Pam’s favourite Cape Town Restaurants

Pam’s favourite Cape Town Restaurants

This is a list of the restaurants that I consider to be the best restaurants in Cape Town.  Many of those listed are fine dining establishments,  others are included simply because they are what I consider to be culinary delights ie places where my taste buddies have literally been singing with delight!

When planning your eating – keep in mind that it is a fantastic way to experience different sides of our extended city – so plan a mix of areas eg one night city, one night Camps Bay, one night Waterfront,  lunch in Constantia, lunch on the Peninsula and make sure you do not miss out on our wine regions such as Franschhoek and Stellenbosch (for recommendations see my Cape Winelands Restaurant list).  Note in order to keep this list shorter I have created a separate section for quirky, fun & local spots that I love!

Pam’s Top 10 Restaurants in Cape Town for Summer 2018

To make it easier for you to find the best of the best in Cape Town for this summer I am going to do a Top 10 list.   Note this list is my list – and that it reflects my tastes!

  1. La Colombe – Constantia
  2. The Greenhouse – Constantia & the same Chef has the wonderful new Fyn located in the city bowl.
  3. Chefs Warehouse & Thali  – owned by Chef Liam Tomlin – City/Constantia/Franschhoek and Thali – just above the City
  4. The Test KitchenThe Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club – these are all restaurants owned by top Chef Luke Dale Roberts and they are all amazing.  Woodstock – Test Kitchen/Pot Luck Club.  City – The Shortmarket Club.  New addition – Salsify at The Roundhouse.
  5. The Foodbarn – Noordhoek/Peninsula Region
  6. Reverie Social Table – Salt River/Woodstock
  7. Janse & Co – just above the city in Kloof Street.
  8. Chefs Table Cape Town by Chef Santi- City
  9. Cheynes (Hout Bay) & Shio Modern Japanese (De Waterkant/Edge of city)
  10. Olympia Cafe – Kalk Bay/Peninsula Region

Pam’s recommended restaurants:

CITY & close surrounds:

  1. Grub & Vine – Fabulous addition to Bree Street!! Opened December 2018!  See my new Restaurants in Cape Town section.
    Grub & Vine Summer Vegetable Salad
  2. Chefs Warehouse & Canteen – still my top foodie pic for the city.  Do not miss it.   This is a completely amazing foodie journey.   They are very quirky in the way that they operate.  They are open Monday to Friday for dinner.  Monday to Saturday for lunch – and don’t take bookings!  Last orders at 8pm means you literally have to stalk them if you want to get in.   It is best to get there at 5.30pm if you wish to have dinner.   If they are full – you can either go and have a bottle of wine in their bar called No Reservations or along the Bree Street strip – and leave your phone number.   It is completely worth the stalking!   Each day they create 8 small plate dishes for two people to share based on what they have that is fresh and what they are inspired to cook.   It is owned by Irish Chef Liam Tomlin (of Sydney top restaurant Bank fame).   It is the most amazing value for money for fine dining in the city (R800 for two people) and is a wonderful foodie tasting journey.   It has a cult following among Cape Town’s foodies.   So join us in stalking them!   Note they can accommodate vegetarians – but you need to let them know the day before that they are coming.  Liam Tomlin has expanded and now has other branches.   He is known for his consistency and for attracting the best young chefs.  As such everything he touches is consistently good.   Try to fit in a Liam Tomlin spot during your stay:
    • Chefs Warehouse & Canteen – in the middle of the city – corner Bree and Shortmarket Street – does not take bookings and last orders 8pm.   Tip – this one is open on a MONDAY night – very few restaurants are open in Cape Town on a Monday night. Note this one is small – you must go by 17h30 to get a space if you are planning on dinner.   Lunch is a calmer time to head there.  Closed Saturday/Sunday night.   OPEN MONDAY NIGHT.   
    • Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia – this one is awesome and best for lunch as it has a magnificent view of the Constantia winelands below combined with our local rock star legendary Chef Ivor Jones    Same formula – 8 dishes between two people.   A complete tasting journey.   Note one can book for this one!  And one MUST book as it is extremely popular!  Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch, Tuesday to Saturday for dinner.  Check out Drizzle & Dips Blog for a beautiful visual journey of this fabulous dining experience! THIS A REALLY SPECIAL – BOOK WELL IN ADVANCE!
    • Thali – just above the city – fabulous!!!   Same concept of 8 dishes to share – however all inspired by Indian flavours.   There are options for vegetarian and vegans here.   I love this new spot!!!   It is once again a complete flavour journey – but far more spicy!  And I love spicy!  I love the decor here – Moroccan inspired decor.  Contemporary and colourful and fun.   Does not take bookings. 
    • Chefs Warehouse at Maison – Note this is on a wine estate in Franschhoek.   Here dynamic young Chef David Schneider has been given the carte blanche to create daily dishes from seasonal fresh produce within the 8 dish Chef’s Warehouse formula.   Note that this one is slower service wise than the other two – possibly because guests in the region enjoy sitting and relaxing over a long lunch in the Cape Winelands. BOOK WELL IN ADVANCE!
  3. Chef Cheyne Morrisby is another wonderfully talented local chef who is well worth following around.   He has a love for Asian-Pacific rim flavours and that influences all the restaurants/hole in the walls that he opens:
    • Cheyne’s Hout Bay – for foodies – this is the mother ship of Chef Cheyne Morrisby and well worth the half an hour trip from Cape Town to experience.    Serving Pacific Rim inspired dishes that are made for sharing.  Open for dinner Tues – Sat.   Lunch Thurs – Sat.
    • Lucky Bao – Cheyne opened his first Asian street food spot in Hout Bay next to Cheyne’s and has now opened a second Lucky Bao next to Shio (In the Grey Hotel Complex).   This is literally a hole in the wall concept where you can get the most delicious freshly prepared soft Bao, ramen and Asian dishes.   I love the food from Lucky Bao – if you find yourself near either of their locations it is well worth a detour to try the Bao………….. yummmmmmmmmmy!
    • Shio Modern Japanese Izakaya– located in the heart of the De Waterkant Village – on the edge of the city.   This one would be worth visiting for the decor alone!  It is small, gorgeous and contemporary.   The perfect spot for an intimate dinner or a dinner with friends!   The food is mind blowing and as per all of  Cheyne Morriby’s restaurants – a complete flavour journey.  Chef Cheyne is strongly influenced by Asian cuisine.   His dishes are beautiful taste sensations.   Shio is no exception to the rule and I would highly recommend a visit.   Open Mon – Sat for lunch & dinner. Cheyne’s empire is also growing. OPEN MONDAY NIGHT. 
    • NEW – Ding-Dong Tachinomi Bar  – 47 Napier Street De Waterkant – this is a little Japanese hole in the wall bar offering small Japanese inspired dishes and cocktails
  4. SeaBreeze Fish & Shell – is a great addition to Upper Bree Street.   Seafood – fresh and simple!  This is owned by a couple who owned a seafood restaurant in a fishing harbour near Aberdeen in Scotland.   They sold their restaurant in Aberdeen, came on a sabbatical to Cape Town and fell in love with our city…..and stayed!   They aim to serve the freshest seafood in town – and are happy to reprint the menu a few times a day when new fish comes in.   They also have the best oysters in town.  It has a  festive atmosphere in summer and is a great spot to  meet up with friends at the long table on the pavement.   They are a seafood bistro – so they aim to keep things simple and to allow you to taste the flavours of the fish.  Their oyster happy hour is R12 per shuck from 5 to 6pm – so don’t miss it! (The happy hour is also over lunchtime for oysters from 12 – 1pm).   This is one of our favourite spots in Cape Town and we can be found at the outside table regularly! OPEN MONDAY NIGHT & for lunch &  dinner on a SUNDAY
  5. Chefs Table Cape Town – Shared social table for dinner in the home of a top Chef.   Chef Santi Louzán has opened his inner city apartment for dinners on a Wednesday & Thursday night.   The concept is a shared social table of 16 that you can book to join and have dinner prepared and plated in front of you.   Chef Santi acts as host and explains his inspiration behind each dish.   It is 7 courses paired with 5 wines for R850 per person.   We loved every second of our dinner with the charismatic Chef Santi.   To get a feel for our experience – check out my blog.    I have a feeling that this one is going to become a huge success – my advice would be to book early as they are going to fill up fast!  Note that the table can be booked for exclusive use on other nights or on Wednesday or Thursday nights if no other bookings have been taken – subject to Chef Santi’s availability.
  6. Fyn Restaurant – great new fine dining addition to the inner city!!  For more info check out my New Restaurants in Cape Town section. 
    Fyn – the Chefs at work!

  7. Ash Restaurant – Has closed down – however Chef Ash has simply  reinvented herself and  transformed her restaurant into a more fine dining focused venue.   Her new venture is called Riverene Rabbit.   The new decor is much warmer and the lighting is  now really good in the venue!   The focus is tasting menus – there is no a la carte menu – and the emphasis is not on fine dining creativity.   Options range from 3 to 7 courses.                       
  8. Janse & Co – Chef Arno Janse (ex-head Chef of The Kitchen @ Maison in Franschhoek), in partnership with Liezl Odendaal, has opened a restaurant in Kloof Street, just above the city.            Expect the best fresh ingredients that are seasonal and locally sourced prepared with love and passion!  We loved our visit to Janse & Co.   I loved the beautiful design – it is contemporary with an Asian feel.  Everything has been lovingly designed to add to the experience – from the beautiful menus, through to the box with your cutlery.   The menu features a list of dishes based on what is fresh and what has inspired the kitchen – there are no starters or main courses – the dishes are simply a list and you chose as many dishes as you feel like having from the list for your dinner ie 3,4, 5, 6 courses.   Each dish boasted wonderful flavours and beautiful plating.                                                                                              It was a complete culinary journey from start to finish.   We had wonderful service and the wine list had some wonderful local wines from smaller producers – something I love to find on a menu!  We loved our visit.  Note you can book online on their website – they have live availability.   75 Kloof Street,   Cape Town.La Tête – Nose to tail restaurant by Chef Giles Edwards.  La Tete opened on lower Lower Bree Street in the city about a year ago and rapidly became a wonderful new part of the regenerating city’s food scene.  Lovely clean modern interior.  Talented Chef/owner.  We have had some wonderful dinners here!  It is advisable to pre-book by phone – +27 21 4181299 or email – info@latete.co.za. Closed on Sundays and Mondays NB Snout to tail dining including Pigs Tails and Sweetbreads (menu changes daily!)   Note that the Chef is extremely talented at cooking veg dishes.   There should be enough options on the menu – if not simply ask and they will chat to him and come back to you with options.   His veg dishes blew me away – so don’t be shy – speak up and you will have a fabulous veg dinner! 
  9. Mulberry & Prince – beautiful decor, owner run – the owners met at the International Culinary institute in Manhattan.  Hip eatery.  Part of the Bree Street City revolution – over 40 restaurants have opened on this inner city street over the last two years – literally transforming the city from a business district into a really fun zone for eating, drinking and playing!  Small shared plate dining – they call this Modern American Dining.   Beautiful restaurant and beautiful food.   Small and intimate and well worth a visit for dinner.   Open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch.
  10. Chefs Cape Town – quirky concept of note!!  This is fine dining on the fly!   Literally you check out the website so you know what is being offered today – there is a limited offering of dishes each day, you then arrive, the chef heads over to your table to discuss the dishes of the day, you order and your food arrives on a tray with your wine/beer.   This is perfect for foodies who want a quick lunch or quick dinner – but wish to eat something exceptionally delicious.  Note you are also very welcome to stay and chill!   I had the lamb on the day we went and I am still dreaming of the flavours.   The Chef Jenny is really talented.   Fun, almost industrial looking space combined with people who are very very serious about good food.   Quirky!!!   Located just on the edge of the city.  They are a perfect dinner for after a long day of touring if you want an early dinner.   This is real food at its best.  Generous portions with sides included such as a wonderful side salad and lovely bowls of condiments such as pesto or mayo or homemade fresh chilli to add to the sublime flavours of your dish.  As most of her dishes are prepared in a wood burning oven – the flavours add an extra zing to your taste buds!  Marvellous.   Love it.  Seriously quirky as you don’t expect great food to arrive on a tray!    Lunch and dinner Monday – Friday.   Note last orders at 20h30 – this is an early evening eatery! OPEN MONDAY NIGHT
  11. Bistro Bouchon   is located inside the wine cellar of Christophe Durand’s Dorrance inner city winery.   The bistro is a joint venture between Christophe and Faisal Khakoo of La Boheme Bistro & Wine Bar and Engruna Eatery.   Expect a relaxed, warm and intimate feel inside the cellar and food to match – a seasonal list of tapas to chose from plus a couple of main dishes.   It is most fun to order a whole lot of tapas to share and a few bottles of wine! Christophe’s Dorrance wines are on offer by the glass or by the bottle.   He is a self taught wine maker who is now producing serious wines – his chardonnay this year was awarded 5* in the John Platters guide.   He is also importing foreign wines – as such each week there is a selection of foreign wines available by the glass – this is exciting to us locals as we get very limited exposure to foreign wines!  Bouchon is currently only open at night from Monday to Friday.  Tip – if you have a special occasion with a small group of friends – book to be inside the cellar next to the barrels – it creates a great private space!    95 Hout Street, City Bowl OPEN MONDAY NIGHT
  12. The Round House – has closed down – it has been replaced by  a new venture by Chef Luke Dale Roberts – it is called Salsify.  The menu looks pricey!   Note that they have the same annoying bookings system as the other restaurants in the group – so one cannot plan well in advance for your travels – one has to book on the 1st of the month that you want to book for.   An absolute pain – and something that I think will affect their bookings once the “glow” of being new is gone!  Salsify offers an option of either a la carte or a tasting menu option.
  13. The Round House Rumbullion Lawns–  has been relaunched as The Lawns at The Round House.   It is under new ownership and is looking like it had a great facelift.  It looks like it now open now for breakfast, lunch, picnics and sundowner snacks and drinks.   This is one of my favourite spots to relax – it is on the lawns in the nature reserve under the “posh” Round House restaurant.  It is one of the most fabulous spots to watch the sunset and to simply kick back and relax!  Expect a simple fun menu – pizza’s, ribs etc.   Simple fair – delicious.  Casual eatery.   Fairly pricey – but then this spot commands one of the best views in Cape Town!  The views are of Camps Bay and the 12 Apostle Mountain range.   It is a day spot and early evening spot.  Note the venue is purely outdoors – so if the weather is bad – do not head there!  It is best to pre-book especially for sundowners (book for 5pm – ends at approx 20h00)   Email address  to book is info@thelawnsct.co.za 
  14. House of H – brace yourself before you head to House of H.   This is not a conventional “smart” looking restaurant.   This is a chilled world all to itself.   It is quirky, loud and looks a little grungy.   Dress down if you are headed here!  As you enter you will think where on earth has Pam sent me?   You are warmly greeted and given a card to swipe whenever you order anything inside, it is self service from the bar, the meat counter and the coffee section.   You simply swipe as you go and pay at the end.   The reason to go?   Some of the best meat and salads in Cape Town.   You queue to chat to the chef.  He wants to chat to you about his beautiful meat options before you order.  Chef H himself stands at the front of his meat counter and talks you through the different cuts and options.   He is like a proud Daddy telling you about his babies.   Next to you in the queue is a pile of vegetables and fruit – they are all for sale and are part of a project where homeless people are growing fresh produce in the city.   There are also options for a burger – either meat or oyster mushrooms (I am advised by every vegetarian who goes that this is one of the most delicious burgers in Cape Town……….I must try it……but how to resist having the most amazing meat?).   With your meal you get a choice of chips or salads.   This one is hard as his chips are some of the best in Cape Town and his salads are amazing from the salad bar.   The answer is to order half and half!   They are located in Loop Street in central Cape Town.   With Bree Street rentals sky rocketing – Loop is going to be the new hub for openings in Cape Town! OPEN MONDAY NIGHT &  LATE NIGHT DINING
  15. The Butcher Shop and Grill – is located on the Beach Road in Mouille Point   This is the Joburg steak house guys from Sandton Square.  Great meat – well prepared and well aged.   I would recommend a visit if you are a carnivore.   Note you can also buy meat to take home – well priced!  Lovely manager and staff – they are very welcoming!   You can even head to the meat counter and chose your own cut after chatting to the Butcher and then head back to your table and wait for them to cook it to perfection!   This is more of an evening spot as the interiors are dark and sultry.   125 Beach Road, Mouille point, Cape Town
  16. The Grand Cafe & Beach Granger Bay – This is my absolute favourite place to  kick back, relax and have that holiday feeling. It is all about the amazing setting and ambiance that has been created here. They took an old abandoned building – lobster shed – and kept the exterior as it was while restyling the interior completely. The interiors are funky and fun. The exterior has a large terrace for tables and a fake beach has been created to overlook Table Bay and the Waterfront area. Add couches and chairs on the beach, with a great cocktail menu and you have a winning formula with half the city trying to get a booking! Ratings on the food seem to vary from average to nice. We usually stick to the delicious gourmet pizzas and salads, which are quite good – we go for the vibe, not the food! This spot makes you feel like the summer holiday has started!  It is great fun for all ages.   So, book for lunch or dinner – but whatever you do – make sure you make a booking as it is the favourite place for the locals to visit, as well as the visitors to our city! (note you can go for drinks without booking).  For Reservations – you can book online or call 021 425 0551.    Closed on Mondays and Sunday night
  17. The Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel – A few years ago the Mount Nelson opened the Planet Bar which is a champagne bar with fun modern decor –   including  a ceiling with stars that light up. This has become a favourite for drinks on a Friday among the Capetonians (still is in summer). The Planet theme was extended to the  restaurant on the property. Chef Rudi Liebenberg has been impressing the “foodies” in Cape Town with his menu. You can either opt for the a la carte or for the Journey Menu – which is a 3 course tasting menu at lunch or a 5 course tasting menu at night designed around local fresh produce that is available – an added plus is that you can do the tasting menu as a Chefs Table in the kitchen. This is a fine dining restaurant and would be recommended for those wishing to experience Cape Town’s top fine dining restaurants.  Open daily evenings only.  Mount Nelson Hotel. 76 Orange Street. (Note for foodies: The Mount Nelson is famous for its High Tea which is served daily. Make sure you book to enjoy this during Summer.) OPEN MONDAY NIGHT    
  18. Headquarters (HQ) This is a novel concept.  There is only one dish on the menu – steak.   It is a no option menu – you start with a salad with Parmesan shavings, followed by a  sirloin steak served with skinny fries.  Headquarters is a glamorous venue for an evening out in the city – but take care to tell your friends that it is a “no choice” menu!  Note this is a trendy spot – people come to be seen and to check out the scene.  Location of Headquarters: Heritage Square, 100 Shortmarket Street (corner Shortmarket and Buitengracht Street)   Note that they do have a mushroom option for vegetarians.  The team from HQ have taken over the courtyard on Heritage Square from Bizerca.   They have launched a restaurant serving chicken there called Roast & Co.   A few tables in the courtyard belong to HQ – as such they have a fun sign on the wall saying CHICKEN or BEEF!   OPEN MONDAY NIGHT    
  19. Black Sheep – This is an absolute local favourite -it us a proper gourmet gastropub with a great vibe!  This spot is buzzy and well worth booking for with a group of mates for a really fun evening out.  It is really popular – so make sure you book before you go.  Closed on Sundays.  104 Kloof Street Tel no+27 (021) 426 2661 / 426 2753 OPEN MONDAY NIGHT    
  20. True Italic – lower Bree Street – Italian Art Cafe/Bistro – this is my new favourite chilled spot in Cape Town.  It is an Italian brother and sister duo who are infectiously passionate about their venture.  The brother cooks and the passionate sister does front of house.  They change the menu daily based on what is fresh.  They are making their own pasta and gnocchi and also are selling it in their deli section.  It is a combo of Northern Italian and Sicilian fare.  One parent was from the north and one from the south.  This is all about creativity and passion and delicious flavour sensations.  To enjoy the range of flavours I would recommend ordering a couple of dishes to share.  Note that if nothing appeals to you on the day or you have dietary requirements they have no problem whipping up a dish to suit your tastes.  #amazingitalianfoodcapetown  I would recommend going at night as the venue may be a little dark during the day.  Location – lower (15) Bree Street.  Note closed on Sundays and closed from early evening on a Monday – otherwise open until 10pm weekdays and 11pm Saturday night.
  21. 95 Keerom – specializes in offering a fine dining Northern Italian cuisine menu.  The attention to detail is amazing and is reflected in the glamorous furniture, excellent service and delicious food.   The owner is an Italian Chef – Giorgio Nava.  He has been in South Africa for many years and is now an integral part of the foodie fabric of the city.  After 95 Keerom he opened Carne across from his current restaurant.  He then opened Carne Kloof Street, followed by 95 at Morgenster (a joint venture between himself and the owner of Morgenster Wine Estate, who is also Italian.    95 Keerom Str, City.    Closed on Sundays. OPEN MONDAY NIGHT
  22. Carne – owned by Giorgio Nava, the successful restaurateur and owner of the highly rated 95 Keerom Restaurant.  Carne is a northern Italian style steak house.  Giorgia Nava has taken steak houses to a new height of glamour with this venture.  The restaurant features a stylish bar upstairs for drinks before dinner, before you descend into the basement area for dinner.  This room has funky plastic transparent chairs and is just simple and chic.   The meat for the main course was brought out raw on a platter in all of its glory.  The waiter explained the different cuts and that all of the meat was dry aged.  We opted for the T-Bone served as it is in Florence, ie a huge T-Bone that they slice and serve on two platters.  It was the best steak I have had for years. My recommendation is to go at night – it is more of a  dinner venue then a lunch spot, in my opinion!  Location of Carne: Cape Town city centre – 70 Keerom Street, City Bowl (Note – I am now in love with their newer spot called CARNE BISTRO On Kloof Street – it is more chilled then the mother restaurant, and is lovely and open for summer – versus Carne is in an underground basement.  It has a vibe and cafe ambience – plus the great meat and a lovely outside area for seating. 153 Kloof  Street. Perfect for summer.  The Keerom Carne is perfect for winter!)

WOODSTOCK (note this is only about 15 minutes by taxi from the city)

  1. The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale Roberts – Luke Dale Roberts first mark on South Africa was by taking the position as head Chef at La Colombe.  During his time there he won the award for the best chef in the country, and also ensured that La  Colombe stayed in the ranks of being rated as one of the Top 50 restaurants in the world by British Restaurant Magazine. He decided to branch out and open his own restaurant. The choice of location is interesting being in the up and coming hotspot for new cafes – Woodstock. The area is a little rough and tough! So be prepared for an interesting drive to get there! The location is the Biscuit Mill – an old mill premises that has been converted to include an interesting assortment of shops and is home to the Saturday morning “foodie” market called the Neighbourhood Goods Market.  The concept is to have an ongoing presentation of imaginative dishes. The menu consists of tasting menus with a variety of options to chose from – note that with tasty in between tidbits – this is an entire foodie journey and it takes time!  The current offering involves a fun concept of a dark room and a light room with different dishes served in each of them.   The menu reflects Chef Luke’s background – he is British, trained in England & Switzerland, worked in Asia for 5 years and then moved to South Africa…………where he has now been for many years!  Note that it is extremely difficult to get bookings – you have to stalk the website to see when bookings open for the month you are going.   For eg – on 1 March 2019 at 8am bookings open for Apr/May/June 2019 (Note 8am South African time).   If you are not awake and booking at 8am – you will have no chance of getting in.   The system is a nightmare and is really stressful to book from a foreign country as you need to make sure that you are up at 8am our time on the month specified.   It is like a lottery.  To get to their bookings page – click here.  Tel: +27 (021)-4472337.  Open Tuesday to Saturday.   Note that Luke Dale Roberts owns the Pot Luck Club Restaurant (at the Biscuit Mill in Woodstock – so same location as The Test Kitchen, co-owns The Shortmarket Club (city bowl) & Salsify at The Round House (in the nature reserve above Clifton & Camps Bay)
  2. The Pot Luck Club – has an amazing location on top of the old Biscuit Mill Tower!   We are in love with this little spot – it is simple and relaxed and offers insanely delicious Asian Tapas.  This one is easier to get into then the Test Kitchen – however it is still a good idea to book it well in advance to make sure you get in as last minute bookings are often very hard to get.  The idea is to order an assortment of dishes and to share them.  All I can say is yum and book now & try and take some friends as it is  awesome to try and order the whole menu! Open Monday to Saturday for lunch & dinner & on a Sunday for a great bubbly brunch. Note they are doing split bookings for the evenings of 6pm or 8.30pm.  Note they are open for brunch on a Sunday with bottomless champers or bloody Mary….can’t wait to try the brunch – but it is a little pricey for us locals!  Location: Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock.  To book: Same system as The Test Kitchen – bookings open the month before the following month on the 1st at 08h30 – it is not as hard to get into – click here to go through to bookings for The Pot Luck Club.  For back up in case you have problems booking here is their email address – reservations@thepotluckclub.co.za or call 021 447 0804 or 021 447 1505  OPEN MONDAY NIGHT
  3. Burrata  – this is a wonderful Southern Italian style restaurant in the Biscuit Mill complex in Woodstock.   Attention to detail is also the focal point of the restaurant – they are importing the flower and tomatoes from Italy for the pizza’s.  The pizza oven was hand built by a third-generation family-owned business in Naples. This oven is able to reach higher temperatures than the average pizza oven, which means every pizza turned out by Burrata is delicious and cheesy.  It is also a thicker base which is more typical of Southern Italy.  The restaurant is owned by Neil Grant (ex-Sommelier at Rust en Vrede Restaurant).  Pam’s verdict: We love it! The first time we did the pizza’s – which were fantastic and highly creative combinations, the second time we ate from the Mains part of the menu.  The pork belly was fantastic, as was the pasta with pappardelle slow cooked short rib – which I had.  It was extremely rich, but also extremely delicious! On another visit we had the gnocchi – and it was some of the best gnocchi I have ever tasted in Cape Town.  The Biscuit Mill is rapidly turning into a complete Mecca for foodies.  (Note it is also home to the Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club). Burrata is open from Tues – Sat for lunch and dinner,  open Monday nights for dinner. Tel +27-21 447 6505.  The Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock OPEN MONDAY NIGHT
  4. The Neighbourhood Goods Market at the Biscuit Mill – Saturday for breakfast and lunch!   This is our favourite food market in Cape Town – if you are here on a Saturday – you would be crazy to miss out on this one! This is our absolute favourite for sampling delicious artisanal dishes from dim sum through to exotic mushroom kebabs with locally made beer from a boutique brewery!  Note we go to eat – this is not a fresh produce market.   Pace yourselves – walk around and meet the vendors, nibble, have a drink, go and walk around the shops, nibble some more, have a cocktail and repeat pattern!   Do not miss a coffee in the complex from Espresso Lab – a micro coffee roaster that you will find at the back of the complex! It is also great for people watching!  Get there early – by latest 9am! Note that everything shuts down around 2pm.
  5. Reverie Social Table is a great concept of a table d’hôte restaurant. It is simply a table of 18 people, you book your seat, come and meet others and enjoy a 5 course meal paired with 5 wines by a fabulously talented young chef.  Chef Julia introduces each course and you watch her plate all the dishes during the evening.   To read more about Reverie – check out my blog on them.  Note she is also open Wednesday to Saturday for a very simple meal of the day lunch &  for coffee anytime during the day.  The fine dining tasting menu dinner (Wed – Sat). Verdict: We have loved every visit to Reverie!   Highly recommended!   I love the personal nature of small table dining.   I love being able to interact with the chef, to pop my nose into her kitchen, to watch her plating and to meet others at dinner.    This is a very special experience.   Great decor, great interaction with the chef, wonderful dinner and a great spot to relax and simply enjoy the evening. This is a great spot to meet and interact with others (it is a shared table) or book it as a private venue for a special occasion. To book head to their website – there is live availability or on the day call Chef Julia on 079 060 6971 (bookings online close the day before.) Note she is in Salt River – the next neighbourhood after Woodstock

VICTORIA & ALFRED WATERFRONT (known as the V&A by locals!)

  1. Harbour House V&A Waterfront –  The Harbour House in Kalk Bay is renowned for providing a fine dining seafood experience combined with excellent service.  This has been carried through to their Waterfront branch.  This is now my new favourite restaurant in the Waterfront – we have spent many many many hours on the roof here over Xmas.  Upstairs is the drinks bar – think “champers & oysters” or vodka and sushi – yes – this is decadent and fun and you can lurk all afternoon or evening up here for drinks and boat watching – I love it!!  Should you wish to have a proper meal the main restaurant is downstairs – design is slick, white and gorgeous.   Make sure you book for outside on the terrace.  Note – make sure you book in the summer in order to get the outside tables.  To book call 021 418 47 44 Cost: $$$
  2. Balducci’s – This is the best restaurant to visit if you feel like just simply relaxing.  They specialize in uncomplicated lighter meals in a chic environment.  They are renowned for their pizzas, their salads, their burgers and their great wine list. In addition they offer great value for money – so expect to find the locals beating a path to their door.  Main Mall V&A Waterfront – faces the water if you sit outside.  Tel no: +27-21 421 6002. Open daily.  Cost $$
  3. Willoboughby & Co – This spot is located inside the main mall at the Waterfront – however this is its only fault!  Willoboughy’s has the reputation for offering the best sushi in Cape Town.  This reputation is well deserved and we tend to head down there at least once a month to do the pilgrimage! If you are into sushi, make sure you make it to this spot.  They also offer an extensive seafood menu – we however have never tried it as we are hooked on the sushi!  V&A Main mall.  Tel no: +27 21 418 6115.  Open daily for lunch and dinner – no reservations taken.  When you see the queue heading out of the restaurant, you know you have found the right place!  Don’t be deterred – the queue moves very quickly!
  4. Den Anker – This is a Belgian restaurant in the V&A Waterfront.  It boasts one of the nicest locations as it is in the middle of the Waterfront campus – ie it overlooks the boats and it is a magical spot for lunch or dinner as the view is fantastic.   House specialties include fresh West Coast mussels, served with pomme frites and Belgian Beer – a fabulous combination! V&A Waterfront.  Tel no: +27 21 419 0249  Open daily.
  5. Belthazar – This is the best spot for steak in the Waterfront.  I went and ate there last week after boycotting it for more than a year as I had had bad feedback from people who had been.  We not only had the most fantastic steak, but managed to meet the head chef.  He is a butcher by trade who has reinvented himself as a chef.  His passion shone through and the quality of the meat is now once again outstanding.  It is definitely worth a visit. In addition Belthazar offer the largest number of wines available by the glass in the Southern Hemisphere.  They have introduced a technology using nitrogen to preserve the wine – so if you are into wine and great meat – this is the spot for you.  V&A Waterfront.  Tel no: +27 21 421 37 53 Open daily for lunch and dinner.  
  6. Baia Seafood Restaurant – Portuguese inspired upmarket seafood restaurant in the V&A Waterfront.  A winning combination of excellent seafood with impeccable service.  The prices are steep – but it is worth it as you will enjoy every mouthful.  If the weather is good book an outside table.  Note that it is essential to book in summer as they are very popular.  Tel +27-21-421-0935.  Open daily for lunch and dinner
  7. Si Cantina Sociale  this is a lovely addition to the Waterfront.   It is located in the new design quarter in the Clock Tower District of the Waterfront.   It is a relaxed and vibey spot – a combo of a pub and a tapas bar (with a couple of mains).    This recommendation is for the vibe and the atmosphere.   The staff are also really lovely here.   Prices are reasonable and it is perfect for a lunch before a trip to Robben Island or before heading into the Zeitz Mocaa Art Gallery.   Tip – if you are there in the evening – combine this with a drink at The Silo Hotel (you need to be well dressed to be admitted) or on the rooftop of the Radisson Red Hotel (younger crowd – vibey and they have a truck as a bar)
  8. Panama Jacks – Has relocated from the working part of the harbour to the New cruise terminal.  Panama Jacks is an institution in Cape Town – locals love it and the prices are great!  There are absolutely no frills and if you are a seafood lover – I would highly recommend it!  In addition, just getting there is an adventure.  This spot is also great for people watching – it attracts everyone from the well off, through to the staff that come in from the working boats that are in the harbour, sometimes with working girls with them!!  There is not much in terms of innovative dishes or presentation of the food – but somehow this spot is just a great seafood meal done with no frills.  Address Quay 500 Cape Town Harbour.  Open daily for dinner & lunch – but closed for lunch on a Saturday.  Tel no: 021 448 1080 or 021 447 3992  (moving to the new Cruise Terminal in the harbour once it opens)
  9. Nobu at the One & Only Hotel – literally blew me away – each morsel is a masterpiece and a complete taste sensation. This restaurant is beautiful and you actually feel like an evening is a special sensation – to a foodie it is a mind blowing treat. For locals the prices are high – for those who know the Nobu group – they rate this as one of the cheapest they have ever visited. I would rate the evening I spent here as one of the top dining experiences I have ever had in my life. Some background: “World-class master chef Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa expands his eponymous empire with the debut of his first restaurant in Africa – his third for Kerzner International. No stranger to worldly culinary influences, Nobu gives classical Japanese cuisine a contemporary twist. Diners can indulge in fresh South African seafood and indigenous spices in mesmerising dishes such as Sake Roast Whitefish with Jalapeno or the Chocolate Bento Box; a dark chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream and a sesame seed tuile.” 

CAMPS BAY

Camps Bay is our “Miami area” in Cape Town.  It boasts a wonderful long beach lined with palm trees and a row of bars and restaurants that overlook it.  This is the best spot to watch the sun setting accompanied by sundowner drinks.  As it is so gorgeous, one simply does not mind the fact that there are very few gourmet gems on the strip.   Probably the best for good food is The Codfather – it is however at the back and does not have the view.   Note that the main aim of coming through here is to relax and to watch the world go by, and so the food is secondary.  Some nice spots in the area are:

  1. The Codfather – is a simple seafood restaurant that offers a wide variety of fresh seafood.  This is a casual and relaxed spot.  They offer good sushi – but if you are there for seafood – try and avoid the temptation of starting with the sushi!  For mains they lead you off to the fish counter and you get to chose combo’s of a variety of fresh fish, calamari, prawns of different sizes, lobster etc – and you always end up chosing more then you can eat – so hold back on the sushi!  Preparation is simple – you can have it plain or cajun.  The formula of excellent fresh seafood is a winner – so make sure you put a booking in for the Codfather.  My advice would be to go early and watch the sunset with cocktails on the main road and then head to the Codfather for dinner.  Open daily for lunch and dinner.  37 The Drive Camps Bay (behind the Pick n’Pay on the main rd).  Tel +27 (0)21 438 0782/3   (Pam’s favourite for Camps Bay!) Note – they tried doing split seatings last summer and this made a lot of clients unhappy and many felt they were being rushed.  It will be interesting to see if they do the same again this summer or whether the feedback and annoyance of their customers will have reached them.
  2. On the beach front – well…… – high rentals – so the food does not have to be brilliant as they have the view!  Some ideas for dinner with a view:
    • Mantra – we enjoyed our dinner here – great for a light no frills dinner.   If you book near the window the views are wonderful of the sunset.
    • Tigers Milk – just opened – a chain – they are a meat and pizza spot and if they stay consistent – then the food should be good!
    • Bilboa – looks lovely – we still have not tried it – but getting good reports!
  3. The Bungalow – close to Camps Bay – we love the ambiance of this spot for sundowner drinks and it makes for a wonderful lunch or dinner spot – note it is not a foodie spot – this is all about feeling like you are on a summer holiday.   It is vibey and fun and one of our favourites for summer.

SOUTHERN SUBURBS, CONSTANTIA & HOUT BAY  (15 to 25 minutes drive from the city centre)

  1. La Colombe is one of the top fine dining restaurants in the country and has been for many years – despite changes in the chef’s along the way, they have managed to keep standards extremely high.  Franc Dangereaux headed off to open The Foodbarn, Luke Dale Roberts opened The Test Kitchen, and Scot Kirton was then appointed the new executive chef in Sept 2010 (& is still at the helm 2014). At the end of 2014 the restaurant moved from Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate to Silvermist Mountain Lodge in Hout Bay.  The restaurant also changed ownership – while retaining the same team.     Note that as it is rated one of our top restaurants in the country it is always adviseable to put your booking in place well in advance! Verdict – I love the new location and had one of my best meals of the year here in May 2015.   I would highly recommend La Colombe – great venue, amazing food, great creativity and presentation and friendly warm service……….combined with an awesome view over Hout Bay.  Absolutely awesome!!! Cuisine: Fine Dining fusion of French & Asian flavours. Location: Silvermist Mountain Lodge, Constantia Nek, Hout Bay (021) 795 012  Open 7 days a week (but closed on Sunday nights during winter).  Cost: $$$$
  2. Foxcroft – wonderful sister restaurant of La Colombe.   Also fine dining – but more scaled down then La Colombe.   Setting more casual in a small shopping centre.  Great chefs and well worth booking.   We loved our meal here!  Cost: $$$
  3. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia – this one is awesome and best for lunch as it has a magnificent view of the Constantia winelands below.    Same formula – 8 dishes between two people.   A complete tasting journey.   Note one can book for this one!  And one MUST book as it is extremely popular!
  4. Cheyne’s in Hout Bay opened May 2013 in Hout Bay – this is a wonderful bistro style restaurant that has been opened by a very talented local Cape Town chef Cheyne Morrisby, who had a loyal following with his last intimate restaurant in Cape Town city bowl. The decor is simple & gorgeous. It has expanded to seat around 40 people per sitting. The focus of the food is Pacific rim ………lots of Asian flavours when we visited. I loved the fact that he popped out of the kitchen to come and chat to the guests. This is a foodie treat and is well worth a trip to Hout Bay! Location: next to Caltex garage in Hout Bay Main Road. To book call 079 067 4919. . Open Tuesday – Sunday Lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner. Hout Bay is about 45 minutes to an hour from the city.
  5. Myoga – Top chef Mike Basset (of Ginja restaurant fame) opened up Myoga to high accolades.  This remains one of Cape Town’s top fine dining experiences and is a must for anyone staying out in the Southern Suburbs.  Tip – it is located in the beautiful and historical Vineyard Hotel – so plan to go early and enjoy a drink on the terrace in the beautiful gardens. Décor: Contemporary, while being understated.  Location: Vineyard Hotel, 60 Colinton Rd, Newlands.  Note that this is Southern Suburbs and as such is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the city in non-peak traffic times.  Tel: +27-21 6574545
  6. SIXTEEN82 Bistro on Steenberg Wine Estate – is a delightful lunch spot to try while you are in the Constantia wine region.  The Bistro is located just off the tasting room area for the Steenberg Winery.  Steenberg are famous in South Africa for producing some of our best sauvignon blanc wines and a great champagne (called MCC in South Africa).  The décor is contemporary and gorgeous and the cuisine is bistro like in style while remaining highly innovative – a treat for foodies.  I have now eaten here many times and each experience is better then the last.  This is a lovely setting to meet up with friends, have lunch and simply spend the whole afternoon enjoying a few bottles of wine.  The food is well priced and represents fair value for money in my opinion. Tip – head here in the later afternoon for a bottle of bubbles and oysters from their raw bar – they also serve tapas in the late afternoon.  In my opinion this restaurant offers good value for money and is reasonably priced for the quality it offers…….ie it is not too expensive! Open daily for breakfast, lunch and late afternoon snacks!  Tel: +27 21 713-2211 Price $$ – $$$
  7. Constantia Glen Wine Estate – this is an absolute favourite for a lighter lunch with friends.  The winery is located on top of a mountain in Constantia and boasts gob smacking views of the valley and the vines below.  They do charcuterie & cheese platters and a lovely rustic salad – simply order a few of each to share with everyone and accompany it with one of their fabulous wines.  Tip – you must book.  Tip 2 – put your order in and ask at the same time to do a wine tasting for the table – this way you will all know what your favourite wine is!  Tip 3 – you can buy bottles of wine there on a Sunday to take home! Tel: + 27 (0)217955639, Email functions@constantiaglen.com,
    Open daily from 10h00 – 17h00.
  8. Jonkershuis on Groot Constantia Estate – is a favourite of mine for  breakfast on the weekend – the setting is fantastic.  On weekends it is popular and so it pays to make a booking.  Weather dependent, there is nothing nicer then booking to sit under the old oak trees.  From here on a clear day you can see the sprawl of the Constantia vines, the distant view of Muizenberg and also a glimmer of False bay in the distance.      This is a great spot to bring friends with kids – there is loads of space for them to run around!  Closed Sunday night – open the rest of week. Tel: 021 794 6255  
  9. Chapman’s Peak Hotel – is an institution for the best deep fried calamari in Cape Town.  This spot is simple, simple decor, simply prepared food served in a pan with chips.  We go for the calamari, the great view and to simply relax for the afternoon.  It is a local favourite.  It is casual and has no frills!!  Tel+27 (0) 21 790 1036.  Location – just before you go onto Chapman’s Peak Drive.

PENINSULA 

  1. Harbour House – This is an absolute favourite of mine as this restaurant boasts the best sea view.  When booking try and get a table on the small side of the restaurant (the old part)…..then ask for a table in front of the windows – if you get one of these tables – stay for the entire afternoon.  The Harbour House Restaurant is perched above the Kalk Bay community fishing harbour – so the fish of the day – is excellent and of course – extremely fresh!  Check out the chalk boards for what the catch of the day is and how the chef is preparing it.  My recommendation would be to sample what they do best – fish!   Other favourites are – The Tian of Prawns and the masala dusted calamari.   This is the most delicious calarmari in Cape Town.   It melts in your mouth! (I would order a main course portion of the calamari to share as a starter!  That way you can have the fish as a main!)  Booking required during busy times and on weekends.   Note that they book on a split seating – 12h00 or 14h30.   Tel +27-21-788-4133. Open daily for lunch & dinner. Location Kalk Bay Harbour – above Live Bait Restaurant.  Click here to view a wonderful You Tube video on the fishing harbour of Kalk Bay and Harbour House restaurant
  2. Olympia Cafe One of the Cape’s best kept secrets.  If you looked through the window you would walk right on past.  Very little money has been spent on decor or on the kitchen.  It is scruffy.   The chef prepares your food on a little gas stove behind the counter.  The imaginative Mediterranean menu changes daily with offerings chalked up on the wall. Each menu is dependant on what is fresh on the day and on what the Chefs are in the mood to prepare.  Over the years a few dishes have stayed on the menu and can be found there on most days.   The mussels rock – do not leave without trying the mussels!  Fish – it is across the road from the harbour – the fish is some of the freshest in Cape Town – and they are famous for their tuna …………………and their seafood pasta is a tomato base Seafood Marinara that I dream about.   You cannot go wrong – everything is delicious on their menu!  The restaurant has its own bakery and supplies the best bread, croissants and pastries in the Cape.  Be sure to take a loaf of the ciabatta bread home with you – I am addicted! Note: No booking are allowed. If the restaurant is full on arrival, write your name on the chalk board next to the door immediately. The next table that becomes available will be given to the next person on the list next to the door.  134 Main Rd, Kalk Bay. Tel: +27-21-788-6396  Note: This is about a 45 minute drive from the city centre. NOTE- the Olympia cafe has opened a deli around the corner from the restaurant next to the car park.  It is also good to visit if you simply wish to go and have a picnic in the Kalk Bay Harbour.
  3. The Foodbarn – Franck Dangereux split the Foodbarn into two shops – the Foodbarn Restaurant offers a fine dining experience and the Foodbarn Deli still offers the farm store produce such as delicious breads and deli items, as well as a lighter eating experience.  The deli is a fabulous spot to have coffees, eat pastries and read the weekend newspaper.  The payoff line for the FOODBARN is “100% PASSION     HANDMADE    REAL FOOD” This philosophy accurately summed up all of our eating experiences here.  The Foodbarn Deli does not take bookings.    Bookings are recommended for the fine dining restaurant, no bookings are taken for the Deli restaurant.  Franck has lived in the Cape for more then 20 years.  He is a very well respected Chef and has his fine dining restaurant is located in an old barn.   It is beautifully decorated.   It has a lovely relaxed country vibe.   Franck has a cult groupie foodie following.    This is well worth including if you find yourself in the peninsula region or include it as part of your day out exploring the Cape Point region.
    Tuna tartare

    Tel +27-21-789-1390. Note that the restaurant is only open for lunch on Sunday and Monday and is open for lunch & dinner from Tues to Sat.  TIP – about 100m up the road you will find Cape Point Vineyards – which is a fantastic vineyard – so stop for a tasting – and also great for picnics in summer!

  4. Live Bait – Kalk Bay Harbour – located just below the Harbour House.  It is relaxed and laid back with waves crashing along the side of the restaurant.  This has rapidly become one of our favourite spots for Sushi and great bottles of white wine.  The restaurants focus is on fresh fish which comes in daily from the local harbour next to it.  It is reasonably priced and strongly recommended for an afternoon of relaxing, feasting on fresh fish, drinking champers and watching the waves with a group of friends.  Open daily from 08h30 – 22h00. Booking recommended.  Tel +27-21-788-5755 (Note that new Live Bait’s have been opened as it has been sold – however the best food is still to be found at the mother branches – which are Harbour House & Live Bait in Kalk Bay!)
  5. Cape to Cuba – Visit for the mind blowing awesome Cuban decor.  The restaurant is literally stuffed with kitsch items that somehow blend together to create the most amazing ambiance.  Enjoy lunch or dinner under giant chandeliers with the ocean alongside you and fantastic views of the harbour.  The food is however secondary to the decor……..regardless of the quality of the food, the experience is worth every moment spent here. Tel +27-21-788-1566  (Location: Peninsula, Kalk Bay) Cape to Cuba Kalk Bay also has a funky Cuban style beach bar which is fun to visit for drinks in the early evening or on a Sat/Sun afternoon.  The bar seems to be taking over from the restaurant which has now shrunk to half its original size.  I love the spot, the setting and the decor – although the bars decor is looking a little scruffy!