The poke bowl trend has been sweeping the globe since late 2016 and it’s still growing. Pronounced ‘poh-keh’, the Hawaiian dish is typically made from raw fish, rice and vegetables. It’s basically sushi in a salad. Not only is it super Instagrammable, it is also healthy and delicious. And the best part? There are poke restaurants popping up all over South Africa, each adding their own innovative twist. Peruse our list of top poke spots in Joburg, Durban and Cape Town to satisfy your seafood cravings.
Poke spots in Joburg
Sister restaurant to Momo Baohaus, Momo Soko features the same array of Asian flavours, but with a slightly different focus. Momo Soko is situated in Illovo’s Muse Centre and offers a menu of skewers, bao buns, tapas and, of course, poke bowls. With only three variants, you know the poke bowls are going to be good. All are packed with fresh, raw Norwegian salmon, punctuated with punches of flavour from pickled ginger, Wakame seaweed, Asian slaw, ginger scallion drizzle and daikon.
Aesthetically pleasing ONO Eatery is Joburg’s first standalone poke bar. From wing chairs and giant metal leaves to the colourful and exceptionally healthy dishes, the Illovo restaurant is a feast for the eyes. Choose from a range of bowls, from California Salmon Shoyo to Prawn Sriracha, or make up your own. Salmon, tuna, prawn, edamame beans, avocado, spring onions, salsa, sweet peppers, sugar snap peas, slaw, a variety of rice bases and dressings, as well as a vegan option… the selection of ingredients is ample. Breakfast options of Chia Oats, Acai bowls and a range of shakes are also available.
Sushi and Burrito Co.
The name of this Melrose-based restaurant gives away the menu: a combination of flavours from Asian and Mexico. Although this may seem ambitious, Sushi and Burrito Co. pulls it off. Satisfy your palate with classic poke bowls offset by a zing of chilli or citrus, served with rice or a fresh salad. Or, try the sushi burritos. Nori takes the place of wraps and seafood replaces chicken or beef. Our favourite? The Sashimi Salad. Prawn, caviar, salmon, wakame, cucumber and beetroot spaghetti and brown rice or mixed greens are drizzled with a rich ponzu sauce to top off this refreshing dish.
Poke spots in Durban
Durban’s only poke restaurant thus far, Surf Riders is a busy spot on the shore. The beachside bar offers a vibrant array of dishes along with build-your-own poke bowls featuring salmon, tuna, tiger prawns, steamed mussels or smoked chicken. Up the flavour with ponzu, sesame seeds, Japanese mayo, red onion, green pistachio, soy sauce and ginger all piled onto sticky sushi rice. For a final touch, include edamame beans, avocado, seaweed salad or wasabi paste to build your own ultimate bowl. All that’s left to do is savour the view and the food. Sushirittos (sushi burritos) are also available.
Poke spots in Cape Town
Following the standard formula, Cape Town’s Hokey Poke is all about the purity of the Hawaiian dish and was the first poke outlet in South Africa. Get creative at their standalone eateries in Sea Point’s Mojo Market or in the CBD, and make your own bowl – or sample any of the set classics. Looking for a twist? Hokey Poke has plenty. From fresh mango and charred pineapple to jalapeños, salmon crackling and nacho dust, be prepared to experience a new taste sensation at this restaurant.
Three Wise Monkeys
Take two of the trendiest foods right now, put them on a menu, open the doors to your hip Cape Town restaurant and it’s likely you’ll have a hit on your hands. At least that’s the case at Three Wise Monkeys, a ramen and izakaya eatery in buzzing Sea Point. With classic flavours, the poke bowls here are fresh and delicious. Spice it up with their firecracker mayonnaise. Warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Bowls on Bree
New kid on the block Bowls on Bree invites patrons to get bowls deep in their delish dishes. The menu is simple: poke, paleo and buddha bowls. Fresh, nutritional and seasonal ingredients bless the menu and a strict focus on sustainability is of the utmost importance.There’s a variety of bowls with tuna or salmon along with a host of vegetables. Sauce it up with a dressing – think soy and sesame or cilantro and ginger – and choose your rice base. We love the fact that Bowls on Bree offers cauliflower rice for those on a low-carb diet.