18 Cape Town Restaurants – from the ‘people in the know’

October 25th 2019  |   Countries, Unique Experiences, Miscellaneous, South Africa  |  by   Rosanna Pile
Cape Town restaurants - Pot Luck Club smorgasbord

Cape Town is famous for its eclectic mix of restaurants and wealth of talented chefs from around the world who are all about using fresh, local ingredients.  The most popular book up months in advance, but there are so many other options it’s often hard to know where to start.  Here is a helpful guide from the ‘people in the know’:

  1. For somewhere special
  2. For a weekend (or mid week brunch)
  3. For a fun Friday night
  4. For families

  • For somewhere special
    1. In 2010 Luke Dale-Roberts created The Test Kitchen, his award-winning fine dining restaurant where the tasting menu is packed with local specialities given a modern European flourish.  The contemporary space needs to be experienced as it is more magical than you could imagine.


      The Test Kitchen; quince, jerusalem artichoke and milk espresso

      It books up well in advance but if you struggle to get a table then try sister restaurant The Pot Luck Club.  One of the coolest places to be in Cape Town, the menu is filled with variety and pazaz and served in a relaxed and edgy environment.  The focus is on five flavour profiles (salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami), and plate-sharing is encouraged, so you get to savour them all.  Sunday brunch is great too, with DIY Bloody Mary’s and braaied pumpkin or fish tacos.

      ‘At Luke Dale Roberts’s exceptional Cape Town restaurants, you’ll find intelligent, seasonal cooking that is, most importantly, incredibly tasty.’ Says Jene du Preez Haberer from Aardvark Safaris’ Cape Town representative


      The Pot Luck Club ambiance

      The attention to detail and ambience at Peter Tempelhoff’s new 60-seater urban eatery FYN is quite simply, superb.  Co-owned with Jennifer Hugé and Ashley Moss, this dynamic threesome have created an African-inspired menu with a Japanese twist.  The Wagyu butter is utterly seductive (and delicious) and main courses include local fish with Sake mussels or grilled beef picanha. The whole menu comes with wonderfully original wine pairings, courtesy of Jennifer who spent 17 years at La Colombe as sommelier and manager.


      FYN restaurant decor

      Other  top spots include Aubergine, Salsify at the Roundhouse and La Mouette in Sea Point.

      Ellerman House and Villas is one of Cape Town’s most lovely boutique hotels so you know a restaurant is going to be good if it’s one of their ‘go to’ recommendations. Of Aubergine they say:

       ‘Ignore the menu, tell the waiter to ask the Chef to surprise you and wait to be blown-away.’ Elle Reinink, Ellerman House and Villas 


      Aubergine terrace


      Salsify at the Roundhouse; aged beef prime rib, porcini pudding, onion gravy, & bone marrow biscuit


      Delightful presentation at La Mouette

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  • For a weekend (or mid-week) brunch
    1. Manna Epicure on Kloof Street, a dynamic fusion of chic French and rustic South African, is a fab  brunch spot.  ‘Must try’ is the coconut bread which is a dream when served with egg and avocado.  Lunch-time salads come packed with ingredients and I’d suggest adding some of the wicked truffle mash or triple-cooked fries.


      Manna Epicure brunch with coconut bread

      Breakfast is served all day long at Hemelhuijs, an inner-city hotspot owned by Jacques Erasmus.  His passion for travel is evident in the ever-changing, modern and quirky décor.  The menu is highly creative with seasonal delights bursting with flavour.  Enjoy simple salted butter on toast to start, before moving onto dishes like poached farm eggs with artichoke hearts or a Waygu beef burger with a soft poached egg.  Drinks range from an interesting quince Bellini to freshly crafted juices.

      The Lawns at the Roundhouse is where the locals gather at the weekends for a casual family brunch or sundowners with friends.  It’s a fun spot to laze about on the lawns enjoying incredible views of Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles.  There’s a wonderful atmosphere with live music and delicious platters of food and pizzas.


      Views of Camps Bay at The Lawns at the Roundhouse

      Our other favourites for a weekend brunch are The Foodbarn in Noordhoek, and Kloof Street House Jazz Brunch.


      Foodbarn decor


      Kloof Street House

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  • For a fun Friday night
    1. Let your hair down at the Bombay Bicycle Club and join in with the wacky vibe at this bohemian venue.  The food is a mixture of much-loved favourites combined with ever-changing specials.


      Bombay Bicycle Club bar snacks

      From the same owners as the popular Black Sheep, the Dark Horse Bar serves a selection of interesting tipples – among which are lemon-drop martinis, gin fizz and classic Manhattans – alongside a scrummy selection of tapas-inspired dishes. The interior is plush and moody with front benches offering the perfect place to people watch, and an outside deck boasting wonderful views of the mountain.

      If you are staying in Camps Bay you must book a table at the Codfather Seafood and Sushi Bar for some of the best seafood in town.  Freshly caught fish is beautifully displayed and you can pick a variety a sauces and sides to accompany your choice.  The options are endless but don’t forget the sublime sushi!

      Other Friday hangouts include Harrington’s Cocktail Lounge in the Central Business District and Bascule Bar at Cape Grace on the Waterfront.


      Harringtons cocktail bar


      Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace Hotel

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  • For families
    1. While parents sit back and enjoy dining at Strolla Restaurant & Bar the kids are entertained in the dedicated Kiddies Corner where they can build their own pizzas, complete with their own aprons, chef’s hats and a childminder to guide their creativity.  When they are done with their rolling pins, there is a games room with bean bags, games, colouring books and a range of child-friendly movies.  It’s the perfect recipe for fun family time.

      Children are not only welcome, they’re ‘invited’ to Café Paradiso.  A laid-back garden restaurant on Kloof known for serving hearty, simple fare. There isn’t a play area as such but there is enough outdoor space for them to feel free and the menu is packed with yummy kids meals.  They can also make their own pizzas, gingerbread men or cupcakes here which can be a lot of messy fun – just ask the waiter about their ‘kids projects’.

      ‘Bella and George had a blast making their own pizzas and were very proud of their efforts – the kitchen staff were brilliant with them and also let George bring in his own dairy free cheese.’ Rosanna Pile, Sales Consultant, Aardvark Safaris

      Our family clients also enjoy The Lawns and Manna Epicure both mentioned above.


      Café Paradiso

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