Some Quirky, some Fun and some favourite Local Cape Town Restaurants

Some Quirky, some Fun and some favourite Local Cape Town Restaurants

I have decided to seperate these restaurants from my main list as there are so many people who are looking for something a little bit more fun than a fine dining establishment – and Cape Town has loads of quirky, fun and eccentric places that are quite simply great spots to hang out!  Plus the local neighbourhood favourites are strongly supported in Cape Town………..so they are great fun for people watching!

  1. Publik & Franky Fenner Meat Market: Two businesses – one location – 81 Church Street, City Bowl (across from & Union) – one open during the day (FFMM) and the other open at night (Publik)! Oh and it gets odder! Franky Fenner is all about ethical sourcing of meat from producers. His journey of discovery into the source of our food started when he was a food blogger. It made him aware that we had a complete disconnect with knowing how our food made it to the table. He decided to start a journey to discover which estates actually offered ethical farming practices and got on the road to meet and inspect a large variety of producers. His journey lead him to start a company where he would have an online company selling only from the sources he had approved of. He initially opened a small hole in the wall shop which was supposed to be for collections – but people wanted to lurk and they wanted to buy. The Cape Town chefs also got on board certifying that they had meat sourced from FFMM! Great to see a small business with a great concept take off. As such they have moved to a bigger premises in town. Here you actually see your meat – literally it is hanging up in front of you. You can watch the block men breaking it down……..and you can stay for coffee and watch! Or you can have a meaty dish like carpaccio and watch! At night Publik takes over and it is a little artisan wine & craft beer bar – here you can sit next to the meat and enjoy quirky wines and charcuterie and cheese platters! #madlyquirky! Ps don’t take any vegetarian friends!
  2. Café Paradiso – was an old Cape Town favourite spot that was bought and funked up by the team who own Madame Zingara. This is well worth booking to go to on a warm evening or during the day. They have a wonderful front courtyard with lots of ambiance. The food is Mediterranean in style and really good. In addition they now cater for children during the day as the kids can be whisked off to go and make a ginger bread man or cupcakes or to simply watch the guys work in the bakery at the back. There are also colouring in books to keep them happy. As with all of Richard Griffith’s properties it has a slight air of eccentricity and fun. Food style: bistro casual & neighbourhood favourite lurking spot! Check out my blog on Cafe Paradiso for more info by clicking here. Price: $$ Cafe Paradiso Tel +27 (21) 4238653 bookings@cafeparadiso.co.za Address: 110 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town (location is just above the city). Closed on Mondays and Sunday night.
  3. The Butcher Man – not really a restaurant – more of a great butchery shop with a couple of tables where you can go and have a simple meaty lunch!  No bookings you just arrive.  They claim they do the best burger in Cape Town.  I popped in to try it and had the special of the day – which was the Wagyu meat burger – it was outstanding!! (Definition of Wagyu – refers to several breeds of cattle, the most desired of which is genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat)Note you can also head here for an early dinner – you can select your cut of meat or try the local boerewors and they will cook it with side dishes for you. Great meat – so great taste! Try it! Location: Somerset Road Greenpoint (Next door to Giovanni’s Deli)
  4. La Parada, Bree Street – has become a favourite spot for Capetonians to meet up for Spanish Tapas and after work drinks.   This is a fairly new venture by Michael Townsend who is the entrepreneur who developed the Harbour House restaurant, then Live Bait, Polana, Lucky fish and La Parada Kalk Bay.  The city La Parada is a lot bigger then the intimate Kalk bay spot – but is also wonderfully vibey and is decorated in a warm, relaxing, fun way with Spanish tidbits. They have recently appointed a new chef to head up the group who comes with experience of working at El Bulli in Spain…….as such it is time to return to see if the food offering has changed! (Sept 2014!) The wine list is quite limited – they seem to have stuck with reasonably priced wines that are great value for money – but I do think it is an opportunity lost in terms of not allowing for those who wish to spoil themselves with a great wine!  Some Spanish wines are now featured on their menu – which is fun for us locals who do not get much exposure to wines from other parts of the world.  We loved our last evening here,  we enjoyed a great selection of tapas and a bottle of wine………..and it is was one of the most reasonably priced dinners we had had in a long time!  This spot offers serious value for money.  There is no website yet – and it is likely there won’t be one ever!  These guys are not good at updating their websites!  Address: 107 Bree Street, Cape Town. Tel no: 021 426 0330.  Monday – Saturday 12h00 until late. Sunday 12h00 – 16h30.  Note there will be a nightclub opening in their basement next month.  This should turn into a party spot!
  5. 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 appears to seat about 25 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 021 790 3462.  Website still under construction.  Open Tuesday – Sunday Lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner.
  6. Freres Bistro is the home to the very talented chef Jason Whitehead.   This little authentic French Bistro is a great new addition to Cape Town.  It is intimate, warm, welcoming, has quirky staff (ask Victoria to show you her tattoos!), has an open plan kitchen where you can watch Jason plating the dishes under fabulous warm lights and offers wonderfully authentic French cuisine that offers honest delicious taste sensations.  I cannot rave enough about this little spot, the passion he puts into his food and the passion shown by his staff and manager/wine guru.  This is great for a fun night out with a group of friends.  Make sure you book in advance – they have a loyal following already and it is a small intimate venue.  Location: lower part of town near the waterfront.  Address: Redefine/Spearhead Building (next to Colcaccio’s),42 Hans Strijdom Avenue, Foreshore. Tel no:021 418 1609 Opening hours Tuesday – Friday: midday to 23h00, Saturday: 18h00 to 23h00.  reservations@freres.co.za
  7. The Cape Town Food Truck revolution – Over the last two years we have had a fair number of chefs opting to have a quirky food truck instead of a restaurant.  This has been a real journey for them to find spots that they can set up and sell as the local city regulations does not allow them to simply park and sell!  As such one mainly saw them at markets and festivals for some time.  Now they are managing to establish more destinations where you can find them on a regular basis.  On the First Thursday of the month they are now parked on Heritage Square on Bree Street – this is a great tie up with the First Thursdays art movement in Cape Town where all the galleries in the city are open at night – the city is really vibey and everyone is walking around the city and pausing for refreshment and snacks en route.   On a Monday and a Wednesday   night until end Feb, three food trucks will be parked in De Waal park – so bring the blankets, kids and dogs and have a Food Truck dinner.   For more info on where the Food Trucks are parked – follow them on Facebook.
  8. The Kitchen in Woodstock – make sure that you head through to THE KITCHEN 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!!
  9. Kloof Street House – this is a wonderful spot for a fun night out with a group of mates.  The decor is fun and ecclectic and almost feels a bit colonial.  It is in a gorgeous Victorian house on Kloof Street which lends an intimate atmosphere to the spot.  The food is fun, wonderfully presented and a really nice tasting journey.  On each of our visits we have ordered most of the menu and simply shared the dishes so that we can taste quite a few dishes.  I particularly enjoyed lots of the starters!  We had a variety of different levels of service – twice it was excellent – once it was mediocre and the waitress seemed to be untrained.  Perhaps just a little teething problem!  Overall – I love this spot and will return often! 30 Kloof Street.  Tel 021 423 4413.  Note it is open on a Monday night (which is a great option as most restaurants are closed in Cape Town on a Monday!), Tues to Sat 12h00 till late.  It is essential to book for the weekend. Ps – there is a lovely little bar here for a before dinner drink – or a later at night drink, plus a lovely courtyard for sitting outside in summer.
  10. The Dog’s Bollocks at the YARD– no frills gourmet burger bar in a garage – with attitude!  Read my Blog on my fab experience at the Dog’s Bollocks .  This is a quirky burger bar with some of the most delicious burgers in Cape Town.  Chef Nigel Wood has formed a partnership with a fab lady called Megan – she has added wonderful depth to the venture and they are now serving “hubcaps” for breakfast – a flat bread with funky breakfast fillings, funky sandwich style options for lunch (The Bitches Tits) and are still serving the burgers for dinner – the difference is that Megan has shrunk the burger a little and is adding less lettuce – now one can actually get your mouth around it!!   Address:   6 Roodehek Street Gardens, Mon – Sat 5pm – 10pm.  They have also opened a Deluxe coffee spot in the back of the same premises – with the most  fantastic artisanal roasted coffee at only R12 per cup of coffee – bargain – especially for what is such fabulous coffee! Note there is no website – but if you would like to follow them on Facebook you are in for a rude and quirky treat!  Following them is NOT for the fainthearted! TIP – you still need to try and be there by 5pm to put your NAME on the blackboard – note you simply need to write your name – so write it immediately if you plan to eat that night.   NB you will not eat that early – but you need to get your order on the black board or you will NOT get dinner!  You can simply relax and have drinks while you wait for your name to come up on the board!
  11. South China Dim Sum Bar – top of Long Street – this is an absolute treat!  The guys turn out authentic Sim Sum and Noodle dishes – the atmosphere is fun, quirky and no frills.  It is a great spot to meet up with friends.  Reasonably priced and the food is amazing, authentic and made with lots of love.  Read my blog on them for more details.  Note you do need to book as they have become very popular!!  289 Long Street. Call to book: 078 846 3656.  Email southchinadimsumbar@gmail.com.  Closed on Sunday & Monday nights.
  12. Clarke’s Dining – opened early 2012 and fab and funky – very much a cafe style spot that serves burgers.  The burgers are made from free range beef and are really good.  However, there is no variation and they do not have any chilli or chilli sauce – lucky for me a friend carries her own in her handbag – and let me tell you – it lifted the burger from good to supurb.  On my second visit I really missed the chilli! Drat – if I go back, I will need to remember to take some!  I loved the ambiance at the little shop – it is vibey and funky!   I love their blog  – click here!  133 Bree Street.  e-mail: info@manfood.co.za  +27 21 424 7648 Ps – this has also become a hang out at the bar for drinks! 
  13. Tamboers Winkel – this is a sweet tiny little place just off Kloof Street in the city.  It is warm and welcoming and really small – we just tried to go on a Sunday – but the one table – yes one large table and one smaller one and a bar counter were all full!  So we will simply have to try again.  Tamboers Winkel offers good wholesome country style cuisine.  I finally found a spot to sit – on the 3rd attempt!  This spot is tiny and only seats about 12 people – and most of you join a communal table!  We simply had the salads – which were yummy – but bizarrely served in a tea cup portion – yes literally you get a tea cup of salad – served in a tea cup!  Odd!  The sandwiches going past looked very very delicious – I will be returning to try the sandwiches soon! We recently popped in for dinner – they are now open in the evening from Wednesday to Friday.  We loved our gourmet burger.  The chicken pies going past us looked delicious as well and seemed to be extremely popular  3 De Lorenz Street Gardens Tel 072 368 3991
  14. Sababa – this is the perfect lunch spot for anyone who loves fresh salads and funky lebanese style dishes.  Each platter looks more delicious then the next – the concept is based mainly on people coming for take aways – so limited seating – but funky and quirky interior makes you want to stay and lurk.  You get to chose 3 salads and a meat  (eg delicious slices of fillet or spicy chicken etc) This has become a firm favourite of mine – the flavours in their dishes are insane.  Love it and loving it! It is well worth checking out.  Click through to their website to check out the delicious dishes.  231 Bree St. Cape Town – Tel (021) 424 7480 Note they are also in Seapoint – Shop 14, Piazza St. John, 395 Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town ~ Tel (021) 433 0570
  15. I love my laundry – this is a funky decor spot that you can (if you want to) also do your laundry.  Once again this is quirky and fun with fab decor.  They have kept it really simple – they do dim sum during the day and for drinks after work – so the current special is 8 pieces of dim sum and a coffee or glass of wine for R40.   They have also launched fondue nights on Thursdays – which is great fun!  The fondue is pretty standard fondue fair in a great setting and a perfect spot for a group of friends to meet up – as you take over most of the place.  Don’t request any additions such as salt or chilli – what you see is what you get! We had a really fun evening there!  Address:  59 Buitengracht Street, City Bowl Facebook Tel  Tel 083 602 0291
  16. Orinoco Restaurant and Deli in Bree Street, City Bowl – I fell head over heals in love with her South American sauces and must admit that every time I have seen them at a foodie show I have practically mobbed people to get to the front to stock up.  How nice to find out that she now has a “shop”/restaurant in town!   Her food rocks, her sauces rock and I think I am about to become a groupie to her new restaurant!  Venezuelan born Migdalla Bellorin travelled extensively in South America and lived in Mexico before moving to South Africa – as such her restaurant reflects a variety of Latin American cuisine.  Expect a warm welcome, friendly and welcoming service and excellent and tasty dishes.  Tip: order from her specials menu – these are her experimental dishes for the evenings she is open and we have had some delicious options from there!  Decor is chilled, warm and funky – love the flowers in tins all over.  I felt so at home there – I just want to keep going back!!  It is  a lovely option for Wednesday, Thursday or Friday evenings.   Open Mon – Wed 10am – 6pm and refreshingly for our local cafes – Thurs and Fri 10am to 10pm – so this would be a great idea for a relaxed dinner at the end of the week!  17 Bree Street 021 418 45 44 (Note they have now launched dinner and salsa on a Saturday – sounds like fun!  Salsa will start at 10pm – after dinner!)
  17. Woodlands Eatery  – this a local favourite in my “hood”.  It is always full and buzzy as they offer great value for money dishes in a fabulously quirky comfortable setting.  They are famous for their pizzas (also offer gluten free bases!) and also offer a seasonal bistro menu.  This is a great spot for people watching – it attracts all ages and all levels of income……….with a 99% local following of regulars.  This year they were featured in the Wallpaper Magazine Cape Town City Guide………..so they must be quirky! 2 Deer Park Drive, Vredehoek (Just above the city!) Tel 021 801 5799 Open daily for dinner and for lunch over weekends
  18. Sidewalk Cafe – yet another quirky favourite in the Madame Zingara group.  This spot has been in my “hood” forever – but it never had a soul in it.  The Madame Zingara took it and waved a magic want and created an amazing quirky eclectic space that is both warm and fun.   Their signature is fun innovative dishes with great flavours at great prices.  This spot is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner or drinks and snacks or coffee and cake – settle in whenever you are walking the dog as you go past.  Staff match the decor and service can be a little absent minded – but always good hearted!   We love sitting on the odd angled pavement tables and watching the view of the city! Mon – Sat 8am to 10h30pm, Sun breakfast & lunch.  33 Derry Rd, Vredehoek (Just above the city) 021 461 2839
  19. Cafe Mozart in the inner city is a great spot for breakfast or lunch. It is quirky, fun inside and out and great for people watching. Food type: Casual glam-cafe. Click here to read my blog on it. Address 37 Church Street (the pedestrian zone where the antique market is). Open 7am – 4pm weekdays and 9am to 3.30pm on a Saturday. Tel 021 424 3774 Price: $- $$.
  20. Jason Bakery – this spot is approaching cult status for their bread and their sandwiches – it is one of the best spots for people watching in Cape Town – plus the coffee is insane too. Note it is just a simple street side bakery and eatery – nothing fancy – but everything that comes out of there is a gourmet delight! This is well worth tracking down if you are exploring the city! 185 Bree Street. Tel 021 424 5644 Facebook Open Mon – Friday 7am to 3.30pm – now also open on Saturday morning for breakfast – plus they have a cult following for the doughssant – which is a cross between a doughnut & a croissant. Follow Jason on twitter to find out the flavour of each Saturday’s doughssant – eg stuffed with Lindt chocolate, lemon meringue….etc! Yummmmmmm!! Also fabulous for people watching!
  21. Olympia Cafe – One of the Cape’s best kept secrets. Location: Kalk Bay (peninsula area)  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.  Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Check out these lovely photos of the olympia food on the Huffington Post’s blog on them
  22. The Company Garden Restaurant is an awesome little oasis in our beautiful city gardens and will be a hit with anyone who wants to come and have breakfast or lunch or tea in the gardens.  The Company Gardens have been spuced up and are looking magnificent.  It is now a tranquil oasis in the middle of the city.  In addition a heritage vegetable garden has now been added which adds a wonderful new aspect to visiting the historical gardens which are located in the oldest part of Cape Town.  The restaurant is owned by Richard Griffin who is the mastermind behind Madame Zingara and many other fabulously quirky restaurants in Cape Town such as Cafe Paradiso, Sidewalk Cafe & Cafe Mozart.  The restaurant features fantastic play areas for the kids with a range of swings, nests and wooden carvings.  Our breakfast was fantastic – eggs Benedict and I went back to try the lunch offerings which include lots of local traditional dishes………which is great for those visiting the city to experience.  Note there are service issues with the restaurant – don’t go if you are in a hurry!   Bookings Tel: 021 423 2919 | Email: companysgarden@madamezingara.com