Culinary Quest: GALJOEN Restaurant

What happens when sustainably-sourced seafood swims into hands skilled in the kitchen?

Delicious and uber-fresh meals, if you happen to dine at Cape Town’s latest eatery.

Welcome to the uber-chic seafood-based restaurant GALJOEN

Image courtesy of Claire Gunn

At home in one of the city’s coolest streets, coastal-themed GALJOEN already stands apart from the rest.

To start, GALJOEN – South Africa’s national fish – is the one fish you cannot, ironically, ever order due to its red-listing.

The masterminds behind carnivore-haven Belly of the Beast, restaurateurs Neil Swart and Anouchka Horn, are now inviting seafood lovers to take a bite of their freshest creations – a fluctuating tasting menu inspired by what the waters give (like the local octopus) and what foraging finds abound (foraging finds included Nori when I was there).

GALJOEN is designed as regular dining should be:

  • For the many
    • welcoming vegetarians and pescatarians too
    • catering for some dietary requirements and allergies when needed
  • To be plenty filling
  • And to draw magnificence from accessible & familiar ingredients.

With a skilled team dedicated to hospitality that welcomes warmly, informs swiftly, and delivers deftly, dining at this newest Harrington Street restaurant is a pleasure before any plating even occurs.

In the few weeks since its opening, GALJOEN has already shown itself as formidable amid Cape Town’s other seafood-based eateries, with its single-minded focus to ensure its menu is in-tune with local culinary culture as well as global food trends.

They do so in a way that taps into familiar flavours (like onions or tuna) without being boring.

Dishes are robust in taste, and occasionally wholly unique in delivery.

Listen, you may not end up remembering the fish names that pop up on GALJOEN’s daily menu. I’m not well-versed in all things seafood, so it was a bit of an adventure into the unknown for me, choosing certain dishes.

However, I can assure you that you’ll remember the bread course and its exquisite flavours (like a curried Snoek roll & Kashmiri Butter), and that’s enough all on its own.

GALJOEN will offer a set menu, with the number and composition of courses changing according to the whims of the weather, and what the boats bring in”

Galjoen. (2023).

It’s a commendable feat for the GALJOEN team, which includes Head Chef Isca Stoltz, that their seafood dishes already stand apart in a city famed for its oceans and ports, and the local’s love of straightforward fish & chips, and mussels, predominantly.

I believe the draw to this restaurant also lies in its food’s storytelling.

Tales of the chef’s lives (like Stoltz’s childhood holidays in Mozambique), as well as diners’ own nostalgic ties to seafood, are evident with every menu pick, every bite, slurp, and every serving of GALJOEN food.

It’s a flavoursome taste of familiar cuisine without the true fine dining frills – just beautiful plating of that which swims!


Not to be outdone, drink options at GALJOEN veer on the side of worth the try (and penny), and are well-paired with fish and brothy dishes.

Set Menu wine choices are likely to include Glenelly’s 2021 Chardonnay, Daschbosch’s Sauvignon Blanc, or even Rijk’s Touch Pinotage.

I say stick to the lighter (and less woodsy) wines, like a crisp Chenin or softer Rosé MCC, to afford your palate the leeway to taste the note nuances of your meal medley.

Fuller-bodied drinks – while available – may detract from the meal’s flavour profiles.


In this 30-seater restaurant, you won’t feel crowded, and like you’re following the trend-crazy crowds.

GALJOEN is made of clean lines, high ceilings, notes of Scandi decorating sensibilities (see the stunning, finely-carved woodwork), and a decidedly non-glamourous theme.

With Annelise Vorster, owner of Studio NAN, and Yolandi Vorster of YV Ateljee, at the design helm, there are no velvet benches at GALJOEN, nor cluttering gimmicky decor picks.

Floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious interiors, and a kitchen with good ventilation, also mean smells don’t cling and cloy. For those often overwhelmed by a restaurant’s scent profile indoors, rest easy because you can breathe clean at GALJOEN.

I, personally, felt like the light-industrial elegance design of the restaurant gave me a sensory perception reset.

Entering the restaurant to its bright minimalism has an intermezzo effect – cleansing the visual palate so guests can gorge themselves further on the next thing.

What’s clearly most vibrant about the restaurant (aside from the kitchen’s gorgeous glazed brick cladding) is on your plate…but also, surprisingly, the actual plates!

The crockery is stunning creations made by ceramicist Amelia Jacobs, a local artisan.

They invoke the saturated richness of underwater and seaside life, with deep greens and black cut through with lighter ombre earth tones.


It delivers good, quality food with homegrown ingredients.

For some, that’s enough!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

However, nautical-themed GALJOEN also levels up the city’s offerings with a laidback and warm ambience, as well as respectful food sourcing and preparation – tracking from sea to stovetop.

Farmed mussels come fresh from the waters of Saldanha Bay, while Abalobi and Greenfish merchants provide a range of fish caught largely by self-employed artisanal fishermen.

Galjoen. (2023).

The inventive team responsible for the success of Belly of the Beast and its curated set menu experience, emerge with this GALJOEN adventure, clearly still carrying a flair for understanding what Capetonians and Cape visitors are hungry for.

Image courtesy of Claire Gunn

By My Recommendation: GALJOEN RESTAURANT

99 Harrington St, District Six, Cape Town, 7925

Lunch at R550 per person : 12h30pm // Wednesday to Saturday

Dinner at R750 per person : 18h45pm // Tuesday to Saturday

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