I haven’t been to Panama Jack’s in quite a while; several years in fact. There was a good reason for that, I remember not being impressed with the high prices and average food. I have recently heard some positive comments so I was quite pleased to be invited to join some friends there for lunch. A good opportunity to check if the positive comments are true.
They have a remarkably inexpensive lunch menu. Starters were about R15 (fried calamari) and the mains around the R40 to R50 mark. I ordered the sardines starter (R40) off the main menu and while I was there noted that the mains (linefish) were around the R110 mark. The sardines were great, accompanied with some marinated red and yellow peppers and onion. They weren’t mind blowing like the sardines I enjoyed at Toni’s but I would still order them again. The fried calamari was a bit tough and the snails were apparently good.
For my main I had the prawn special which is 1/2 kg of prawns for R50. It comes with rice or chips and the usual trio of lemon butter, garlic butter and peri peri sauce. The prawns were firm and fresh, but quite dry, I prefer them when they are a bit saucy. They were certainly enjoyable but I found myself using the sauces more than I would usually. In doing so, I established that the peri peri sauce is extremely average. I tasted like tomato relish from a can with some chilli added. Not at all comparably to the delicious peri peri sauce at Vascos.
For those who take their seafood seriously, Panama Jack’s is one of the few places you can choose your own live lobster which you could have on its own or as part of a seafood platter. There is also reasonably priced sushi on offer which didn’t look too bad.
I washed my meal down with a glass of Brampton Sauvignon Blanc (R22) and noted that the wine prices were quite reasonable with a few options available around the R100 mark. The service was very good, our waitress was just attentive and efficient enough that I couldn’t find anything to complain about. I didn’t stay for dessert and can say that it is nice to see sunlight again when leaving as Panama Jack’s is a bit dingy. It seams clean enough, but it’s dark and warm.
I enjoyed my lunch, the food was not bad and the lunch menu is extremely wallet friendly. Not a bad option for lunch or even dinner, I’ll be back.
Cnr Quay 500 & Eastern Mole Road
Cape Town Docks
021 447 3992