The visitor’s guide to Cape Town dining for Summer 2016

A restaurant guide for tourists, or a refresher guide for locals.

28 Oct 2016
open door, food24, cape town

The festive season is approaching at lightning speed and along with it, the hoard of visitors making their merry way to the Mother City.

ALSO READ: Cape Town launches one card to see it all

We’ve put together a useful restaurant guide for anyone you know planning a trip to Cape Town this Summer. Or for Capetonians, use the list to refresh your memory about that gem you long forgot about, or to find out who's the new kid on the block. Share it, forward it, tweet it and bookmark it for yourself! And don’t forget to tag us @Food24_sa and #Food24_sa on Instagram! We love seeing all your foodie pics.  

Eat with the locals

Chefs Warehouse – a city gem, right on bustling Bree Street. Chef and Owner Liam Tomlin has received much notoriety for this tapas spot and his creative tapas for two menu. They don’t take bookings and the kitchen closes at 8:30pm so go early!

Read our article on Cape Town tapas - link in bio!

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The Black Sheep -  A stylish and laid-back bistro on Kloof Street with a small set menu of comfort fare and an array of adventurous blackboard specials. Tip: once items are scratched off the blackboard they’re done for the day – so come early to avoid disappointment. The Black Sheep also has a beautiful bar where you can hang out with friends enjoying a well-made classic cocktail.

Il Leone – a chic, white table-clothed Italian restaurant that heaves with regulars every week. This is a must for pasta and traditional carne and pesce dishes.

South China Dim Sum Bar – a tiny little spot on Long Street that is as close to the real thing as you can get. It’s a fast-paced, dim sum and noodle focused eatery. Space is limited so be prepared to sit quite close to other tables.

Enjoyed this tofu noodle dish the other night @southchinadimsumbar

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La Frasca – A hidden gem in Gardens with Italian owners that whip up eye-wateringly good pizzas and pastas. The menu is small but the atmosphere is unbeatable and you’ll want to come back again and again. Perfect for a date night with your special someone.

Mano’s – A French bistro meets Italian trattoria, meets Greek tavern, Mano’s has the best of everything and is a Green Point institution. Food is tasty, hearty and consistent and the ambience will put you right at ease.

Blow the budget

La Colombe – This is the crème de la crème and number 2 on Eat Out’s best restaurant list, with executive chef Scott Kirton holding the title for 2015 Chef of the Year. It’s essential to book a few months in advance so get cracking!

The Test Kitchen – Luke Dale Roberts’ decorated establishment that currently holds a ranking of 22 on The 50 Best Restaurants list in the world. It’s recently been revamped, and has a revived set summer menu to match. Bookings online open on the 1st of each month at 8am for the following month.

The Greenhouse - Situated on the Relais & Châteaux property at Cellars Hohenort Hotel in Constantia, this restaurant offers a real food experience where Executive Chef, Peter Tempelhoff will take you on a journey of wows, ooohs and aaahs. Perfect for celebrating an engagement, a birthday or anniversary!

Outrage of Modesty –  A minimal designer, Sibiu-inspired space serving haute cocktails that will blow your mind. This comes at a price, but it’s more about gifting the senses than throwing back drinks.

Post-beach sundowners

The Vue Bar  - It’s all in the name! This rooftop bar is at the top of the Capital Mirage Hotel in de Waterkant and your jaw will drop with awe when you see the 360 views of Cape Town and Table Mountain. The best part? There’s a pool for swimming!

The Striped Horse Bar -  This beachfront bar is fairly new but already proving to be a popular spot with the locals of Muizenberg. A great place to enjoy a pint of ice cold craft beer after a surf session.

The Leopard Bar at Twelve Apostles Hotel – The Twelve Apostles continues to impress visitors with its epic location overlooking the icy Atlantic. So make your way here if you enjoy catching (and photographing) mind blowing sunsets. Tip: It’s best for small groups.

ALSO READ: How to change a baby's nappy in a restaurant

After-work drinks

TjingTjing Bar – A roof top bar, pumping minimal house music to a loud crowd, this place turns into quite a party as the night goes on. Tip: be prepared to stay longer than intended, and you can grab a bite at Tjing Tjing Torii downstairs.

Asoka – A long standing cocktail bar on Kloof Street, this one hums on the weekends as people stream in for their signature cocktails, cool lounge music and good food.

Cabrito – A bar dedicated to tequila, you’ll find loads of varieties here and many genuine Mexican imports. It’s a casual space, with good dining spots nearby like El Burro and Mano’s.

Mother’s Ruin – This one focuses on gin with a large range of local and imported bottles. They’ll make up a cocktail especially for you, or ask them to give your gin and tonic a fruity twist.

Door 221 – right next door to Mother’s Ruin, Door 221 is a trendy bar that serves as a hangout for friends. They offer killer cocktails and bar food, and they’re open ‘till late. Tip: go for Happy Hour between 6pm – 7pm.

Publik at Ash Restaurant - Looking for some interesting wine? These guys know their stuff and are always on hand to offer something totally unique. The space is shared with Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and ASH Restaurant so you can stay for dinner if it’s not fully booked for the night.

Where to be seen

The Shortmarket Club – A Luke Dale Robert’s establishment run by his protégé Wesley Randles. This was the most talked about restaurant of the year and is an absolute must. The space is like a bougy members club with deco finishes and sophisticated cuisine.

Grand Africa Café and Beach  - This popular spot which is RIGHT on the water’s edge has just been bought by the Harbour House Group and has just undergone a big revamp. From what we’ve heard, it’s bigger and better than ever before!

Mulberry & Prince - Easily the prettiest restaurant interior in the city, dressed in white head to toe with finishes of soft pinks, copper and brass. M&P is ideal for an elegant night out, with simple food that is prepared with precision and creativity. In it's short months of opening, M&P has proved itself as a Cape Town dinner staple.

The newest hotspots

The Sneaky Sausage – the clue is in the name: a focus on grilled German sausages, deep fried snacks and beer. The Sneaky Sausage is the new sibling to House of Machines and Outrage of Modesty.

Foxcroft - La Colombe's Scot Kirton and his talented pastry chef Glen Williams have opened a new casual restaurant and bakery in leafy High Constantia. You can look forward to exquisite high end seafood dishes, risotto, pork belly and sumptuous desserts and pastries. Two words – go hungry!

Mink and Trout – recently revamped, this contemporary stylish space serves bistro-style food with creative flare. Read our review here.

The Copper Club  - Casual dining at its best in Newlands. They do craft beers, burgers and killer wood-fired pizzas. Great for large groups and a bonus is that they offer a takeaway service.

Stock up your picnic basket at these deli’s

Giovanni’s – An Authentic Italian deli full to the brim with imported delicacies and local produce. You can sit down for a hearty meal or take away a bunch of goodies

SMAK Delicatessen and Restaurant  - Run by a warm and friendly duo, Katia Scherf and Devin Hogan, SMAK is the place you want to go when you’re in a rush. Their gourmet on-the-go sandwich bar is something to write home about. Tip: Buy their fresh pasta which is made daily. You won’t be disappointed.

Where to grab a great coffee

Deluxe Coffee Works (25 Church Street or 6 Roodehek Street)

Origin Coffee Roasters

Shift Espresso Bar

Rosetta coffee at Max Bagels – also best bagels in town! (Bree Street)

For the health nuts

Scheckter’s RAW Gourmet Health Food – The name says it all. Here is where to go if you are looking for food that is bursting with flavour and filled with nutrition. Think activated mesquite granola, kale juice, nut milk based drinks and more!

When you need a good breakfast

Open Door Restaurant - If you feel like taking things up a notch, Open Door is exquisite for a weekend brunch, with a beautiful Winelands setting. The menu is on another level with dishes like toasted brioche French toast and bacon and egg waffles.

Clarke’s –  A modern take on the classic American diner serving all-day breakfast and comfort food. The staff of this Bree Stree hangout know their customers well because this is a Cape Town staple. They also do great salads, juices, serve Kombucha on tap and is a great place for drinks.

Four and Twenty – A Cape Town favourite situated in the quaint part of Wynberg. They serve decadent breakfasts and lunches and recently started tapas for dinner. Their food is innovative and consistently delicious. They also serve beautiful cakes and sweet treats.  A word of warning – it fills up fast on weekends!

ALSO READ: 5 Cape Winelands events to celebrate Summer

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