Finding Food In Swakopmund

Dining in Swakopmund.

As the second largest city in Namibia, Swakopmund plays host to holiday residents looking to escape the heat of the inland deserts and plains. Fortunately settled and comfortable in my Deutches Haus hotel, for my holiday in this colorful slice of Germany hanging on the fringe of the Namib Naukluft Park, I had several nights to enjoy the local fare. While I usually might note a meal or restaurant, I don’t usually rate or review ins guidebook style any of attractions or places I visit.

So, excuse the quick change of mode and for those of you who don’t care about where to eat in Swakopmund, Namibia you can hold on for the next WorldRider update. But given the number of people that Google this or Google that, it might be nice for an independent opinion of several restaurants in Swakopmund. These are complete reviews just honest opinions from real experiences. My scoring is very simple. The maximum in each category is 10. The higher the number the better the score.


Erich’s Restaurant
21 Daniel Tjongarero Avenue Ph: 064-405-141


Decor: 7
Service: 7
Food: 7
Wine List: 8

Without a guidebook, referral nor inclination of where to go, I stumbled onto this place walking around one evening while working up an appetite. I was drawn into the place by the fine stemware that graced the tables and the lively crowd inside. They had some electrical problems that night so I sat in the back room with minimal lighting. The cuisine was international with a focus on local seafood and game. I ended up with a safari game platter that included ostrich, springbok, zebra and oryx. There’s a tiny salad bar with tomatoes, cabbage and other vegetables marinated in vinegar and oil. The service was attentive, the food was some of the best to date.

The Grapevine
Libertina Amathila Avenue Ph: 064-404-770

Decor: 8
Service: 7
Food: 8
Wine List: 9
(no formal list, but join Jurgen in the bar area and pick something from the cellar collection after sampling a few)

Owner Jurgen allowed me to sample a half-dozen wines while I waited for a table in this cozy house that serves as one of Swakopmunds finer restaurants. There are less than 10 tables here, but a cozy living sitting area with a glass of wine makes the waiting time fine. The Ox Tail stew was on special and served after a french style garden salad. Understated German appointments to the dining rooms with large windows and well worn hard floors.

Il Tulipano

37 Daniel Tjongarero Street Ph: 064 400-122

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Decor: 10
Service: 8
Food: 9
Wine List: 8
(including a handful of Italian wines)

Owner Amelio Bortolus loves Tulips, so he opened a restaurant named after this beautiful spring flower in his native tongue, Italian. But he was pleased when he learned that the tulipano is an Oshiwambo (the local language) word for ‘here I am’. This is the best restaurant in Swakopmund by far. I opted for a seafood salad with a hint of curry and a game steak. The place was empty as it was Christmas day. So I shared the tastefully decorated dining room with only one other table.

Napolitana
33 Nathanael Maxuilili Ph: 064 402-773

Decor: 5
Service: 1
Food: 1
Wine list: 2

This budget restaurant is absolutely the worst restaurant I dined during my five days in Swakopmund. They had me wait in the bar for a free table. After nearly 45 minutes and a beer I wandered out to the dining room and saw 5 open tables and nobody else waiting. They forgot about me. While I’m sure the pizzas are fine, I opted for pasta which the waitress indicated was the house speciality. So why not a simple dish of tagliatelle with a basic bolognese sauce. Simple enough. The menu offered different pasta options and choose your sauce. After already placing the order with the kitchen she informed me that all they had was spaghetti. I had also ordered a small salad, but was delivered a large. The pasta was delivered with what had to be canned sauce with a few chunks of meat and a side of canned artificial parmesan cheese. The bill included the large salad, and the poor waitress for fear of the owner, wouldn’t take the difference off the bill and instead gave me money out of her own pocket to cover the difference. If the owner runs the place with employee fear, that should tell you something.

Tug
Jetty Area, Promenade, Ph: 064-402-356

Decor: 8
Service: 6
Food: 7
Wine list: 6

Beach front looking over the Iron Pier, Tug is perhaps one of the most popular restaurants in town and sits in an old oil-fired tugboat called the Danie Hugo. This old ship was torn up by the surf in Walvis Bay Port in 1984, but found a new life as a restaurant on the water here in Swakopmund. Seafood is the deal here, as is the perfect patio for a sundowner cocktail. The place gets packed and the lively bar includes porthole side tables and waning seats. Fun. My kingclip fish and oysters which I wrote about here were delightful. The service okay and the decor just fun.

Western Saloon & Western Saloon Pizzeria

Pizzeria
Decor: 5
Service: 5
Food: 9

Steakhouse
Decor: 5
Service: 4
Food: 5
Wine list: 9

There are two facilities with the same owner. First the Pizzeria had the best pizza I’ve had perhaps since Argentina. Thin crispy crust, homemade sauce and good cheese. Cold Hansa draft beer for the perfect pairing.

The restaurant is a different story. The owner marches around in a chef’s outfit but I don’t think does anything in the kitchen. He told me the calamari appetizer would be served as “thinly sliced strips” but came out as chunky squares. The main course, a traditional Oryx steak was fine but the mushroom pepper sauce perhaps a bit heavy handed. The outrageous corkage fee turned me off from opening my own bottle so I opted to one of the overpriced bottles on perhaps the best wine list in town. The place is small, cozy and features decor from USA and Route 66.

Namib Restaurant
located in the Deautches Haus Hotel

Decor: 7
Service: 7
Food: 7
Wine list: 7

Traditional Namibian cuisine is prepared fresh and with good service at this fine hotel restaurant.


Other places visited included the Lighthouse Pub & Restaurant, a great place to grab a beer and bar food while gazing out at the beach goers; Brauhaus, a traditional german style brewery with the fare that goes along with it, nice but slow service. I think better visited with a crowd of people, rather than alone.

So if you happen to be in Swakopmund one day, I hope this quick overview gives you some options!


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