The Wharfette® Bistro is an extremely popular outlet serving piping-hot alfresco take-outs on wooden benches right on the wharfside.
Wharfette Bistro at Mariner’s Wharf Highlights
Best enjoyed while watching the antics of seagulls on the harbour’s edge or as a picnic on the white sands of Hout Bay beach which it overlooks.
The Wharfette® Bistro is part of the Mariner’s Wharf emporium which was the brainchild of Stanley Dorman, who launched the attraction in 1984. Opened as South Africa’s first harbour-front emporium, the wharf includes restaurants, shops and markets all designed according to a maritime theme. The Wharf also showcases the history of the charming Hout Bay fishing village and attracts thousands of visitors a day.
In the words of Stanley Dorman, founder of Mariner’s Wharf:
“Way back in 1974,I visited San Francisco for the first time, and the excitement of the burgeoning harbourfront reminded me of my childhood in rustic Hout Bay, the fishing village of my birth. My thoughts drifted back to the craggy-faced fisherman and how they used to jest about their catch as it lay shimmering on the jetty; the sounds of throbbing boat engines and wailing snoek horns; the thud of the shipwright’s caulking hammer; the exhilaration of a Friday payday; and many other treasured memories, rapidly receding into the mists of time.
Reminiscing made me ponder. Was there not a last chance to encapsulate Hout Bay’s fascinating history for future generations by creating a special place? A place where you and I, old salts and locals, the famous and the not-so-famous, could enjoy each other’s synergy.
How then to transform my vision into reality? The concept was daunting and would need to be unique, authentic, distinctively Hout Bay. It would also need to be thoroughly researched. Thus it was that whenever I could during the following years I travelled the world, to distant wharves and far-flung fishmarkets. From Reykjavik to Tokyo, from Seattle to Sydney – collecting artefacts, researching ideas, evaluating heritage.
And, ever so gradually, Mariner’s Wharf, South Africa’s First Harbourfront Emporium began to take shape in my mind. In 1984 its world-famous Fishmarket opened and within the next seven years it had evolved into a time capsule of seafood Bistros, markets and nautical shops, culminating with the upgrading of the Wharfside Grill restaurant in 1991. As it is my sincere wish that you too will enjoy, experience and see, a place which is very special for me, do walk around and soak in the ambience of what has become a truly great venue. Then settle down and dine on seafood worth sailing the seven seas for.
ADVICE FOR VISITORS
Spend some time wandering around the Mariner’s Wharf emporium. Visit the Fishmarket and check out the wharf’s fresh produce market and estate wine sales. You can even purchase wine in a fish-shaped bottle as a gift. Browse the Shell and Antique shops and buy some gifts from the Pearl Factory for someone special. Pop upstairs to the Wharfside Grill restaurant with an outside deck and panoramic harbour views and book to come back for a memorable seafood dinner.
DID YOU KNOW
Wharfette® Bistro @ Mariner’s Wharf is part of Southern Africa’s very first harbour-front emporium.
The Fisherman’s Wharf Market at Mariner’s Wharf is built around the hull of an original 1940s wooden trawler, named ‘Kingfisher’. The market is a major attraction to the Wharf for its fresh fish, live lobsters and wide range of estate wines, beers and liqueurs on offer.