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Cape Town’s central southern suburbs: the best restaurants in the shadow of the table

Leafy, green, and offering access to plenty of good schools, the Mother City’s central southern suburbs have their own charm. While the restaurants in the city bowl might be more hip – and those in the deep south can boast sea views, the central band between Constantia and Rondebosch has its own collection of culinary gems. Here are our picks for a great meal in the centre of the southern suburbs.

 

 

 

Meadowridge

Rock Sushi Thai
Get your fix of sushi, or try the stir-fries, noodles, soups and dim sum.

Lime Tree Cafe. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Lime Tree Cafe. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Lime Tree Café
A quaint café and deli for lunch or breakfast.

Constantia

5 Rooms Restaurant
Sup on high-end bistro food at the historic Alphen Hotel.

Beau Constantia
This aptly named wine farm boasts spectacular views of the valley to feast your eyes on whilst enjoying sushi from the on-site pop-up Sushi Box, or a cheese or canapé board.

Buitenverwachting
This longstanding establishment continues to provide fine dining food of the classic persuasion.

Carne Constantia
The southern suburbs outpost of Giorgio Nava’s award-winning steakhouse offers delicious aged steaks. It’s not cheap, but worth every bite.

Carne Constantia. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Carne Constantia. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Clubhouse at Claremont Cricket Club
With views over the fields, this sports clubhouse has surprisingly decent food.

The Clubhouse at Claremont Cricket Club. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Clubhouse at Claremont Cricket Club. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Chardonnay Deli
Delicious cafe-style fare. Ice cream and mayonnaise are home-made and the deli stocks ingredients from the likes of Richard Bosman, Wild Organics and Get Stuffed cheese.

Chardonnay Deli counter. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Chardonnay Deli counter. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

The Conservatory at Cellars-Hohenort
Situated at the beautiful historic Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, The Conservatory offers excellent bistro fare in a sophisticated environment.

Constantia Glen
This wine estate does a mean cheese-and-charcuterie board, and the recently expanded seating area offers excellent views of the valley.

The Greenhouse at Cellars-Hohenort
Fantastic fine dining. Book here for your anniversary or save for a birthday blowout.

Jonkershuis at Groot Constantia
A lovely spot for an alfresco Sunday lunch. Grown-up food, but the lawns make it a great place for kids.

La Belle Café
Sit under the oaks and feast on cakes or brunch at this stunning location.

La Colombe
This award-winning fine dining restaurant has a gorgeous new location up in the hills of Silvermist Estate. Book well ahead for special occasions.

La Colombe. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

La Colombe. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Pastis
Expect a warm ambience and great French bistro food.

Peddlars & Co
Chef Brad Ball (formerly of Bistro Sixteen82) has joined the team and they have done some renovations, so expect the usual relaxed vibe, but with some changes. Volare, inside, is a more elegant Italian option.

Raith Gourmet
This butchery, bakery and deli is also great for breakfast and lunch on the terrace.

Raith Gourmet. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Raith Gourmet. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Rose Bar
Sip on cocktails overlooking the Alphen Hotel’s flowing lawns.

Silvermist Eatery
This is the more casual option on the estate, which now also houses La Colombe, Silvermist is a great option for a relaxing lunch overlooking the vines and lawns.

Simon’s at Groot Constantia
The slightly more pubby option at Groot Constantia offers a terrace for sunny days.

tashas Constantia. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

tashas Constantia. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

tashas
Munch on waffles, magnificent brunches, and luxe salads and sarmies at this Constantia Village outpost of the charming chain.

Tokai

Bistro Sixteen82
Good tapas and views of the Steenberg vineyards make this a winner in the area. It closes around 8.30pm, so get there in the early evening.

Bistro Sixteen82. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Bistro Sixteen82. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Brasserie
This local bistro offers classic comfort food for lunch or dinner.

Catharina’s at Steenberg
Fine dining in a light and airy setting. Catharina’s is excellent for long lunches and intimate dinners.

Catharina's at Steenberg

Catharina’s at Steenberg. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Jakes in the Village
A decent option for bistro fare in an upmarket environment.

Jakes in the Village. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Jakes in the Village. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Punjab Express
Fresh made-from-scratch Punjabi cuisine.

Diep River

Martin’s Bakery
A hidden gem, serving café-style food on breads baked on site in the coffee shop. There are also wheat, gluten and carb-free options. Buy some speciality deli items on your way out.

Plumstead

Organic at Heart
With lots of options for vegans, vegetarians and those with special dietary needs, this cosy daytime restaurant is an unusual find in Plumstead.

Pirates Steakhouse Pub & Grill
Dark and old-fashioned it may be, but this steakhouse has a loyal following (our editor among them) for its ribs and steaks. Probably not a great option for vegetarians.

Wynberg

Four & Twenty
The kitchen dreams up some incredibly creative dishes. Even the salads – think saffron poached pears, or calamari with toasted macadamia nuts – are inventive. There’s low-carb bread for banting devotees.

four & Twenty. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Four & Twenty. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Erawan
Tasty Thai food is framed by a warm, quite formal interior and truly attentive service.

Kenilworth

Bardelli’s
Excellent pizza in a series of rambling rooms. Great for casual date night.

Bardelli's. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Bardelli’s. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Borruso’s
This slightly scruffy old favourite encourages locals to queue out the door for delicious pizzas with every topping imaginable.

Jakes on Summerley
Dine here on bistro food – the burger is a highlight ¬– in a stylish environment.

Morituri. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Morituri. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Morituri
This long-standing Italian restaurant is a little echoey, but has a large local following.

Harfield Village

Banana Jam
There’s an excellent array of craft beers and tasty food of the-more-cheese-the-better persuasion.

Banana Jam. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Banana Jam. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Brad’s Grill
Service might be frustrating on occasion, but Brad has a following for his steak.

Cafeen
This warm, cluttered café is great for brunch or a relaxed coffee.

Cafeen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Cafeen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Da Vinci’s Pizza Studio
Tasty pizza in a friendly setting.

Graze
Light and airy, with doors opening onto Second Avenue, this café serves up fresh, affordable fare made with carefully sourced, free-range ingredients.

Home Bar
A relaxed, friendly neighbourhood spot. There’s a large smoking area, if you’re that way inclined.

Loco Lounge International Restaurant
This is a friendly, owner-run spot for comforting pasta, Asian dishes and American diner-style food. Burger buns are home-baked.

 

Loco Lounge International Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Loco Lounge International Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Oblivion
This restaurant and wine bar turns into a club later in the evening, but food is tasty and the Monday night pub quiz is fun.

Claremont

A Tavola
One of the most authentic Italian spots in the neighbourhood.

Hudson's Claremont. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Hudson’s Claremont. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Hudson’s
This branch of the growing gourmet burger chain draws plenty of students with their affordable, tasty fare.

Knead at Palmyra Junction
Pop in for excellent bread, a tasty brunch, or an affordable dinner.

Myoga
A great-value tasting menu offers seven courses at an incredible R325 a head. The colonial-era Vineyard Hotel makes a stylish backdrop.

Salushi. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Salushi. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Salushi
Good quality sushi.

Starlings
This pretty, rambling café serves delicious food that locals are prepared to wait for. (Even the menu concedes that service can be slow.)

Newlands

Barristers
A good spot for a relaxed drink or an affordable, simple meal.

Basilico
Get your fix of Italian food in a relaxed, comfortable setting.

The Creamery Dessert Café
This hip little café buzzes with activity thanks to its proximity to two schools, and of course, its glorious artisan ice cream and innovative desserts.

The Creamery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Creamery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Gardener’s Cottage
We have it on good authority that this Newlands spot makes an excellent eggs Benedict.

Forester’s Arms
Serving above-average pub fare (and some banting dishes), Forries (as it’s affectionately known to students and aging graduates), is a good spot to watch the rugby. There’s a kiddies’ play area outside.

Kirstenbosch Tea Room
Even gluten- and dairy-free diners will find something enticing to try on this tasty menu of treats, breakfasts and lunches. Milkshakes are available to go, if you’d rather lie on the grass to enjoy them.

Melissa’s
A reliable spot for coffee and cake.

Melissa's. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Melissa’s. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Rock Sushi Thai
Tuck into sushi, dim sum and Thai curries in a handsome, wooden interior.

Sushi Box
A light, stylish little sushi spot, with a little outdoor area and an owner-run feel.

Wijnhuis. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Wijnhuis. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Wijnhuis
Good for a relaxed meal, and a decent range of wines available by the glass.

Rondebosch

Cargill’s
This cosy little space next to the station serves bistro classics.

Cargill's. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Cargill’s. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Chuck Yang’s Speciality Dish
The décor may be basic, but you’ll find great quality Chinese food here.

Govinda’s Natural Food Cafe
Pure, simple vegetarian Hare Krishna food. Chickpea fudge is a favourite.

The Hussar Grill
Head here for the old-school steakhouse experience. Try the hog ribs.

Lyra’s
A reliable spot for affordable pizza and pasta, and they tend to have good specials. Sit under the fairy-light-lit tree if you can.

Michael’s
A fresh and breezy neighbourhood café for brunch or lunch.

Some Oaks Bistro
A family-orientated spot that offers great value for good quality pizza.

Little Mowbray

Curry Quest
A casual neighbourhood spot for homemade Durban curries.

Fraiche Ayres
Terrible puns aside, you’ll find café-style food in the very pleasing surroundings of the Starke Ayres nursery.

Fraiche Ayres. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Fraiche Ayres. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Fat Cactus
Serving frozen margaritas and cheesy enchiladas, this is a great spot for a rowdy evening with friends.

Locale
A new little spot for pintxos (tapas) and cocktails. Run by the same people as Starlings.

On a Roll
Gourmet hotdogs in a 50s diner-style setting.

What’s your favourite place in the southern suburbs? Let us know in the comments.

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