Good food has a way of healing our thoughts. Goodness knows in 2021, we all need some happiness to lose ourselves in. Several studies have concluded that food prepared just right and with love, lifts your mood and makes you happier.

Leading on from this, a great view and relaxing ambience, paired with great cuisine is the perfect cocktail for true happiness. Luckily for you, La Parada has all three in abundance. I can’t remember what meal decisions we made before tapas and I am not sure I want to either.

The world is love-drunk on the Spanish trend – and thanks to the nature of the concept – it keeps evolving. La Parada at the V&A Waterfront has accordingly given the menu a shake up and presented new and spicier small plate options. Every single dish I taste-tested is impeccable in flavour profiles and presentation.

The highlight of lunch or dinner at La Parada is the location. Table Mountain is the backdrop to intimate conversations and shared dishes, I can’t think of a better way to December in Cape Town. Remember, happiness is our end-goal in 2021.

The restaurant is spacious, which lends to the perfectly socially-distanced meals. There are private dining areas, an outside space, booths and carefully-spaced tables. There is also a bar area if that’s your vibe. Cocktails and wine options flow in abundance, make sure you Uber because they keep you coming back for more.

Tapas dishes start from as little as R65, which is the right price point after the year that we’ve had financially.

Four to five dishes between two people are more than plenty to satisfy a hungry appetite. The problem is stopping after five dishes.

It might be the most pricey tapas on the menu, but if there is one dish to splurge on, it’s the burrata. One word to best describe the dish would be ‘luscious’. Something this sinfully-good should never be good for you, yet here we are. Burrata is all about the silky texture, and while the ingredient itself is one-dimensional, it’s the other flavours on the plate that bring the dish together symbiotically. Heirloom tomatoes lay in a pool of sweet and tangy basil oil. I could immediately feel my mood lift after the first bite.

The peppadew poppers with cream cheese and basil aioli were crunchy on the outside and delicately sweet and savoury on the inside. Basil is the mood-shifter today, I’ll take it.

When at the V&A Waterfront, you should indulge in seafood. It has everything to do with the close proximity of the sea, and the saltiness in the breeze that makes you want to order the fried calamari and prawns. My best advice is to go with that thought process, it proved to be the right decision. Both deeply flavourful and incredibly fresh.

To round off your tapas experience, I also highly recommend the beef short ribs. The meat has been marinaded in zesty orange segments, then slow-cooked to extract the deepest and most beautiful flavour from the beef. If you need to order a second helping, do it. We all need to stock up on elements that add joy to our lives right now.

Other options on the menu include heartier options like a Wagyu beef burger, chicken espedata, steaks and salads.

To finish off your entire experience you need something to tickle your sweet tooth. There are three options, the obligatory churros dusted in a hint of cinnamon and paired with a rich chocolate ganache sauce.

There is also the cheesecake accompanied by twills of crunchy honeycomb and amerena cherry curd. And lastly, the death by chocolate for the die-hard cocoa fans. Most impressive is the cost of the dessert which is priced at a rather reasonable R62 – R75.

When you are done, spend some time eavesdropping on Table Mountain’s beauty, it’s a view you can never tire off. It pairs so well with a leisurely meal.

The most important lesson is that happiness does indeed have a price, and it’s the cost of the good tapas showdown at La Parada, go on and get that smile.

Picture: Supplied

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 21 years of journalism experience. Her motto - Travel. Eat. Repeat. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.