My brother’s been raving about Spiros’ in Houtbay for quite some time so I’ve been keen to try it out for quite some time. When my bestie came out for a holiday from Scotland, and was staying at her Mom’s in Houtbay, it was the first place I suggested. I asked the if they had tried it and they said, “No, but your brother’s been raving about it!” 😀
To me Houtbay has 2 main roads, one that has all the shops in it and the one that goes around the mountain via Chapman’s Peak drive. They’re both chock-a-block full of stores, but Spiros is located on the “mountain” main road. The restaurant is quite big, with 2 outside areas – the front porch as well as a back bar. There’s also the middle section which is house-like and comprised of smaller rooms.
As with all Greek restaurants it’s hard to know what to order when there are so many options. I’ve been curious to find the best roasted Greek lamb in Cape Town but ironically, Spiros doesn’t really have it on the menu, but they do have lamb shank. Instead, I chose a number of options so that I could get a better sense, overall, of what the restaurant offers.
Spiros very cleverly includes the English phonetic spelling next to each name, which I thought was quite a bit of fun and helped me learn how to pronounce the dishes more correctly.
To start we (my friend, her Mom and I) shared three tapas style dishes: the crumbed calamari, spanakopita and soutzoukakia. I’m not a seafood fan, but the calamari were fried to golden brown and looked too delicious not to give it a go. It wasn’t very “fishy”, which either means it was incredibly fresh or had been in the deep freeze! Either way, I enjoyed it.
Soutzoukakia is a meatball with “red sauce”. Described as “Smyrniah meatballs” on the menu, which the waiter said meant ‘oval’ shaped, these dense but delicious bay leaf wrapped meatballs were tasty. (Make sure you pick the bay leaves off.)
The Spanakopita was my favourite of the three. The spinach and feta were closely packed together so the flavour was richer than other versions I’ve had. They were well-balanced and had no need for extra seasoning, however, the pastry topping wasn’t very crispy – I think steam might have gotten to them somewhere along the line. None the less, I thoroughly enjoyed them.
For mains I opted for the yiro with a lamb filling. Interestingly, they didn’t split the pita breads and filled them, they actually used them as wraps encased by tin foil! My friend made the mistake of pulling hers out of the tin foil, which resulted in all the toppings falling out. I kept mine snug and enjoyed eating it, street food style. The garlic was pretty pungent in the tzatziki, but being the “breather” and not the “breathee”, I smugly gobbled mine up! I wouldn’t mind if Spiros’ had a wrap food truck somewhere around Cape Town…*hint hint*.
My friend ordered the ribs which fell off the bone. I had a little taster and they were delicious. I wouldn’t have minded if the sauce had been reduced a little longer (as I like my really sweet and sticky, American style), but this is a Greek restaurant so I was happy to try their version too. The texture of the meat was fantastic and the portion size was great – not too much so you could finish the sides.
The home-made chips were crispy, but the rock salt used just bounced off them – I find that happens a lot if table salt isn’t used. Put some on your plate and ‘scoop’ a bit up to add salt. I could see the oregano, but couldn’t taste it.
Spiros’ is a family friendly restaurant with many sections; I actually prefer this so that it feels more intimate and noise levels can be more easily controlled. The staff were really friendly and helpful too, which I always appreciate.
I’d definitely return to Spiros’ and have the yiro again and next time, continue to work my way through the starter menu. If you’re looking for a Quay-Four type restaurant away from the sea, Spiros’ is the perfect venue for large gatherings, where kids can happily play whilst their folks enjoy a toot. Find it on the Chappies side of Houtbay.