5 great places to eat at the Grahamstown Festival

Is your tummy grumbling between shows? Here's where to eat.

by: Tony Jackman | 01 Jul 2015

Whether you’re a saint, a Mad Hatter or just plain loco, there’s a restaurant for you in Grahamstown. When you’ve had enough of tearing around and waiting for the lights to dim, take time out at one of these 5 venues in the City of Saints (and Mad Hatters).

Mad Hatters Coffee Shop

For the rest of the year, Mad Hatters closes at 5pm, but during the festival they stay open until the last punter leaves, whether 11pm or midnight. It’s a warm and friendly place close to campus, serving all-day breakfasts, muffins and home-made cakes, salads, pitas, hamburgers, curry and rice, chicken a la king, and three soups of the day. Fully licensed, and there’s gluhwein for the chilly Grahamstown evenings.

Haricot’s Deli & Bistro

Haricot’s promises fine French cuisine in a place “where all the cool beans, string beans, fine beans and those full of beans can spill the beans”. The licensed venue is a period house and the fare is Mediterranean with forays into the spicier Moroccan cuisine. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily with a “harvest table” on Sundays.

Saints Bistro

Saints is the Standard Bank jazz cafe for the duration of the festival. It’s an elegant, attractive, candle-lit space with white linen tableware. Starters such as blue cheese tart or salt and pepper calamari, salads (sesame chicken, roast beetroot and feta). Mains include pasta dishes, beer-battered hake and chips, steak, egg and chips, calamari aglia olio, roast pork chops. End with Amarula crème brûlée with biscotti. Regular specials include: “Burger Thursdays”, “Gourmet Pizza Sundays”, craft beers.

Casa de Loco Restaurant and Tapas Bar

Literally, “the crazy house”, this opened in 2012 offering “authentic South American food” in one of Grahamstown’s many double-storey Georgian-era houses, once the venue of Maxwells and at another time the Grub and Grog. Case de Loco gets wildly disparate reviews online, with many commenting that the tapas is reasonable if “not authentically” Mexican or Spanish, with students unhappy with the prices. They have a load shedding generator, just in case.

Jing Jing’s Kitchen

Spice up your palate on a chilly Grahamstown night with a visit to this Asian venue offering Chinese, Japanese and sushi. Jing Jing’s is also useful if you have half an hour between shows and want to grab a quick takeaway to munch while you’re footing it to the next venue. Punters favour the crispy duck, spring rolls, and sizzling beef.

Looking for somewhere to have a drink? Here are the best pubs in Grahamstown.

- Tony Jackman


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