246 Ridge McIntire Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22903


Neighborhoods: Starr Hill
Cuisine: South African, Pub Food, Seafood

Shebeen is a South African, Pub Food, and Seafood restaurant where most Menuism users came for a family meal and tipped more than 18%.

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  • 10/21/2015

    A South African chowhound from Richmond, VA tried it.

Megster11187 photo


 Pittsburgh, PA

Great South African Cuisine

When my parents visited Charlottesville this weekend, I was determined to try a new restaurant while they were here. Might as well use parental funding while I can!

A friend of mine suggested the Shebeen Pub & Braii, located near the Downtown Mall (Vinegar Hill Shopping center, below the Staples), and I’m giving him a huge, food-related hug next time I see him. The meal was excellent, the wait staff attentive and friendly, and I had an incredibly satisfying, eclectic, and innovative meal.

The restaurant does not take reservations, but you can call 30 minutes ahead to get your name on the list. I would recommend doing this since I’ve heard it’s almost always packed. Even though we called ahead, we still had to wait for a bit once we arrived – not to worry, there is a great little bar area and an appealing drink (‘libations’) menu, so we indulged while we waited. There are also comfortable couches and other seating, making the wait pretty painless.

The restaurant is small and intimate. My mom and I thought it looked smoky, which we decided may have been due to the lighting…just a heads up for those who think their eyesight might be going a bit too soon!

The menu is varied with a wide range of options for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Warm dinner rolls are served at the beginning of the meal…they tasted like they were fresh out of the oven and were great!

Our table ordered 3 appetizers to start: the zambezi chicken satays, pita chips and roasted red pepper hummus, and the cape mussels. Since I don’t eat meat, I can’t comment on the chicken…but they were so good, my sister got another order with her main dish! The peri-peri sauce that came with the satays was incredibly spicy but REALLY good – we ordered 3 extra sides of sauce to enjoy with our various main dishes.

The hummus, which in general is one of my favorite foods, is good as well, very flavorful and a generous portion. The pita chips are home-made and deep-fat fried…absolutely worth those extra calories! My mom thought the mussels were excellent, as evidenced by many slurping sounds…word of warning, the sauce is great but is very heavy and creamy, which might not be appealing to all.

The main courses are truly a culinary experience. I ordered the Sadza Cakes – 2 parmesan polenta cakes topped with eggplant, spinach, and mushrooms, served with lemongrass butter (I got this on the side). The polenta nearly melted in my mouth, and the combination of the vegetables and parmesan was delicious. Mango salsa came on the side, although I opted for peri-peri sauce for a bit of spice. It was filling but light and flavorful.

There were lots of other great-looking items on the menu! To name a few others: Ginger-Garlic Salmon, Durban-Spiced Chicken, Grilled Joberg Strip (steak), Shrimp, Calamari, Braised Lamb, Shepherd’s Pie, and burgers. They also had many stew options served over rice, both vegetarian and meat – too heavy for me, but on a cold Virginia night I’m sure they are truly delicious.

Even though no one had much room left…we of course opted for dessert, which was worth the handfuls of Tums required after the meal!

We ordered 2 to split – the mango pie and the chocolate lava cake. The mango pie was my favorite, served on a crumbly shortbread crust. The chocolate lava cake was delicious and rich, as expected, although the center wasn’t as ‘molten’ as other lava cakes I’ve had. We opted to get it with ice cream, although I would recommend asking for it on the side – the scoop was so big, it almost covered the entire lava cake!

The meal was really delicious, and as filling as it was, I didn’t reach that level of ‘overly full’…evidenced by the fact I had a rather large order of pancakes this morning :) I highly recommend this restaurant, although it is really on the pricey end. It doesn’t fit into the typical college student’s budget…best to save for Parent’s Weekend!

Sadza Cakes

Really great, and not too heavy! Served with lots of extra parmesan on top, which was a little much for me (not a huge cheese fan), but the polenta was excellent, as was the vegetable combination. Order with a side of peri-peri sauce!

Pita Chips & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus is one of my favorite foods…and this was no exception! Really flavorful and spicy (lots of garlic, mmm!) I could have done without the deep-fried pita chips, but they sure were good!

Mango Pie

Creamy mousse with a delicious crumbly crust – it was light, not overly flavored, and was the perfect end to a spicy meal. Save room! :)

South African Pub Food Seafood
Fri-Sat 11:00AM - 11:00PM
Sun-Thu 11:00AM - 10:00PM
Contact Business

Charlottesville, VA
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Charlottesville, VA
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Shebeen  Restaurant Reviews

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Shebeen is located near the cities of Monticello, University, Newcomb Hall, and Oak Hill.
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