Our History


A little bit about Beira Alta

Who we are and how we got here

Beira Alta takes its cue from the interior mountainous region of Portugal, where royalty ruled and traditions emerged.

Beira Alta Restaurant was established in 1999. The Guimarães family started both the Montecasino and the Ballito establishments. Ballito is still run by the Guimarães family.

The Montecasino establishment has been taken over by Garry Chemaly, a formidable restauranteur who has earned his reputation through his own restaurants Lord Prawn and Montego Bay.

Having started in the restaurant industry 40 years ago, Garry Chemaly brings with him a wealth of knowledge, an eye for the finer detail and the same fierce refusal to compromise on quality that the Guimarães family instilled in the Beira Alta name. With our families traditions being the same “to cook from the heart” we will continue serving Portuguese cuisine with an African influence.

Beira Alta has gained its reputation through their succulent char grilled chickens, pan-fried prawns and generous meat portions where only the freshest ingredients, herbs and spices are used in preparing a meal that will have you coming back time and time again.

Background of Garry Chemaly

Garry Chemaly was born 29 September 1946 in East London. His late father, Joe Chemaly, owned the Mazeppa Bay Hotel in the Transkei from 1954 – 1967 and as a little boy of 8, he helped his father in the kitchen and his love of the food industry was born

After Matric at De la Salle College in East London and 1 year compulsory National Service in Pretoria, Garry returned to Umhlanga Rocks to work at the Oyster Box Hotel for 7½ years. He worked in the kitchen, front-of-house, organised functions and even did a couple of housekeeping duties.

Garry says “These humble beginnings gave me knowledge and confidence I needed to open my 1st seafood restaurant, Lord Prawn, on the Durban beachfront in May 1975.”

Garry then moved up to Johannesburg in 1984 and opened another very successful Lord Prawn in Parkmore, which he ran for many years before he relocated the restaurant to Bryanston.

In 1994 Montego Bay Restaurant in Nelson Mandela Square was opened – attracting many people far and wide with his good quality and reasonably priced seafood and oysters.

In July this year, Garry took on another task of taking over Beira Alta Portuguese Restaurant in Montecasino, Fourways. Garry is always up for a challenge and enjoys the pace of restaurant life. He has taken on this venture with his usual enthusiaism and positive outlook on life and there is no doubt that this experienced restauranteur will make another success of this venture too.

Garry states that the restaurant business is extremely challenging and rewarding at the same time. He says “I have been in the restaurant business for 40 years and it has become a lifestyle, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without total commitment from myself, my wife and my 3 girls.”

Garry believes that the customer is King and he tries to employ staff that has the same mindset and dedication that he feel befits this industry.

Garry’s motto is “If you do the ABC’s correctly in the restaurant business then the XYZ’s take care of themselves!”

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