'Dias Tavern has been a family favourite for as long as we’ve been living in Cape Town.'
Karl Tessendorf visits Dias Tavern to experience of its peri-peri superiority…
The first thing my wife said to me when I told her I was going to Dias was, “You’d better bring me home a Joe Special with medium trinchado and grilled calamari”. Now considering she’s half Portuguese, pregnant and somewhat moody, I nodded, made a mental note then promptly forgot about it. In my defence, at the time, all I could think about was the peri-peri chicken that I was going to smash into my face.
Yup, it’s safe to say that Dias Tavern has been a family favourite for as long as we’ve been living in Cape Town. In fact, if you’re considering moving here, one visit to this purveyor of Portuguese pleasures will be the deciding factor. The thing I love about Dias is that nothing ever changes. It still looks the same. The menu is still the same. Even some of the waitstaff who were there on my first visit are still there. It’s been consistently great for years and that’s its secret.
Dias has so many awesome dishes, but for me it’s the peri-peri chicken. There are two options: half a chicken or a full baby chicken, and it only comes medium to hot. I always go for the full baby because you get takeaways. Be sure to order it with chips and ask for extra peri-peri sauce on the side. Last, but not least, I like to order a bowl of crunchy, deep fried squid heads. They’re the popcorn of the sea and if you haven’t had them, you really should.
When your meal arrives, you best unbutton your pants and order another drink. The chicken has a beautiful, chargrilled skin and a powerful garlicky, spicy aroma. It comes with a hefty portion of slightly crispy yet slightly slap chips, and the whole thing is nestled on a bed of bright orange oil. There’s a lot of heat in the oil so ease into it because the burn will grow the more you eat. Once you’re in the groove, pile on some extra sauce and strap yourself in.
About mid-way through the fireworks show, the sassy hostess swung past to check on us. She noticed my flushed cheeks and casually asked me if I was blushing because of the heat, or because there’s a bird in front of me with its legs uncrossed. And that right there is Dias Tavern in a nutshell – charming, friendly and a little bit rough around the edges. Satisfied and full, I settled up and was on my way out when my wife texted me to check her order was on the way. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in our years together, it’s happy Portuguese wife equals very happy life. So I promptly sat back down and ordered her Joe Special takeaway.
Lunch, Dinner & Drinks