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 that the hottest restaurant in Cape Town is still The Test Kitchen with Luke Dale Roberts in Woodstock. The new online booking system is causing a huge amount of frustration amoung those who wish to book. They now open bookings on the 1st of the month at 08h30 for the next two months. As such if you live overseas you need to set your alarm to book as by 9am it is all booked out. You also need to pay a deposit – this has proved problematic as it does not always work from overseas. So if you are a hardened foodie – click here to go through to their booking site. Chef Luke Dale Roberts also owns The Pot Luck Club -this one is also an absolute foodie favorite – so make sure you book it – it is also an absolute favorite of mine – sexy venue on top of an old flour storage tower – food – Asian influenced tapas – an absolute foodie journey from heaven. Make sure you do not miss The Canteen at the Chef’s Warehouse in Bree Street. No bookings are taken here – so head there by latest 6pm (last orders are taken at 8pm!). The Chefs Warehouse is still my favorite foodie spot in Cape Town. The concept is 8 small dishes for two people to share and the menu changes every day. There is no choice – so skip this if you have foodie restrictions! For more options on chilled local favourites click here and for New Restaurants in Cape Town click here
CITY & close surrounds:
- Chefs Warehouse – 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 (R620 for two people)- and a complete 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. (Update Jan 2017 – Chef Liam has just launched two new fabulous restaurants – Thali and Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia. See New Restaurants in Cape Town)
- Bistro Bouchon– One of my favourite spots in Cape Town! It 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 awasrded 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: Dorrance Winery offers tastings of their wines during the day – so pop in for a tasting if you are in the city! Tip 2 – 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! Tip 3 – Don’t arrive without a booking – they have been hugely popular since they launched a year ago! Address – 95 Hout Street, City Bowl
- Bistrot Bizerca – lovely French style bistro nestled in one of the oldest parts of Cape Town. This is a fantastic spot for summer as they have taken over the courtyard location that Caveau had in the city. This is well worth booking in advance as it is a fun culinary experience. It is owned by a French chef (Laurent) who is married to a South African girl (Cyrillia) – together they make a strong team and have become a firm local favourite. Note you must book as they are extremely popular. NB they have moved to: Heritage Square, 98 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town. Reservations: +27 (0)21 423 8888 Open: Monday-Friday for lunch & dinner. Open on Sat for dinner only. Price rating: $$$
- Charango – A gorgeous funkily decorated upmarket Peruvian inspired grill on the funky and hip Bree Street. I love the decor and the inclusion of a gorgeous wall mural by one of South Africa’s top street artists – Faith47. The menu has been created by the talented Kieran Whyte, and offers some delicious options that indeed to offer a wonderful taste journey – your waiter takes you through all the options. I found the service really good and there were enough options to suit those with adventurous and unadventurous palates! The restaurant is sexy, slick, beautiful and a definite great serious foodie addition to the strip. Note this one is loud & vibey. 114 Bree Street. Tel 021 422 0757
- The Round House – (Cape Town – en route to Camps Bay) – is an exciting addition to Cape Town’s fine dining restaurant scene and is located in a historic building dating back to 1786. In the 1800’s it was used as the hunting lodge of Lord Charles Somerset. Now it is home to a fine dining establishment and chef Eric Bulpitt, who worked under top South African chefs Bruce Robertson and George Jardine. In my opinion The Round House offers the best service in Cape Town and creates a wonderful ambiance in a histroical setting. In short, I like it a lot! For wine lovers, the wine list is impressive and they will happily pair each course with a recommended wine. Great fun. Price rating: $$$$ Address: Round House Rd, just Kloof Rd as you are coming down from the top of the mountain, Camps Bay. Tel 021 438 4347 . Open Wed – Sun for lunch, Wed – Sat for dinner.
- The Round House Rumbullion – This is a summer restaurant that operates at The Round House. ‘Rumbullion’ is an archaic English term for a riotous good time, and that is exactly the atmosphere that is recreated in this incredible outdoor setting, albeit with a more relaxed feel. It is a completely different concept then the “fine dining” Round House and it is all about simplicity and lighter meals which have a bit of a picnic feel as they are simply served at simple wooden tables outside on the lawns with the view. As such the spot is completely weather dependent. It has become one of our favourite summer venues for chilling out. The breakfasts are incredible and are a worthy foodie treat! Lunches are a treat as they are like a picnic – you chose the things you want and they bring them with hot bread! Delightful! Nothing beats booking a table for a Friday sundowners at 5pm and sitting with a panoramic view of the 12 Apostles and Clifton enjoying a glass or two of champers followed by their delicious pizzas. On Friday early evenings they have a really good band that plays – which just adds to the experience. Make sure you book to get a table – but also make sure you check the weather forecast for Cape Town before you book! Operates from: 1 October – 30 April. Breakfast (Friday – Sunday 09h00 – 11h30). Lunch (Tuesday – Sunday 12h00 – 16h00). Pizzas & sundowners (Tuesday – Saturday 16h00 – sunset and Sunday 16h00 – 18h00) Note the sundowners are really popular – book in advance to avoid disappointment. Price rating: $
- 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. Pam’s favourites: the seared tuna and the pork neck. This restaruant is still fantastic and is one of my favourites. Note they also own Carne – the fabulous funky meat specialist restaurant just across the road from them. Address 95 Keerom Str, City. Tel: +27-21-422-0765 (to book 95 or Carne). Closed on Sundays. Price range $$ – $$$
- Carne – owned by Giorgio Nava, the successful restaurateur and owner of the highly rated 95 Keerom Restaurant. Carne is a northern Italian style steak house. Giorgia Nava has taken steak houses to a new height of glamour with this venture. The restaurant features a stylish bar upstairs for drinks before dinner, before you descend into the basement area for dinner. This room has funky plastic transparent chairs and is just simple and chic. The evening starts with a very delicious bread basket. We followed the bread with a shared portion of the lamb shoulder ravioli – which was superb. The meat for the main course was brought out raw on a platter in all of its glory. The waiter explained the different cuts and that all of the meat was dry aged. We opted for the T-Bone served as it is in Florence, ie a huge T-Bone that they slice and serve on two platters. It was the best steak I have had for years. I would highly recommend Carne. However, there are no options for vegetarians on the menu – so only take meat -loving friends with you! My recommendation is to go at night – it is more of a dinner venue then a lunch spot, in my opinion! Price: $$ – $$$ Location of Carne: Cape Town city centre – top of town. Tel: +27-21-424-3460. 70 Keerom Street, City Bowl (Note – I am now in love with their new 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. Perfect for summer. The Keerom Carne is perfect for winter!)
- The Butcher Shop and Grill has just opened in Greenpoint – next to Sotano on the seafront. This is the Joburg steak house guys from Sandton Square. Great meat – well prepared and well aged. I would highly 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. This is more of an evening spot as the interiors are dark and sultry. 125 Beach Road, Mouille point, Cape Town
Tel +2721 434 0813 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 excellent (most other dishes are mediocre!). Note that the pizza’s are R200 a pizza – but they are large enough to feed 3 people. Of note is the parma ham pizza which is delicious. So, book for lunch or dinner – but whatever you do – make sure you make a booking as it is the new favourite place for the locals to visit (note you can go for drinks without booking). Of interest is that you can simply text them your booking! Granger Bay Road, off Beach Road, Granger Bay, Cape Town. Tel+27 (0)21 4250551 For Reservations: Email: email@example.com or sms: +27(0)72 586 2052 ( Note that it is not a “gourmet” restaurant – this one is all about a fabulous and relaxing and romantic setting. It is great fun for two or for a group of friends! Ps they don’t answer the phone – best to e-mail or text to book!) Price: $$ – $$$. Closed on Mondays and Sunday night
- Bukhara – Stylish North Indian restaurant with a great, well deserved following. Simply delicious high quality food. Note that this spot is quite pricey – but worth it! Update: They have opened a branch in the V&A Waterfront. Cost: $$$$. Tel: +27-21-424-0000 (Location: 33 Chruch Street, City Bowl). (My Indian clients tell me that it is the best Indian restaurant they have been to!)
- The Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel – A few years ago the Mount Nelson opened the Planet Bar which is a champagne bar with fun modern decor – including a ceiling with stars that light up. This has become a favourite for drinks on a Friday among the Capetonians (still is in summer). The Planet theme was extended to the restaurant on the property. Chef Rudi Liebenberg has been impressing the “foodies” in Cape Town with his menu. You can either opt for the a la carte or for the Journey Menu – which is a 6 course tasting menu designed around local fresh produce that is available. This is a fine dining restaurant and would be recommended for those wishing to experience Cape Town’s top fine dining restaurants. Price: $$$$ Open daily evenings only. Tel no +27 (0)21 483 1000. Mount Nelson Hotel. 76 Orange Street. (Note for foodies: The Mount Nelson is famous for its High Tea which is served daily. Make sure you book to enjoy this during Summer.)
- Manna Epicure – This stylish all white pavement cafe is open for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast enjoy soft scrambled eggs with Norwegian salmon …….complemented by delicious freshly baked breads and freshly squeezed beetroot and ginger juice. For lunch or a mid afternoon snack pop in for an array of Tapas and a glass of chilled wine. UPDATE: Manna Epicure is now open for dinner and the menu is delicious! This spot will allow you to start relaxing into your holiday in Cape Town, while doing a little bit of local people watching! 151 Kloof Street. Tel +27-21-426-2413. Closed on Mondays.
- Headquarters (HQ) – This is a novel concept. There is only one dish on the menu – steak. It is a no option menu – you start with a salad with Parmesan shavings, followed by a sirloin steak served with skinny fries. Headquarters is a glamorous venue for an evening out in the city – but take care to tell your friends that it is a “no choice” menu! Note this is a trendy spot – people come to be seen and to check out the scene. Location of Headquarters: Heritage Square, 100 Shortmarket Street (corner Shortmarket and Buitengracht Street) Tel no +27-21-4246373. Note that this restaurant has become the “in” spot on a Friday night for the 30 something crowd to meet for drinks – so if you are looking for a quiet evening – do not book here! (Note that they do have a mushroom option for vegetarians.) Price: $$$
- Hallelujah – Funky quirky hole in the wall with Asian inspired dishes – which do include noodley delights and awe inspiring steamed buns! But not exclusively so! You need to book as the place is so small. Every morsel is a taste sensation and to experience the menu properly it is fun to share all the dishes here. Kloof Nek Rd (just above the city) 079 839 2505 firstname.lastname@example.org Note: You can only book a table for 4 or 6 people – if you are 2 people – simply rock up and try for space at the counter! Open Wed – Sat for dinner only!
- Black Sheep – This is a great addition to Cape Town – finally 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. 104 Kloof Street Tel no+27 (021) 426 2661 / 426 2753
- 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. +27 21 418 7655 Note closed on Sundays and close early evening on a Monday – otherwise open until 10pm weekdays and 11pm Saturday night.
- Bocca – sister restaurant of Burrata in Woodstock – this brand new spot aims to be more chilled then the sister restaurant – as such it offers a more chilled menu ……..Italian style thin pizza’s baked in an oven brought in from Naples and placed on the pavement. Comboed with craft beer. I have now been twice try it out – the launch menu is much wider then just pizza’s! On the 1st visit I had the pizza, which was unusual and interesting and I loved it! The bases differ in consistency from any I have ever had – they are thin – but not crisp. It was delicious. The pizza’s offer great value for money, our starter however did not. We had two bruchetta to start with beans – literally two slices of bread – and for what it was it was pricey! On occasion two I had the pasta with Italian sausage. Small small portion flat on a dinner plate – pricey and I was still hungry! To contrast the portion of pork belly was extremely large and well priced – I reckon that having that to share with some of their salads would be a great way to go! It was delicious! Verdict: Great vibey spot, wait a few months as it is the “in” spot for Cape Town, awesome decor and well worth visiting. Note they do NOT take bookings – arrive – put your name down and have a drink at the bar Location – corner Bree and Wale Street. Tel no 021 422-0188 Open Mon – Sat lunch and dinner.
- Wakame – has closed down for about 18 months – the current building is being demolished and they will reopen in the new building. Closed April 2014
CAPE TOWN TRADITIONAL AFRICAN CUISINE RESTAURANTS and EXPERIENCES:
CAPE TOWN CITY WINE BARS
………they feel like an endangered species as quite a few have shut down……..here is the couple of artisan wine bars that remain:
- Chalk & Cork – This wine bar in a fabulous addition to Cape Town! They have an interesting combo of local boutique wines on the menu (which change regularly), a yummy range of delicious tapas which are aimed at sharing, as well as pizza’s as they inherited a pizza oven when they took the spot. We love Chalk & Cork – great wine knowledge, passion, delicious tapas, great thin based pizza and a fabulous courtyard for summer. An addition of a really good chef means that their pics on Instagram alone make them worth stalking! Location: 51 Kloof Street (just above the city). Open Mon – Wed 9am – 6pm, Wed – Sat 9am – 10pm. Closed Sundays. Tel+27 (0)21 422 5822 (Note you can book for inside – the outside courtyard does not take bookings.
- Publik – Truly a little wine gem – these guys source wines from smaller less known producers and change their tasting wine list pretty much weekly. It is a great opportunity to try interesting wines – and one can even order the ones one likes from them! They have now combined three businesses into one space – Ash a great new meat restaurant, Franky Fenner who supplies the meat to Ash and Publik who supplies the wine for the restaurant. There is however still space to simply go and have a glass of wine and a snack there. Make sure you chat to the barmen – as they make the wine come alive! 81 Church Street (just off Bree and Heritage Square)
- Love Thy NeighbourLove Thy Neighbour (formerly known as & Union & then renamed as Weinhuis & Biergarten). This is a great little quirky spot where you can try lesser known boutique wines and enjoy craft beer. In addition they have quirky delicious light meals and snacks (the dishes now have a Greek focus – as per the old formula – simple food – the flavours are however insanely good and there is a strong foodie following!). Simply arrive and join one of the tables outside. Note you cannot book – you simply arrive! This is a great spot to come and relax and to meet locals as you end up sharing tables. Most of the seating space is outdoors – so to me this is an ideal summer spot! 110 Bree Street – City bowl -021 422 2770 Closed Sun & Mon. Open: Tues – Saturday. I can’t find a website or Facebook page!
- Sotano – this is a fabulous little wine bar next to the sea! It was started by one of the guys who owned Caveau which was the best wine bar in Cape Town (RIP Caveau!). The biggest drawcard of Sotano is its location right next to the sea in Greenpoint. It is a stylish wine and Mediterranean tapas bar. This is a great spot to meet up with friends or for a drink before dinner. It gets a big thumbs up from me – it is an awesome spot to meet up with friends for a catch up – breakfast or lunch! Open daily. Address 121 Beach Rd, Greenpoint. Tel no: +27-21-433-1757.
- Belthazar at the V&A Waterfront – ok so this is not technically a wine bar – but I know wino’s will check this section too! Belthazar is a wine & steak restaurant – they boast the largest selection of wine by the glass in the Southern hemisphere. So, out of meal times, it is worth grabbing a table and continuing your wine journey if you are in the Waterfront! Tip: Call for the sommelier – the wine list is long and daunting!
- La Boheme – this is a fabulous little bistro in Seapoint that offers seriously fun bistro style food at a great price and has a fabulously interesting wine menu that allows you to try lesser known wines. Note that this is a lovely spot for sitting outside in the summer on the pavement. It has a lovely vibe and is always busy as the food is well priced and really delicious!
WOODSTOCK (note this is only about 15 minutes by taxi from the city)
This seems to be the new explosive spot for fab restaurants in Cape Town – so it is now getting its own category!
- 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 restaurants 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 imaginitive dishes. The menu consists of tasting menus with a variety of options to chose from – note that with tasty inbetween tidbits – this is an entire foodie journey and it takes time! The kitchen is open plan and Luke plans to spend half the week creating new dishes and the rest of the week presenting them to the guests! Great fun to be on the receiving end of his creativity. Note that it is extremely difficult to get bookings -from what I can figure out – you have to book on the 1st of the month two months before going. The system is a nightmare and they require a deposit. Tel: +27 (021)-4472337. Address: Unit 104A, Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert road, Woodstock, Cape Town Lunch: 12:30pm – 2:30pm (lighter menu for lunches), Tuesday to Saturday. Dinner: 7:30pm – 8:30pm, Wednesday to Saturday (Note that the lunch menu is a lighter menu – so book for dinner if you are a hardened foodie!)
- 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 – also note that they have a counter – so if there are just two of you and you turn up (even when they say they are full) – chances are very high that you will get a spot at the counter (Note that the back up plan can be Burrata if you don’t get in – it is in the same complex and it is brilliant!). Don’t underestimate the popularity of this spot – try and make a booking well in advance. 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 Tues to Sat 6 – 10pm and also open Saturday lunch. Note they are doing split bookings – 18h30 or 20h30. Note they are now 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 – got to book two months before your booking date – not as hard to get into. For back up inc case you have problems booking here is their email address – email@example.com or call 021 447 0804 or 021 447 1505 Cost: $$
- 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). He has appointed Annemarie Steenkamp (ex Le Quartier Franscais for 5 years) as head chef. 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! 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. Tel +27-21 447 6505. The Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock
- The Kitchen in Woodstock – how can you not head through here to try the love sandwich and salads enjoyed by Michelle Obama on her visit to Cape Town?? On a serious note – if you are into funky delicious salads or a fanatstically fun sandwich called the Love Sandwich, a quirky setting and a focus on delicious freshness – you have to head to this spot. Note if you get there after 12h30 – you will have to join the queue of creative people from the “hood” queing out of the door – so be warned get there by 11h45 to get a spot to sit and have one of the most delicious salad meals of your life! Yes – I am serious I love it there! To read a fantastic blog about Michelle Obama visiting this spot – click here. Address: 111 Sir Lowry Rd. No bookings taken. Weekdays only 08h30 – 16h30 (note that if you go in the afternoon there will be very little food left!) Cost: $ (Note Karen Dudley has now opened The Dining Room next door to the Kitchen – here you can sit down and relax at lunchtime and they are open for dinner one night a week – Thursday! We loved our dinner there – it feels like you are in Grand Ma’s home using her odds and ends of old china and cutlery – quirky and great fun!!
- The Dining Room – This is Karen Dudley of The Kitchen’s new restaurant. Here there are no options – simply arrive for breakfast or lunch (Mon – Fri) or Dinner (Thursday night) and allow her to feed you in a grand old dining room space. Karen Dudley is the culinary goddess to everything that is fresh and delicious – I loved our visit here! The decor is quirky, it feels like you are using Granny’s crockery and are dining in a large home! Verdict: Fabulous and intimate! Well worth booking! 117 Sir Lowry Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0) 82 710 5824
- 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! Also great for people watching! Get there early – by latest 9am!
- 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 chef. To read more on this and see some pics check out my blog on them. Open for lunch for a simple meal of the day, open for coffee anytime during the day and open for dinner everyday except Sunday. Verdict: We loved our visit! 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 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 neighborhood after Woodstock
- CRAFT BEER SPOTS IN WOODSTOCK
- The Local Grill and The Woodstock Brewery – This is a great combo of a craft brewery and a great steak house in a fabulously renovated building in Woodstock (fringe area near the city). Tip: you can pre-book for a brewery tour and a kitchen tour to see where the meat comes from and hear about how they age the meat. Contact Andre who owns the Brewery and has a share in the Local Grill to organize your tours! 252 Albert Rd, Woodstock. Tel no 021-447 0934
- The Taproom at Devils Peak Brewery – is there “in brewery” restaurant. I loved our visit. This is a chilled out pub atmosphere. Some of the dishes on offer are chef David Walker’s unique bite-sized Cheese Burger, his legendary Pulled Pork Sandwich, Prawn Pasta, Reubens Sandwich, Vegetarian Pizza and Beer-battered Fish and Chips. They are also doing a 5 beer food pairing for a R100 that looks like great fun plus a beer tasting line up where you can taste small amounts of all of the beers. My feeling is that the food is more suited to a lunch then to a dinner. The Tap Room restaurant is inside the working brewery. When you book for a meal, you can also book for a tour of the brewery. Hours: Tue-Sat, 12 til 10 (kitchen), Sat 11-6 Address: 95 Durham Ave, Salt River Phone:+27 21 200 5818
VICTORIA & ALFRED WATERFRONT (known as the V&A by locals!)
- Harbour House V&A Waterfront – opened in October 2011 in the 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 the new spot in the Waterfront. This is now my new favourite restaurant in the Waterfront – we have spent many many many hours on the roof here over Xmas. It boasts the best location in the Waterfront – 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. The owner Michael certainly has great taste!! The food is as good as Kalk Bay (although it is currently getting mixed reviews Nov 2014) – the service is fab too – the setting is also great. 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: $$$
- 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 $$
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Meloncino – Take the combination of an Italian co-owner, 3 Italian chefs, a policy of making everything they can from scratch (pasta, sauces, pizza), importing only the best ingredients from Italy and you have a truly great Italian experience. Add to the combination slick contemporary decor, a warm Italian host who is a former Italian Diplomat (Alberto di Gristomo) and very passionate well trained staff and you have a winning combination. It is well worth making a booking to experience this spot – check out my blog on this restaurant. Location: V&A Waterfront – upstairs in the main mall boasting a view of the harbour area. Tel +27 21 419 5558
- Panama Jacks – This is located in the working part of the harbour and cannot be accessed by foot. As such if you wish to head through to this rustic seafood restaurant you need to take a taxi to get there. 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
- 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 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:
- 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.
- The Grand –boasts a great setting right across from the ocean. It is the perfect spot to roll from the beach onto cocktails and onto a relaxing dinner. The décor strikes me as slightly colonial in nature. The setting is lovely and the food is pretty good – so this is a good bet for a venue along the strip. Prices are on the higher end of the spectrum. Note that during the day they are doing the menu of the Sand Bar that was next door – as such it is a fabulously reasonably priced option for breakfast and lunch. We love the staff there – they make us feel really special and take wonderful care of us – as such this is one of the biggest drawcards for us to visit this spot! 35 Victoria Rd, Camps Bay. Tel: +27 21 438 4253 Closed on Mondays
- Blues Beach House – Has been relaunched in a smaller venue and the decor has been given a revamp. I loved our last meal there – it is vibey – try and book next to the window if you book in advance. Lovely location being upstairs – so book to be there for sunset! To book: 021 438 2040 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTHERN SUBURBS, CONSTANTIA & HOUT BAY (15 to 25 minutes drive from the city centre)
- La Colombe – is one of the top fine dining restaruants 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: $$$$
- River Cafe at Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate – has closed down. It has been replaced by Open Door Restaurant – see under New Restaurants in Cape Town
- Myoga – Top chef Mike Basset (of Ginja restaurant fame) opened up Myoga to high accolades. This remains one of Cape Town’s top fine dining experiences and is a must for anyone staying out in the Southern Suburbs. Tip – it is located in the beautiful and historical Vineyard Hotel – so plan to go early and enjoy a drink on the terrace in the beautiful gardens. Décor: Contemporary, while being understated. Location: Vineyard Hotel, 60 Colinton Rd, Newlands. Note that this is Southern Suburbs and as such is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the city in non-peak traffic times. Tel: +27-21 6574545
- SIXTEEN82 Bistro on Steenberg Wine Estate – is a delightful lunch spot to try while you are in the Constantia wine region. The Bistro is located just off the tasting room area for the Steenberg Winery. Steenberg are famous in South Africa for producing some of our best sauvignon blanc wines and a great champagne (called MCC in South Africa). The décor is contemporary and gorgeous and the cuisine is bistro like in style while remaining highly innovative – a treat for foodies. I have now eaten here many times and each experience is better then the last. This is a lovely setting to meet up with friends, have lunch and simply spend the whole afternoon enjoying a few bottles of wine. The food is well priced and represents fair value for money in my opinion. Tip – head here in the later afternoon for a bottle of bubbles and oysters from their raw bar – they also serve tapas in the late afternoon. In my opinion this restaurant offers good value for money and is reasonably priced for the quality it offers…….ie it is not too expensive! Open daily for breakfast, lunch and late afternoon snacks! Tel: +27 21 713-2211 Price $$ – $$$
- 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 email@example.com,
Open daily from 10h00 – 17h00.
- 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
- Chapman’s Peak Hotel Restaurant – 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.
- 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.
- The Flagship – celebrating the Art of Table d’ Hôte – yes – book to dine in one of South Africa’s top chefs, Duncan Doherty’s home in Simons Town, Cape Town. Note that technically this is not a restaurant – it is an opportunity to join him for lunch in his home, and is restricted to 16 people per day. Note that the drive is about one hour from the city of Cape Town area and you need to be there by 1pm sharp or do not expect to be served! Open Daily for lunch. To book head onto his website which now has live availability. Check your dates and simply book online. Address: 15 Erica Road, Murdock Valley South, Simon’s Town. Please make sure you advise dietary requirements on booking and if you do not like seafood – this experience is not for you! Telephone: +27 21 786 1700 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tip – the lunch is 5 courses paired with 5 wines – so it would be a good idea to book to stay the night at The Flagship, they have 4 rooms available for booking. *** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR FOODIES BY PAM #topdiningexperiencescapetown NOTE THE FLAGSHIP IS CLOSING DOWN AT THE END OF APRIL 2016.
- 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 is in the community fishing harbour – so the fish of the day – is excellent and of course – extremely fresh! Check out the chalk boards for what the fish of the day is and how the chef is preparing it. My recommendation would be to sample what they do best – fish! Booking required during busy times. However, one can come late and enjoy the view of the harbour from the lounge while you wait for a table. 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
- Olympia Cafe – One of the Cape’s best kept secrets. If you looked through the window you would walk right on past. Very little has been spent on decor or the kitchen. 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 Bernie is in the mood to prepare. 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 offered. 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. It is also good to visit if you simply wish to go and have a picnic in the Kalk Bay Harbour.
- The Foodbarn – Franck Dangereux has spread his wings and 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. Relaxed child-friendly outdoor setting, friendly service, emphasis on fresh and innovative dishes ……….which was outstandingly delicious. Note that the restaurant is right next to the village kids play area – so if you are into fine dining, but have kids with you – this is an ideal spot to book. Bookings are recommended for the fine dining restaurant, no bookings are taken for the Deli restaurant. Tel +27-21-789-1390. www.thefoodbarn.co.za Note that the restaruant 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.
- Live Bait – Kalk Bay Harbour – located just below the Harbour House (& has the same owner). 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 with a group of friends. Open daily from 08h30 – 22h00. Booking recommended. Tel +27-21-788-5755
- Cape to Cuba – Visit for the mindblowingly 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!
SOME FUN MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN CAPE TOWN:
Mexican Restaurants – there seems to be a theme of opening authentic Mexican restaurants in the Cape. This has been great fun as I am advised that what we were offering previously was more “TexMex” and not a great reflection of a country that has diverse cuisine offerings. This trend was started with the opening of Cosecha Restaurant on Noble Hill Wine estate (Paarl Wine Region). This is a fabulous addition to the Mexican offering! Two new Mexican restaurants located in the central area of Cape Town are:
- El Burro – this is a wonderful new addition to our restaurant scene. It is intimate, chilled out and a fun spot to hang out for an evening with friends. Note this is not fine dining – it would best be summed up as a Mexican cafe. The food is interesting – not gourmet, but wonderfully delicious and fun. It is well priced, great for drinks, funky decor including cactuses, skeletons and fairy lights. It is a great place for a relaxing evening and has a great vibe. 81 main road, greenpoint, 1st floor exhibition building, Cape Town. Tel +27 (21) 433 2364 Open Mon-Sat 12pm-11:30pm
- San Julian – This is the first time I have actually been to a Mexican restaurant in this country that is owned by real Mexicans. The family that has opened this spot are really warm and lovely. You will want to go back just because of the fact that they are so warm and welcoming. As with any Mexican restaurant opening in this country they face the challenge of finding the correct ingredients. They quickly realized that they would need to be making their own fresh tortilla’s and most things from scratch as the basics were completely missing. We really enjoyed our evening here – they have done the decor themselves and you can see it is a mix of items from their home and their lives. The food was surprisingly a little bland, the margarita’s however were really good and we had an amazing evening here. I would rate this spot highly as a really friendly local where it is fun to experience something a little different. Tel: +27 (21) 419 4233. Address: 3 Rose Street, Between Waterkant and Strand Street, Greenpoint, Cape Town (Note it is just above Truth Coffee) Open evenings only Mon – Sat.