The Ocean Grill (St Lucia, kwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

A week at Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge passed surprisingly quickly, and we soon found ourselves packed up after one last morning game drive, ready for the drive back to Durban, where we were spending a few days. Since we had most of the day available, we decided to take a bit of time getting to Durban, checking out the nearby town of St Lucia. St Lucia sits at the mouth of Big Five False Bay, and is known for both iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the large bloats of hippos in the river that occasionally ramble through the town. We weren’t around during ideal hippo viewing times, but did have a pleasant visit to Jabula Beach and Mission Rocks in the Wetland Park, and decided it was prudent to have a late lunch before the final drive down to Durban. Looking around the downtown area of St Lucia, we settled on The Ocean Grill.

The Ocean Grill is one of those pleasant, mostly-outdoor terrace seafood restaurants of the exact sort that you find in beach resort towns (I’ve been to very similar places in Ocean City, MD, for example), with a menu of fresh-grilled seafood, fries, a few non-seafood dishes to appeal to a wider crowd… and some cold beer to wash it all down with. It’s a nice spot, actually; while not overlooking either the false bay or the ocean, it had a nice, sunny partially-enclosed patio that was most of the seating.

For our mid-afternoon late lunch, we both opted for the same thing: a simple grilled prawns and chips dinner. This is one of those cases where simplicity was the order of the day: this was a half dozen large prawns (by US size grading standards, these were well over “colossal” in size), cleaned, sliced lengthwise, and in a nice departure from US norms, served up with the heads still attached. The seasoning here was lightly applied: just a bit of oil, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and the prawns were cooked to a perfect slightly-firm internal texture and a lightly-blistered exterior. Served up with a light lemon-flavored sauce and some nicely executed chips, this was a solid prawn dinner.

The Ocean Grill was a nice place to stop for a relaxing late lunch and enjoy the splendid Austral Fall weather, and the seafood was fresh and perfectly prepared. I’d love to come back in the future, and possibly see the hippos.

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