I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for years and now it’s come about by necessity. I am constantly asked for recommendations about where to eat in Cape Town from internationals that follow DrizzleandDip.com and friends and acquaintances that visit the mother city.
This is a comprehensive list based on where I love to eat and where I tend to eat again and again. There are restaurants out there that are really great and I’m still trying to get there. This is my list based on my experience and no offence to any restaurant that isn’t featured here.
I have started two restaurant guides, and I will continue to post my recommendations to as regularly as I can. They are my Facebook Taste & Titbits page @EatCapeTown, and my Instagram @EatingCapeTown page. I post interesting dishes, favourite restaurants and various specials I find along the way. Follow along for all the deliciousness I manage to hunt down.
*ps – I try to keep this as up-to-date as possible but with so many restaurant closures post covid, there may be a few errors here. The restaurant landscape in Cape Town is constantly changing.
I’m dividing this up by area and then adding a few other categories at the end, like best places for drinks, breakfasts, casual eateries, sushi, pizza etc.
CAPE TOWN CITY & GREEN POINT
This is the hottest new restaurant on Kloof Street and is housed in the former Janse & co space. The modern, casual and multi-cultural menu by Chef Jesper Nilsson (with a strong nod to his Nordic roots) is served in a calm zen-like setting with a gorgeous outside (covered) courtyard. The newly installed bar serves inspired cocktails alongside a state-of-the-art pizza oven. The menu is designed to share and I would highly recommend doing this between 4 people vs 2. This way you can sample more and the portions are very generous.
This is an edgy contemporary restaurant in the city centre that is amongst Cape Towns’ best fine dining establishments. Headed up by renowned chef Peter Tempelhoff, it is a refined and exciting dining adventure. You can read more about the restaurant here.
Arguably the best seafood restaurant in town, this is where you will find exquisite Japanese cuisine. It’s also the only place I know that serves fresh wasabi in the city. There is a focus on quality and the sushi is of a very high standard. It has a very calm and pampering atmosphere with good service. In winter they offer a special menu that makes things a little more affordable.
This three-levelled culinary hotspot has opened fairly recently on Bree street. I have eaten at The Brasserie three times and really enjoyed the classic french bistro menu. They also do old-school gueridon table-side service for a few dishes such as crepe Suzette and steak tartare. My favourite dishes on the menu are the Bouillabaisse and confit duck legs.
This is a great spot for breakfast or lunch in the city centre. The menu in this stylish restaurant always includes a few South African flavours and has a carefully curated menu. Particularly popular amongst interior designers, architects and style lovers.
If you are looking for delicious Indian tapas in a beautifully designed setting, then this is the place to be. It’s one of Liam Tomlin’s restaurants and has a similar menu setup to the Chefs Warehouse & Canteen. You order the tapas for two, which includes 8 innovative tapas dishes. It is cosy and intimate with a lovely outdoor courtyard.
If you like local and quirky owner-run spots, this is the best in town. Small with vintage kitsch it is always buzzy. There is a small menu of delicious modern Asian food, which includes popular street food favourites like Bao with pulled pork. This is highly recommended and reservations are essential. They have recently moved to bigger premises in Greenpoint (in the former El Burro space)
The Potluck Club (just out of the city in Woodstock)
Highly acclaimed Asian-inspired tapas menu. Housed at the top of a grain silo, New York warehouse loft styled, it has magnificent views. Difficult to get into as they book up far in advance, but you could try lunchtime if you can’t get in at night. They do the most fabulous long Sunday brunch paired with bottomless bubbly or bloody Mary’s.
El Burro (Green Point)
This is my favourite Mexican restaurant and I love their ceviche and fish tacos. The pork chilorio is also delicious if I can ever get away from the first two. Booking is advisable in the evening and essential on weekend nights but has moved downstairs to a smaller space that was formerly Cabrito serving more Taqueria-style food. They have a big selection of tequilas and mescal too. Their sister restaurant El Burro Taqueria on Kloof Street is another fab spot for a quick bite on the run.
IL Leone Mastrantonio (Green Point)
I have only ever had amazing pasta at this popular spot and I always eat their seafood or prawn linguini. They serve the very best and thinnest flatbreads that are so crispy and delicious, that they are worth visiting for alone.
This is my current favourite place to meet for drinks in Cape Town and the food in the restaurant is rather good too. Perfect for sharing. I love the decor, the vibe, the upstairs balcony and the downstairs lounge for a late-night razzle.
The third of Liam Tomlins restaurants and located on Beau Constantia wine estate with exquisite views over the Constantia Valley. World-class food under the watchful eye of head chef Ivor Jones. You can check out my full review and pics here.
One of my all-time favourite restaurants in Cape Town nestled high up on Silvermist Estate, this well-deserved winner of the 2019 Eat Out Best Restaurant of the year award is benchmark fine. Deservedly seen by many as the country’s finest restaurant it is an experience not to be missed. The highly innovative tasting menu changes with the seasons and expect it to delight all your senses with touches of theatrical food theatre. They offer a really good winter and spring special menu too which is slightly pared-down but still amazing.
This cosy bistro with a buzzy open plan kitchen serves an innovative small plate menu that is perfect for sharing. There is a cheese and cured meats pantry for viewing and the ambience is cosy and intimate. In summer there is seating outside on a leafy pavement in a small centre next to Groot Constantia. The dishes change with the season and you can choose a selection or have a fixed menu.
Housed on Steenberg next to the winery is a modern bistro with designer elements. I love this restaurant for breakfast, lunch or evening tapas. Here you will find delicious food with an Asian thread in a beautiful setting overlooking the mountain and vineyards. Be sure to have a wine tasting on your way in (or out). For more about Steenberg, check my post here.
This quaint little neighbourhood Parisienne-style cafe in the heart of charming Wynberg Chelsea is always buzzing. It’s one of my favourite places for breakfast, tea or lunch in the Southern suburbs. They are committed to sourcing local and seasonal produce and their large menu is peppered with innovative touches which has something for everyone. They also host small functions for fifteen to thirty 30 guests offering a set menu.
They have recently opened a branch on Constantia Uitsig which I am dying to go to.
Kalk Bay is one of my favourite areas to visit in Cape Town and my all-time favourite place is Olympia Café. Slightly worn and grungy it is like eating in your grandmother’s kitchen. You are seen as a friend, not a customer and staff have been there for many years. This 25-odd-year-old iconic eatery is super casual and focuses on amazing seafood dishes. You will always find a few vegetarian dishes, salads and pasta on the menu too. I tend to only order the linguini di mare, a dish they have had on the menu for as long as I can remember and it’s one of my tastiest dishes in Cape Town. Their mussels served with freshly baked ciabatta from their own bakery next door are also delicious.
Harbour House has a lofty aerial view over the Kalk Bay harbour and provides diners with a working harbour view. Crisp white tablecloths and interiors provide an opulent relaxed experience. Harbour House has a larger and more sophisticated menu than its more casual sister downstairs (Live Bait). You can’t fault either in terms of their location and they serve delicious seafood dishes at both. I love the beach house feeling that is quintessentially Cape Town and the harbour with waves crashing right against the side of the building is noteworthy.
Other things to do……
If you are in Kalk Bay in summer make sure you go for a swim in Dalebrook tidal pool
The space has been reinvented post covid and I haven’t been. The deli has moved over to the Foodbarn space which is now open for breakfast, lunch and supper. I’ll get an update soonest)
Housed in a modern barn on a farm village you can expect a rustic yet modern atmosphere with really good service. This is one of my personal favourites and I’m a big fan of the cooking of chef-owner Franck Dangereaux, who was at the helm of La Colombe for many years. He also does amazing cooking demonstration dinners and chef’s table Friday lunches where a menu is paired with a specific wine estate. Expect solid French cooking flair blended in with local ingredients in a stylish but casual bistro setting.
This is a family-friendly restaurant on the greens of Noordhoek Farm Village. A casual lunch under the oaks in a whitewashed cottage makes for a perfect leisurely afternoon and if you have children they have free reign. They frequently have very popular live music on weekends and evenings. Check the schedule for any lineup that might coincide with your visit.
I love this very casual brewery taproom and eatery. In summer you can show up straight off the beach. They do fantastic burgers and pizza. If this was closer I would be going there all the time.
Housed in the gorgeous Tintswalo Atlantic Lodge on Chapmans Peak Drive and literally on the water edge, you couldn’t get a better location for this lovely restaurant. A contemporary 4 course (8 dish) tapas set menu is served at lunch and dinner as per the signature Chefswarehouse style. This one is for special occasions.
I used to live in Sea Point and there are a lot of restaurants and casual eateries around here. I won’t put any of them in my must-visit places, but there certainly are a few great spots that I got to from time to time.
This is my fave local deli and where I get my bagels. It gets very busy on the weekend.
This is a new food emporium that has opened in Regent Road Sea Point and is a great place to visit if you want to taste a variety of dishes from small producers. They often have live music in the central seating area so there is a vibe. Nice views over the Sea Point pool too. I love the oysters and mussels from the Mussel Monger and Dashi poke opposite. The vendors change here quite a bit.
Delicious Indian tapas dishes are served at this busy local restaurant. Their Pondicherry Kingklip curry is sublime. They don’t take reservations
This is a world-class espresso bar and couture patisserie spot where you can experience possibly the best coffee in Cape Town. Outstanding pastries and incredibly innovative Rooibos-infused drinks in a luxurious setting.
Here you will find some of the best, if not the French pastries & bread in Cape Town.
A cute Mexican Mezcalaria. Great for a taco and cocktail.
I tend to avoid Camps Bay as it’s such a touristy location.
Salsify at the Roundhouse is highly recommended.
Overture has closed and I look forward to Bertus Basson opening his new restaurant at Waterkloof soon called Chorus.
Post & Pepper; a stunning new eatery in Stellenbosch has recently opened in the historic Post Office building on the corner of Bird & Plein Streets. Owner Jess van Dyk and restaurant manager Dimitri Hadzigrigoriou, both formerly of Franschhoek’s Protégé restaurant (La Colombe group) wanted to create a restaurant that they would love to eat at.
Jordan – at Jordan Wine Estate (This restaurant is no longer operated by George Jardine and I have not been to it since the change)
This is George Jardine’s more casual restaurant in a quaint heritage building in the heart of Stellenbosh town. You can expect the same type of innovative dishes as Jordan though and is highly recommended.
I like nothing more than to sit on this terrace under the oak trees and gaze at the spectacular views in summer. The food ranges from casual to more fine dining-style dishes and is delicious. They have a lovely wine-tasting room in an opulent setting so you always feel quite spoilt when you go there. You can read all about the restaurant here.
This is the second restaurant at Delaire Graff Estate and is exceptional. You can see my recent Indian-inspired lunch as part of their Silk Road series here.
A simple 3-course set menu where all the ingredients are carefully sourced from top-quality local producers. The menu changes weekly and reflects the seasons. Everything is brought to the table and served family style. You sit outside in the shade or next to the vineyards and on wintery days they take a limited number of indoor tables. The restaurant is in its third iteration of owners, and Leigh and Brendan have maintained the excellent reputation this restaurant has always had. Expect delicious well cooked but simple fare adding a few special touches. It’s been a favourite of mine for the longest time.
This country eatery on Joostenberg Wine Estate is only open on weekends with a superb weekly set menu. The food is served family-style in their outside courtyard. See the full review & details of how to book (essential) here.
The Tokara restaurant is now under the helm of Head chef Carolize Coetzee and the menu is produce-driven with ties to traditional South African cooking (recipes, ingredients, techniques). Tokara is a truly beautiful restaurant/wine estate with breathtaking views over Stellenbosch.
If you are looking for a lighter meal or breakfast in the Winelands this is a beautiful restaurant with a gorgeous view.
A reinvented restaurant under culinary consultant Nic van Wyk, you can expect an innovative small plate menu alongside a few classic dishes. I can highly recommend this and love the wine.
If you find yourself looking for a casual spot for lunch or supper in Stellenbosch town, Spek and Bone is another of Bertus Basson’s restaurants and offers a small plate menu in a wine bar environment. Tucked away in a historic building next to Oom Samie se Winkle it is very quaint and well worth a visit.
Amongst my favourite fine dining restaurants in South Africa, this stunning spot in La Quartier Francaise is a must-visit for a top-end dining experience in Franschhoek. You can read all about their 2018 Winter menu here
A beautiful fine dining restaurant at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek. The menu is a tasting menu (full or reduced) with or without wine pairing and is outstanding.
This is a small plates casual fine dining restaurant at Le Quartier Francaise. The food is flavour-packed and inspiring.
I love this beautiful restaurant and the honest farm-to-fork food philosophy of the estate. Make sure you make time to take a wander through their lovely kitchen garden. If you are looking for something more casual they have a lovely deli that also sells amazing produce from the farm. Their summer picnics are legendary too.
This is Liam Tomlins’s latest Chef’s warehouse restaurant now in the old Kitchen at Maison space. Beautiful and edgy food in a lovely restored old house overlooking vineyards. Highly recommended.
I have eaten in the restaurant and it’s a totally unique and lovely dining experience but complicated to get into as a non-resident. They block book most of their tables for their hotel guests, but if you are prepared to take a chance you can put your name down and hope that from about 1.30pm onwards tables will become available. They do take bookings from 2 months in advance if you are planning ahead. A walk through their gardens is an absolute must either way for any visitor. I’ve put it under Paarl because it’s actually located in Paarl although it’s often classified as being in Franschhoek. It’s located on the way to Franschhoek from Cape Town.
You can read all about my stay in 2021 here.
Chorus a new restaurant by Bertus Bason has opened at Waterkloof. I still need to visit.
I haven’t covered the Overberg region before but I do have 2 places I can highly recommend if you are in the area
Farro at Gabrielskloof – I love this restaurant run by a husband and wife team on Gabrielskloof Wine Estate. The menu is modern European in inspiration with a focus on excellent produce from the area. They are open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week.
The Melting Pot
After running a pop-up and then a restaurant in the city for a short time before Covid, John van Zyl and his partner Sage opened up in the Pool restaurant space at Oak Valley Wine Estate in Grabouw (Elgin). I have been following (and eating) their journey all along and simply LOVE the food they make. An evolving small plates menu inspired by SE Asian cuisine but with a few classics. Their chicken burger is amongst the best I’ve eaten and worthy of a trip.
A bit further afield but if you find yourself in Paternoster up the West Coast visit:
Hyper-local Strandveld dining experience by acclaimed chef Kobus van der Merwe. A unique and very special dining experience.
This is another must-visit when in Paternoster. A convivial local eatery with amazing oysters.
Best places for fancy drinks
The Silo Rooftop bar (reservations required for non-hotel guests) or the Williston Bar at the Silo Hotel
The Planet Bar at the Mount Nelson
The Vista Lounge at the One & Only
Best place for casual drinks
Athletics club and social – my favourite bar in CT
Love Thy Neighbour in Bree Street
Hanks Old Irish – on Heritage Square Bree Street (next to Love Thy Neighbour)
The Power & The Glory – Kloof Nek Road
The Village Idiot – on Loop Street
The secret gin bar behind Honest Chocolate (Wale Street)
Outrage of Modesty cocktail bar in Shortmarket Street
La Perla in Sea Point
Jason’s Bakery in Green Point
Coco Safar in Sea Point
Fave casual eateries for a burger, hot dog, drink etc
Clarkes on Bree
Jerry’s Burger joint
Free Bird for the best chicken burgers
Favourite Portuguese Eateries
Diaz Tavern – this is my number one preferred Portuguese restaurant and I am a regular here.
Vasco De Gama Taverna (otherwise known as Vascos) in Green Point is another good option. Excellent prego’s
Fabrica do Prego – Sea Point Main Road – best prego and I love their prego sauce which is also sold in jars.
Tonis on Kloof – I love the peri peri prawns here
Best ice cream
Unframed on Kloof Street (totally amazing)
Favourite casual Asian and Dim Sum
South China Dim Sum Bar
Tomsins in Bree Stree – booking is essential as its a tiny space
He Sheng in Sea Point (great value dim sum in my hood)
Obi – Long Street
Kyoto Sushi Garden
Nobu – The One & Only
12A at the 12 Apostles Hotel
Willoughby & Co – V & A Waterfront
Four & Twenty (Wynberg)
The Loading Bay
The Foodbarn Deli
Tasha’s – V&A Waterfront
Tasha’s Constantia Village
Favourite Italian Restaurants
Osteria Tarantino – De Waterkant (small and owner-run – must make a reservation)
Magica Roma in Pinelands – is somewhat of an institution everything has remained the same here for decades.
A Tavolla in Claremont – is consistently very good.
Best Food Markets
Oranjezicht City Farmers Market at Granger Bay – – every Saturday and Sunday 9am – 2pm. This is my preferred farmers market as its local and less busy than the Biscuit Mill which gets unbearably busy
Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill – This market is the most famous Cape Town food market and definitely worth visiting if you haven’t been and for tourists visiting the city. They have some amazing food producers, it just gets unbearably busy, especially over the holidays. To avoid the hectic rush, best to go really early.
Hout Bay Market This is a lively and popular lifestyle market in Hout Bay Harbour with a good vibe over the weekend.
Fave dive bar
Lefty’s on Harrington Street (the beetroot falafel is my favourite dish on the menu)
Pizza Connection in Woodstock – Expect authentic Napoli and Roman-style pizzas created by a passionate Italian owner.
Col’caccio – in the Foreshore. I’m a fan of their vast menu and very thin-based pizzas. I love the Foreshore branch (also the first).
Massimo’s in Hout Bay- Haven’t been for ages because I don’t live anywhere nearby, but this used to be a fave.
Best fast food
If you are looking for fast food with higher-grade ingredients and free-range meat try:
****NB I will not allow comments on this post from people trying to promote other restaurants. I am not looking for further suggestions to those that are mentioned here.