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Bree Street is doubtlessly the coolest restaurant strip in Cape Town. The road has been a focus for development in recent years, bringing new diners and office workers to the area. The most recent (and ongoing) development are the buildings at number 16 (where veggie paradise Raw & Roxy used to be). They’ve been demolished to make way for a 36-storey retail and residential skyscraper, which promises even more hungry mouths to feed and maybe even a café or two. In the meantime, here’s our definitive guide to dining on Bree Street.
No. 4: Red! The Gallery
This gallery and café opened in September 2017, offering art with your Uber coffee. The friendly staff recommend the scrambled egg and the campfire breakfast – three eggs cooked in onion, tomato and chillies then topped with cheddar cheese.
And: Active Sushi on Bree 🍽
This branch of the brand has changed hands, but affordable sushi is still on the menu. The lunchtime specials in particular will have you coming back again and again.
No. 7: Folk Coffee Anthropology
This spot on the corner of Bree and Mechau Street is bright, breezy and filled with books to page through if you’re dining solo. Pick up a coffee, salad or wrap, and find a spot in a sunbeam.
No. 15: True Italic Italian Art Cafe 🍽
Open nights only, this traditional osteria serves handmade pastas and Italian specialities. The menu changes daily, except for the aubergine parmigiana, which is so popular that it can’t be taken off the menu. Fans also rave about the homemade gnocchi with gorgonzola pears.
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No. 17: La Tête 🍽
Giles Edwards’s nose-to-tail eatery wows locals with experimental meaty dishes, and our advice is to order the fish sandwich when it’s available. He also makes some stupendous puddings, including the now-famous madeleines.
No. 22: The General Store
Freshly made gourmet salads and meat options are the order of the day at this teeny café. Saucy chicken breasts and pesto-smeared salmon, anyone? Rosetta coffee, a few baked options and smiling service rounds out the offering. (We can recommend the brownies, doughnuts and the occasionally available but glorious gluten-free cakes.)
And: SMAK Delicatessen 🍽
Katia Scherf’s deli serves up delicious fresh pasta and some tasty tacos. For the banters, there’s a banting Benedict or crustless quiche at lunch. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s a bacon butty and a wonderfully rich croque-monsieur. For breakfast, try the Good Ol’ Scramble, which comes with caramelised onions, mushrooms and a generous dusting of parmesan. Their freshly made pasta is also a thing of perfection.
No. 47: Locanda Villa 47
Head to Locanda on the ground floor for high-end Italian tapas and delicious cured meats. (Their Benedict is something special.) They also offer pavement-side views of buzzing Bree.
Corner of Bree and Strand Street: Dapper Coffee Co.
At the end of 2015, Dapper Coffee Co. opened alongside new luxury sports car showroom, Club9. Together they offer a space where classic-car enthusiasts and city dwellers can roll in for coffee, enjoy a laid-back lunch, have their wheels polished and possibly even purchase a Porsche on their way out. We have it on good authority that their baked eggs are the perfect way to start your day.
No. 68: Jo Al’s Takeaway
This teeny tiny hole in the wall offers no seating space, but serves fast and filling sandwiches and refreshments.
No. 70-72: The Hot Skillet
Housed inside the Youngblood Gallery, The Hot Skillet is a venture by former My Kitchen Rules SA finalists Gomotsegang Modiselle and Oginga Siwundla. They serve simple well-done classics like eggs Benedict and lunchtime sandwiches, and often host shisa nyama nights.
No. 92: Chefs Warehouse and Canteen
Liam Tomlin’s spectacular tapas menu draws fans from near and far, and the tables on the raised outside area are hot property. They don’t take bookings, but hang out in the bar beneath, aptly named No Reservations, until they find you a seat. Though pricey, the food is worth the wait.
No. 107: God’s Army
This small Christian bookshop is also home to an old-fashioned, vintage-themed milk bar, serving double-thick shakes and light, affordable meals.
No. 107: La Parada 🍽
This spot is always pumping. You can sneak in for lunch but you might be hard-pressed to find a seat at sundown. Order tapas dishes like crispy calamari and prawn croquettes, and sip your craft beer as you admire the décor, beautiful crowd and bustling Bree street.
No. 103: Grub & Vine
Grub & Vine serves refined bistro-style food in a relaxed setting. Highlights from the lunch and dinner menus include West Coast hake, steamed mussels, black lentils and mussel sauce; and roasted lamb with lamb fat potatoes, smoked aubergine, asparagus, black olive and lamb sauce.
No. 103: Frogitt & Vonkel Wine Bar
Frogitt & Vonkel’s flagship bar on Bree offers a list of over 30 local and international wines to enjoy. Guests can pair it with locally produced charcuterie and cheeses or visit neighbouring bistro Grub & Vine.
No. 105: Burger & Lobster 🍽
This vibey spot is known for its simple and perfectly executed menu of grilled fresh lobster, lobster rolls and burgers. The lobsters are sourced either from South Africa’s South Coast or Maine in the U.S. Cocktails range from a maple-and-bacon old fashioned to a cucumber-and-dill martini. Decadent desserts include an Oreo Nutella cheesecake or a peanut butter s’mores pot.
No. 110: Love Thy Neighbour 🍽
Tuck into souvlaki, aubergine fries, burgers and calamari. Hank’s Olde Irish, a beautiful hidden whiskey bar with leather banquettes and exposed brick, can be found through a warren of passages.
No. 114: Charango Barbacoa 🍽
Charango is a South American steakhouse with a main menu that is dedicated to a selection of meat cuts prepared according to your preference, with the option to include an extensive variety of mainly South American-inspired wet rubs, butters and sauces. These include salsa verde, chimichurri, chermoula, espresso butter, brandy cream and bone marrow butter.
No. 120: Azhar’s Fast Food and Takeaways
Bree Street isn’t a particularly affordable place to eat, but this little hole-in-the-wall café will fill your tummy for under R30. Think chip rolls, burgers and samoosas. It’s also strictly halaal.
This diminutive juice bar also sells light meals and snacks that are vegan or gluten-free.
And: Max Bagels
This tiny New York-style bagel bar offers a handful of classic fillings like our favourite, salt beef brisket, pickle and mustard. (“Everything comes with cream cheese” might be our favourite sentence ever.)
And: Cabrón Taco Bar 🍽
This vibey little spot offers a small choice of tacos, beers on tap and margaritas. It’s a good spot for a quick bite before heading out for a party.
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No. 127: Mink & Trout
This sleek bistro offers bites like West Coast mussels, great Karoo lamb bredie and perfect crème brûlée. Look out for their boozy brunch offerings on Saturdays.
No. 133: Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room
Clarke’s is still a hot spot thanks to its all-day breakfasts and American-style comfort food like mac ‘n cheese, chowder and iconic burgers.
No. 133: Hail Pizza
Head through Clarke’s and you’ll find a hidden restaurant with long communal tables and some stools at a bar. This is the place for wood-fired pizza with deliciously charred, chewy bases and tasty toppings. The Norman – topped with anchovies, mushrooms, capers and olives – is a favourite.
Corner of Wale and Bree: Bocca Restaurant
This Italian eatery has taken on a whole new guise with a new menu to boot. The space has been revamped with a fresh twist and new owners Guido and Adnana Brambilla are now serving urban Italian cuisine with Italian flavours made with South African ingredients. Think local stracciatella with roasted cherry tomatoes and confit eggplant, Venetian seafood ragù on penne with a nod to Cape Malay flavours and Amatriciana pizza topped with guanciale from Richard Bosman and pecorino
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No. 152: Arcade
This ‘resto-bar’ serves café-style food like chicken pregos, pizzas, burgers and salads. On the drinks side of things, look out for classic and new cocktails, shots and SAB beer on tap. It’s wildly popular with the late-night crowd.
No. 160: Café Frank
Café Frank serves fresh, fuss-free food in a sleek and chic canteen-style setting. Apart from sandwiches and a salad selection, you could order one of the daily specials like creamy peri-peri chicken livers; Malay beef phyllo pie; and sweet potato and caramelized onion quiche.
No. 176: Between Us
Between Us has a large selection of breakfast options. Try the popular activated granola porridge with orange and lemon thyme, dehydrated apple crisps and grapefruit curd.
No. 185: Jason Bakery
At Jason Bakery there’s almost always a small crowd outside the hatch waiting for their fix of coffee and pastry. King of all things decadent, Jason serves up Nutella-filled doughssants, peanut-butter-and-bacon croissants, and pies loaded with mac ‘n cheese. The breakfast pizza is pretty special too.
No. 199: Sotano on Bree
Sotano is ideal for brunch dates with mates, satisfying sushi cravings and sipping on a glass of red from the impressive list of local wines after a long day of work. Or just pop in on Wednesdays for the tasty two-for-one lamb burger special.
No. 207: The Station
This London Underground-inspired pub serves up street food like burgers, pitas, hotdogs, boerie rolls and schwarmas. There’s dancing later on.
No. 213: Seabreeze Fish & Shell
This spot is popular for its oysters and bubbly. Also try the fish and (excellent) chips with a glass of bubbly from the extensive by-the-glass selection.
No. 221: No. 89
Step into No. 89 for scrumptious street-style food, a selection of cocktails from the specialised gin bar and a caffeine fix from the speciality coffee bar.
No. 227: Orphanage Cocktail Emporium
Hearkening back to Victorian times with cocktails dubbed Jammy Dodger and More Tea Vicar, this trendy bar has a small menu of bar snacks like bruschetta, salt-and-chilli fried squid and truffle fries. They often host parties, featuring music by guest DJs.
No. 243: Crust Café
Breakfasts and lunches featuring crusty bread are the focus here, but you can also opt for rib-sticking sandwiches, burgers and homemade lasagna. You can pre-order sandwiches for delivery at lunchtime if you work nearby.
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