The Wooden Shoe review

I remember quite a while back I mentioned The Wooden Shoe in passing, saying it didn’t look very appealing. I had someone email me and give me a hard time about that, insisting I should try it before knocking it. So when I was recently invited to dinner there, I was looking forward to seeing how right or wrong I was.

The Wooden Shoe is a steakhouse in the traditional sense of the word: been around for ages, dingy and quirky. Other equivalent venues would be the Nelson’s Eye, Buzby Grill and the original Hussar Grill. I’ve realised I don’t particularly like traditional steakhouses (I did not enjoy Nelson’s Eye at all), I find them to be too dingy, and generally lacking in many areas, especially value.

It seems that traditional steakhouses are frequented by a small loyal following with the occasional ‘visitor’ who usually doesn’t come back. The loyal following will defend their favourite steakhouse with all their strength. So I will probably get some flack for this review.

The Wooden Shoe is a very small restaurant, with about 20 seats inside and another 3 tables outside which won’t be used much in winter. Due to the limited amount of tables, there is only one waiter. While she does a good job, it does mean that you do a lot of waiting before getting attention or receiving whatever you have ordered. The chairs make waiting for service quite uncomfortable as they are hard.

The winelist is short and and inexpensive. It contains wines which we did not recognise so we ordered the wine they were promoting and it was undrinkable. I ordered the 300g fillet with pepper sauce (R133.50), friend from the UK had the plain 300g fillet (R102.50) and flatmate had the pork fillet with mushroom sauce (R102.50). As you can see, the prices are not cheap. My steak was good but not great, certainly not better than the steak I would have at most other restaurants for the same price or less.

The place definitely has character. The decor is themed with clogs all around and the owner is in the tiny kitchen cooking the steaks. You can sit at the bar and watch him cooking the steaks if you like. I’m sure the waitress has been there for ages because she knows what she is doing. So I can see the attraction for the regulars but I won’t be rushing back, I would prefer to go back for the excellent steak I had at Sevruga.

The Wooden Shoe
Cnr Regent & St Johns Roads, Seapoint
021 439 4435

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14 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Absolutely agree with your review: I live in the area and am amazed that this type of place is alive and thriving…when you see the decor, you expect it to be cheap but far from it. There must be an extremely large profit margin on all food sold..

  2. Louise says:

    We had a terrible and very expensive meal there with very average steak and microwaved jacket potatoes – open kitchen remember! The place is dusty and definately not the cleanest I’ve seen, althought this may be because everything is so old? The SPUR is better!!

  3. David says:

    I drove by this place my whole life (I am 40). April 2009 my wife and I finally went in. Boy can the chef cook! There is a reason why a place that does not advertise and spends nothing on decor is still going after all these years. The food is fantastic! If you like steel, glass and pretention, then this isn’t the place for you. If you want an excellent steak with a few friends and are not in a rush, this is the place for you.

  4. Joanne says:

    In another article about The Wooden Shoe, Willi refers to the original owner as, “some Dutchman”. That Dutchman’s name is Hans Roukema, he also opened Le Sabot on the foreshore not too long after he opened The Wooden Shoe on a shoestring. Such a tight and short shoestring that his friends and their friends were the ones, myself included, who actually put the place together…down to the Delft tiles on the walls, mixing the sauce the steaks were dredged through and prepping all that had to be prepped. Then when he opened we served as the wait staff. You could start with Maatjes Haring, Shrimp cocktail and numerous other delicious starters, followed by a delicious steak with baked potato and salad. Yum for the monkey gland steak!
    That was all way back in 1961. During the 80’s we visited Cape Town and while walking down that way I happened to notice The Wooden Shoe! What a surprise that they were still in business, but alas they were not open for lunch. Fast forward to 2009 and once again I am in Cape Town. I passed by there on a Friday night and there was a line of people waiting outside, so I decided to wait until the next night. Arriving to a closed and chained shut door, noone there. Some ladies passing by said he would be there later, if not there then…or maybe he has gone fishing! Sunday morning I left to return to the USA, never having the opportunity to dine there again.
    I just read that “this establishment is now closed”. Good bye old girl, you gave all of them a good run for the money.

    • Dax says:

      Thank you Joanne for that tribute to the Wooden Shoe. When we don’t know the personality behind the restaurant it’s easier to criticise, but there is often someone trying to make a living and perhaps share a passion.

    • Allan Roukema says:

      Hi Joanne, that Dutchman was my father who passed away in 2006. I would like to know more about your friendship with him. can you email myself at thank Allan

  5. Hylton says:

    I’ve been going to the Wooden Shoe for over 3 Years on a average of once a month. It was defiantly my favorite restaurant out of them all despite the price. I liked the old look, small restaurant as it feels the same as it was 10 years ago when I first went there when it opened which is great. The person who complained about the microwave heated potatoes, really? Was that the problem? Im use to eating out VERY often more than at home actually and just everything about the place the steak, potatoes and the sour cream which I personally love and the service it was all great always maybe just to me as I was a regular I will never know anymore as the owner Willy has unforgettably past away a years ago. I’ve been on a hunt to find out his secret recipe to that “pepper sauce” its my cocaine in away its a extremely I could have just drank it that’s how much I loved it. If anyone who has the CORRECT recipe not one off Google, YouTube, A cook book or anything else like that. Please would you leave me a comment. Thank You!

  6. Richard Weichbold says:

    The Wooden Shoe is set to re-open in summer of 2012 under the management of Wolfgang Weichbold(ex Salzburger Hof and original Nelsons Eye,Aldos in the waterfront) and his son Richard Weichbold.
    It will be re-named Salzburger Grill serving steaks,seafood and continental specialities.
    It is in the process of being revitalised and refreshed.
    More details will follow closer to opening.

  7. Chris Vokes says:

    Back around 1967 I lived in a room above the Wooden Shoe, myself and a mate had arrived from the uk and after a spell at the Ritz hotel we got the room,Great times were had,single 21,could write a book. just found a key ring from the W S that was what prompted me to see if it had survived
    Happy Days

  8. Mir & Rlf says:

    We have eaten at The Salzburger some 3 weeks ago. They had just re-opened two weeks before. We ate at the Wooden Shoe several times in the past during our stay (vacation) in CPT. We expected a trip down memory-lane but were much surpised to see the new setting. We tried our luck and spend a nice evening in the place that was fully booked on a Tuesday.

    Simple menues that tasted very good with pleasant service. The BYO for the liquor is one to remember, still they also serve alcohol. The place being full resulted in echoing and it was a little loud for a “quiet dinner”. Something to work on in the interior. However the (local) visitors did not seem to care.

    Personal opinion: We would recommend the place because of the good food and small set-up. Coming from Europe we found the prices OK (no low-budget location).

  9. Gerhard Goettin says:

    Without remembering the exact location, I had often told my wife about my frequent visits to the Wooden Shoe during my stay in Mouille Point from 1963 – 1966. Then, on holiday in Cape Town and driving through Seapoint in October 2010, there it was, looking exactly the way it did more than 40 years earlier. We went there the same evening and enjoyed fantastic steaks. The owner in 2010 was, as far as I remember, Austrian. I accept that sheer nostalgia may have added a little to the experience. Inside, too, everything looked exactly the way it did in the sixties, even “The Bell” was still there. The owner during 1963 – 1966, it must have been Hans Roukema, used to ring the bell if somebody had the audacity to order his/her steak well done. We will visit Cape Town again next year. A visit to the Wooden Shoe or now The Salzburger is a certainty.

  10. Kelly says:

    I have now eaten twice at the Saltzburger and have had fantastic meals on both occasions. The food is delicious and expertly prepared, right down to the spaetzle. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, where we were made to feel apart of the family. I will most definitiely be going back. Very highly recommended!

  11. Joanne says:

    Thanks Gerhardt for the steps down Memory Lane…that place holds a special place in my memories too.
    Thanks Kelly and Mir for your nice comments, it will help to keep that spot on St John’s Lane as it should be…The Original Gathering Place where good food is served.
    Thanks Chris for your nice memory…I am sure Hans and Wili are smiling…and so it continues.