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Then and now: Constantia Nek Restaurant

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The restaurant atop Constantia Nek has been a popular halfway stop on the road to Hout Bay for many years. The iconic black wooden building first opened its doors in 1929, making it Cape Town’s oldest operating restaurant.


Recently, the two wings of the building were separated into two restaurants - La Parada and Harbour House - both owned by the Harbour House Group. The opening of the two dining establishments revived the old building and turned it into a buzzing hub for tourists and locals alike.


In the 1950s, the Constantia Nek restaurant opened a new tea room in a wing of the wooden building, now home to La Parada. The second wing, now housing Harbour House, was built in the 1970s.



The history of Constantia Nek


In the days of horse-drawn carriages, the summit of Constantia Nek used to house a toll station and lay-by that was used by workers moving logs from the Hout Bay plantations to the Castle of Good Hope in the city centre. The building became an established resting place and eatery along the route.


For over three centuries, Constantia Nek has been a major thoroughfare for traffic between Hout Bay and the Southern Suburbs. As wood stocks on the Cape Town side of the mountain range started to run low in the mid-1600s, loggers began to trek further in search of more supply.


They found that the slopes on the back end of Table Mountain had an abundance of wood, and so named the area Hout Bay, which literally means ‘Wood Bay’. Transporting wood out of the area meant building a road big enough for horse-drawn carts. Work on creating this dirt road began in 1666.



Current restaurants at Constantia Nek


The Harbour House Group leased the two wings of the historical building and set up Harbour House Restaurant and La Parada Tapas Bar. The two establishments have different atmospheres, décor and offerings, but both are highly popular.


Harbour House is a great venue for small weddings, corporate functions or casual fine dining. As a sister restaurant of the original Harbour House in Kalk Bay and V&A Waterfront,  it also serves fresh seafood with a gourmet spin.



La Parada offers authentic Spanish tapas and a well-stocked bar. Many patrons pop in for afternoon drinks and a light bite, rather than a sit-down dinner. The two establishments complement one another and continue to make Constantia Nek a popular stop.


For reservations at Harbour House, call +27 (0)21 795 0688 or email constantianek@harbourhouse.co.za. To make a booking at La Parada, phone +27 (0)21 795 0620 or email constantianek@laparada.co.za.


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Take a look at the historical pictures and story of The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands.

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Author: Seeff

Submitted 17 Sep 18 / Views 362