Riboville review

Those who know me will know that I’m easily pleased, but hard to impress. Riboville impressed me. It’s located in an old building at the top of Adderly St (just before you hit Wale St) which used to be a bank. They have refurbished the place but tried to keep as much of the original elements as possible, eg. the the floors and the marble inlays on the walls. the mixture of modern and old is done very well and is very effective. The place is enormous, it’s not often you get to eat in such a spacious (not just wall to wall but above too) venue these days.

If you come through the back entrance (off St. Georges Mall), you will walk through the deli/coffee shop and smell the lovely smell of fresh goodies being baked. There is a selection of cheese and baked goods available. When entering the restaurant, take note of the murals on your left, they were painted by Sharon the talented (who does the RWD banner). On your right is the Asian kitchen, past that you have the main area of the restaurant, surrounded by the fishmonger for your seafood and sushi requirements, a champagne bar and service bar.

The owner of the Codfather is one of the owners of Riboville, so you can expect the same selection of quality, fresh fish and shellfish which you can choose from the fishmonger’s display. The menu us diverse, offering something to suit most tastes. Whether it be Thai Curry, Steak, Vegetarian or anything in between. They also have a unique concept for people like me who want to try everything we see, they serve small portions of 3 mains in a platter. There are 4 different platters to choose from. The food is good, but it’s not the main attraction. The prices are reasonable, certainly lower than you would expect to pay in a place like this. Our starters were R28 and R30, and we each had a platter for mains which were about R100 each, but an individual main is between R70 and R100.

Make sure you go downstairs to check out the wine selection. In the basement, which was the old bank vault they have created a wine cellar and wine tasting area. You can go down there and select a wine or even spend some time down there drinking a post dinner port with a selection of cheeses or chocolates. There is an enormous selection of wine and the prices are very reasonable. The wine that was recommended to us was most enjoyable and priced at an accessible R85. The wine list is really long and sorted by estate, so it can be challenging to find a wine in a reasonable time. We took what was suggested.

While the restaurant is open, the project is far from complete. The floor above is to become a gallery and lounge with a private dining area. Then there are also plans for the 2 floors above that. It’s taken them two and a half years to get this far, the rest, I am sure, will also be worth the wait.

I suggest you book yourself a table. Check out the website to see more www.ribovillerestaurant.co.za/

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10 Responses

  1. Dax says:

    Just have to say that the service has been pretty bad the last few times I have been to Riboville and I have heard the same report from others. They are aware of the problem and hopefully are doing something about it but I thought I should warn you.

  2. Leon Aucamp says:

    I have been to Riboville earlier this week (9 April 2007). After reading the comments about the level of service, I though that I must have misread the article. I go for dinner at least once a week somewhere in Cape Town and surrounds and was pleasantly surprized by the gem in Adderley street! The service was flawless and the food superb! The staff were friendly and sharp and did everything to make us feel comfortable. I will vote Riboville one of the top three places for me. Just shows that Cape Town is on the right track with regards to the service industry, well done!

  3. Dax says:

    That’s great news. I had heard that they were sorting the service problem out, so nice to know they have been successful. Thanks for that info.

  4. Dax says:

    Had dinner at Riboville again last night. The service was good this time, but they did give me the most experienced waiter (maybe ask for Francois when you go too). I had sushi there for the first time, I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10. They do one with nigiri rice wrapped in fried bean curd (that’s what the waiter told me) and topped with a spicy prawn mixture, that was different and very nice.

    We had the seafood platter for 2 as a main. The norwegian salmon was very good, the cod a little over cooked. The langoustines and prawns we ok but the calamari was tough, also 6.5 out of 10. Must give them credit for heating the plates though, I hate it when the seafood gets cold halfway through. They present the seafood in a bed of veggies which is novel but I think it looks messy.

    The waiter recommended a Shiraz, it was excellent but I was unfamiliar with the name so can’t remember it (I know that doesn’t help you, but maybe ask Francois for the Shiraz he gave Dax, that will really test him).

    Riboville is still worth a visit if you haven’t been, the venue compensates for any other shortcomings.

  5. Dean says:

    I took my wife and mother-in-law and brother-in-law out for our 2nd anniversary on new years day. Riboville was suggested and so I made a booking. We were all very impressed with everything, even my mother-in-law! She did mention that she got a bit dizzy in the toilet though with the “strobe lights” as she called it.
    But the food and the service was brilliant. The wine was great and the whiskey
    was even better!

  6. Dax says:

    Riboville is under new ownership and management. They also have new waiters as of about 6 months ago. I went for dinner last night and can already see some improvement.

    There have been some changes in the layout of the bar and restaurant as well as changes in the menu and wine list, both are simpler and shorter.

    We had the dim sum to start, both were lovely, light and fresh. The beef was much more flavourful than the prawn (about R35 each).

    For mains I had the seafood combo, linefish calamari and prawns (R155). The fish was fabulous, the prawns were awesome and the calamari was ok. The steamed veg on the side was a nice touch. My partner had the trio of tapas (R140), green Thai chicken curry, basil beef and the calamari. Loved the curry and beef, calamari was ok.

    Washed it all down with a bottle of Dalla Cia Sauvignon Blanc (R100).

    The dessert menu looked boring so we went for the special, which was a chocolate brownie covered with chocolate mousse, very good. However, after speaking to the chef, the menu was deceptive. When he described the desserts, they all sounded appealing. Hopefully they will update the descriptions on the menu. Coffee was ok.

    Riboville is such a lovely space, if they can get the food and service to be reliably good, it would be a great regular spot.

  7. Dax says:

    Organised a dinner for 12 at Riboville this weekend. Booked the ‘Red’ room which seats 12.

    Everyone was impressed with the venue and very happy with their food and the service.

    I had the beef dim sum as a starter again, it was excellent. I thought I’d check consistency so I had the same main as last time too (seafood combo). It was good again, but now that I think about it, there were no steamed veggies this time. I thought it looked smaller.

    The private dining room is a winner, the whole table can participate in a conversation because it’s not too noisy. Will definitely be doing that again.

  8. Dax says:

    I was sad to hear the other day that Riboville has closed down. It’s such an amazing space, I hope someone does something really exciting with it.

  9. Eamon Mack says:

    You do know, of course, that the kid who gave the heart for the worlds first heart transplant, was a lowly bank teller at the African Bank – Riboville Restaurant building.

    She ran out the door on that fateful lunchtime, and whack!!!! She became a corpse, and her heart became part of history…………the first transplanted one.

    Ahhhh……memories.