When my friend and I arrived for dinner, we found the restaurant quiet for a Saturday night (and a nice change from the noise of the Camps Bay strip). Perhaps it was the early onset of winter, making this a chilly night. Or perhaps, with the restaurant only open for two months at the time, not many people were aware of the city's newest gem.
There's something fun about the 'golden glam' décor. Besides the photos of torsos and cleavage, the walls have images of Scarlett Johansson, Penélope Cruz, and Javier Bardem, stars of the Woody Allen movie that inspired the restaurant's name. And there was something fun about our affable waiter Lionel, who greeted us with handshakes and remembered our names throughout the night.
"VickyCristina's is a casual dining concept inspired by the flavours of Spain, the centuries of tradition that have created them and the loving care lavished on cooking for family and friends," the website says. Indeed, it seems like everything's meant for sharing, including a large jug of sangria (an Iberian beverage made with red wine, lemonade, fruit, and spices) that we somehow finished alone.
More than snack food
"Tapas is more than snack food," the website says. "It's our favourite way to dine." It soon became our favourite way to dine too. Salty chorizo, crispy chicken, juicy steak: the portion sizes were so generous that we didn't even bother with main meals.
Next time, we'll bring more people and choose a platter for four: traditional Spanish cured meats, marinated cheese, fresh seasonal fruit and country bread, with tomato and garlic. That'll give us enough room for the coca: a Catalan flat bread that pre-dates pizza and is the restaurant's signature dish.
Other options are the samba, a Brazilian-style beef picanha that's grilled, sliced, and topped with a red wine sauce. Our waiter also recommended the Cha Cha Cha: skewered gobbets of flame-grilled beef, lamb and chorizo, served with chips or herb-scented new potatoes.
"The menu at VickyCristina's has been created for enjoyment," the website says.
"Although we take it very seriously, you can relax and savour the moment as much as the meal." Olé!Vicky Cristina's is at The Promenade Centre, Victoria Road, Camps Bay. Call +27 (0)21 437 0221, email moc.sanitsircykciv@yabspmac or go to www.vickycristinas.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter (#VickyCristinas).