Societi Bistro is quite a large bistro style restaurant hidden behind high walls at an old corner house in Gardens neighborhood. The restaurant is in a 200 year old, renovated, Georgian style house with seating spread through the different rooms of the house and packed into a huge courtyard outside. Societi Bistro strives to be “a sanctuary for Capetonians and visitors looking for a home away from home”, and with its cozy yet quirky atmosphere, it succeeds in putting visitors at ease. The décor inside consists of dark wood, exposed brick, and a lot of interesting artworks. In bistro style, the menu changes frequently and daily specials are written up on a chalkboard menu.
I stopped by for a weekday lunch and was pretty surprised to find the huge restaurant mostly empty and very quiet. I took a table inside because the courtyard was way too sunny. For starters, I enjoyed a really delicious watermelon salad with mint, vodka, goat’s cheese, and bitter leaves. The salad was really good and refreshing but way too huge! It had several giant slices of watermelon. For the main course, I had the fillet au poivre, a pasture-reared cut of fillet, served with a Madagascan green peppercorn and brandy cream sauce, wilted spinach, and hand cut French fries. The steak was unbelievably tender and cooked perfectly. The fries were super crispy and delicious.
Service was very attentive and helpful but not over the top. Prices are a bit high, which might explain why the restaurant was empty at lunch. Or perhaps no one was there because it’s a real chore to find any parking within a radius of several blocks during the day. Lack of parking is the biggest downside for the restaurant. The Societi Bistro also offers a few interesting experiences such as “Kitchen Unconfidential” cooking lessons and a “Chef’s Table” dining option.