The fish and chips served at Quinta Portuguese Restaurant and Bar in Margate.

Quinta Portuguese Restaurant and Bar

Where: Marine Drive, Margate

Call: 039 312 0328

Open: Daily lunch & dinner until 9pm

Monday is never a good time to eat out, especially for lunch, and especially in those places aimed at at the tourist trade over the weekend. It’s often a case of shut up shop. And despite the fact that it was school holidays and the South Coast was obviously pumping with up-country visitors, we really struggled to find somewhere to eat last week.

Ramsgate was a decidedly closed, all three of restaurants in the village, one of my favourites on the coast included. There was a new place that had opened where The Bistro used to be, and there was actually two people sitting in it, but no sign of staff or owners, or even an entrance, bar the open kitchen door. The kitchen was decidedly vacant. Baffled we stared at the occupants of the single table but they were disinclined to suggest a way in.

Then we hit the famed Waffle House. Different story here. There was a waiting list 45 minutes long as people were parking in the lot up the road and around the corner. Why were we not surprised.

So we headed on into Margate. By this time we were ever so slightly peckish.

The local Chinese, closed. The local Italian where I’d last had a very good prawn special, closed. At this stage it looked like an option between a disappointing Spur in Margate or samoosas at the nearest Engen shop.

“Let’s head on and see if we find anything interesting on route,” my friend suggested. I balked imagining the next stop to be Scottburgh. But we pushed on.

And so we stumbled upon Quinta Portuguese Restaurant in a collection of wooden cabins and tourist huts - and it was open. It was now 2.30pm. It was a lifesaver.

It’s a fairly rustic establishment - a simple bar on the one side and restaurant on the other spilling out onto a terrace with wooden tables with fixed benches. As it was a beautiful day we opted for here. And while the view is more of a local cash and carry rather than the sea, it was a pleasant spot. And we were greeted by an equally pleasant waitress.

The menu is predictable. Peri-peri chicken and prawns and various combinations with calamari or ribs. There’s chicken livers and even a selection of pizzas. These were being devoured hungrily next to us by a large table made up mostly of kids. And prices are decidedly reasonable.

We both decided on the fish and chips (R89). There was a single piece of hake with chips aimed at a light lunch that went for (R39). But we were gnawing at our fingers.

The fish was good and enormous - two large pieces - and served in a decent batter. The chips while straight out of a packet, were competent enough and it was served with lemon and a bought tartare sauce. But we enjoyed it all anyway. And the peri-peri chicken served at another table behind us looked good too.

So Thanks you Quinta for being there in our hour of need.

Food: 3

Service: 3.5

Ambiance: 3