(Image: Ceili McGeever)
The festive season is approaching at lightning speed and along with it, the hoard of visitors making their merry way to the Mother City.
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.
When you need a good breakfast
Solo on Loop Street
When visiting Solo, do yourself a favour and make a booking to sit in their courtyard. It’s the embodiment of a lush oasis away from the bustling Loop Street with dangling string lights, greenery and an overhead sunroof allowing for some gorgeous natural light to flood in. The bare wood tables are cleverly minimalist with nothing but a cute cactus, cutlery and comfy blue leather cushioned seats – mostly wood chairs and some soft booths. Also, breakfast is served till 15h30 so you can sleep in!
Open Door Restaurant in Constantia
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 on Bree Street
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.
The Dairy Den in Sea Point
The new ice and doughnut shop in Sea Point is what your sweet dreams are made of. The pastel pink coat of paint on the walls instantly sets the tone for the nostalgia and fantasy that awaits inside. What’s even better is that the sister duo, Tasia and Lexi, who owns the place come from a family that has been making ice cream for ages.
Hoke Poke on Church Street
South Africa’s first ever dedicated poke bar, slightly hidden away in Church street is a must try! It’s a very casual-style eatery with bare white tiled table tops and shocking neon signage that lights up the space. They have standard poke bowls and an option to make your own with rice, nachos or slaw as a base, poke, tuna, salmon, prawns and toppings ranging from pineapple to jalapenos, avocado, nuts and much more
Davy Croquettes in Gardens
Those who know Davy’s Croquettes in the form of its food truck will be happy to know that he recently set up shop! The space is quite small and resembles his old food truck in many ways. With options like deep fried feta and jalapeno, date bacon and goats cheese, caramelised onion and prosciutto, a dessert option and many more savoury options this is a must visit!
Bosjes Kombuis in Ceres
The Bosjes Winelands is famous for its strikingly white, wave-like chapel (an ode to modern architecture), the ceramic, hand-painted tree mural by artists Lucie de Moyencourt and Michael Chandler and (last but not least) the not-so-recently opened Bosjes Kombuis. The menu is understated, seasonal, contemporary goodness that is inspired by a farmyard kitchen. An hour-long drive to The Breede Rivier is a small price to pay for the experience that awaits there.
The newest hotspots
Marrow Broth Bar in Cape Town
The owners of Honest Chocolate and The Secret Gin Bar bring you Cape Town’s first ever bar dedicated to serving broth. The menu is as small as the space that the speciality eatery is housed in – one page containing four different broths ranging from vegetable broth with miso and tofu to a rich brown, bone broth made with harissa, red wine and more.
The Crazy Horse in Cape Town
The Crazy Horse brings you a little piece of the UK in the heart of Cape Town, Bree Street to be exact. The bottom level is split by a staircase – the bar on one side and seating on the other. The top level is very much restaurant-like and away from the bar with a few art pieces on the walls and spacious leather booths. The food – gastropub – is not your everyday pub grub and bar snacks are served in the form of tapas.
The Yard in Silo District
A welcome addition to Cape Town’s Silo District, The Yard is a restaurant, concept store and also neighbour to the city’s newest landmark – Zeitz MOCAA. Their menu fuses Asian, Indian and European flavours creating vibrant and versatile dishes that are perfect for sharing or even dining for one. The restaurant is set in an urban industrial space – think raw concrete walls, jet black steel seats, tan leather booths and massive windows allowing natural light to flood the place during the day – that fits in perfectly with the shipyard surroundings.
Eat with the locals
Chefs Warehouse On Bree Street – 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!
The Black Sheep on Kloof Street
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.
South China Dim Sum Bar on Long Street – 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.
La Frasca in Gardens
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 in Green Point
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 in Constantia Nek
This is the crème de la crème, number 2 on Eat Out’s best restaurant list 2016, with executive chef Scott Kirton holding the title for 2015 Chef of the Year and nominated again this year. It’s essential to book a few months in advance so get cracking!
The Test Kitchen at The Old Biscuit Mill – 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 in Constantia – 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 in Cape Town – 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.
The Vue Bar in de Waterkant
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 in Muizenberg
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
14 Stories Rooftop Bar on Buitengracht Street
Spectatcular views of Signal Hill, Table Mountain and the V&A – what more can one ask of a rooftop bar? This new bar is the hottest spot to have a chilled time after work while enjoying one of their signiture coktails.
The Stack in Gardens
If you’re looking to glam things up a bit, The Stack is an excellent choice. Its lavish green and pink themed bar area coupled with the unique cocktails makes it the ultimate place to unwind after a long day.
Tigers Milk on Kloof Street
This is the latest addition the to the rapidly growing amount of Tigers Milk in Cape Town. They offer the same great burgers, pizza, ribs, bar snacks and drinks, of course! The vibe is great for after work Friday drinks.
TjingTjing Bar on Longmarket Street
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.
Mother’s Ruin on Bree Street
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 on Bree Street
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
La Tête on Bree Street
This nose to tail style eatery is headed by Giles Edward whose ability stems from one of London’s most successful restaurants in this genre, so you know you’re in good hands! The interior oozes with calming minimalism. All dishes are fresh, locally sourced and prepared for the day.
ALSO READ: Review: La Tête on Bree Street
The Shortmarket Club on Shortmarket Street
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 in Granger Bay
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 in Central Cape Town
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.
Stock up your picnic basket at these deli’s
Kleinskys Deli in the CBD
After its success in Sea Point, it’s only natural that this loved Deli would want to open another location in the CBD. The new Parliament Street spot offers the same delicious bagels, breakfasts and traditional Jewish New York specialties.
SMAK Delicatessen and Restaurant on Bree Street – 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
Rosetta coffee at Max Bagels – also best bagels in town! (Bree Street)
For the health nuts
Wild Sprout on Loop Street
This new whole foods eatery caters for conscious eaters who are in search of wholesome food and specifically for vegans and vegetarians. Everything is made from scratch on site using only the freshest ingredients and with the philosophy, that flavour is just as important as the contents of the meal.
Scheckter’s RAW Gourmet Health Food in Sea Point – 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!