Tuesday, October 18, 2011

this is not a restaurant review

Because I am the only one that cooks, and I don’t cook very well, we’ve been eating out at a lot of restaurants.

Luigi and the Fish: We checked this place out with our Dutch buddy Daan a while back. It was one of the restaurants listed in all of our guidebooks, and as an added bonus is located only a few minutes from our house. It’s a comfy, casual sort of place with an extensive menu of all kinds of meat, as well as a wood oven for pizza. I ordered a game schnitzel, which I considered to be sufficiently Namibian (game meat in the style of German food), and found it delicious. Daan ordered game steak, which was also delicious. Allison ordered a pot of king-sized prawns and was for some reason surprised that the prawns were big. With a name like Luigi and the Fish, I think there’s supposed to be really awesome seafood here, but I haven’t actually tried any. Windhoek isn’t anywhere near an ocean and it’s not like there are a lot of rivers around so I’m not sure how the seafood would be around here.

Allison and I went back to Luigi and the Fish last week, wanting a fun night out. Luigi and the Fish seems like the kind of place where a lot of young people hang out in Klein Windhoek. Unfortunately, it’s mostly young Afrikaners, which should not be a surprise and is not a bad thing but it’s a bit harder to mingle with a bunch of people that are speaking in another language (at least until my Afrikaans lessons pick up). I still continued to enjoy the food though. I ordered a chicken kildare which really reminded me of the Bitterballen I used to get in the Netherlands all the time. It was basically big balls of deep fried chicken, stuffed with cheese and all sorts of goodness. You really can’t go wrong with that.

The third time we went, I had the chicken burrito which was awesome, and that’s where I met up with some local Namibians, including Nicholas, and that’s when I realized that Luigi and the Fish was probably going to become my regular bar.

Paguel Restaurant: is where our Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre conversational classes are held. This place as a bit on the pricier side, although nothing terrible compared to Toronto King Street prices obviously. It’s a trendy little lounge/tapas bar/wine restaurant, and is a pretty cool cosy place to hold a language class. The menu was pretty impressive too, full of all sorts of funky things like tongue and paella, although that night I just went for pasta – I’m going to have to go back for something a bit more daring next time.

The Yang Tze: because sometimes you just miss home cooking, but there aren’t any Korean restaurants serving soondubuchigae, so you have to do the next best thing and order Chinese. I find their sit-down menu is better than their takeout menu, but luckily you can get anything as takeout. Also, interestingly, this restaurant is apparently run by Chinese-Canadians from Vancouver. The owner’s daughter asked me what I was doing in Namibia. I told her I was doing an internship here. “And you couldn’t get placed anywhere better?” she asked me. She can’t wait to get back to Vancouver.

La Marmite: I ate caterpillars here and wrote about this restaurant yesterday.

Fresh and Wild My boss took me here for lunch once, where i pleasantly discovered that this is one place i can order a bacon and egg sandwich after noon. It is located too close to my work and makes it difficult for me to feel motivated to pack a lunch everyday. but then i think about the big hill I'd have to walk up afterwards to get back to work, and then i pack a lunch.

Joe’s Beerhouse: everyone keeps telling me two things about this place: 1. It’s too touristy, 2. I gotta eat there. So I did. I was looking forward to it because it was famous for their game meat (even though I went with two vegetarians). And everyone was right, it was really touristy (I was half expecting tour buses of Chinese tourists to pull up) and it was definitely worth checking out, although it was a bit pricey. It’s also the first place that I found serving zebra steak.

Cicade Cafe: to get here, you go to the Wilde Eend Garden Centre, a magical land with too many E’s, and then basically walk through the plants for what feels like forever, until you are absolutely sure you are lost and will never find your way out. Then this lovely café will magically appear and feed you full of tasty salads so good that you’ll stop caring that you’ll never find your way out. It’s kind of an adventure.

Windhoek also has a number of really beautiful mountaintop bars that are too expensive for me to eat at but perfect for having a sundowner drink as you watch the sun go down. These include:

The Beach Bar at Am Weinburg: I wrote about our girls’ night here.

the Garden Terrace at the Heinitzburg: one of the fanciest hotels in town with one of the fanciest restaurants in town (Leo’s). If you don’t want to go broke at Leo’s, you can have a drink on the garden terrace which has one of the best views that you have to pay for (you can probably get a great view for free if you just climbed a mountain, but sometimes bourgeois prices enhance the view). The Heinitzburg is an old castle on Luxury Hill. Nothing about that sentence says “proletariat”. The bathrooms are in the dungeon.

The Wine Bar: has an excellent selection of wine and is a popular spot to stop for a drink after work to watch the sunset. In fact, all of these fantastic places to stop after work for a drink to watch the sunset is going to turn me into an alcoholic.

Stellenbosch Okay, this place doesn’t actually qualify as a mountaintop bar with a view, but it’s located in the Bougain Villa which is I think one of the most beautiful non-natural settings in Windhoek. It’s a gorgeous building with a large romantic courtyard where you can sip your South African wine, surrounded by carefully groomed palm trees and dammit, to the embarrassment of my hippie self, I can’t help but loving luxury sometimes.