agenda, my love for these treasures is well documented. The perfect starter – light, healthy and tasty – I just can’t get enough of them.

Today's La Perla oysters came from Namibia. Yum.

Today’s La Perla oysters came from Namibia. Yum.

As you’d expect from a restaurant that’s been around over five decades there are some [retro] classics on the menu. Like prawn cocktail which can be ordered with or without avocado. If you go with it comes packed into avo halves.

Avo

Classic prawn cocktail served in creamy avocados

If you’re not an avo lover, order it without and this lovely glassful of plump prawns appears.

Happiness is...prawn cocktail in a glass

Happiness is…prawn cocktail in a glass

There’s also a classic caprese salad to savour.

The combo of three tasty ingredients makes for a delectable starter

The combo of three tasty ingredients makes for a delectable starter

All the veal dishes are delightful. The veal marsala is so tender you barely have to chew it, the sauce is silken and slightly sweet and it’s served with a generous portion of fresh, perfectly cooked pasta. Just heavenly.

Veal tenderness in a luscious sauce

Veal tenderness in a luscious sauce

The veal involtini is also a firm favourite. Little envelopes of veal are generously stuffed with cheese and served with a fragrant tomato sauce and fresh pasta. Oh so satisfying.

Cheesy, tomatoey veal that melts in the mouth

Cheesy, tomatoey veal that melts in the mouth

There’s always the line fish of the day and when it’s kingklip I often order it. This sweet, fleshy whitefish is perfect grilled and served with La Perla’s lemon butter and some vegetables.

Kingklip

Chunky grilled kingklip with lemony butter

More tender veal served with a rich porcini sauce.

Delight in the earthy mushroom flavours with veal porcini

Delight in the earthy mushroom flavours

I’ve only ever done dessert once at La Perla. I was talked into sharing a Peppermint Crisp tart because I’d never tasted one before and because it’s a South African classic. Made using the Peppermint Crisp bar which I remember delighting over in my childhood, it’s sweet, minty and properly indulgent.

Taste something traditionally South African – peppermint crisp tart

Taste something traditionally South African – peppermint crisp tart

A bit like the many hours I spent lingering over lunch at La Perla. Sparkling sunshine days when I felt happy to be alive. Here’s the view through some pink bubbles. La Perla, I raise my glass to you.

Views of pink and blue and palm trees

Views of pink and blue and palm trees

La Perla is on Beach Road, Sea Point opposite the public swimming pools.

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