I have (devastatingly recently) returned home to the UK, after a wonderfully adventurous three-and-a-bit year stint in Cape Town. During those few years, I found that my past-time mostly included eating, drinking and being merry. As such, I feel it is my duty to put pixel to page and create the ultimate restaurant and cafe bucket list, for anyone who plans to visit the Mother City and wants more than whats on offer from a tour guide.
Beluga – An upmarket restaurant nestled in The Foundry in Greenpoint. Don’t let the white linen tablecloths fool you – this place is exceptionally reasonable. Though they have an excellent and extensive menu, Capetonians go to Beluga for a very specific reason: Half price sushi, dim sum and cocktails (before 7pm everyday and all-day on Sundays).
Recommendation from a local: Try the Tuna Crunch. I absolutely garuntee it will blow you mind and rock your tastebuds👌🏼
Sevruga – Similar look and feel to Beluga except Sevruga is situated in the Victoria and Albert Waterfront on the water’s edge. You’ll also enjoy the same half price special here 🙌🏼
Recommendation from a local: Always make a reservation and ask to be seated outside. You’ll get a great view of the ocean and all the passersby and it has a lighter and more open feel than the inside section.
Izakaya Matsuri – A hidden gem that I discovered far too late. This place is quite literally hidden in every sense of the meaning. It’s quite tricky to find it as it’s tucked beneath the Rockwell Hotel in Greenpoint which is also hidden from the main road. This unique spot doesn’t even have a front door – you need to unzip the canvas side to get in! Once you’ve finally found it you’ll be welcomed by cozy feel and friendly ambiance. Unfortunately you won’t find a half price deal here but the quality and imagination of the dishes is worth it.
Willoughby & Co – Situated inside the V&A Waterfront‘s shopping mall, this place is a strange one. Whilst the sushi is considered the best in Cape Town, the dining atmosphere leaves much to be desired. It’s worth a visit at least once to try their signature dish: The Four By Four.
Nuri – We’re about to take the ambiance down about 70 notches but bear with me. Nuri is situated in the middle of the hustling, bustling CBD and it looks like a large takeaway place – which is exactly what locals use it for. The food at Nuri is on par with the fancier sushi spots and wonderfully reasonable.
Recommendation from a local: You can whatsapp your order to them. Yes. Whatsapp. It’s excellent. Here’s their number: +27 21 461 8719 don’t say I never do anything for you.
Andy’s Sushi – Another ‘sushi dive’. Andy’s was opened by the former Willoughby’s chef who wanted to create the same high quality dishes for a fraction of the price. It’s a small restaurant that looks like a regular Chinese takeaway spot – think plastic chairs and exotic red things that dangle. It’s a fun and unpretentious spot to sit back and enjoy something delicious after a taxing day on the beach.
Recommendation from a local: They’re unlicensed so bring your own drinks – corkage is free. I’d suggest a bottle of Pierre Jourdan Tranquille (+- R70 a bottle)
The Grand – If you want to watch the sunset or while away a couple of hours in the afternoon, this is your spot. You can sit back, toes in the sand, cocktail in hand, overlooking the stunning Granger Bay. The Grand is essentially a fancy (if slightly pretentious and borderline tacky) beach bar.
Recommendation from a local: Go there for a cocktail. The menu is extensive and they are reasonably prices (R50 – R70 per cocktail). The food is palatable but not worthy of the price or the service. The draw card for this place is the beautiful view and the ambiance – so sit back, relax and spare a thought for those in the office while you’re watching yachts jet across the ocean. ⛵️
Bungalow – Another great place to sit back, sip on something cold and naughty, and take in the beautiful sights of the atlantic ocean. Sit there long enough and you may see a couple of brave paragliders landing on the grass in front of the restaurant.
Madame Zingara ✨
The Bombay Bicycle Club – Another one for my bucket list. Part of the Madame Zingara group: think glitter, think props, think awesome décor.
El Burro – I am obsessed with Mexican. After being spoilt for choice in America I felt very deprived when I hit the shores of South Africa. Portuguese? Sure! Italian? Fine! Mexican? Try your luck elsewhere, honey. That is, until I discovered El Burro. They make fish tacos that are to-die-for and their tequila menu is extensive. Make sure you make a booking though, this place has been a secret that Capetonians haven’t kept too well!
Fat Cactus – More Mexican! This place is very Tex Mex and it has a cool vibe. I’m a huge fan of the enchiladas.
El Taqueria –
The Kitchen – Karen Dudley got something really right when she opened up this little restaurant. The Love sandwich is incredible and I have never enjoyed a salad so much in my life.
Just like Granny’s kitchen!
Hudsons The Burger Joint – Porky Poppers, half price cocktails and EVERY BURGER EVER. Hudson’s is always full – there’s a reason for this.
Royal Eatery – They describe themselves as “serving burgers that make your soul tingle and your dreams come true.” Well, if your dreams include an assortment of deluxe burgers, and, massive milkshakes set your soul alight, then they’ve got you covered. It’s situated on Long Street so make an evening of it and go bar hopping.
The Dog’s Bollocks – This place is really bucket list material – my bucket list! I haven’t been before and it is down my road… What is wrong with me?! Every single person that has been here that I have spoken to raves about it!
Decadent Dinner 🍽
Hussar Bar and Grill – I can confirm that Hussar makes the best steak in the world. They have an extensive selection of on and off the bone pieces of meat – all aged to perfection. There are a couple of restaurants around the Western Cape (including Camps Bay, Somerset West and Paarl) but I’d recommend trying the Rondebosch. It’s been there since my dad’s University days, he’ll tell you “I used to pay R40 and they’d give me a meal every day that week!”
La Parada –
Cape to Cuba – My favourite restaurant in the world. The décor is spot on, the location is sublime and the food is just exotic enough. I will happily make the drive to Kalk Bay just to go here for a coffee, it is that unreal!
Olympia Café – Olympia is so simple, rustic almost, but it is phenomenal. The menu is written each day on a chalk board and you can pretty much guarantee that anything you order will be excellent.
The Brass Bell – Sundays were made for The Brass Bell. A place with a view made for eating, drinking and good company.
Palana – This place is a very nice restaurant that moonlights as a club (after 10). The selling point? It is smack bang on the water: if you sit next to the window you will get wet from the spray of the ocean. How wonderful!
Now we’re talking good food, but better yet good drinks in a setting that you feel like you could waste your whole afternoon and evening in:
Eastern Food Bazaar – Cheap, cheerful and very filling. Think bunny chow, shawarmas and curries.
Beleza – You walk through the doors onto the porch and you feel like you are in the middle of an American indie movie circa 1958. Wonderfully eclectic decor and all of the waitresses wear funny flowery frilly aprons. The breakfast is awesome. I find myself here on most of my hangover days. Also, it is very competitively priced.
Just after a quick cuppa? Cape Town certainly has you covered here. You can forget about the likes of Starbucks and Costa because Cape Town is all about quirky, unique and home roasted when it comes to coffee.
Haas Coffee Collective – As I gushed about in a previous blog post – this place is awesome. The food is pretty reasonable for a light lunch too.
Origin Coffee – I haven’t tried the food here but I can confidently state that Origin makes the best Iced coffee in Cape Town, either at their stand at The Biscuit Mill’s Neighbourgoods Market or at their coffee shop on Hudson Street off Strand
Truth – The first coffee shop that I blogged about and still a firm favourite! They also make a flipping good breakfast. Bacon jam anyone?
Photo by my very talented friend: @EmmaBrahamDesigns
Cocoa Oola – Coffee to die for, the best dirty Chai in Cape Town and a wasabi chicken sandwich that was created by angels.
Giovani’s – The best hot chocolate I have ever drunk. In my life. Ever. They have an array of food that you can choose bits and pieces from. I find it hard to resist temptation to stop in this place every time I drive through Greenpoint.