Gaaitjie Salt Water Restaurant in Paternoster The MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Gaaitjie Salt Water Restaurant in Paternoster

Right on the beach in Paternoster, Gaaitjie Salt Water Restaurant is a hidden treasure known for its delicious, ocean-fresh fish and seafood.

It’s surprising how few good seafood restaurants can be found on the shores of a country with such a vast coastline. But in Paternoster, you can swing open the door and step directly onto a sandy beach, where your little ones can play safely just meters away. Gaaitjie is a prime example of these rare gems.

This simple, whitewashed former fisherman’s cottage overlooks the small working harbor and offers breathtaking views of the rocks, the pristine white-sand beach, and the bay beyond. Don’t be fooled by the relaxed, barefoot-beach atmosphere; Gaaitjie has an abundance of fresh fish and seafood to offer, as well as an impressive selection of wines to explore.

On a pleasant winter day, my family and I went to Gaaitjie for a birthday lunch. We were seated on the back verandah, which had a beautiful view of the sea and a bustling parking lot.

A FAMILY OCCASION

This wasn’t our first time at Gaaitjie. We had come here last year, around the same time. Back then, Valmé Jooste and her brother Jaco Kruger had just become the new owners. They had taken over from Suzi Holthausen, the previous owner and chef, who stayed on to help them settle in for a few months.

THE FOOD SELECTION

When it comes to Suzi’s food, it’s like a harmonious symphony of local West Coast flavors and international influences. Jaco, the mastermind behind our menu, has infused it with his signature touch. As I sat down and looked at the menu, I couldn’t help but be enticed by the aroma of freshly baked bread, filling the air with the scent of rosemary. Our bread course was a delight – brioche-like towers that melted in my mouth.

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Before diving into the main course, we had to make the tough decision of choosing a starter from the tempting selection of six. The Banters in our group couldn’t resist the Saldanha Bay mussels. These succulent morsels were steamed to perfection in a fragrant white-wine broth infused with cumin and lime leaves. I couldn’t help but join in the chorus of praise as they devoured the mussels and eagerly slurped up every last drop of the flavorful broth.

As for me, I opted for the kataifi prawn tails. They were presented beautifully, with a side of sweet chilli dipping sauce and pickled cucumber ribbons. The prawns were cooked to absolute perfection, bursting with flavor at every bite. The only slight disappointment was that the batter wasn’t the traditional kataifi I had anticipated; it was a bit thicker than I would have preferred.

We all decided to go for the fish of the day, which was marinated kingklip. It came with roasted baby potatoes, wilted spinach, and baby marrow (R145). The Saronsberg Brut, recommended by Valmé, was the perfect accompaniment. I was surprised that there wasn’t any kreef (lobster) on the menu, considering we’re on the West Coast.

The Banters didn’t want dessert, so we shared a chocolate crème brûlée with berry sorbet (R60). It was a nice way to finish off the meal, although I would have preferred it with ice cream.

The fresh fish, beautiful location, and friendly West Coast hospitality will definitely bring us back. Since the restaurant was full even on a cold winter’s day, I suggest you make a reservation to avoid disappointment.

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Opening Hours: Thursday – Monday 12pm – 10pm
Contact Number: 022 752 2242
Location: Off Sampson Street, Paternoster

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