Roberto’s Signature Restaurant, Cape Town, South Africa – Review

By Ramsey Qubein on 21 February 2013
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Main dining room, Roberto’s

It was not that long time ago that Long Street in downtown Cape Town had a seedy, questionable track record that keeps locals and tourists from exploring after sunset. These days, however, it is undergoing an urban revival that has crowds flocking to its funky stores, eclectic bars, and new eateries. It is no surprise, then, to find this modern, design-focused restaurant just a block from the trendy Grand Daddy Hotel.

The atmosphere is hip and trendy with a fusion menu of South African flavors blended with Portuguese cuisine. Executive chef Roberto de Carvalho has held the top position at many of the city’s finest hotels including the famous Twelve Apostles Hotel and the One & Only Hotel by the V&A Waterfront. This is his inaugural solo venture and showcases his intense passion for creative cooking and family recipes. In fact, his grandmother came to the grand opening to help prepare some of her famous dishes.

He is known as a pioneer of fynbos cuisine (fynbos are local vegetables) in South Africa and forages for the finest vegetables and ingredients. This careful attention to detail is evidenced in everything from his homemade piripiri sauce to the casual décor of the dining room that includes soft lighting and framed chef uniforms from various competitions and his past hotel positions.IMG_0982

The evening was off to a fiery start with homemade bread and Chef Roberto’s bespoke piripiri sauce. The menu read more like a Lisbon-meet-Rio recipe book with familiar specialties and tantalizing new offerings. Chef Roberto’s focus on Mediterranean cooking was exemplified by a most delectable gazpacho.

Between courses a Brazilian Guarana Antartica, a carbonated guarana-flavored soft drink that is fruity and revitalizing was a most welcome palate  refresher.

The main entrée, his grandmother’s feijoada that had been greatly anticipated, arrived in artistic fashion and was the perfect mix of spicy, salty, and savory. The beans and sausage IMG_0984were juicy, and the rice paired with it was fluffy and cloudlike. When the chef came out from his hiding place in the kitchen, the guests would hardly have noticed since he is both modest and unassuming.

A separate dessert menu featured his famous tiramisu, but I could not pass up the rosemary gelato as a lighter finish to my hearty meal. While locals clamor to get a seat, tourists to Cape Town should make a beeline for their hotel’s concierge desk to reserve a table here before the big-time guide books pick up on its whereabouts.


Roberto’s Signature Restaurant
44 Long Street
Cape Town
Tel. +27 21 424 1195


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