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.
Rock Sushi Thai
Get your fix of sushi, or try the stir-fries, noodles, soups and dim sum.
Lime Tree Café
A quaint café and deli for lunch or breakfast.
5 Rooms Restaurant
Sup on high-end bistro food at the historic Alphen Hotel.
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.
This longstanding establishment continues to provide fine dining food of the classic persuasion.
The southern suburbs outpost of Giorgio Nava’s award-winning steakhouse offers delicious aged steaks. It’s not cheap, but worth every bite.
The Clubhouse at Claremont Cricket Club
With views over the fields, this sports clubhouse has surprisingly decent food.
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.
The Conservatory at Cellars-Hohenort
Situated at the beautiful historic Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, The Conservatory offers excellent bistro fare in a sophisticated environment.
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.
This award-winning fine dining restaurant has a gorgeous new location up in the hills of Silvermist Estate. Book well ahead for special occasions.
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.
This butchery, bakery and deli is also great for breakfast and lunch on the terrace.
The Rose Bar
Sip on cocktails overlooking the Alphen Hotel’s flowing lawns.
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.
Munch on waffles, magnificent brunches, and luxe salads and sarmies at this Constantia Village outpost of the charming chain.
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.
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.
Jakes in the Village
A decent option for bistro fare in an upmarket environment.
Fresh made-from-scratch Punjabi cuisine.
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.
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.
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.
Tasty Thai food is framed by a warm, quite formal interior and truly attentive service.
Excellent pizza in a series of rambling rooms. Great for casual date night.
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.
This long-standing Italian restaurant is a little echoey, but has a large local following.
There’s an excellent array of craft beers and tasty food of the-more-cheese-the-better persuasion.
Service might be frustrating on occasion, but Brad has a following for his steak.
This warm, cluttered café is great for brunch or a relaxed coffee.
Da Vinci’s Pizza Studio
Tasty pizza in a friendly setting.
Light and airy, with doors opening onto Second Avenue, this café serves up fresh, affordable fare made with carefully sourced, free-range ingredients.
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.
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.
One of the most authentic Italian spots in the neighbourhood.
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.
A great-value tasting menu offers seven courses at an incredible R325 a head. The colonial-era Vineyard Hotel makes a stylish backdrop.
Good quality sushi.
This pretty, rambling café serves delicious food that locals are prepared to wait for. (Even the menu concedes that service can be slow.)
A good spot for a relaxed drink or an affordable, simple meal.
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 Gardener’s Cottage
We have it on good authority that this Newlands spot makes an excellent eggs Benedict.
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.
A reliable spot for coffee and cake.
Rock Sushi Thai
Tuck into sushi, dim sum and Thai curries in a handsome, wooden interior.
A light, stylish little sushi spot, with a little outdoor area and an owner-run feel.
Good for a relaxed meal, and a decent range of wines available by the glass.
This cosy little space next to the station serves bistro classics.
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.
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.
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.
A casual neighbourhood spot for homemade Durban curries.
Terrible puns aside, you’ll find café-style food in the very pleasing surroundings of the Starke Ayres nursery.
The Fat Cactus
Serving frozen margaritas and cheesy enchiladas, this is a great spot for a rowdy evening with friends.
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.