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.
No. 4: 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?’)
Corner of Bree and Machau: Folk Coffee Anthropology
This brand new 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. 7-11: Ravish
Dark, brooding and beautifully decorated, Ravish is another new venue on the ground floor of the new Touchstone House. Stop by for gourmet health foods like build-your-own wraps, salads and smoothies.
No.15: True Italic Italian Art Cafe
Open nights only, this traditional osteria serves handmade pastas and Italian specialities. Fans rave about the gnocchi.
No. 17: Orinoco
The menu of Latin American street food features everything from cheesy quesadillas to empanadas and ceviche, the national dish of Peru. They also do authentic cocktails. (Pisco sour, anyone?)
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 and smiling service rounds out the offering.
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.
No. 70-72: Beautifull Food at Youngblood
This airy and light double-volume space is a showcase of local art. The cafe offers light meals like soups and sandwichs, as well as a buffet (chicken or beef main with a choice of four sides) for R60, which is available 12pm to 2.30pm daily.
No. 92: Chefs Warehouse
This winner of our 2014 award for Best Everyday Eatery has an exciting tapas menu and shelves groaning with food products, cooking paraphernalia and recipe books. The tapas of the day (which has gone up to R480 for two people – usually eight dishes in total) could be anything from tuna tataki with microgreens to superlative risotto or slow-braised beef short-rib. Worth every penny.
…and Bistrot Bizerca
The entrance is actually at 98 Shortmarket Street (just off Bree), but we had to tip our caps to Bizerca. The bistro’s consistently high standards walk the line between unpretentious bistro and fine dining. The courtyard is the place to be in summer. The compact menu changes with the seasons, complemented by an exciting daily chalkboard menu. Look out for tender confit duck leg with Savoy cabbage and a standout crêpe Suzette.
No. 102: 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.
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.
No. 110: Weinhaus + Biergarten (formerly &Union)
This old faithful is good for imported craft beer and live music several nights a week. First prize is a spot in the courtyard on a summer’s eve.
No. 114: Charango Grill and Bar
After a much-anticipated opening at the start of summer, 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.
No. 120: 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 newish 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.
No. 127: Birds Café
The charming café serves prettily plated, wholesome breakfasts and lunches by day and more serious dishes at night. Spot the shelf of house-made pickles and condiments at the top of the stairs. (This is also where Eat Out staffers pick up their weekly bags of locally grown organic veg from Harvest of Hope.)
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.
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.
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.
No. 152: Arcade
Inspired by the likes of Schillers Liquor Bar in New York and Dandelyan Bar in London, this new ‘resto-bar’ serves cafe-style food like chicken pregos and rolled beef fillet, plus pizzas, burgers and salads. 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.
No. 165: Latitude 33
Another good spot for early morning coffee and a bite. Their burger nights are fun, for which the clothing boutique upstairs stays open late.
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.
No. 190: Sexy Food
A health-food café specialising in all the trends like alive bowls, probiotics, kimchi, kefir, kombucha and cold-drip tea juices.
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. The downstairs bar section is especially cosy in winter.
No 213: Palma
A moody Italian eatery, Palma boasts a concise menu with highlights of breaded veal and outstanding desserts. (Prices are perhaps more suited to a special occasion than a weeknight supper.)
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
No. 223: Little Saint
With seasoned owners and a menu of fresh, carefully sourced food, this new café is bound to do well 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.
No. 231: Sababa Kitchen Deli
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.