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, which 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.
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
You can’t book here as its first come first serve but this will be the best food you will eat in Cape Town without a reservation. Even possibly with. If you get there early (around 6pm) you should get a table easily. Otherwise, you can wait for a while in the bar downstairs and order a drink. It’s worth the wait. The environment is very relaxed and if it’s a nice evening and in summer you can sit outside and look at all the hustle and bustle of the street. This is one of my very best restaurants, and to be put on the top of the list for anyone visiting Cape Town.
The Test Kitchen (in the Eastern precinct of the city in Woodstock)
Rated as the top restaurant in SA for quite a few years in a row by Eat Out, this is a definite if you are able to secure a reservation in advance. I’ve eaten there a few times but not recently due to the lengthy time frame to get a booking.
Situated on lower Bree, I’m crushing quite hard on this place right now. Giles Edwards knocks out amazing dishes from an ever-evolving seasonal menu that focuses on nose to tail dining. He spent a lot of time at St JOHN in London, so you can expect a similar vibe. You can see all my pics and review here.
This is fab spot for lunch or dinner (they used to do breakfast but no longer). Make a reservation, but if they are full you could still try get in as they keep a few tables each day for walk-ins. Check out a few of my images of some of their 2017 winter menu and the 2018 Winter menu
I love this stylish eatery that reminds me of being in New York. The menu is innovative small plate dining so go with friends and order as many dishes as you can. This gem is tucked away down Pepper Street just off the upper parts of Bree Street.
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 (especially brought in). There is a focus on quality and the sushi is of a very high standard. In winter they offer a special menu that makes things a little more affordable.
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.
Thali (no website)
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 Tomlins restaurant and has a similar menu setup to the Chefs Warehouse & Canteen. You order the tapas for two, which includes 8 innovative tappa’s dishes.
I love this place. They prepare only 3 menu items a day and you can check out what these are on their website. This is a no-frills restaurant that is fast casual in concept (you order at the counter), but the food is top notch. Designed to make the meal experience quicker, so this is good if you need to go to a movie or show, or are looking for a fast but high-quality lunch.
The Potluck Club (just out of the city in Woodstock)
Highly acclaimed Asian inspired tapas menu. Difficult to get into as they book up far in advance, but you could try lunchtime if you can’t get in at night.
El Burro (Green Point)
This is my favourite Mexican restaurant and I love their cerviche 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 and asks for a balcony table. They have a big selection of tequilas and mescal too. Their sister restaurant; El Burro Taqueria is another fab spot for a quick bite on the run.
This is a newish mid-level priced seafood restaurant that has recently opened on upper Bree Street. They only buy in fresh seafood, so the produce takes centre stage and all the fish is sustainable. They have a lovely bubbly and oyster bar with inside and outside (weather permitting) seating area. They also do a daily oyster happy hour from 12 – 1pm and 5 – 6pm.
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, they are worth visiting for alone.
This is a casual fine dining restaurant in Kloof street offering tasting menus. Expect highly innovative dishes where all the ingredients are carefully sourced.
Simple bistro fare served in a cosy inside space (fireplaces in winter) and lovely patio outside area (great in the day and in summer). Their risotto is legendary, and through winter they run a weekly menu special with a focus on either Italy or France paired with specific wines. Their wine list is very good. They also make the best fried chips in Cape Town if you happen to land up in their cosy bar called the Snug adjacent to the restaurant.
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 fave restaurants in Cape Town on Silvermist Estate (just past Constantia Neck towards Hout Bay). Fine Dining at its best and they do a really good winter special menu too.
I love this restaurant headed up by acclaimed chef Peter Tempelhoff. A beautiful fine dining space located in a garden setting of the iconic Cellars Hohenhort Hotel. Elegant and sophisticated, and Peter always bring some edginess in and he loves to showcase ingredients from the area.
I’ve only eaten here in the day, and though not the best setting (i.e. looking onto a parking lot) the food is superb and inspiring.
I love this restaurant for breakfast, lunch or evening tapas. Here you will find delicious food 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.
Kalk Bay is one of my favourite places to visit in Cape Town and my all time the best place is Olympia Café. This 20 odd-year-old iconic eatery is super casual and focuses on amazing seafood dishes. You will always find a few amazing 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 best dishes in Cape Town. Their mussels served with freshly baked ciabatta from their own bakery next door are also delicious.
I’ve had a few difficult customer service experiences here before so be warned, but you can’t fault either of these restaurants in terms of their location. I’ve also only ever had really delicious meals at both of these places (Kalk Bay branches). I love the beach house vibe that is quintessentially Cape Town and the waves crashing right against the side of the building is beautiful. It’s a place I always refer and take out-of-town visitors to, as the views of the harbour, sea and mountain are beautiful.
Other things to do……
If you are in Kalk Bay in summer make sure you go for a swim in Dalebrook tidal pool
This is one of my best restaurants in Cape Town and I’m a big fan of the cooking of chef-owner Franck Dangereaux. He also does amazing cooking demonstration dinners and chef’s table Friday lunches where a menu is paired with a specific wine estate.
This is a family-friendly restaurant on the greens of Noordhoek Farm Village. A casual lunch under the oaks is definitely something I can recommend and if you have kids they can run wild. They frequently have live music so check the schedule for any line up that might coincide with your visit.
If you find yourself in Hout Bay I recommend eating at:
Cheyne’s, or his other more casual eatery Lucky Bau. Delicious Asian dishes that are super innovative and packed with exciting umami flavours and delicious textures.
I live in Sea Point and there are a lot of restaurants and casual eateries around here. I won’t put many of them in my must-visit places, but there certainly are a few great spots that I got to from time to time.
Sea Points answer to fine dining restaurant and they offer reasonably priced tasting menu’s that change through the seasons. Delicious food served in an old Tudor House on Regent Road.
This is my fave local deli and where I get my bagels. They do really good breakfasts too but space is small so there is often a queue 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 the sushi from Manga. The Burgers from IYO are tasty but the chips terrible. The Poke bowls from Hokey Poke are my fave and the thin-based pizzas from Earthfire are delicious. Baskin Robbins has an ice cream shop there, so I don’t need any convincing to swing past for a scoop (or two)
Delicious Indian tapas dishes 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.
I love Bertus Basson’s food and I love this restaurant on Hidden Valley Wine Estate. You can expect a few innovative uses of South African flavours and ingredients in his dishes. Great views and wine too. Just go.
Jordan – at Jordan Wine Estate
Another of my favourite restaurants and I ate one of the best meals of 2016 there. I love the cooking of George Jardine and the setting is absolutely beautiful with jaw-dropping views over the Overberg Mountains.
This is George Jardines 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 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 beautiful country eatery run by husband and wife team Luke and Jessica Shepherd and only open for lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A casual ever-changing seasonal menu beautifully served family style in platters to the table. Jess has a background as a pastry chef so her desserts are spectacular. I once ate a chocolate tart there that I still dream about. This place is best enjoyed in the summer months where you can sit under the trees in the garden. Bookings essential.
I love the avande garde cooking of Richard Carstens and I have always loved Tokara. Beautiful 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.
This is a popular restaurant that has stood the test of time under the leadership of chef Michael Broughton. Expect classic dishes with fine dining touches that can be enjoyed on their pretty patio under the oaks on a nice day. They always offer fabulous winter menu specials, so this is a great place to visit in the cooler months. Their wine list includes their own range as well as a good selection from other estates.
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 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
I love this beautiful restaurant and the honest farm to fork food philosophy of chef Christiaan Campbell. Make sure you make time to take a wander through their lovely kitchen garden and around the estate. 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 latest Chefs warehouse restaurant now in the old Kitchen at Maison space. Beautiful and edgy food in a lovely restored old house overlooking vineyards. Highly recommended.
This has always been a favourite spot of mine for lunch and I love Neil Jewell’s cooking. He is also a master charcuterie maker and offers courses too. Be sure to pop in for a wine tasting and drink Miss Molly bubbly if you can.
I’m a fan of Chris Erasmus’s food and his utterly unique restaurant is superb and deserving of its place amongst the top 10 in SA.
I loved this restaurant when it was under the helm of Chef Eric Bulpitt. He has subsequently left and I have not experienced the new chefs dishes.
This is the third restaurant in Bertus Basson’s stable and located on the very touristy but pretty Spice Route. It’s more casual than Overture and focuses on family style dining. They do a great Sunday roast.
I have eaten in the restaurant and it’s totally unique and a 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.
Waterkloof on Waterkloof Wine Estate
Brilliant and inspiring food and worthy of their top 10 Eat Out status. There are spectacular views over False Bay. Worth visiting for a wine tasting and or cheese board if you are pressed for time.
Camphors at Vergelegen
I’m putting it on here even though I haven’t been. It’s in the top 10 and I really need to go soon. It’s located on Vergelegen Wine Estate, which is one of my favourite places to see the big trees.
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.
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
Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace Hotel
La Perla in Sea Point
Best place for casual drinks
Love Thy Neighbour (the former & Union)
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)
Orphanage – on Bree Street
Outrage of Moodesty cocktail bar in Shortmarket Street
Jason’s Bakery on Bree & in Green Point
Coco Safar in the ARTEM centre Sea Point
Fave casual eateries for a burger, hot dog, drink etc
Clarkes on Bree
Bacon on Bree
Jerry’s Burger joint – Park Road Gardens
Best ice cream
Unframed on Kloof Street (totally amazing)
Favourite casual Asian and Dim Sum
South China Dim Sum Bar
Saigon on Kloof Street
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 Aopostles Hotel
Willoughby & Co – V & A Waterfront
Four & Twenty (Wynberg)
The Loading Bay
The Foodbarn Deli
Tasha’s – V&A Waterfront
Reuben’s at the One & Only (for a special occasion full on breakfast buffet with oysters, bubbly and the whole bang shoot).
Best Food Markets
Oranjezicht City Farmers Market at Granger Bay – – every Saturday 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)
Bocca– Proper Neopolitan pizza style but expect to incur their wrath if you ask to change your toppings. I love their classic Margherita pizza which reminds me so much of Italy. Their pizzas are cooked in a 485C oven and take 90c to bake.
Col’caccio – in the Foreshore. I’m a fan of their vast menu and very thin-based pizzas. I love the Foreshore branch (also their 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 (both in Gardens):
****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.
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