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Your Cape Town Restaurant Guide!

  • January 16, 2018
  • By Carly Neave

When I first booked my flights to Cape Town back in June, restaurant research was at the top of my list. It seemed like second to Bali and Australia, Cape Town’s choice for incredible and authentic restaurants was up there with the best of the best.

It didn’t take long to find Michelin stars, tasting menus that make your mouth water just by reading, and wine regions that look like something out of a childhood story book. The slight catch was that many of the acclaimed restaurants were fully booked with no hope of getting in (and boy did I try ”“ on numerous occasions!), so what you’re about to read is a collection of some of the very best and most beautiful spots in Cape Town that you can actually get into, rather than a repeat of the top 1-2 restaurants you’ll find on every “Dining in Cape Town” blog across the web.

For those wondering what those top 1-2 are, I’m talking about the likes of The Test Kitchen, The Pot Luck Club, La Colombe and La Petit Colombe, Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia, to name just a few. Of course if you do manage to get a reservation ”“ don’t let me stop you!

Without further ado, welcome to my Cape Town Food Guide!

Breakfasts

I only managed to visit two breakfast spots whilst I was there, but both were absolutely stand out for their own reasons.

  1. Four & Twenty Café

When I saw “Eggs Be Lean” on the menu, complete with truffled aubergine and mushroom rosti as the base ”“ it didn’t take long to get me out of bed. A 20-odd minute drive from Fresnaye (where we stayed), this understated bistro stands on the corner of a street in the suburbs. We knew we had found the right place as a queue was already starting to build outside. They seem to be the one of the few spots open on a Sunday but given it played host to many a local, I don’t see it being much less busy any other day of the week.

From healthy vanilla seed and honey yoghurt to “Sweet Breakfast Hot Dog” (A croissant stuffed with caramelized banana, strawberries and honey butter!) – there’s something for everyone. The staff a breath of fresh air and don’t let the hustle and bustle of the service phase them. It’s a real gem of a spot and highly recommend a visit!

 

2) Dear Me

A restaurant inspired by the understanding that everyone has different needs when it comes to food but no one wants to sacrifice on taste. Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, nut-free or anything else ”“ they make sure the menu is flexible enough to suit all. It was surprisingly quiet when we arrived but the food and service made up for any lack of atmosphere. The menu is dynamic; chia seed porridge with matcha and goji berries or truffled scrambled eggs with exotic mushrooms and sweetcorn fritters. It’s got everything and anything and so good, in fact, that when I caught a glance of the lunch menu (Poke bowls, buddah bowls, Asian salads and more) I ordered lunch for Jack and I to take away with me. As with most alike spots in Cape Town ”“ also super reasonably priced.

 

Lunches

3) The GreenHouse

This is one I was rather chuffed to get In to, grabbing a last minute reservation for one of our final days. What an absolute treat this place is! Located in Constantia, a scenic drive leads to even more beautiful location, perfect gardens full of pink and white flowers showering the green grounds. The hotel itself that plays host to The GreenHouse is part of the Relais & Châteaux hotel group; I didn’t get a chance to see the rooms but if inside is anything like the out ”“ a truly romantic and quaint spot to stay whilst in Cape Town.

Two menus are on offer for lunch, one 3 course (although technically about 5-6 with complimentary canapés and Entrées) and a more padded out 7 course menu. We went for the 3 course which is R 550 or R 800 with wine pairing.

The food at The Greenhouse is impeccable art – in presentation and taste. Not one dish fell short of spectacular and the only ”˜complaint’ would be to bring more of it all!

TIP: Ask to be seated in the conservatory – it’s an enchanting and welcoming space. Unfortunately for larger groups you will be seated further back in the restaurant as we were.

 

4) Delaire Graff

Talk about picture perfect! I have been to many a place yet nowhere as pristine or as beautiful as The Delaire Graff Estate – one of the jewels of the Cape Winelands. It’s located in Stellenbosch and will have you enchanted from the moment your car pulls into the lavish gardens. As far as settings go, this was by far my favourite in Cape Town.

I had been trying for months to get a family reservation at the main Delaire Graff restaurant, with not much luck. I had a reservation for 4, but we were a party of 9. They have a restaurant adjacent to Delaire Graff called ”˜The Grill’, which is walk-in only, open from 12pm to 3pm. We arrived 12.05pm and The Grill was already full. To our delight, the superb team managed to create a table for all 9 of us at the main restaurant, however admittedly, I would back your chances as a two or four turning up on the day as all tables were certainly not full.

The food was good ”“ but not the exceptional standard I thought it would be; we had to send back three pork dishes for being overcooked and dry. However, it is enjoyable and when you are in possibly one of the most stunning hotels and locations in Cape Town, nothing else seems to matter much!

The wine is also fantastic at the estate with wine tasting available in the courtyard for reasonable prices. Also first come first served basis. Their service and hospitality deserves a gold star and from what I saw of the rooms on the website ”“ this would make for an exceptional honeymoon location! I would unquestionably return.

 

5) The Bungalow

Recommended to me by more than a handful of people, I booked in early and fortunately so as the restaurant is jam packed! A place I would define as the ultimate lunch spot, nautical brasserie style to compliment the sea view. You want to sit in the outside lounge area, great vibes and closest to the sea breeze.

Food is exactly what you would expect (and want) with some more indulgent additions. Burgers, mussels, grilled fish dishes with your side of chips, beef tartare, burrata, salads and more. All along with your more upmarket sashimi platter, oysters and steak plates. It’s not the best beef burger you’re ever going to eat, but the food is solid and location is more than ideal. It’s the kind of place you would settle in with a bottle of rosé, sharing style food and laugh away the afternoon.

Other:

  • The CodFather

I unfortunately missed this lunch but was told the fish and service was exceptional. It’s one of the more casual restaurants along Camps Bay, although it doesn’t quite match the inexpensive prices of other restaurants along the front. I guess you pay for quality!

Dinners

6) The RoundHouse

None of the other lists have been in order of preference, expect this one. The RoundHouse was without question my most-loved dinner spot of all. This place is an absolute must.

Set atop a hill in an understated wind-mill like building, there are only a few tables available. Two choices of menu – a 5 course and 8 course ”“ both available with wine pairing options. Prices in order; R 695 or with wine pairing, R 995. R 895 or with wine pairing, R1375. It was the dearest restaurant we visited but worth every single penny. Each and every dish was unique, creative, full of flavor and a journey for the taste buds. Nothing short of genius.

Worth mentioning that the RoundHouse has a ”˜sister’ restaurant called the “Rumbullion” which is directly underneath hosting beautiful picnic tables and given gorgeous sunset views over table maintain. It is a little confusing as they had an issue with us having a sunset cocktail at the Rumbullion because we were dining at the RoundHouse? I presume the owners are the same but they seem to want to keep the restaurants separate despite being located on the same grounds, virtually on top of one another. Either way. I strongly recommend booking or trying to get a seat at the Rumbullion before dinner as it’s so picturesque. They also served more picnic style food which look really tasty if you want a less ”˜fussy’ vibe for the evening.

 

7) ASH

Named after chef and owner, ASH, this restaurant is a contemporary little spot on Church Street. Put simply, fabulous charcoal-cooking inspired food that will please the entire table with unique but warming dishes. From hay smoked trout to burnt onion and cheese croquettes, fried mussels and a whole selection of dry aged beef ”“ the food makes this place a little gem, 100% worth a visit and again, all reasonably priced.

Be warned though (and such a shame to say as the food is fantastic) but service, whilst super polite and smiley, is unbearably slow. Water will take at least 20 minto arrive and a casual dinner will be no less than 3 hours. If they could improve the service by hiring a few more waiters and waitresses then ASH would be seriously hard to fault.

 

8) Azure at the 12 Apostles Hotel

This hotel wasn’t what I expected. I was anticipating a ”˜One & Only’ style hotel, grand, breathtaking, with that luxury feel from the moment you walk in. The 12 Apostles hotel was grand, but in its own unique way. It’s understated, somewhat old fashioned but has an aroma of romance about it. Jack and I were one of the few guests younger than 50, but I sat with a warm smile inside as every seat was filled with someone who looked appropriately dressed for the Titanic. It’s not your super atmospheric, loud social restaurant, but rather the perfect intimate dinner for two that had the best service we’d received all week.

Executive Chef, Christo Pretorius, has created some stunning plates of food, distinctive and bursting with flavour and ideas. Even if you don’t have a chance to eat at Azure, I strongly recommended going for a sunset cocktail on one of their two small terraces to enjoy the stunning amber sun setting over Camps bay with views of Table Mountain just behind.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Cape Town Best Restaurants round-up! Please comment below with any questions about Cape Town or any of the restaurants above and would be happy to help! Do let me know if you choose to go any off the back of this post and let me know what you think :) 

LLG x

By Carly Neave, January 16, 2018 Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!
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3 Comments
  • Kimberly
    January 16, 2018

    Great article on Cape Town restaurants. Always hard to know where to go not just for food but for the type of evening you want to have . Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Kimberly

  • Amy
    January 16, 2018

    What area would you recommend staying in? Did you feel safe e.g. wear your wedding ring?

    • Lean Living Girl
      January 17, 2018

      Hey Amy,

      We stayed in Fresnaye which is 5 minutes from Camps Bay beach, a residential area that definitely felt safe :) Most houses have a security system with guards in the local area and all have gates. Ubers were super quick and easy from there too. I did take off my ring when I went out yes, I was just being over cautious but would prefer to do that than have anything happen. Hope that helps!

      LLG X

Carly Neave

Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!

About Me
Hi, I'm Carly!
A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!
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