- Good for: Families, Groups, Oxtail
- Cost: R150-200/pp (incl drinks)
- Rating: 3/5
- Contact: R44 to Strand, +27 (0) 21 880, Web
I’ve been going to La Pineta since I was a student at Stellenbosch many years ago. Actually, to be honest, I probably haven’t been there in the last 10-15 years, but I remember it well from those days for always doing good food and being very popular. According to their website the restaurant has been recently refurbished, but walking in it looked pretty much the way I remember it, though maybe a little more ‘open’ and modern.The outside area is now decked over and looks like it would be a good place to spend a lunchtime with a few beers and a pizza.
La Pineta does traditional offerings like Oxtail, Lamb Shank and Schnitzel as well as slightly different options like Thai Curry, Crispy Duck and Chicken Roulade. Along with the steak and pizza on the menu there should be something to please everyone. We walked into the restaurant at about 6pm and quite a few tables were already occupied and the restaurant was pretty much full by the time we left a couple of hours later, so it is definitely still popular. Service was quick initially and we got our drinks quickly while deciding what to eat. I went with the Fish Cakes for a starter and Oxtail as a main, while Fishop predictably went for a steak without the basting sauce.
Having finished our first drink I started the tortu(r)ous process of trying to order another drink. With waiters walking past our table repeatedly without even glancing in our direction it is pretty hard to catch their eye and I eventually resorted to a kind of Mexican wave for one. My general unhappiness and thirst wasn’t improved when one of the waiters waved back and still didn’t come over to take our order! Our waiter at this point was standing about chatting and paying no attention whatsoever to us. This is by no means unique and I’m not taking a dig at La Pineta in particular, but it is unfortunately something that happens quite a lot, with waiters thinking once they’ve served you a drink and taken your order their job is done until the food has to be delivered to the table.
My Fish Cakes arrived and were served with masala curried lentils and hanepoot jam. The starter was very nice and I especially enjoyed the lentils; this could well be served as a dish on its own. The Oxtail was also very, very good and served with mash and a good helping of vegetables. The steak was, well, steak – perfectly edible but nothing special – and of course served with the basting sauce we requested to be left off. Maybe steak here is mostly served with basting and sauces that covers up the ordinariness of the meat?
The restaurant is popular with families (they have a play area outside for kids) and groups and there’s something on the menu to please most palates. Vegetarian options are fairly limited with only one main suitable for vegetarians, unless you go for pizza. There are a couple of starters that would suit vegetarians and vegans alike. La Pineta has some interesting options on the menu and though we didn’t have the best experience I think they offer dependable quality and solid cooking with food people like eating, which means they will remain popular.
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 2/5
Food – 3/5
Value – 3/5