The best restaurants in Cape Town: where to eat in 2015by Eat Out
It’s hard not to be smug about living in Cape Town. Yup, there’s the azure Atlantic ocean, the silvery beaches (with their accompanying bronzed bodies), and our iconic mountain, which reveals a different side of its personality through any given window. The paved pedestrian lanes are filled with art galleries, you can pretty much walk from one end of the Mother City to the other, and in summer the days seem endless…
But the real clincher for us here at Eat Out is the wealth of world-class restaurants, cafés and bars lining the streets. Whether you want wood-fired artisanal pizza, sushi or fish fresh off the boats, Cape Town is your gal. On your next trip down south – or even if you’re lucky enough to live there already, use this handy guide to the top restaurants as rated and reviewed by our editorial panel for the 2015 edition of Eat Out. (Buy it online now.)
Addis in Cape (City Bowl)
Dig in at this Ethiopian spot – bowls of stew (wot) are upended onto a giant sourdough pancake (injera) for communal eating.
Bo-Kaap Kombuis (Bo-Kaap)
A must-visit destination for Cape Malay food that’s traditional, tasty and spicy.
Emily’s Bar and Bistro (Gardens)
Expect boerekos with a twist, such as boerewors, venison and beef burgers with deep-fried putu by day and bobotie with pumpkin fritters by night.
The Americas and Mexican
Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room (City Bowl)
This American-style diner is known for great vibes and brilliant burgers.
El Burro (Green Point)
Authentic Mexican cuisine with signature dishes like ceviche and tortillas served with free-range goat or pulled pork.
Hudson’s – The Burger Joint (Gardens)
A solid reminder of why burgers will never go out of fashion. Try the Original Royale (bacon, cheddar, chilli and onion rings), with disco fries.
Lefty’s Dive Bar (City Bowl)
This is ‘drunk food’ par excellence – dive into comfort dishes such as sticky pork ribs, pulled pork sammiches and burgers with matchstick fries.
Rick’s Café Americain (Tamboerskloof)
This vibey restaurant has something for everyone: tapas, burgers, salads, steaks, seafood and some Moroccan specialities.
Royale Eatery (City Bowl)
The ever-popular Royale Eatery offers over 50 great burgers, as well as homemade relishes, pizzas and double-thick milkshakes.
1890 House Sushi & Grill (Observatory)
The sushi never fails to impress at this restaurant, it’s perhaps the best deal in the city. The rice is always perfect, and the fish cut generously.
Beijing Opera (De Waterkant)
Dig into all things dim sum: pot stickers, steamed buns and steamed dumplings. Everything is aromatic, perfectly seasoned and tender.
Chef Pon’s Asian Kitchen (Gardens)
The exotic pan-Asian fare at this landmark takes your tastebuds from Mongolia and Japan to Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Downtown Ramen (City Bowl)
CT’s first ramen bar is a low-key affair, but charms with delicious noodle dishes and steamed buns.
The focus is on Asian favourites like steamed dumplings and noodles, with highlights like prawn skewers with a coriander-lime dipping sauce.
Izakaya Matsuri (Green Point)
Sushi options dominate the menu, but Japanese tapas such as crispy bang bang prawn spring rolls keep things interesting. Keep an eye on the specials board.
Kitima at the Kronendal (Hout Bay)
There’s something for everyone at Kitima. It’s a good idea to start with dim sum or sushi, then move to stir-fries, curries, noodles, rotis etc.
Kyoto Garden Sushi (Tamboerskloof)
Our 2014 Best Asian Restaurant is a shrine to Japanese cuisine, with top quality seafood from around the world, and fresh and delicate flavours.
Nobu at One & Only (V&A Waterfront)
A vast Japanese menu includes all sorts from fish to fowl, sushi and sashimi or flash-fried tempura and quick-seared tataki.
Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant (Gardens)
Saigon remains a favourite for Vietnamese and Asian fusion cuisine. Order hot prawn toasts or lemongrassy tom yum soup.
Sawaddee Thai Cuisine (Gardens)
Owner Chef Pon is a master of Thai cuisine. The exotic interior is infused with fragrant aromas that will take you straight to Thailand.
South China Dim Sum Bar (City Bowl)
A local favourite for good quality dim sum, with evergreen items like the pot stickers taking pride of place.
Takumi Sushi (Gardens)
This is by no means classic sushi, but devotees of Papa San love his innovative ways.
Umi (Camps Bay)
The extensive menu offers new-style sashimi, sushi, tempura, grills and seafood with an Asian twist.
Wang Thai (Milnerton)
Indulge in authentic Thai fare with top quality ingredients, imported spices and fresh local produce.
Arugula Bistro and Bread (Belville)
Chef Neil Swart serves knockouts like chicken liver parfait, creamy prawn fettuccine and oxtail risotto.
Birds Café (City Bowl)
This popular eatery charms with a compact menu. Salads and sandwiches are joined by classics like buttery chicken pie.
Black Sheep (Tamboerskloof)
A trendy little spot serving treats like grilled rabbit, wild rocket soup and pulled pork sandwiches.
Bistro Sixteen82 (Tokai)
This is bistro cuisine at its best. Expect delights like hand-chopped steak tartare or slow-roasted pork belly with mustard mash.
Bistrot Bizerca (City Bowl)
Chef Laurent Deslandes demonstrates a mastery of classic French cooking, using top-quality ingredients from local, artisanal suppliers.
Borage Bistro (Foreshore)
Pop in for croissants and sandwiches, or sit down to outstanding fine-dining fare.
The Brasserie (Constantia)
This is well-executed comfort food: think thin-crusted pizzas, excellent burgers, hand-cut chips and melt-in-the-mouth lamb shank.
Café Dijon (Green Point)
A nicely curated selection of bistro classics like French onion soup and roasted veal marrowbones on toast.
Café Roux (Noordhoek)
This much-loved family favourite offers generous portions of flavoursome, bistro-style food with plenty of space for the kids to play.
The Clubhouse at Claremont Cricket Club (Constantia)
Feast on good-sized portions of reasonably priced food that’s perfect for hungry kids and parents.
Dear Me Food World (City Bowl)
Local, free range and organic produce is served up to cater for a variety of dietary requirements at this charming city cafe.
Den Anker (V&A Waterfront)
Enjoy pub fare that is hearty yet chic. Expect steak and frites, mussels and a spread of seafood.
Diemersdal Farm Eatery (Durbanville)
Talented chef Martin de Kock’s tapas platter features the likes of pan-fried gnocchi and roast sirloin with Béarnaise.
Foresters Arms (Newlands)
Forries is best known as a rugby-watching destination, but there’s also decent food. A new range of banting dishes gets rave reviews.
Frères Bistro (Foreshore)
Chef Jason and Dylan Whitehead (the brothers, or frères) create a blackboard menu of moreish French favourites.
The Grand Café and Beach (V&A Waterfront)
This trendy beach spot is wildly popular for sundowners. Opt for pizzas, moules-frites, line fish or large snack platters.
Hemelhuijs (City Bowl)
Sit down to gorgeously plated seasonal dishes by chef Jacques Erasmus at this oh-so stylish restaurant.
Kloof Street House (Gardens)
A very trendy and popular spot, offering delicious bistro food with a Mediterranean and Moroccan influence.
La Bohème (Sea Point)
Sit down to affordable bistro fare at this CT favourite, where the blackboard menu changes weekly.
La Bruixa Wine Bar & Bistro (Sea Point)
Share a selection of affordable tapas at this smaller sibling to La Bohème.
Manna Epicure (Tamboerskloof)
Once famous for their breakfasts, this stylish spot is now also open for dinner. The menu shows quite a few nods to the Afrikaans food heritage.
Mano’s (Green Point)
Sit back and enjoy their modern, unfussy, and well-priced bistro food.
The Meeting Place (Simon’s Town)
Grab a delicious breakfast or sit down to a satisfying lunch at this spot, which is, as the name says, a popular gathering place.
Olympia Café and Deli (Kalk Bay)
It’s hard to fault the generous portions of bistro fare that emerge from the kitchen. It’s simple, rustic food that delivers on flavour every time.
Sidewalk Café (Vredehoek)
Enjoy tasty neighbourhood bistro fare. Locals pop in for the wide range of breakfast options and gourmet sandwiches.
Societi Bistro (Gardens)
Societi has developed a strong following for its unfussy bistro fare – dig into pumpkin risotto with sage butter, and sirloin with mushroom brandy sauce.
Starlings Café (Claremont)
Feast on dishes like mutton curry pie; mushroom risotto; and smoked salmon and cream cheese tart at this southern suburbs favourite.
SteamCraft Restaurant & Bar (Upper Woodstock)
This hip spot boasts a variety of craft beers and a trendy menu showcasing Asian and Southern American influences.
Thornton Whites (Foreshore)
This is not your average bistro grub. Steak is grass-fed; lamb is confit; and the salad stars baby marrow and buffalo mozzarella.
The Woodlands Eatery (Vredehoek)
This quirky, cosy eatery offers a relaxed menu with daily specials and firm favourites like slow-roast lamb pizza with rosemary and crème fraîche.
C’est la Vie (Kalk Bay)
This tiny eatery bakes all its artisanal goods on site. From a lovely breakfast to lunch options of gourmet sandwiches, you can’t go wrong.
Café Mozart (City Bowl)
Café Mozart is great for casual lunches with friends; dishes are simple and crowdpleasing, with a popular lunch buffet.
Four & Twenty Café & Pantry (Wynberg)
This whimsical French-style café is backed up by seriously good food. The elaborate breakfasts in particular are a huge draw.
Jason Bakery (City Bowl)
From great coffee to innovative croissants and a range of great sandwiches for lunch, you can’t go wrong with a stop at Jason.
My Basaar (City Bowl)
A firm favourite among inner-city worker bees, both for their breakfasts and interesting buffet lunch table.
Plant Café (Bo-Kaap)
Dig into flavourful vegan and vegetarian fare at this welcoming Bo-Kaap joint.
Sababa Kitchen & Deli (City Bowl)
A popular spot for breakfast and lunch, this café serves beautiful and interesting Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired fare.
Tamboers Winkel (Tamboerskloof)
Simple, honest and homely food is at the order of the day at this small but very charming eatery.
Perfect for that lingering breakfast, or a delicious sandwich, pasta and salad. Plus, the adjoining waffle house tempts with sweet treats.
Truth Coffee (City Bowl)
Aside from their now-famous coffee, Truth offers a pretty comprehensive breakfast menu and satisfying lunch options.
Aubergine Restaurant (Gardens)
Chef Harald Bresselschmidt serves cuisine that’s great to look at and even better to eat, without any tricks or preciousness.
Azure (Camps Bay)
Highlights on Christo Pretorius’ menu include blesbok with sweet potato, and kabeljou with parsnip purée.
Lose yourself in an award-winning wine list, a dreamy view, and classics like Chalmar steak tartare or springbok with poached red pear.
Catharina’s at Steenberg (Tokai)
Located on the beautiful Steenberg Wine Estate, Catharina’s is ideal for long lunches and intimate dinners feasting on fresh, seasonal Cape fare.
De Grendel Restaurant (Plattekloof)
Expect wholesome South African fare served with a delicate flourish, well matched to the excellent De Grendel wines.
The Foodbarn (Noordhoek)
A great choice for a lazy weekend lunch. Chef Franck Dangereux tempts with dishes like mushroom ravioli smothered in a rich truffle cream.
The Greenhouse (Constantia)
Executive chef Peter Tempelhoff incorporates South African flavour to produce playful, avant-garde cuisine with a sustainable focus.
La Colombe (Constantia Nek)
After having recently moved to the Silvermist Wine Estate in Constantia Nek, this restaurant under Scot Kirton’s expertise is once more very popular.
La Mouette (Sea Point)
This Sea Point restaurant is a firm favourite with locals, offering delicious and affordable fine dining.
The Nelly’s flagship restaurant offers a very stylish setting and excellent food, as devised by chef Rudi Liebenberg.
The Roundhouse (Camps Bay)
With a view of The Twelve Apostles mountains and Camps Bay, few restaurants can beat The Roundhouse for setting – the outdoor venue, Rumbullion, is ideal for relaxed summer dining.
Savoy Cabbage (City Bowl)
The food may be classic but the restaurant is anything but stuffy – it’s elegant with a twist, and a deserved and longtime CT favourite.
The Test Kitchen (Woodstock)
Our number 1 restaurant in the country. Luke Dale-Roberts’s food is simply unbeatable.
The White Room at Dear Me (City Bowl)
A playful, inventive multicourse set menu awaits at this fine dining restaurant, with chef Vanessa Marx at the helm.
Chandani Indian & Vegetarian Restaurant (Woodstock)
This is an institution known for authentic, flavourful cuisine, and especially the vegetarian treats.
The hot dishes here are bound to bring a tear to the eye. Portions are generous, so pace yourself with rich chicken korma, aromatic prawn breyani and slow-cooked lamb rogan josh.
Masala Dosa (City Bowl)
Make sure to order the rice-and-lentil pancake after which the restaurant is named, with portions of curry (tender lamb, chicken or fragrant chickpea).
95 Keerom (Gardens)
Authentic, really well-made Italian food is the name of the game. Fans (and there are many) rave about the butternut ravioli with sage butter, the perfectly light gnocchi with gorgonzola, and the fillet with olive oil and rosemary.
A Tavola (Claremont)
A Tavola specialises in pastas, standing alone or with meaty sauces. Whatever you choose, add a portion of lightly battered deep-fried zucchini.
Big portions of Italian comfort food. The pizza and pasta sections are extensive, offering lots of choices for vegetarians.
Fans show up en masse for moreish pizza and pastas. Take advantage of the no corkage fee policy.
Winner of Best Italian Restaurant in 2013. Apart from authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas, there are exquisite mains like pork belly risotto and beetroot, butternut and goat’s cheese ravioli.
Carlyle’s on Derry (Vredehoek)
This lively local serves interesting pizzas (try the Thai chicken) and dishes like the popular ricotta-stuffed cappelletti in a sauce of mushroom, sage, butter and parmesan.
Il Cappero (Camps Bay)
An authentic, unassuming spot with simple, Sicilian-style dishes that are utterly delicious.
Il Leone Mastrantonio (Green Point)
Order some of the best gnocchi in town – with rich ragu, arrabiata or four-cheese sauce – and fabulous risottos of porcini, seafood, and prawns.
Isola (City Bowl)
Expect extremely tasty, unfussy flavours at this easy-going trattoria. Start with a beautifully light garlic-sage focaccia and move on to handmade reginette, fettucine or gnocchi.
La Perla (Sea Point)
This is a long-time favourite with the cognoscenti. Try the excellent lasagne and ravioli, one of 28 fish dishes, and the recommended peppercorn fillet.
Magica Roma (Pinelands)
Consistency is the keyword here. Tuck into old standards prepared to family recipes, like tuna carpaccio, mussel and clam chowder, veal and an A-Z of pasta and oven-baked pizza.
Massimo’s (Hout Bay)
The Hout Bay darling is back! Massimo’s thin-based pizzas are all made using stone-ground Eureka flour and fior di latte mozzarella, and feature toppings like parma ham, figs and gorgonzola.
Nonna Lina (Gardens)
A firm favourite among locals. Their pizzas, baked in traditional wood-fired ovens, deliver crispy edges every time. There’s also a wide range of pasta, and classic dishes like vitello limone.
Posticino (Sea Point)
The 20 skinny-based pizza options include exotic variations like smoked salmon with ‘caviar’ and cottage cheese. Daily specials could include a rich, slow-braised osso buco.
Beluga (Green Point)
More often than not packed with patrons enjoying the all-week specials on sushi and cocktails, Beluga is perfect for large lunches or a birthday dinner with friends.
Cassia Restaurant (Durbanville)
Chef-owner Warren Swaffield continues to offer great tasting food in generous proportions. Must-haves include the spectacular Wagyu beef burger with avocado mousse, brie and homemade chips.
Chefs Warehouse & Canteen (City Bowl)
Tapas for two is the way to go at this winner of 2014 Best Everyday Eatery. Chef Liam Tomlin’s creations appear in a parade of copper pots, baskets and slate plates. You might get crispy calamari, saucy risotto, slow-braised beef short-rib or beautiful seared tuna.
Cheyne’s (Hout Bay)
Chef Cheyne Morrisby’s Pacific-Rim cuisine is divided into sea, land, earth and happy endings. Expect the likes of chilli-salt squid with spicy mayo.
The Conservatory (Constantia)
Built around a 300-year-old oak tree, this airy and elegant restaurant serves signature dishes like homegrown artichoke and celeriac soup, slow-roasted crispy duck, and Wagyu sirloin with triple-cooked chips.
The Dining Room (Woodstock)
Karen Dudley, author, chef, and innovator, has opened this retro new venue one door up from her wildly popular The Kitchen, and the food has the same je ne sais quoi.
The Lighthouse Café (Simon’s Town)
Order dishes like seafood tagliatelle, moules marinière, and spicy chorizo mussel pasta at this popular spot. The pizzas are delicious, too.
Mondiall (V&A Waterfront)
A fail-safe Waterfront option. Food from around the world is made with exceptional ingredients and smartly presented. Choose from a classic cheeseburger to vibrant fish tacos and good old fish and chips.
This flagship restaurant of the Vineyard Hotel boasts chef Mike Bassett’s ambitious seven-course tasting menu with dishes like confit duck and smoked salmon with chimichurri.
Oasis Bistro (Gardens)
This more casual spot at the Nelly is just the thing for a peaceful lunch overlooking the pool. Highlights include rib-eye steak and platters of charcuterie and farm cheeses with homemade pickles.
Pigalle Restaurant (Green Point)
This is the spot for retro prawn cocktails, garlic-butter langoustines and line fish – all to the tune of live music.
The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock)
The tapas-style menu is divided into sections (sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami), and abounds with extravagant flavour. Edgy dishes include the legendary fish tacos and the smoked beef fillet with truffled café au lait sauce.
Sevruga (Green Point)
The Waterfront harbour makes a magical setting. First order half a dozen oysters before moving on to a sushi platter or their delicate dim sum offering.
Signal Restaurant (V&A Waterfront)
A grand experience, with white linen and all the trappings. Try the excellent Chalmar beef fillet or saffron risotto with grilled prawns and scallops, and end off with a Cape geranium cremeux.
Mediterranean / tapas
Chalk & Cork (Gardens)
A good variety of tapas includes tasty butternut ravioli pockets drenched in burnt butter and sage and sprinkled with grated parmesan.
La Parada (City Bowl)
Tapas is the thing at this lively, colourful spot in the heart of the city. With the recent addition of executive chef Andres Condé, formerly of elBulli, the menu can only get more exciting.
La Parada (Kalk Bay)
Well-priced tapas stays true to its Spanish roots on one of the most picturesque sidewalks in Cape Town, with views of the Kalk Bay harbour, the sea and the railway line.
Maria’s Greek Café & Restaurant (Gardens)
This neighbourhood tavern-style bistro has built up a very loyal clientele. Get everything Greek, from zucchini fritters, grilled calamari and halloumi to slow-roasted lamb in ouzo sauce.
tashas (V&A Waterfront)
This is just the space to relax with friends for a nibble and some drinks. The fare includes tapas like spicy chicken livers and battered hake bites, as well as the usual tashas menu.
Anatoli Turkish Restaurant (Green Point)
Enter the lavish interior and tuck into the ultimate meze spread, featuring over 30 dishes with punchy, fragrant flavours.
Sloppy Sam (Green Point)
Aside from the tasty Middle Eastern meze, what’s made them famous are the excellent lamb dishes, like slow-roasted shank and grilled chops marinated in olive oil, rosemary and lemon.
Chapman’s Peak Hotel (Hout Bay)
Surf and turf is the name of the game at this Hout Bay landmark. Order the legendary calamari, peri-peri chicken, rump espetada and spicy prego rolls. When the sun is shining you’ll want to be on the sea-view terrace.
Café Orca Seafood Restaurant (Melkbosstrand)
The seemingly endless Melkbosstrand beach is the setting, where staff collect buckets of sea water to keep the oysters fresh. Line fish is served with lemon butter, creamy garlic sauce, or harissa paste with tomato and capers.
Catch 22 Beachside Grill & Bar (Table View)
Very popular with a young, boisterous crowd, the eatery has a view across the bay. The vast menu runs from excellent sushi to superb steak served with rich sauces.
Harbour House (Kalk Bay)
The food is as good as the panoramic sea views. There’s a sizeable menu, but the best choices appear on the daily chalkboard menu, created around what’s fresh from the boats.
Harbour House (V&A Waterfront)
Fresh seafood is served here with a gourmet spin, i.e. the catch of the day is plated with potato fondant, zesty lemon and aromatic herbal infusions, sauces and foams. The wooden deck sports spectacular waterfront views.
Pickled Fish (Kommetjie)
This is the place for seafood straight off the boats. There’s a jungle gym right next to the outside eating area for the kids.
Willoughby & Co (V&A Waterfront)
With a beautiful sushi bar and a full compliment of Japanese chefs, it’s no wonder that bustling Willoughby’s has a reputation for some of the best sushi in town. (The Rainbow Reloaded roll is a must.)
Belthazar Restaurant and Wine Bar (V&A Waterfront)
This is a posh dining experience, with smartly dressed staff and stemware to match, so be prepared to splurge. Their claim to fame is the enormous selection of wines per glass (over 250), the Karan beef steaks, and venison dishes.
The Butcher Shop & Grill (Mouille Point)
Order off the menu, or select your cut on consultation with the butcher. (You can also buy steak to cook at home.)
Carne on Kloof (Gardens)
The tables on the fairy-light-lit terrace are usually snapped up on starry nights. There’s a great range of meaty fare, from excellent beef carpaccio and veal sweetbreads to steak cuts, and desserts are appropriately Italian, including gelato and tiramisu.
Carne SA (City Bowl)
Named Best Steakhouse at the 2013 Eat Out Awards. Chef-owner Giorgio Nava has a farm in Nieu Bethesda, where an imported Romagnola bull sires Romagnola-Nguni crosses. Steak at Carne SA will ruin you for steak just about anywhere else.
HQ (City Bowl)
This elegant, Parisian-inspired venue offers only one main dish: free-range wet-aged sirloin served with a legendary café de Paris sauce, fries and a classic salad.
Hussar Grill (Camps Bay)
Top quality beef and wild game are aged on site and the house basting sauce is a closely guarded secret.
Hussar Grill (Rondebosch)
This is an empire built on meat. Classic combos include fillet béarnaise, Madagascan pepper fillet, Hollandse biefstuk with brandy and pepper. The 1kg steak special is real. Good luck!
The Local Grill (Woodstock)
Chalmar grain-fed and Greenfields free-range beef are aged on site, served with side options of pap, mash, veg, onion rings, fries, a side salad and corn cob.
Pirates Steakhouse Pub & Grill (Plumstead)
Tender, juicy fillets and flavour-packed rumps come with a variety of toppings, stuffings and sauces. The ribs are outstanding.
Article Source: Eatout.co.za