Eat with a clear conscience – support restaurants that do good! This exclamation could be applied to a range of restaurants doing a range of ‘good’ things, however, what this article is about, is those restaurants that support sustainable seafood. The health of our oceans is one sector of conservation in which restaurants (and consumers) yield huge power. The type of fish they stock, and we buy, has a visible effect on the longevity of ocean species and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) realises this. To this end the SASSI sustainable seafood initiative was developed – a ‘traffic-light’ concept which designates certain species as red (endangered or fished/farmed in an environmentally UN-friendly manner), orange or green (A-OK to buy).
The SASSI guys have now gone one step further to create the exclusive SASSI Seafood Circle, which celebrates chefs and restaurants who actively engage with sustainable seafood practices. The list has been whittled down from 70 based on assessments according to these criteria:
– The restaurant’s seafood sustainability policy;
– The effectiveness of their communication of their seafood sustainability practices to their customers, employees and suppliers;
– Their level of engagement in communicating their seafood sustainability practices to a wider audience (e.g. via social media, TV appearances, etc.);
– The ‘Trailblazer factor’ i.e. those chefs and restaurants that are going the extra mile in promoting and supporting seafood sustainability.
At the end of the process they came up with 12 exceptional ‘Trailblazer’ restaurants. Here are Dining-OUT’s top 6:
Bistro Sixteen 82 @ Steenberg Vineyards: This a modern and sophisticated ‘day restaurant, specialising in innovative bistro dining, and headed up by chef Brad Ball, of river Café and Olympia Café fame.
La Mouette: This fine-dining establishment is named after the seagulls which are ever present in Sea Point, the location of the eatery. The menu is a selection of modern French cuisine and the restaurant prides itself on offering spectacular food and wine pairings.
Makaron @ Majeka House: Makaron is an upmarket Stellenbosch restaurant offering elegant and creative dishes paired with a selection of great local wines.
Pierneef a la Motte: Only the freshest seasonal ingredients make it onto the menu at Pierneef a la Motte, making an outing here a healthy, refreshing exploration of oldest traditional Cape Winelands recipes.
Societi Bistro: Societi is a homely little restaurant in the heart of Cape Town. A beautifully restored old building houses the bistro in which chef Stefan Marais whips up delectable seafood dishes and yummy bistro food.
The Oyster Box: The Oyster Box Hotel outside Durban is actually home to 3 restaurants, with The Grill Room and Ocean Terrace Restaurant being the main attractions. Both serve renowned seafood dishes and offer patrons the most spectacular ocean views!
Hopefully, as the conservation ethic spreads among restaurants and patrons alike, the SASSI Seafood Circle will become less exclusive. In the meantime, why not try out some of these ethical dining establishments?