La Parada del Mar in Camps Bay joins its namesakes in Bree Street in the CBD and Constantia Nek, with some notable features that set it apart.
“La Parada del Mar is more ‘Miami Beach’ than the other branches of La Parada,” explains Simone Biggs, interior designer for the Harbour House Group, who says she drew inspiration from Ibiza, Miami and Cuba in curating a space that blends laid-back beach-chic with a dose of after-dark allure. “There is still the essence of La Parada here, but because it’s on the beach the space had to have a distinct feel to it.”
Sit on the sidewalk to people-watch, or take a few steps up to the deep veranda with its bamboo roof letting in narrow stripes of sunshine. Here you’ll still get the feel of the gorgeous beach but from a slightly elevated and quieter perspective. Inside, the ground floor is dominated by a central bar, while upstairs is more Fabiani loafers than sandy Havaianas, where raw wood shutters swing open to reveal the view of the beach.
The long tables up here make it a popular space for private functions, and these communal tables reflect a sharing philosophy on the revamped menu from La Parada’s executive chef Martin Senekal. “We’ve moved away from traditional Spanish tapas. We’ve kept the concept of small plates built for sharing, but we’ve tried to elevate the level of elegance and quality,” syas Senekal. “The menu is focused on serving fresh seafood dishes, prepared simply and plated beautifully.
“With the seaside location we wanted to incorporate more seafood on the menu, compared to other branches of La Parada,” says Senekal, adding that more than half the menu is unique to La Parada del Mar.
On a beautiful sunny day, we made the tapas our lunch. Each dish was exquisitely presented. My friend ordered the champinones al ajillo (Spanish garlic mushrooms) which are served topped with a poached duck egg and dressed with truffle oil and pecorino, with toasted ciabatta on the side. This was the winning dish of the day. Her second dish was roasted pork belly with rosemary roasted apple sauce, smoked paprika and honey glaze, with pickling onions and crackling.
I opted for the grilled calamari with a warm cucumber and tomato salad and salsa verde, and the ham croquettes with mustard aioli.
We had to save space for dessert which includes the Spanish staple of churros con chocolate. These are good, but I have yet to find any in this country that come close to those I had in Spain. Interestingly enough, the tapas I’ve had here are much fancier than any I had in backstreet bars in Barcelona.
We also shared the baked vanilla bean cheesecake which is prepared in a jar and topped with blackberry mousse, lemon powder and a tiny meringue. This is marked on the menu as LCHF (low carb, high fat) and I’m willing to put my faith in that. The menu has several options for this eating lifestyle, and those dishes are also gluten-free and low in sugar.
Besides the tapas dishes – which are generous in size – there are several side dishes that can be ordered to accompany the small selection of four full main courses, or to be enjoyed with a glass (or bottle) of wine as a sundowner snack.
As we move slowly but surely towards winter, diners can expect to find some heartier dishes on the menu. The restaurant will be closing for a few weeks while a wrap-around deck is added to the first-floor to expand the number of al fresco tables on offer for next summer, so check when making your booking.
La Parada del Mar is at 35 Victoria Road, Camps Bay. For reservations call 021 286 2106 or send an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Mondays to Sundays from 8am until 2am.