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Cape Town’s coolest restaurant strip: Bree Street

Bree Street has overtaken Camps Bay, Long Street and even Kloof Street as Cape Town’s coolest strip – when it comes to eating opportunities, anyway. There’s still a lot of construction happening, but through the dust and rubble rise gorgeous new spaces and cooking smells, so it keeps things exciting. This vibrant road that’s both wide and long offers numerous options – all excellent – for coffee, burgers, sandwiches and sundowners. Not to mention the dedicated bars for gin, bacon and cheese. Take a walk with us up Bree Street to see Cape Town’s hottest restaurant talent.

A view of Bree Street at Bacon On Bree. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A view of Bree Street at Bacon On Bree. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 4: Evolution Cafe Xperience
Serving breakfast, lunch, juices, smoothies and coffee, this brand new health-focused cafe is the committed to encouraging a more sustainable balanced lifestyle. Try a gluten-free wrap, smoothie breakfast bowls or a red beet latte.

And: Active Sushi on Bree
This branch of the brand has changed hands, but affordable sushi is still on the menu.

And: Hard Pressed Café 
A vinyl café in the Portside Building, this Bree Street darling has chirpy staff, great speciality coffees and tasty options for breakfast and lunch. Regulars – and there are many – look forward to every day’s streetside blackboard quip and the tip-jar yes/no question. (‘Did you get some over the weekend?’)

Hard Pressed Cafe. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Hard Pressed Cafe. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

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.

Inside at Folk Coffee Anthropology. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Inside at Folk Coffee Anthropology. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No 8: Raw & Roxy
You’ll find fantastic vegan and vegetarian food at this cafe. From Buddha bowls to raw vegan cakes and ice creams, there’s something to convert even the most hardened carnivore to at least trying meat-free food. It’s a little hidden – look for the sign next to a staircase disappearing upstairs.

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, Luca can’t take it off the menu. Fans also rave about the gnocchi. (Winner of Best Italian Eatery in the Western Cape at the 2016 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries.)

Food at True Italic Italian Art Cafe. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Food at True Italic Italian Art Cafe. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 17: La Tête
Giles Edwards’s nose-to-tail eatery has taken over the spot formerly occupied by Orinoco, and is wowing locals with experimental meaty dishes and some stupendous puddings, too.

No. 22: The General Store
Freshly made gourmet salads and meat options (saucy chicken breast and pesto-smeared salmon, anyone?) are the order of the day at this teeny café. Rosetta coffee, a few baked options (we can recommend the brownies, doughnuts and the only occasionally available but glorious gluten-free cakes) and smiling service rounds out the offering.

And: SMAK Delicatessen
Katia Scherf and Devin Hogan’s deli serves up delicious fresh pasta and some tasty tacos, which are very popular at Eat Out HQ across the road. For the banters, there’s a banting Benedict or crustless quiche at lunch. At the other end of the spectrum, there are bacon butties and wonderfully rich croque monsieur. For breakfast, try the Good Ol’ Scramble, which comes with a generous dusting of parmesan on top, caramelised onions and mushrooms. We also hear great things about the burger, made with free-range mince.

Bar-style seating at SMAK. Photo supplied.

Bar-style seating at SMAK. Photo supplied.

No.47: Locanda, Stuzzico and Restaurant at Villa 47
The three-storey charcoal restaurant complex offers up three options for hungry diners. Head to Locanda on the ground floor for high-end Italian, delicious cured meats (their Benedict is something special) and pavement-side views of buzzing Bree. Above it, Stuzzico offers a tapas-style menu and a bar that stays open late. At the very top is Restaurant at Villa 47, a good spot to celebrate a special occasion with dishes like kudu loin with apricots, garam masala and three types of sweet potato and showstopping chocolate fondant.

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.

Sports cars adorn the interior at Dapper Coffee

Sports cars adorn the interior at Dapper Coffee Co. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 70-72: Foodlab
This new spot has replaced the erstwhile Beautifull Food in the light, double-volume Youngblood gallery space. They do breakfasts and healthy bites.

No. 92: Chefs Warehouse 
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. The food is worth the wait, though pricey.

Chefs Warehouse interior. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Chefs Warehouse interior. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

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 a lunch but you might be hard-pressed to find a seat at sundown. Order tapas dishes like calamari and croquettes and sip your craft beer as you admire the décor and beautiful crowd.

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Inside at La Parada. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 103 upstairs: Inside & You’re Out (IYO) Burgers
Winner in the burger category for the Western Cape at the 2015 Best Everyday Eateries, this bright burger joint is often buzzing thanks to its smoky cheese-stuffed-patties, great Southern-style sauces and decadent cheesecakes. They recently expanded their space to include a pleasant bar area with pool tables, and more seating options. Save space for the insane cheesecakes.

IYO interiors

The interior at IYO Burgers. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 105: Burger & Lobster
This vibey spot serves up great burgers and tasty cocktails. Tragically, West Coast Rock lobster is now on the SASSI red list, but the owners say they care about the environment, so are engaging with suppliers to find a more sustainable supply, and are soon to release a prawn roll.

No. 110: Love Thy Neighbour (formerly Weinhaus + Biergarten, and before that &Union)
This old faithful has been given a revamp, though the beer garden is still its relaxed old self on a summer evening. Tuck into souvlaki, aubergine fries, burgers and calamari. Hank’s Olde Irish, a beautiful hidden whiskey bar with leather banquettes and exposed brick, is at the same venue, through a warren of passages.

No. 114: Charango Grill and Bar
Charango is still pulling the crowds. The food is inspired by Peruvian cuisine and sharing is encouraged. Choices range from ceviche to barbeque grill-style dishes, with highlights like tuna tacos and barbecue pork belly and some bar snacks too. Don’t forget to sample the wealth of pisco-themed cocktails.

The interior at Charango. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The interior at Charango. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 120: Azhar’s Fast Food and Takeaways
Bree Street is not a particularly affordable place to eat, but this little hole-in-the-wall cafe will fill your tummy for under R30. Think chip rolls, burgers and samoosas. It is also strictly Halaal.

And… Elixir
This diminutive juice bar also sells gluten-free and vegan snacks and light meals.

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 as standard” might be our favourite phrase ever.)

and… Easy Tiger
Replacing the tiny chippie that was here before, this burger joint gives others along this street a run for their money. Burgers are easy to love, with flame-grilled patties, darkly glossy brioche buns and melty yellow cheese, and the space is packed with attitude.

Inside seating at Easy Tiger. Photo courtesy of Nikita Buxton.

Inside seating at Easy Tiger. Photo courtesy of Nikita Buxton.

No. 127: Mink & Trout
The former Birds Cafe space has been beautifully refurbished into a sleek bistro. Think stellar ceviche with pickled veg and miso cream-cheese dressing, great Karoo lamb bredie and perfect crème brûlée.

No. 133: Hail Pizza
Head through Clarke’s courtyard 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. Think kale, gorgonzola and grana padano or lardons, mushrooms and avo. 

Corner of Wale and Bree: Bocca Restaurant
Their beautiful thin-based pizza bases are baked to perfection in a matter of seconds. There are also tempting plates for sharing, including fried gnocchi with ricotta, a standout beef carpaccio and delicious bucatini with prawns. Don’t miss the smart wine list.

Crumbed, deep-fried balls filled with soft, succulent duck from Bocca Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Crumbed, deep-fried balls filled with soft, succulent duck from Bocca Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 130: Issi on Bree
Stop by for a cup of special Isabella blend coffee, great breakfasts with free-range eggs, freshly made sandwiches and their popular salted butter caramel New-York-style cheesecake. They do a cool book exchange and regularly host photo and art exhibitions.

A breakfast croissant at Issi on Bree. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A breakfast croissant at Issi on Bree. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 133: Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room
Clarke’s is still a hot spot thanks to its early and all-day breakfasts and American-style comfort food like mac ‘n cheese, chowder and burgers on buttery buns.

Inside at Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room. Photo by Alexia Webster.

Inside at Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room. Photo by Alexia Webster.

No. 152: Arcade
This ‘resto-bar’ serves cafe-style food like chicken pregos and rolled beef fillet, plus pizzas, burgers and salads – and is wildly popular with the late-night crowd. On the drinks side of things, look out for classic and new cocktails, shots and SAB beer on tap.

No. 160: Café Frank
They serve fresh, fuss-free food in a sleek and chic canteen-style setting. Apart from sandwiches and a salad selection, you could order their delicious-sounding daily specials like ras-el-hanout chicken with couscous and nectarines, or rare roast sirloin with artichokes.

The dinner buffet at Cafe Frank. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

The dinner buffet at Cafe Frank. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 185: Jason
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 crayfish and mac ‘n cheese. The sandwiches (made with Frankie Fenner meats) are pretty special too.

The exterior at Jason Bakery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The exterior at Jason Bakery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 199: The Odyssey
This double-storey joint is good for social gatherings thanks to its ample interiors, extensive wine offering and bar snacks like zucchini fries, chilli poppers and sliders. Recent renovation works suggest they’re adding a first floor balcony, which would be great

A burger and onion rings at The Odyssey. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A burger and onion rings at The Odyssey. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No 207: The Station
This London Underground-inspired pub serves up street food like burgers in pitas, hot dogs, boerie rolls and schwarmas. There’s dancing later on.

No. 215: Culture Club Cheese
A glorious yellow exterior announces that you’ve arrived at Bree Street’s cheese HQ. Grab one of the tables outside, or sit inside to admire the impressively stocked cheese fridges and talk to the passionate owner, Luke. You can tuck into multitude of cheese sandwich options, or go for something more serious like slow-cooked lamb, raclette, or camembert mac ‘n cheese.

Culture Club Cheese. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A cheese sandwich and cold-drink at Culture Club Cheese. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 217: Bacon on Bree
This bar dedicated to all things porky by charcuterie king Richard Bosman keeps crowds happy with bacon-and-brie croissants; baguettes topped with roasted tomato, bacon and brie; and French toast BLTs with parmigiano and mustard mayo.

Bacon on Bree. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Bacon on Bree. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 219: Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar
An impressive array of local and imported gins, tonic waters (there’s one with cinnamon!) and garnishes will raise your after-work G&T to new heights. The rowdy crowd often spills out onto the street, but you can descend the stairs and find a spot in the more chilled courtyard if you can.

The interior at Mother's Ruin Gin Bar. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The interior at Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 221: Door 221
Blink and you could miss it, but this little hole in the wall is worth trying out for tasty tacos. The school furniture and dark décor are much cooler than they sound, making for a great, moody atmosphere. Order from the chalkboard menu at the counter.

Food at Door 221. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Food at Door 221. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 223: Little Saint
With seasoned owners and a menu of fresh, carefully sourced food, this café is a treat on Bree. Highlights include a fantastic sweet-potato tortilla, perfection in the form of egg, bacon and avo on toast, and triple-cooked pork belly.

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 with music by guest DJs.

A Martini and some grub at Orphanage

A Martini and some grub at Orphanage Cocktail Emporium. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

No. 231: Olami
A harvest table of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-style food offers healthy, homemade options in this small, modern space. Find a sidewalk table outside in good weather.

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 lasagne. You can pre-order sandwiches for delivery at lunchtime if you work nearby.

Corner of Bree and Buitensingel: Sexy Food 
This health-food café has a solid base of regulars who tuck into bright health bowls and line up for products like lactose-free kefir milk, kraut made with cultured seaweed or organic tempeh.

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