Way back in 1974...

In the words of Stanley Dorman, founder of Mariner’s Wharf
“Way back in 1974 I visited San Francisco for the first time, and the excitement of its burgeoning harbourfront reminded me of my childhood in rustic Hout Bay, the fishing village of my birth. My thoughts drifted back to the craggy-faced fishermen and how they used to jest about their catch as it lay shimmering on the jetty; the sounds of throbbing boat engines and wailing snoekhorns; the thud of the shipwright’s caulking hammer; the exhilaration of a Friday payday; and many other treasured memories, rapidly receding into the mists of time.

Reminiscing made me ponder. Was there not a last chance to encapsulate Hout Bay’s fascinating history for future generations by creating a special place? A place where you and I, old salts and locals, the famous and the not-so-famous, could enjoy each other’s synergy.

How then to transform my vision into reality? The concept was daunting and would need to be unique, authentic, distinctively Hout Bay. It would also need to be thoroughly researched. Thus it was that whenever I could during the following years I travelled the world, to distant wharves and far-flung fishmarkets. From Reykjavik to Tokyo, from Seattle to Sydney – collecting artefacts, researching ideas, evaluating heritage.

And, ever so gradually, Mariner’s Wharf, South Africa’s First Harbourfront Emporium began to take shape in my mind. In 1984 its world-famous Fishmarket opened and within the next seven years it had evolved into a time capsule of seafood Bistros, markets and nautical shops, culminating with the upgrading of the Wharfside Grill restaurant in 1991. As it is my sincere wish that you too will enjoy, experience and see, a place which is very special for me, do walk around and soak in the ambience of what has become a truly great venue. Then settle down and dine on seafood worth sailing the seven seas for.

Bon Appetit!”

Embracing Hout Bay

Over a Century of making things happen from Dorman & Son to Mariner's Wharf and Fisherman's World
Visitors to and residents of Hout Bay will welcome this magnificently illustrated book which describes how it developed from a source of timber to the beautiful village it is today, with its world-famous Mariner’s Wharf – the first such harbourfront emporium in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere – and Fisherman’s World, a themed olden-days fishing village in the making.

Covering the development of the farming and fishing industries in Hout Bay, from the early days of corn and cattle, of snoek salted for sugar plantations in Mauritius and unwanted lobsters reddening the bottom of the bay, to the cultivation of vines, vegetables, butter and cream, and the advent of lobster quotas and smoked snoek, Embracing Hout Bay also deals with the many and substantial contributions made by the Dorman family since the arrival of Simon Dorman in the 1890s, and their struggle against a large conglomerate determined to oust them from the fishing industry.

It is a story of triumph against adversity set against the backdrop of a family’s love for the village and a determination to preserve it and its unique ambience for the future.

The much acclaimed coffee table book, “Embracing Hout Bay” is available to purchase in all departments at Mariner’s Wharf.

What people are saying


Always a winner for the best seafood in Cape Town!


Fish and chips delish! There is a queue but it moves fast. They have sauvignon blanc, Hunters Cider, live music, lively scenery. Expensive curio shops but lovely trinkets. Lovely walk down the quay


Fantastic shops with lots of gifts, treats, snacks and delicacies!


There are many places in Cape Town, who make an awesome Fish & Chips parcel, but Mariner's Wharf makes the best Calamari & Chips. The taste and quality have been consistent, over my lifetime of coming here.

Food was divine. We bought the family meal which came packaged perfectly. More than enough for 4 people....maybe 5 or 6. Host was extremely friendly and informative. There was a long line but it went relatively quickly. Was full but managed to find seating. Overall was such a nice day and lunch with my family.

The best cajun calamari in Cape Town. Wonderful venue and great staff. Always a wonderful welcome from them. We only have cajun calamari, just can't try anything else!


Best fish and chips ever. Fish batter beautifully crispy.

The best snoek and chips in the world. Best view in Houtbay. The best of Cape Town.
You really feel like a tourist in your own town, when you have some sea food at Mariner's Wharf. Old school soul food.
Best seafood ever.
Amazing food! Couldn't risk the food getting cold, so we stopped at a viewing point and enjoyed in the car!
Wow!! The seafood platter was amazing!! The sea, sand, seagulls completed the meal!! LOVE on a plate!! Thank you! You cannot visit Cape Town and not have a meal here.
Authentic Fish & Chips so fresh off the trawlers! No better place to eat it than right on the wharf in the sun and cool sea breeze with seals barking and waves splashing...
Wonderful fish, tastes delicious
Enver Halim
The hake was so crispy and fresh!! The calamari was the best I've actually had.

Best fish in Cape Town! The prices are affordable and the quality is exceptional. Perfect place to take the family for fish extravaganza.

The best fish and chips in Cape Town. Crunchy battered fish fresh off the boat 😉. Very well organised for COVID with fast friendly service.
Very unique experience. The smell and the sound of the sea right next to you. Staff makes you feel welcome. Will definitely visit again.
(34°02’49.70 S 18°20’53.60 E)
Harbour Road, Hout Bay
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa