So I found myself trying to be a tour guide to a friend of mine (whom we shall from here on out refer to as ‘the tourist’) in my own town and I must confess: Wow that’s not so easy!! Sure, Cape Town has some magic spots, but I tend to stick to what I know and highlight my local recommendations. The Tourist was much more interested in the proverbial ‘Table Mountain, Robben Island’ kind of things… so when asked where would be a great place to eat, I was somewhat stumped!
Now, I think it vital to note, that I do know where to go and get great food… Cape Town is laden with gems! However, the really great ones (or rather, the ones I am partial to – lets face it, local is lekker! – are either in seriously quirky nooks and cranny’s or a bit of a drive away from the city center… but either way! there I was thinking ‘now, where do I take the tourist?). Naturally, this then led to a bit of researching and we ended up going to my magnificent recommendations but I could not help wanting to share my findings!!
Fleur de Cap announced its top 10 Cape Town Restaurants (2011) as well as the Top 100 places to eat in Cape Town! Then ALTO (2012) Top 10 Places to Eat in Cape Town,were announced …So I thought, Why stop at ten (I found myself thinking!) so, get ready to plan those meals with the following 100 options to choose from
Here are the results of the first ever public vote for the ALTO Top 10 Places to Eat in Cape Town.
They are, in alphabetical order;
THE TEST KITCHEN
Here are the Top 100 as from the Fleur Du Cap 2011 announcements ….
24 Napier St. Green Point. 021-419 2501.
Atmospheric Turkish spot with hanging Kilims on earth coloured walls. Jiggling belly dancers will help you work up an appetite. Large trays of mezze are brought your table to share as starters. Casual and tasty. Good for groups of family and friends. Try any of the lamb dishes, especially the Sac Tava – leg of lamb cooked with garlic, onions, tomato, oregano and cumin.
39 Barnet St, CBD. 021-465 4909.
Exact cooking where subtle Asian touches influence the cuisine in this moody atmospheric restaurant on two levels. Aubergine has everything going for it; atmosphere, quality food, a great wine list and excellent service. Expect the classics in seafood and meat.
Talented stalwart, Chef Harald Bresselschmidt, sources organic and sustainable food when possible and his menu reflects the best of South African ingredients. Venison medallions with apple and date are excellent as is the lamb, aubergine and baked strudel.
Library sq, Wilderness rd,Claremont,021-671 1763.
Imaginative Italian cooking. Clattering, open plan restaurant where you can see all the action in the kitchen. Seasonal items means there’s always a specials menu. Try the grilled veal and pasta with Italian sausage. When the rabbit is on it’s a must, as are the highly addictive deep fried zucchini strips. Casual eating. Sharp service. Great option in the Southern Suburbs
Victoria Road, Camps Bay. 021 437 9000.
Perched overlooking the sea between Camps Bay and Llandudno the location, against The 12 Apostles Mountain Range, is incomparable. Dinner on the terrace on a warm windless evening is an experience. Seasonal ingredients and assured plating result in visually appealing and flavoursome dishes. Some classics from owner and SA hotel icon, Bea Tollman, are also on the menu. Try her double baked cheesecake.
112 Long St, CBD, 073 368 3603
Cameroonian chef Bebe Rose’s motherly presence is a gentle introduction to first time West African food adventurers. Her pili pili is mild enough so that you won’t burn yourself. Mainly West African classics such as eru prawn in palm nut sauce, fried plaintains, achu cassava, kofi bean fritters and the like. Simple decor, plastic table cloths and wooden benches.
Broad Road Medical Centre, Broad Road, Wynberg. Tel 021 761 8365.
Some people claim that this is the best Indian food in the city. After trying their Lamb Roghan Josh, Daal Makhini and the Mattar Paneer they could be right. Utterly divine soulful food, rich in flavour and aroma from the ground and whole spices that are used. A totally unpretentious place with limited seating. They do a roaring takeaway trade. No alcohol.
2 Upper Wale Street. Bo Kaap. 021 423 0850
Run by two generations of the Osman family, this is authentic Cape Malay home cooking in the historic Bo Kaap Malay Quarter. No alcohol. Enjoy all the classic mild Indian curries. The crayfish curry is a must. A casual setting, plastic tables cloths a TV in the corner and there’s even a view of Table Mountain.
Birds Cafe and Eatery
127 Bree st 021-426 2534
Bench tables and beer cartons to sit on in an airy, bird themed room. Loyal crowd have stayed with new owners, Kevin Mink and Leigh Trout. A fresh and seasonal emphasis means you can enjoy delicious soups, gourmet sandwiches, freshly squeezed juices and a lovely line up of baked goodies. An ideal lunch spot.
Steenberg Vineyards, Steenberg Road, Tokai. Tokai,021-713 2211
Idyllic setting amidst the vines in the shadow of Steenberg Mountain. Walk past the wine fermentation halls and enter a low set restaurant overlooking water pools and gardens.
Chef Brad Ball is on a roll with his bistro lunch and tapas kicking off at 4.30pm. The stand out dish is beef tataki. Beautiful setting on the terrace. Also a big hit for brunch.
15 Jetty St,Foreshore,CityBowl, 021 418 0001.
Bistro food packs a punch with chef Laurent Deslandes working his magic. Seasonal produce with a French accent in a quirky setting in the office district Foreshore that makes it a destination restaurant. Wonderful niche wines. Fab service. Try the Granny Smith sorbet for a palate explosion of zinginess.
Taj Hotel,Corner Wale and Adderly CBD.021 819 2000
Elegant and decadent decor in this historic Reserve Bank building. Specially made chandeliers and the most comfortable restaurant chairs in Cape Town. Vegetarian options a knock out. Modern take on regional Indian cuisine. Stunning dahl makhani – black lentils and beans. Wine list constructed to match the food served. A posh night out. Pricey.
Camp Ground Rd, Rondebosch, 021-689 1756.
Noisy bustling neighbourhood institution for family and friends. Top quality thin based pizzas churned out from a wood-fired oven with all the mainstream toppings. Forget the pasta dishes. Come in your shorts and slip slops. Cheap and cheerful.
Klein Constantia Road, Constantia. 021 794 3522
Posh nosh with Austrian touches and beautiful views of vineyards and Constantiaberg Mountain. Fish, poultry and meat dishes with sauces, foams and gels with a touch of the Blumenthal school of molecular gastronomy. Great wines from the farm. Visit for a special occasion Sunday lunch or a celebration.
20 Station Rd, Rondebosch. 021-689 2666
Opposite Rondebosch railway station it’s a small one room restaurant. A line up of seasonally available classics – line fish, beef fillet, pork belly, and springbok cooked by chef patron Joszka Nagy. Carpaccio of beef and baked fig gorgonzola starters worth mentioning. A hidden gem because you don’t expect this kind of cooking. A neighbourhood restaurant in every sense of the word.
153 Kloof Street. 021 426 5566
Pastry heaven. Wonderful cakes, and light pastries. Tasty lunchtime soup and sandwiches in a cool minimalist setting with wooden floorboards overlooking busy Kloof Street. A great selection of breads to buy and take away. Excellent breads, try the sour dough.
270 Chapman’s Peak Drive. Noordhoek Farm Village, 021 789 2538
Family and dog friendly casual eatery under a tent covering in the Noordhoek Farm Village complex of shops and buildings. Fab atmosphere; just the place for breakfast or lunch at weekends. Live music at weekends and braais on Thursday’s during summer. Fish dishes a strong point, and they do an excellent prawn curry.
110 Kloof Street. 021 423 8653
Fresh, bistro dishes. Emphasis on Italian fare served by funky wait-staff in eclectic surroundings. The terrace, under the oak trees, is the place to eat. Unbeatable hot and cold R45 lunch buffet has them queuing out the door during the week. A lovely eating spot on a busy road.
172 Loop Street. CBD. 021 424 9301
Cape Malay, home style cooking.
A tiny, scruffy, pale yellow dining room. Try the tamarind and clove mutton curry (with fat, sauce-infused potato chunks), sugar bean-filled roti flat breads and crisp crayfish samoosas. Delicious. The waitress calls everyone ‘darling’. Eat and go to heaven.
C’est La Vie, no phone number
Rosmead Road,Kalk Bay.
Tucked up a steep cobblestoned side-street in picturesque Kalk Bay. Delicious simple French influenced food. The artisanal breads are superb; rye, sourdough, baguettes, etc. You can sit and watch the dough being mixed and the bread being baked. Owners inspired by French travel and learning. Enjoy breads filled with cold meats and cheeses followed by fresh pastries and tarts. Buy some bread to bring away with you.
41, 3rd Avenue, Harfield Village, Claremont. 021 674 6209.
Atmospheric corner cafe with a terrace and interior seating. Generous portions for lunch and breakfast served amidst delightful retro clutter of old enamel advertisements, knick knacks and doo-dahs. Pancakes and maple syrup with crispy bacon very good. For a pick me up try the thin bar of Lindt chocolate melted in a glass of hot milk.
Keerom Street, CBD. 021 424 3460.
Giorgio “The Don” Nava’s second restaurant in Cape Town. Dedicated to lovers of meat. Romagnola beef, Dorper lamb and game feature heavily. Chic, exposed brick, industrial minimalism and glass combine with traditional Italian butcher’s shop elements to create a meat lover’s paradise where aged cuts of grain and grass fed meat dominate the menu and are brought to your table for you to peruse and make a choice before being cooked in the kitchen.
192 Main Road, Muizenberg. 021 788 6062.
Dine amidst ornate Venetian splendour. Parquet wooden floors, ornate plasterwork and exquisite furniture decorate this historic building overlooking the sea on the road through Muizenberg. Nothing else like it. Chef Judy Badenhorst creates classic Italian dishes using local ingredients. Dine on Mediterranean cuisine under the chandeliers.
Cardiff Centre, Newlands Village, Newlands. 087 1505789.
Frenchman Patrick Moreau delivers top quality authentically French cakes and pastries to the southern burbs from his pastry shop. His sourdough baguettes are addictive and the macaroons should be declared illegal. The adjoining cafe serves snacks such as quiches, sandwiches and croque monsieur.
Steenberg Hotel, Steenberg Road, Constantia. 021 713 2222
Minimalist French interior is the setting for some posh refined cooking. Chef Garth Almazan produces imaginative food, delicious salads & vegetables. The revamped restaurant offers spectacular views of vineyards to False Bay in the distance. The award winning wine list complements the menu with wines from grapes grown just metres away.
Popular Sunday buffets with jazz a sell out.
85 Roodebloem rd,Woodstock 021-447 7887
Northern Indian dishes served up in a lovely Victorian house.
Interior design is nicely ethnic without being over the top. The food is authentic with an extensive vegetarian menu. Dishes are marked ‘medium’ to ‘very hot’ to help people, and the wines have helpful notes advising which dishes they will best accompany. Indian Cobra beer, a rare treat in Cape Town, is also available. Upmarket and pricey.
Chef Pon’s Asian Kitchen
12 Mill St,Gardens. 021-465 5846
Reopened after a recent fire. Updated oriental interior design with nice red lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Value for money Asian dishes, popular with students and locals. Spicy Szechuan items are new to the menu, with the orange beef a winner. Dishes range from mild (1 chilli) to hot (3 Chillis) Excellent dim sum and wontons. Very relaxed and service orientated. .
Chuck Yang’s Specialty Dish
93 Campground rd, Rondebosch 021-689 2967.
Taiwanese Chef Chuck Yang bashes the wok and flames away to his heart galore in the tiny kitchen while wife Tina works the crowd in the slightly clinical ‘canteen feel’ restaurant area. It’s value for money and all about the food. Try the spring onion and garlic Prawns or the coriander and sweet basil beef. Fresh ingredients and dishes cooked from scratch ensures authenticity, as evidenced by the local Chinese dining here.
Queen Victoria Hotel, Portswood Ridge, V&A Waterfront. 021 418 1466
Stroll through the lobby past the curling designer staircase into the super cool bar and have an aperitif overlooking the twinkling lights of Cape Town Harbour before you dine. Enjoy accomplished refined dining elegance with impeccably plated dishes which appeal as much to the eye as to the palate. Desserts stand out. Definitely posh. Great for a special night out.
165 Longmarket Street,021 422 4920.
Refreshing inventive interior in this beautiful old building. Simple, tasty, healthy food where the ingredients are prepared by Chef Vanessa Marx, who sources the most ethically produced food she can find. Smoked warthog, grass fed Kalahari beef, free range lamb and pan fried duck breast feature. Try the asparagus risotto with a poached duck egg. A lunch place, except on Thursday evenings. Funky Tjing Tjing bar upstairs.
V&A Waterfront, 021 419 0249
Belgian beer specialists, famous for their moules and frites. This glass and wood restaurant affords classic harbour and mountain views. Watch the boats pass and the seals laze in the sun. Stick to the Langebaan sourced mussels, the steak, and the fish of the day. Buzzy Waterfront experience on a sunny day. Expensive, but hey, this is the V&A.
Down South Foodbar
267 Long St, 021 422 1155.
Ribs n’ prawns all washed down with a pint of Jack Black’s beer. Jambalaya, Gumbo and Southern Fried Chicken. Good simple cooking. Chic, light wooden and exposed stone interior. Casual, value for money, relaxed and informal. A great pitstop after an eventful night out on Long Street.
Duchess of Wisbeach
1 Wisbeach rd, Sea Point 021 434 1525
Ruled by Theresa Beukes from her galley kitchen. Bistro style cooking. A parade of the classics (lamb shank with mash, baby curried chicken) with good service and quirky interior with a bar which greets you with a stuffed cows head when you walk in. Mind the two doggies who emerge occasionally to sniff the food and wag their tails. Smokers at the bar can ruin an otherwise fun experience.
Eastern Food Bazaar
Between Darling and Longmarket Streets. 021 461 2458.
Exotic interior touches jostle alongside a warehouse/canteen feel and a fast food outlet look. Feels like a souk in Istanbul. Check out the Indian curries, tandoori dishes, Cape Malay specialities, Chinese food, and Turkish kebabs. The vegetarian offerings are of a high standard. It doesn’t get cheaper than this. No alcohol served. Mind your handbag if you are sitting to eat.
1st Floor, 81 Main Road, Green Point. 021 433 2364
A chic Mexican restaurant with tasty fresh zingy dishes. Great view of the Stadium from the balcony. The best Mexican in town by a mile. Beef short rib, pork enchiladas, pork shoulder and the quesadillas are recommended. Try a great selection of tequilas. The fushia pink walls and exposed brick adorned with Mexican paraphernalia give this place a quirky feel-good factor.
The Field Office
7 Barrack Street.CBD. 021 461 4599
Excellent soup, sandwiches, cakes and pastries at great prices in this funky art, clothes, gift and furniture showroom and shop. Good coffee, which is only R10 up until 9am each morning. Ice cream top notch. A place for laptop warriors and generally a hip hangout. Great selection of up to date magazines to read. For some people this really is their office.
Noordhoek Farm, Village Lane, Noordhoek 021 789 1390
Consistently brilliant food. Rich and delicious with a French twist from Chef Franck Dangereux. A delightful spot. Dog friendly. Excellent local wine list supports the Constantia Valley producers. One of the better places to while away a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. Seafood and lamb are always excellent.
Noordhoek Farm Village. Noordhoek. 021 789 1966
Cafe and deli across the green from the Foodbarn. Excellent breakfasts and lunches while you browse books or read a paper. Dog friendly. Bread fresh from the oven, baked goodies galore. Eggs Benedict spot on. Don’t forget to snap up your ready cooked lemon rosemary garlic roast chicken to take home or for a picnic.
86 Long Street. 021 424 6 334.
Exposed brick walls, comfy soft leather banquettes. Selection of delicious tapas and wines by the glass. You can earwig on the legal fraternity’s various cases, which is great fun as they talk so loudly. Might even bag yourself one. While waiting try kudu with chilli potato puree, Moroccan meatballs or lamb cutlets with spring onion.
French Toast Tapas and Wine Bar
199 Bree St. CBD. 021 422 4084
The tapas and wine bar that has people swooning. Hits the spot for a stylish place to eat, drink, and sit around chatting in a comfortable setting. Frenchy interior with Zinc bar. Exposed brick and comfortable leather banquettes upstairs are the perfect setting to enjoy seafood, meat and vegetarian tapas dishes. Patatas bravas (Spanish style fried potatoes in a piquant tomato sauce) and lamb meatballs merit a mention. An instant classic, and nothing else quite like it in Cape Town.
The Grand Cafe and Beach
Beach Road, Granger Bay. 021 425 0551.
Stunning views and setting. An artificially created beach that works beautifully. The only eatery on a beach in Cape Town. Simple tasty food, a bit pricey but worth it for the atmosphere, view and vibe. Love the pink shirts on the waiters. Go for a salad and a glass of wine at lunch time. Chill, and pretend you’ve arrived.
The Grand Camps Bay
35 Victoria Road, Camps Bay. 021 438 4253.
Camps Bay is a eat free zone but there is one exception. This is it. Steaks and chips are good. Interior design very romantic. Think shabby chic deluxe and red roses. Nice terrace which leads onto the strip; all the better for people spotting. Remember that this is the side of the mountain the sun sets, and that’s worth a lot in the attractiveness stakes. Now doing breakfast.
The Cellars-Hohenort, 93 Brommersviel Rd, Constantia. 021-794 2137
French minimalist design with chic greys and taupes in a sun room setting overlooking the gardens at Hohenort. Playful dishes are created by Chef Peter Tempelhoff using familiar ingredients. A starter of baby carrots are served in a small bucket, poking out of edible soil (breadcrumbs). “Shellfish on a beach” are two langoustines lolling on a beach with a foam wave crashing over them. Creative, inventive food. Pricey.
59 Burg Street, CBD. 021 424 7000
Dim sum, wok dishes, and sushi served from 4 different kitchens by wait staff with an attitude. Not cheap, but if you need to tick the Asian box in Cape Town then this is a good place to start. The selections of Asian tapas is the most fun, but expensive. No Asian beer available.
Kalk Bay Harbour, 021 788 4133.
Spectacular sea views. On stormy days waves crash against the windows. It’s feels as if you are perched on the sea. Pricey, but fresh, fish. White bleached wood interior. Try the paprika calamari and the Mozambique tiger prawns. The line fish is the freshest, as they own their own fishing boat.
Quay 4, V&A Waterfront. 021 418 4744
Stellar position overlooking the Quay 4 basin, with all the hustle and bustle of boats and ships. Same excellent menu as Kalk Bay. Tuna and avocado tartar starter is excellent as are any of the main course line fish daily specials. Wood and glass theme, a deck area straight from central casting. Best thing that’s happened to the Waterfront in years.
Heritage Square, 100 Shortmarket st, City Bowl. 021-424 6373.
There’s only one thing on the menu here; steak and chips. Starter is a salad, main course steak with a flipping great Cafe de Paris sauce served with as many chips as you want. That’s it. Oh, there are a few desserts which are yummy. It all works. Great vibe. Very popular with groups of men. Did we mention they serve chips with everything? which is steak. It works.
71 Waterkant Street, CBD. 021 418 2042.
Mint green walls offset designer touches. Food is inventive, simple and stylish. Clean flavours, top notch ingredients, great fresh juices. Reasonably priced. Excellent service. Try the prawns and coconut broth with peas, ginger, coriander and lychee, or seared tuna with seaweed tempura rolls with ginger and soy. Great lunchtime spot.
Hudsons, The Burger Joint
Somerset and Kloof Streets. 021 433 1496/021 426 5974
Locals believe this is home to the best burgers in this city. You can order medium and large versions in designer versions with various toppings and sides of onion rings as well as the usual chips. Major people watching scene. And yes, the burgers are indeed tasty.
3 Barrack St. CBD. 021 461 3168
Tucked away in an anonymous end of Barrack Street this Sicilian-Italian restaurant is run by husband and wife team Aldo and Cetti. When she’s in the kitchen it’s the real deal. Perfectly al dente pasta with a range of sauces, Sicilian influenced meat and vegetarian dishes. Try the tortino de parmiagano al pepe rosa, a delicious parmesan cake cooked in a bain marie with cream, eggs and balsamic vinegar.
185 Bree st City Bowl 021- 424 5640
Formerly the Jardine Bakery. Jason Lilley’s baking establishment has a cult following. Some of the best sandwiches in town. Cranberry Danish insanely good. The possibility of a shortage of bacon croissants during recent renovations nearly caused public disorder. Jason supplies many of the better local restaurants with his breads. Great service.
Kalky’s Fish and Chips
Kalk Bay Harbour. 021 708 1726
Some say Kalky’s serve the best fish and chips in Cape Town. Crunchy chips and crispy batter. Fried and grilled hake, snoek, fresh linefish and calamari. Highly popular joint especially for weekend trippers who’ve come down the peninsula by train. Expect long queues at weekends when tables are hard to get.
Keerom St. City Bowl. 021 422 0765
Restrained classical northern Italian cooking with a huge fan base. Owner Giorgio Nava visits each table to explain what’s on the menu in his sing song Italian accent. Intimate rooms and a bar downstairs lead to a modern open plan area upstairs. Stand out dishes are any of the beef or fish carpaccios. Delicious and simple pasta. The 1.2 Kg T-Bone steak has to be the King of the Menu. Served grilled and sliced it’s one of Giorgio’s, if not Cape Town’s, signature dishes.
111 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock 021-462 2201.
Chef and owner Karen Dudley ensures that customers eat with their eyes when they enter The Kitchen. The counter tops groan with salads, chicken, meats, sandwiches, cakes, tarts and the best chocolate brownies ever. Very popular lunch spot. Delightful retro interior. Helpful, friendly service. Michelle Obama had lunch there recently. Don’t miss the ‘Love Sandwiches’ with their creamy garlicky “Love Potion” dressing.
Palmyra Junction Shopping Centre, Palmyra Rd. Claremont. 021 671 0802
Their newest outlet, it’s an indoors-outdoors space, popular during the afternoons with mums and their kids on the way home from the myriad of schools located nearby. Great artisanal breads. Try the all day breakfast pizza, which boasts a bacon, egg, sausage and tomato topping. The cafe style menu features a short but well tried and tested collection of favourite items.
Kyoto Garden Sushi
11 Lower Kloofnek Rd City Bowl 021 422 2001.
Great sushi. Brothy steamed fish dishes and crispy tempuras. Interior is a real delight. Once through the door you enter a calm and tranquil space. Soothing, restful and candlelit. A sense of peace pervades, in contrast to noisy Kloof Nek road outside. Great cocktails and the best collection of Japanese whisky in South Africa.
341 Main rd, Sea Point, 021-434 8797
This rustic European feel restaurant serves great value bistro dishes. A starter, mains and dessert only costs R120. Legendary Osso Bucco. Regulars flock to support this busy, unpretentious neighbourhood eatery. Popular choices are roast pork belly, ostrich meatballs, chicken curry and ballotine, beef curry and bourguignon.
Constantia Uitsig Estate, Spaanschemat Rd. Constantia. 021 794 23 90
Idyllic setting in the vineyards of Constantia Valley, La Colombe features French country themed rooms around a courtyard with a fountain. The food is posh French with Asian touches. Struggled to recover its stride after Luke Dale Roberts left, but has regained its place in the last few months under Scott Kirton’s guidance.
151 Kloof St, Gardens. 021-426 2413
White designer interior highlighting cakes and pastries under glass bell jars. Great Brunch offerings such as Bosman’s thick cut bacon with rosti, poached egg and hollandaise. Greater appetites might be tempted by the moules mariniere or the yellowtail on crushed potatoes.Fresh juices, quirky cocktails and delicious food. Terrace overlooks busy Kloof Street.
167 Long St, City Bowl. 021-424 6772
Funky Southern Indian food. Dosas are long crepes rolled up with fillings. You can choose lamb, chicken, or vegetarian. You eat these with your hands or you can pair them with small dishes of bean curry, lentil broth and chickpea. Great vegetarian options. Friendly service. Decor modern, chic Indian with Bollywood posters to really get you in the mood.
78 Regent Road, Seapoint. 021 433 0856.
Located in this charming Victorian house, La Mouette is the Queen of special deals, with 6 courses of delicious tapas-like portions for R150. At the time of writing, the Spring special comprised Onion bhaji and potato samoosa, butternut squash soup, roasted line fish nicoise, confit lamb shoulder or beef sirloin, a fruit espuma with chilli and finally a strawberry cheesecake. What’s not to like? There’s a wonderful courtyard with splashing fountain. A warm reception and welcome is guaranteed with experienced front of house management running the floor.
8 Central sq, Pinelands 021 531 1489
Tuna carpaccio is a winner. This place appears to be permanently packed. Don’t dwell on the deliciously dated 70’s decor or you’ll grow sideburns and sprout flares on your trousers. Mainstream Italian dished up very efficiently. Pizzas and pasta a winner. Preferential treatment if the owners know you, but they will take you “off menu” if you ask, which can be fun. Fast turnaround lunch business.
Dunkley Square, Barnet St, 021 461 8887
Simple chic, Greek inspired interior. Newly renovated using eco principles. Down to earth Greek dishes. Excellent hummus , tzatziki and vine wrapped dolmades. Classic roast lamb. Wine served in tumblers completes the rustic taverna feel. Tables spill out onto the square under the shady trees when the weather is good. Well priced eating spot, and popular with the local office crowd.
Oakhurst Farm Park, Main Road,Hout Bay. 021 790 5648.
Massimo says his pizza is the best in Cape Town, and we agree. His topping are imaginative and creative, straight out of a wood fired oven. New on the list is the Tricolore, with roast garlic, caciotta cheese, zucchini ribbons, fresh tomato and chilli. Check his daily specials list for unusual toppings like duck and lamb or even try his sweet pizzas; the chocolate spread is good, as is banana with honey and almonds. Decent selection of bottled and artisanal beers and wines. Very child friendly.
94 Kloof Street, Tamboerskloof. 021 424 5540
Whilst the Melissas brand has struggled a bit to keep updated, its Kloof Street branch (the original), still has a stand-alone quality to it. It’s the right location, lay out and atmosphere.
Buffet breakfast and lunches short-circuit waiting times. Chicken pie is the most popular buffet item. New menu items like fish cakes and salmon on toasted rye proving very popular. Good quality ingredients. Standard long standing menu items. Carrot cake is the business. Pricey.
65 Main Rd.,Green Point. 021 439 9559
The terrace seating leads into a clean white modernistic space. Miss K’s is a great breakfasts and lunchtime place. Eggs Benedict the best in Cape Town. Spot the cakes under glass domes beckoning you. Don’t resist, there is no point. Try the breakfast or lunch buffet and a must is the rare roast beef and mustard sandwich. Pricey for breakfast, but worth it.
51 Kloof St. Tamboerskloof. 021 422 5822
This bar serves mozzarella in every way you can think of. Not fake or cheap mozzarella, but high quality moist delicious locally made mozzarella from Puglia Cheese – wonderful balls of creamy cloudy perfection. For a quick snack it’s great. Local Italians can’t get enough of it. You can order it in bread, salads, rolled up with fillings or even deep fried. And there’s a deli fridge so you can take away some packs and other finds such as air dried hams, breads and olive oils.
10 Kloof Nek, Tamboerskloof. 021 424 3838
Husband and wife team David and Jane Solomon have a loyal following for their fresh fish served pretty much any way you want it – grilled, Malay style, curried, Moroccan, or even Cajun. She manages the orange and green painted front of house with friendly efficiency and he stays in the kitchen, an arrangement which seems to work. There are usually three kinds of line fish available daily. A favourite neighbourhood restaurant.
Newport Market and Deli
121 Beach Road, Mouille Point. 021 439 5260
Top location overlooking the promenade and sea at Mouille Point. Rare roast beef gourmet sandwiches, smoothies, freshly prepared juices, chicken soup and salads top the bill at this popular venue. Deli counter to take away sandwiches and freshly baked breads.
Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill
Albert Road, Woodstock.
Busy, busy Biscuit Mill on a Saturday morning. Great cross section of suppliers and stalls serving everything from Pete Goffe-Woods epic steak rolls to Flaamkuchen from the girls at Piroschka’s. Luke Dale-Roberts breakfast on rosti pancakes are very popular. For locals and tourists alike this is a must stop. Eat, drink, people watch, chill on bales of hay.
At the One and Only, V&A, Waterfront. 021 431 5111.
Asian food in a cavernous setting. Precise sushi. Peruvian influences in some of the fish dishes. Interesting sake pairings. Some questions over the sustainability of the fish they use. For what you get it’s pricey. Wait for the whole staff team to shout “Welcome to my house!” at you in Japanese. Great if you’ve newly arrived but a tiresome if you’re hearing it for the 10th time.
The Olive Station
1st Level. Rondebosch Main Centre. Cnr.Belmont and Main. Rondebosch. 021 686 8224
Don’t let the location put you off. It’s on top of a shopping mall.
Formerly of Muizenberg, authentic Lebanese cuisine specialists. Daily hot buffet. Breads from a wood fired oven. Lamb stews, meatballs, stuffed vine leaves, Lebanese Pies, stuffed breads and a great selection of small sweet Lebanese pastries.
Main Road, Kalk Bay. 021 783 6396.
The queues never end in this perennial favourite. Decor more shabby than chic but hey, the food consistently delivers great dishes which you’ll want to eat. Try the lambs livers with bacon on mash, or any of the fish dishes. Great soups and salads.
Don’t forget their fab bakery around the corner, where you can buy and take away excellent artisanal bread, freshly baked in the former cinema building out the back.
The Orchid Cafe
23 Wolfe Street, Chelsea Village, Wynberg. 021 761 1000
Cute little spot in Chelsea village attached to a designer clothing shop. Good soups and serious cakes. The baking is of a high standard.Excellent breakfasts with inventive egg dishes like baked eggs with ricotta cheese and spring onion. The boiled eggs and soldiers are a classic. The lamb burger on the lunch menu is delicious. Lots of Yummy Mummies mid morning.
Organic at Heart
23 Constantia Road, Wynberg. 021 797 0180
Growing their own organic vegetables ensures a constant supply of ingredients for their daily buffet. A little haven set in an historic Cape Dutch thatched building. Wooden floorboards and furniture throughout. Daily breakfasts and lunch buffet of organic salad. They also have options like stews and chicken dishes. Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies.
20 Dreyer St., Claremont. 021 671 2850
Bang in the middle of bustling Claremont is a little oasis of tea ceremonies. Gongs to announce your tea is ready and oriental food is served up in stylish surroundings. Good dim sum. Try the Taiwanese Dan Bing pancakes, the Tom Yum broth or the Braised Har Gau. Daily specials. You are encouraged to ring the bell and shout OWays! as you leave if you are happy with your dining experience.
The Power and the Glory
Cnr Kloof Nek and Burnside Roads. 021 422 2108
The hip crowds new hang out on a steep corner at the top of Kloof Nek. Damn good sandwiches, made with bread collected daily from Jasons on the back of the owners moped.Great coffee and the evening bar scene in The Black Ram is vibey. You can eat on the footpath outside through open windows. A good idea this as there are only 4 tables.
106 Bree St. CBD. 021 425 7635
Jutta and Inge Frensh, two German-Hungarian sisters serve up very tasty Flammkuchen and Goulash in their small Bree St. outlet. They do it very well, and their loyal following has them appearing at music events and festivals, all over the Western Cape, serving up their delicious food.
The Mount Nelson Hotel. 021 483 1000
Chef Liebenberg oversees the flagship restaurant of ‘The Nellie’. Inventive dishes pay tribute to locally sourced ingredients. Some classics head up the menu – rooibos cured springbok loin being very memorable. The African theme continues with Namibian red crab and smoked crocodile. They also do an excellent vegan menu. Incredible desserts from pastry chef Vikki Gurovich. For some the interior design theme of planets tries too hard.
Hout Bay Manor Hotel, Hout Bay, 021 791 9393
Bleached whites, creams and wood tones dominate this stylish and relaxing eating space. Rustic driftwood dividers and seashells emphasise a seaside setting. The food is flavoursome and delicious. Locally sourced seasonal and some organic ingredients are used in dishes such as goats cheese salad with garden fresh peas and broad beans.
Queen of Tarts
213 Main Road, Observatory. 021 448 2420.
Dinky little spot in Obs run by Tina Bester, who has two cookery books under her belt. Great fresh food and baked treats. Quirky retro interior. The cakes and tarts are obviously the reason why, but check out the honey chicken salad. She’ll also bake and decorate you a cake, any design. “If you can dream it, we can make it!”, she says.
Reuben’s @One and Only
V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. 021 431 4511
Reuben Riffel, local hero from Franschhoek has made good, and is now one of the most recognized chefs in South Africa. He is known for his comfort bistro cooking with a South African twist. Service is exceptional and the wine list will keep you busy for hours. The large dining space lacks intimacy but this is made up for by the familiar dishes drawn from his Frankschhoek menu. Salted squid, crispy pork belly and goats cheese ravioli keeps diners happy.
Kloof Nek Road, Camps Bay. 021 438 4347
Eric Bulpitt is flexing his culinary muscles and imagination in this historical building overlooking Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles mountains. After a spell at NOMU in Denmark he is developing his foraging skills. Exquisite little portions combining texture, taste and visual appeal. Service is a tad too intrusive and front of house would benefit from a more relaxed approach. Take advantage of the excellent sommeilier, Joakim Hansi Blackadder, to help pair wines with your meal. Expensive.
160 Bree St. 084 314 1357
Debbie Wynne’s eaterie raises the bar for street food to a new level.
Spit roasted free range chicken have been marinated overnight in lemon and thyme or chilli. Scrumptious salads. Order and collect through a hole in the wall. Eat at an outdoor table under an umbrella, or take-away Our definition of informal, casual, brilliant.
237 Long Street. 021 422 4536
50 Gourmet Burgers that will “make your soul tingle and your dreams come true”. That’s what they say, and who are we to disagree? Their burgers are epic and worth the trek to Long Street. A roof deck and bar are an additional offering.
The Test Kitchen
The Biscuit mill, Albert Road, Woodstock. 021 447 2337
The most exciting chef in South Africa, and a previous 12th best in the world in the San Pellegrino awards, Luke Dale-Roberts has taken Cape Town by storm in this new spot in the Biscuit Mill. Set up as a creative hub for experimentation and stretching the bounds of creativity in cooking, foodies are going on waiting lists to get in. Earthy, different, sophisticated and simple- all at the same time, the kitchen is producing dishes that are a visual, taste and sensory adventure. Luke and his team, are on a roll. Casual, funky warehouse setting. Unique.
101 Hout St. Heritage Square. 021 424 2626
It’s an oldie, but a goodie and still going strong. One of the first places to put Cape Town on the culinary map. Glass, steel and exposed brick interior in this old warehouse building. Menu changes daily depending on availability. Free range and organic produce where possible. African game meats such as warthog, zebra, wildebeest and kudu a speciality. Chef Peter Pankhurst promises, “You will not leave here hungry”.
Skinny Legs and All
70 Loop St. CBD. 021 423 5403
Sisters Jesse and Jamie Friedberg have opened a cafe in an open airy light filled space that formerly served as an art gallery. They’ve kitted it out with mix and match second hand furniture and crockery, plates and bowls made locally by a ceramic artist Andile of Imiso in the Biscuit Mill. Sandwiches, soups and comfort food are on the menu, with The Lumberjack being the most popular sandwich (grilled chicken and home-made mayo). The risottos have taken off and “The Gruel of the Day”, soup, usually sells out.
51a Somerset Road, Green Point. 021 419 2921
Comfortable casual vibe in this Eastern Mediterranean restaurant. Genial Chef /Patron Hooman Saffarian takes his influences from across the region. Mezze dips and starters are good, the marinaded octopus and grilled sardines being very tasty. His ability to cook lamb is outstanding, with the lamb shank having “converted a few vegetarians”, says Hooman with a twinkle in his eye. Abgusht – Persian lamb stew, also recommended.
Orange St.,Gardens. 021 424 2100
Located in the oldest building on Orange Street, Societi Bistro has developed a loyal following for whom consistency, great ingredients and a comfortable, informal, dining experience is important.
Chef Stefan Marais has reach new heights with his excellent, simple bistro cooking. It has to be the cosiest restaurant in winter. Top produce and friendly service make this place a home from home. Novel menus such the Italian tour and Tour de France have kept the regulars happy, while the main menu lists the more South African classics such as Karoo lamb, Cape line fish and ostrich oat burger.
94 Belvedere Rd.,Claremont. 021 671 6875
Three charmingly cluttered rooms in a converted Victorian house that is hard to spot from the road. Lovely garden area out the back, with chairs and tables under the trees. All the usual breakfast and sandwich based lunch items are done very well. Generous portions. A real neighbourhood goodie. Packed by 8am each day. Excellent coffee and teas by Origin. The tea making process is a delight – with tea-lights, infusers and egg timers involved.
Side Walk Cafe
33 Derry Street, Vredehoek. 021 461 2839.
The room with a view, both up to the mountain and down to the city. Longstanding mid priced eaterie with new owners. Standout signature dishes are the chicken and pea risotto, slow roasted springbok shanks and rack of lamb on parsley and lemon mash. Battered beer fish and chips and red coconut curry also popular. Full range of breakfast dishes. Excellent gourmet sandwiches and soups for lunch. Outdoor tables when the sou’easter isn’t howling.
The Sweetest Thing Patisserie
Main Road, Simonstown. Opp the entrance to the Naval Base. 021 786 4200.
Award winning pastry chef, Doreen Alcott, labours in a huge kitchen out the back to provide a galaxy of sweet delights, where husband Keith runs the cafe. If you lived in Simonstown your waistline would surrender to Doreens skills as a genius. 40 different recipes compete for your attention including; Japonaise, Plum Frangiapane, Vanilla Bavarois, Chocolate and Hazelnut Croissant, Almond Truffle, Florentines and Palmiers. Hungry?
218 Albert Road, Woodstock, 021 802 5525
Achingly hip. By the same people who brought you the Neighbourgoods market. Fresh and healthy fare on offer. They avoid wheat in their bread, where possible, and use nuts, seeds, and grains. Their definition of good food is anything tasty between two lumps of bread and, so far, the winners have proven to be all day breakfast, bacon and chicken pesto, giant bratwurst and pork belly. They’ll occasionally throw something else on like and man sized lasagne. Try their new invention; The Jaffa Cake Cake – light airy zingy sponge with chocolate. Worth writing home about.
78 Ebenezer Road, Greenpoint. 021 418 0739
Not the usual breakfast or lunch items here. Ex Sailor Lara O’Sullivan does it differently with daily lunch specials and breakfast items like pan fried potatoes and creamed leeks with smoked haddock, liver and onions on Turkish bread. Daily specials are chalked up on a large board and usually attract a crowd for dishes like coriander fishcakes with fennel and spring onion. Or try the miso ginger salmon with cabbage, rosti and grilled vegetables. Mind your parking, the traffic department’s opposite.
3 Park St, off Kloof St, 021 424 8879.
Papa San, revered and genial sushi master, is particular about his sushi. Not only does his fish have to be the freshest, but the rice has to be served at body temperature. Diners at his neat as a bento box eaterie off Kloof Street have been flocking to enjoy his sushi, with the word being that it’s the best in town. It is, and great value to boot.
Tsuyo Japanese Restaurant
105 Main Road, Green Point. 021 439 4918.
The teppanyaki bar makes this place worth the visit. As authentically Japanese as you’ll get anywhere in Cape Town. Try the beef teppanyaki. Or for a real treat, sit at the counter and watch the chef juggle his knives and condiments as he prepares the food. The teppanyaki menu includes a range of meats including shellfish and fish, and you can have it served with noodles, rice or udon noodles. The rest of the menu is typically Asian, with sushi, tempura and the more standard stir fries available.
110 Bree St. CBD. 021 422 2770
Hip and happening beer hall and eatery on Bree Street. The spiritual home of hipsterdom in Cape Town. They make a real effort with the provenance of their food and drink. Pulled pork rolls, beef rolls, prego rolls, craft beers and garagiste wines make up the fare.
Braai outside during all weathers and enjoy live music every Wednesday evenings.
6 Deer Park Avenue West, Vredehoek, 021 801 5799
Shabby chic design predominates in this newish eatery in Vredehoek. Restored furniture, lampshades and clusters of framed pictures ensure it stops just short of kitsch and cutsey. Value for money and excellent fare have placed it firmly on the foodie trail map. Steaks, burgers, thin base wood fired pizzas comprise the popular items on the menu. Big hit with young designer types.
Cnr Beach Road and Surrey Place, Mouille Point. 021 433 2377
Great location, overlooking Mouille Point. The sunny side of the mountain. The roof bar is sundowner HQ. Asian fusion cooking. Beef, fish, lamb, duck and seafood meet oriental flavours, textures, greens and noodles. Light touch Asian cuisine that is well presented and locals love it. Pricey, and chose your dishes carefully as it can be a bit hit and miss if you’re not careful. But having said that, it’s still worth the trip. Busy place on a sunny evening.
Lagoon Beach Milnerton, 021 551 9254
Seafood and sushi restaurant which is part of a chain, but don’t let that put you off as the location at Lagoon Beach is fantastic. Great views of the kite surfing. Service is prompt and friendly and the most popular dish is chicken cashew nut with roasted chilli paste. Penang chicken curry with a reduced peanut sauce is also popular as is the mushroom tofu stir fry for vegetarians and brinjal basil with green vegetables, corn and peppers.
Singha Thai beer is available.
For more information on Cape Town Restaurants, refer to Spill, food and drink magazine