Cape Town’s restaurant scene is buzzing with hot new chefs and go-to favourites. Whether you’re in the mood for a tapas bar, sushi spot or hip coffee shop, the choices are endless. Here’s our list of the best restaurants in the Mother City in every category, from bistros to Italian trattorias and tapas bars to steakhouses.
This list includes our critics’ pick of Cape Town’s best restaurants, as rated and reviewed for the 2017 Eat Out magazine, as well as restaurants that have wowed our online critics since its publication.
Gold Restaurant (Green Point)
The vast menu here features tastes and styles of cooking from the far north of the continent down to the Cape, with flavours ranging from hot and spicy to soft and gentle. Look forward to Zanzibar soup, South African roosterkoek, Botswana seswaa masala, Tanzanian spinach, and East African mango-and-lime chicken.
This is a popular spot for tourists with tasty classics, from meaty grills to peri-peri prawns and Senegalese line fish. The legendary buffet is a pan-African feast, including croc pies, mopane worms, Moroccan tagines, Karoo lamb, bobotie and bunny chow.
Banks Burgers (Newlands)
This is fast food made fresh, minus the additives and preservatives. Burgers hit the spot, with gloriously golden buns, dripping, juicy pure-beef patties, cheese, slightly crunchy pickles, caramelised or fresh onion, and secret sauce. Choose from potato or sweet-potato fries, house slaw, or onion rings as accompaniments. There are also carb-conscious and veggie-friendly options.
Burger & Lobster (City Bowl)
Tuck into dishes like prawn rolls or a burger with a 250g steak patty, bacon and cheese; and whole, steamed lobster from Maine, in the USA, or the South Coast at this Bree Street hot spot. (West Coast Rock lobster is now sadly on SASSI’s red list.)
Charango Grill and Bar (City Bowl)
This is Peruvian crowd-pleasing fare. Start with the dirt-rubbed tuna tacos and spicy, zingy ceviche. The lamb, sirloin, and succulent pork belly are all excellent mains, and perfect for sharing. Keep room for the picarones, which are feather-light Peruvian sweet-potato doughnuts.
Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room (City Bowl)
Start the day with granola, huevos rancheros or simple avo on toast with labneh. Later on, tuck into diner fare like four-cheese mac ’n cheese, juicy burgers and smoked pulled pork sarmies. Bar snacks include twice-fried fries with aioli, and sweets like hot-fudge brownie sundaes go down a treat.
Del Mar (Camps Bay)
This modern Mexican food will have you salivating. Standout mains include a beef rib-eye with mushroom-tequila sauce; grilled tuna with adobo marinade; barbacao (slow-roasted lamb); and carnitas de puerco (slow-cooked pork tacos).
El Burro (Green Point)
The ceviche here is deservedly popular; another winning starter is the smoky chilli rellenos. For mains, the build-your-own tacos with twice-cooked pork shoulder are rich and tasty, leaving behind a tingling warmth. Vegetarians are looked after too. For dessert, stick to the theme with churros and dark-chocolate sauce.
El Burro Taqueria (Tamboerskloof)
Sister restaurant to the flagship branch in Green Point, the taqueria’s small portions lets you try a bit of everything. The fried fish taco and free-range rib-eye with chimichurri salsa are top choices. For dessert, go straight for gold: churros.
Fuego (Sea Point)
This beautifully designed little restaurant serves up glorious guacamole, tasty tacos, fresh ceviche, and chocolate-filled churros for dessert.
This Waterfront burger hatch offers great burgers and some of the stickiest ribs in town. Burgers might feature smoky barbecue sauce, cheddar and mustard or chutney, gruyère and guacamole. End things off with a monstrous ‘Freek Shake’.
Hudson’s – The Burger Joint (Gardens)
Well-made burgers with Frankie Fenner beef and inventive toppings have caused growth from this single branch to a small chain. The Bacon Jam is delicious, sweet and succulent, with dusted onion rings for crunch. The loaded fries (for an additional charge) with crispy bacon and mozzarella are worth the calories. Wheat-free buns are available, too.
House of H (City Bowl)
The portions are hearty and flavoursome. You’ll want to roll up your sleeves for the cheeseburger with fries. The beef patty is served on freshly made ciabatta with cheddar, pickles and tomato. The chips are golden, crunchy and salty. Other lunch options include a 16-hour roast brisket sandwich, fish and chips, and a steak roll. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
Inside & You’re Out (City Bowl)
Look forward to ethically sourced and locally grown meat and veg on soft buns, topped with unusual additions. Enjoy mains like the Quick Dip with a smoked cheddar patty, topped with sweet onions and served with a pork broth dip, or the Kimcheezy, with caramelised pork belly and kimchi. There are chicken and vegetarian options, too.
A variety of snacks makes for great socialising before mains: try corn dogs, cheese bombs and chorizo croquettes. For mains, choose one of Lucy’s Seven Deadly Sins (with stuffed patties), or the wings with delicious bastings.
Royale Eatery & Royale Kitchen (City Bowl)
This institution is famous for its choice of over 50 gourmet burgers, beloved by many and served with fries, sweet-potato fries or salad. Highlights are The Burgerac (white cheddar, chipotle sauce, and onion-and-gherkin salsa) and El Burro (chorizo, chillies and coriander). There are also chicken and fish options, and the kitchen has expanded its vegan offering, including more vegan burgers, a vegan chocolate-mint milkshake, and vegan pizzas.
The Taproom at Devil’s Peak Brewing Company (Salt River)
Smart bar snacks like BBQ chicken wings and roasted bone marrow on beer bread toast set the scene. Burgers are the perfect size to eat with your hands; they’re a must with rosemary fries or cider-mayo slaw. Desserts include mini IPA doughnuts or cheesecake.
1890 House Sushi and Grill (Observatory)
This is one of the most underrated sushi restaurants in Cape Town, with Japanese food artistry of the highest order. The conveyor belt is convenient for a quick bite, always-well stocked with favourites like seared tuna salad, spicy prawns on bean curd, and caviar sandwiches.
Fresh, creative sushi combinations are complemented by fast, happy and helpful service. Value for money and well-made sushi are what keeps diners happy.
Beijing Opera (Woodstock)
The dim sum selection here is scribbled on the chalkboard above the pass. Pot-stickers come filled with pork, beef or vegetables, and served with a punchy dipping sauce. Vegetarians can indulge in the vegetable broth starring smoked tofu – a true taste sensation.
Chai Yo (Mowbray)
This neighbourhood gem offers great-value Thai food. Start with complex and fragrant tom kha gai soup, then narrow it down to either curry or a meal from one of the protein sections. Most dishes feature all the good stuff: lemongrass, roasted chilli and garlic, fresh basil, coconut milk and crisp vegetables like beans and peppers.
Cheyne’s (Hout Bay)
Chef-proprietor Cheyne Morrisby has a knack for creative combinations and beautiful plating. The strong Asian influence means you’ll see plenty of exotic touches like soft shell crab, yellowtail ceviche, crispy pork, and tempura aubergine with hot and sour coconut cream risotto.
Downtown Ramen (City Bowl)
The menu is small but to-the-point: the main event is four types of fragrant, flavourful bowls of ramen. The signature shoyu broth with pork belly, spring onion, nori, egg and chilli is incredibly delicious, but the spicy miso broth steals the show, with melt-in-the-mouth slow-braised beef, Szechuan pepper and all the trimmings.
Haiku (City Bowl)
The cuisine here is superlative, although portions are on the sparing side. Highlights include Haiku sashimi, consisting of a deliciously umami-rich trio of tuna in mild chilli ponzu, salmon in yuzu and halibut with chilli peanuts. Also go for the delightful herb-filled Vietnamese prawn roll with crispy pancakes; sticky grilled salmon robata; and mushroom pot-stickers.
Select your tapas from the brief menu and wait for the magic to begin. Prawns pack an incredible punch – sweet, sour, salty and spicy – and the accompanying steamed buns are like magical clouds, soaking up the zingy coriander-lime salsa. There’s also roasted pork on steamed buns with cucumber and house-made barbecue sauce, as well as sticky beef brisket with gem lettuce spoons. If you’re going veggie, opt for the vegetable surprise, with barbecue sauce and cashew brittle.
Izakaya Matsuri (Green Point)
Chef-patron Arata Koga produces top-quality sushi: fresh fish, perfect portions and interesting options like eel, mackerel and octopus will please. The salmon aburi sushi is simple perfection, scorched with piping-hot sesame oil. Panko pork-neck skewers and dumplings vie for attention with kimchi octopus and cucumber, soft-shell crab, and salmon croquettes.
Nobu (V&A Waterfront)
The modern Japanese cuisine here is not just about sushi – the menu plays with textures and flavours in an overwhelming range of innovative dishes. Kick off with arancini-style crispy rice cubes served with hot-buttered soy. If you’re feeling flush, move onto signature black-lacquered cod den miso or sweet, sour and citrusy kingklip with ponzu.
Kobe Sushi (Newlands)
Aside from all the usual sushi and sashimi, the skilled chef puts his own spin on dragon rolls, dynamite rolls and tiger rolls. If you like the heat, try the hot, hot box.
Kyoto Garden Sushi (Tamboerskloof)
Kyoto offers so much more than just sushi or sashimi – you’ll experience the delicacy, subtlety and enduring flavours of Japanese cuisine. For mains, try the steamed fish, seared salmon, giant Alaskan scallops or king crabs. Black sesame ice cream ends the meal in style.
Obi (City Bowl)
After Takumi closed, sushi legend Papa San joined forces with chef Ben Bettendorf to open this urban eatery. Kick off with trademark starters like sweet and tender nasu miso, agedashi, or appealing tempura options. The shoyu ramen – only available during lunch – is comforting, light and softly savoury. The sushi options have enough range to suit both traditionalists and the adventurous.
Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant (Gardens)
Saigon will win you over from the very first bite. Their phenomenal food expertly combines Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese and Japanese flavours. Don’t miss the oxtail winter special – if available.
Salathai Restaurant (Green Point)
Expect a culinary whirlwind of Thai dishes. Order the popular chicken with cashews, or choose your favourite protein, from prawns to crispy duck, and have it with stir-fried basil or pad Thai.
SHIO (De Waterkant)
Fans of Cheyne’s in Hout Bay can enjoy this city bowl version of Cheyne Morrisby’s modern Japanese-inspired tapas. Try beef short-rib gyoza, or the beautifully cooked duck breast with sweet ginger flavours. Cocktails here are a highlight.
Simply Asia (Kenilworth)
This is chain offers accessible Thai cuisine made with imported noodles, spices and MSG-free ingredients. All the classics are here – from fragrant, spicy soups, satays and salads to tongue-tingling curries and delicious stir-fries. Standouts are tom yum prawn soup, pad Thai, jungle stir-fry and chilli-tamarind duck.
South China Dim Sum Bar (City Bowl)
Perennial fixtures on the blackboard menu include chicken wontons, pot-stickers and sesame-noodle salad with or without chicken. There’s usually a special, and everything is intended for sharing, so it’s easy to work your way through the menu in one sitting. The black-sesame ice cream with gently spiced citrus is heavenly.
This classy city bowl venue is a real gem. Tapas dishes are relatively affordable, considering the quality, so you can order a feast of fabulously flavourful dishes. The pièce de résistance in the umami department is pork with thick udon noodles served in a deep meaty broth and topped with a soft egg.
Wang Thai (Milnerton)
Start with spring rolls, dim sum or the legendary deep-fried sweetcorn cakes with sweet chilli sauce, them move on to the vast menu of sushi and curries, of which the duck is the best. Delicious vegetarian options could make a few converts. Sticky rice pudding with coconut milk makes a great ending.
The Brasserie (Constantia)
This neighbourhood bistro serves favourites like mushroom risotto, roasted bonemarrow, and Jack Black-battered hake with chips. Daily specials might include seared tuna, lamb shank and, on Sundays, crispy pork belly or rare roast beef.
Diemersdal Restaurant (Durbanville)
Chef Martin de Kock draws on his classical French training to put a spin on wholesome country fare. Dishes are inspired by the garden, with preserves, pickles, breads and vetkoek from the farmhouse.
The Foodbarn (Noordhoek)
With a reputation for delicious French-inspired dishes with SA flavours, acclaimed chef Franck Dangereux serves highlights like prawn fritters, pillowy ravioli, umami risotto and offal, cooked to perfection.
Hemelhuijs (City Bowl)
It’s obvious that quality is of tantamount importance to chef-patron Jacques Erasmus. With his heritage coming through in elements like mosbolletjie brood and smoor, there’s a focus on simplicity here. Lunch offers colourful, seasonal salads and unusual dishes all on beautiful crockery.
Homage 1862 (City Bowl)
Food is fresh from the earth here. Look forward to dishes like braaied mielie with house mayo; smoked aubergine with roasted garlic tahini; and root veggie slaw with charred sweet potato. On the meat end of the spectrum, there’s melt-in-the mouth chicken, or rosemary and thyme rib-eye.
La Boheme Wine Bar & Bistro (Sea Point)
An appealing mix of formal and cosy, this bistro offers something to suit most palates. Crispy spring rolls are satisfying and the steak au poivre is beautifully done, with a pungent pepper crust and brandy sauce. The chalkboard dessert menu offers exemplary crème brûlée and moist brownies.
La Tête (City Bowl)
Food at Giles Edwards’s Bree Street eatery promises delight for adventurous eaters with its nose-to-tail concept. Highlights from the changing menu might include crispy pig’s tails or rich trotters, mussels with bacon, and the incredibly popular deep-fried fish sandwich. Everything is flavour-packed, and the less popular cuts will convert all but the most squeamish eaters.
Mano’s (Green Point)
The comfort of the familiar is what Mano’s delivers in spades. Start with the reliable bacon, blue cheese and avocado salad, and move on to favourites like grilled prawns, calamari, chicken livers in many guises, creamy chicken limone and steak with sauces. The chocolate brownie mess and banoffee pie are go-to desserts.
Mink & Trout (City Bowl)
Owners Leigh Trout and Kevin Mink ran Birds Café in the same spot before, but this concept is entirely different. Stellar menu items like mushroom arancini, truffle-chicken pie and duck-fat roast potatoes will impress.
Nuovo Restaurant at Hotel Verde (Airport Industria)
Produce is proudly sourced from within 150km – the blackboard shows how far it has travelled – and dishes make use of the greens from the hotel’s hydroponic wall gardens. Highlights include the prawn-and-citrus salad; battered hake with hand-cut chips, pea purée and mint gel; and sous-vide chicken with coriander jus and savoury granola.
NV-80 (Sea Point)
The menu of this popular bistro offers a lot of variety. You might begin with caramelised pear and gorgonzola salad or a generous portion of grilled calamari tubes, before moving on to rib-eye with café de Paris butter or charred queen prawns. There’s a good view of Lion’s Head from the balcony.
Open Door (Constantia)
Here you’ll find country-style bistro fare with an edge, just enough to make it interesting. The beef burger with bacon, cheddar, tomato marmalade, fried onion rings and hand-cut chips will warm the cockles of the heart. End with the peanut butter mousse for dessert. The Community Hour runs from 3pm to 6pm and offers lighter meals, cake and a quiche of the day. It’s popular with guests who have children, who are welcome to play on the jungle gym.
This quintessentially French place is a Constantia favourite. There are snails with fresh parsley and garlic butter, the soup du jour, and, if you have a bigger appetite, spatchcock chicken as well as porchetta with wild mushroom ragout.
Quentin at Oakhurst (Hout Bay)
Marrow bones roasted in the wood-fired oven offer a mouthwatering beginning to a heavenly meal at this Hout Bay spot. The line fish is always cooked to perfection and the signature roast lamb rack is also highly recommended. Sunday lunches have reached almost legendary status.
Societi Bistro (Gardens)
It’s all about comfort food. Starters include snails, bone marrow with charred ciabatta, and mussels with garlic, cream and white wine. For mains, choose from Karoo lamb shank, venison Bordelaise with buttered mash and bone marrow or there’s the perennial favourite, risotto with pumpkin and sage butter.
The bistro menu has well executed classics like luxurious veloute and plump oysters served with red-wine-shallot vinegar and lemon. Other staples include steak frites and duck confit. Desserts include crème brûlée and tarte au citron.
The Sunnyside Inn (Tamboerskloof)
Hallelujah’s Emma Hofmans runs the kitchen at this new eatery above The Power & The Glory. The three-course menu changes weekly but expect simple yet sophisticated home-style dishes like venison carpaccio and whole grilled chicken with family-style sides – the buttery gem squash is utterly delicious. For dessert, look forward to sweet treats like gooseberry tart.
Tiger’s Milk (Muizenberg)
This super-popular hangout with lovely views has consistent food with mass appeal. There’s an impressive range of flame-grilled burgers and thin-based pizzas are made in a wood-fired oven. They also do delicious barbecue pork ribs, half a grilled peri-peri chicken, and a line fish of the day.
The Woodlands Eatery (Vredehoek)
A lovely, thoughtful menu caters for all, from meat lovers to plant eaters and even the banting fans. Pizzas have well-balanced and creative toppings and the option of a cauliflower base. If you’re keen on seafood, the crispy fish goujons come accompanied by a well-seasoned home-made mayo.
Bacon on Bree (City Bowl)
Great fare – with or without a hangover. It does exactly what it says on the label: bacon, in about 20 different ways. The one-page menu covers breakfast, sandwiches, salads and light bites. Stick to the simple options that showcase the phenomenal star, like the bacon butty on house sourdough with ketchup, or the Smokey Joe, with bacon, cheese and a dusting of smoked paprika.
Café Roux (Noordhoek)
The no-frills fare – really good burgers, sandwiches, pasta, and fresh, seasonal salads – suit the informal setting. All dishes come with delicious home-made relishes, dressings, chutneys and toppings. Classic eggs Benedict or Florentine and a signature all-day breakfast for late risers keep the crowds happy.
The Company’s Garden Restaurant (City Bowl)
The breakfast menu is small, offering popular staples such as eggs Benedict, French toast and home-made muesli. For lunch, choose from a selection of sandwiches or a variety of seafood and meat dishes.
Culture Club Cheese (City Bowl)
Owner Luke Williams sources the best cheese from SA to create a cheese emporium with heart. It’s not all toasted cheese – but you can have that, too! Lunch is ramped up a notch: If you’re going the whole hog, opt for camembert mac ‘n cheese or raclette. There are also regular pairing events with wine and olive oil producers such as Morgenster. Stock up on other cultured products too, like kombucha, kefir and organic miso.
Four & Twenty Café & Pantry (Wynberg)
For all-day breakfast, the poached eggs on an aubergine, mushroom and truffle rosti with yoghurt Hollandaise is delicious. The beetroot-bun burger with a free-range lamb patty, blueberry compote, feta and avo is also popular at lunch. Unusual tea-time treats are on display, such as a green-pea sponge cake layered with strawberry cream-cheese icing and lime curd.
The Hub Café (Scarborough)
This food is beautifully presented and delicious to eat. Ingredients are seasonal and largely sourced from local farmers, so the menu changes regularly. The crispy battered fish is excellent.
The Kitchen (Woodstock)
The Kitchen is hugely popular for its plentiful salads at lunchtime – up to 20 every day – and famous Love Sandwiches. Slices of artisanal bread from the nearby Woodstock Bakery are filled with your choice of gammon, grilled chicken, honey-mustard sausage, melanzane, pastrami, falafel, avo, bacon, signature pestos, salads and secret Love Potion.
The Lighthouse Café (Simon’s Town)
This quaint eatery is a popular haunt for locals and tourists alike. Seafood sourced from Kalk Bay Harbour is super fresh and well-cooked, especially the tender and flavoursome calamari steak strips. It’s a great place to stop for a quick coffee and cake.
Jason Bakery (City Bowl)
Famed for its amazing pastries, Jason Bakery is a Cape Town institution. Breakfast highlights include toasted sourdough with toppings like bacon, chorizo, salmon and avocado. A flaky, buttery croissant is a must with morning coffee. Lunch offers sandwiches and kick-ass pies. Jason Bakery is also renowned for its Saturday-morning doughssants in crazy flavours.
Manna Epicure (City Bowl)
Everything here is refined and well-executed. All-day breakfasts feature perfectly poached, free-range eggs in a range of interesting guises with excellent Hollandaise sauce. Lunch and dinner herald Chalmar steak tartare, excellent spare ribs, and carrot cake for dessert.
La Belle Café & Bakery (Constantia)
La Belle is always buzzing with patrons tucking into hearty breakfasts and excellent pastries in the morning, and delicious-looking salads, soups and sandwiches later on. Other options might be seafood dishes like salmon and fishcakes.
Olympia Café and Deli (Kalk Bay)
This iconic Kalk Bay restaurant remains extremely popular. It’s a super casual eatery that dishes up delicious, robust and fresh meals from the daily blackboard menu. Constants are the fresh local mussels as well as linguini di mare, with slow-roasted tomato sauce, chunks of line fish, mussels and prawns. Ciabatta from the bakery is served with every meal. Breakfasts are equally popular.
Solo (City Bowl)
Expect dishes made with heart and the best fresh ingredients at this new Loop Street spot. Highlights include the cheeseburger with smoked cheddar and tomato chutney, buchu-marinated rib-eye, and flavourful pan-fried calamari. Leave room for the mini doughnuts.
Starlings Café (Claremont)
Farm-fresh, ethically sourced ingredients from small producers feature here. Golden free-range eggs are used in eggs Benedict or Florentine. Sandwiches, salads, wraps and power bowls are full of honest-to-goodness flavour and crunchy texture – and are a delight to the eye.
tashas (V&A Waterfront)
All the tashas have the same basic menu with unique additions per branch. This one serves Spanish bites like patatas bravas and paella. Breakfasts are legendary, featuring polenta porridge with crispy bacon, mushrooms, a poached egg with parmesan shavings, or toasted brioche with berries, mascarpone and crème anglaise. Fabulous burgers, steaks, lamb cutlets, pastas and salads complete the offering.
Truth Coffee Roasting HQ (City Bowl)
Smoky flavours are favoured by the chef. Try the signature Steampunk Benedict or truffled scrambled eggs for breakfast. Or enjoy dishes like the glorious Holy Moly chicken sandwich, or wild mushroom gnocchi for lunch.
Whole Earth Café (Scarborough)
This café makes health food cool. Try the bagel burger or the Vietnamese salad with soy-roasted pumpkin seeds, mint, chilli, crispy noodles and yuzu. If you’re feeling virtuous, the oats bowl with chia seeds, coconut and berry coulis is excellent. Don’t leave without checking out the cakes.
Aubergine Restaurant (Gardens)
Ingredients are of the highest quality, with presentation harking back to a bygone era with foams, smears, glass plates and doilies. Chef-patron Harald Bresselschmidt offers a menu of seasonal dishes like standout cured hake with fresh turmeric, rabbit loin with liver, and masterful chocolate fondant.
Azure (Camps Bay)
With Azure’s dazzling location overlooking the Atlantic, it’s little surprise that seafood plays a starring role. That could mean a decadent seafood platter, a classic prawn cocktail, or fresh line fish. There’s also a generous choice of grills, poultry and game, with Cape Malay curry a nod to home-grown flavours.
There’s something for everybody here, from springbok two ways with port sauce, to signature Caesar salad with pan-fried Norwegian salmon. Look forward to little treats from the kitchen, like amuse-bouches, palate cleansers, heavenly breads and petit fours.
Cape Point Vineyards (Noordhoek)
No shortcuts are taken at this stylish venue with beautiful views. Expect dishes like soft shell crab and prawn bisque, lamb shoulder with sweet aubergine and smoked yoghurt, and traditional malva pudding with stewed apricots.
This is top-notch cuisine using the finest ingredients and impeccable presentation. The line-up could include smoked salmon ravioli, venison with king mushrooms, and pan-fried fish with smoked paprika potato puree. Finish off with the chocolate fondant.
Chef’s Table at The Belmond Mount Nelson (Gardens)
This celebration of SA flavours will thrill even the most jaded diner in a beautiful, surprising, nostalgic and delicious tasting menu.
The Conservatory (Constantia)
Classic dishes feature local produce of excellent quality. For mains, meat lovers will be happy with the grilled rib-eye with bone marrow and forest mushrooms while seafood fans will enjoy the miso-glazed grilled tuna with soba noodles. For dessert, try the chocolate plate.
De Grendel (Panorama)
Using fresh seasonal products, much of it from the farm itself, chef Ian Bergh continues to please his fans with unfussy, innovative food. Highlights include salmon with purple carrot and maple crème fraiche, and pork fillet with apple and cider notes.
Peter Tempelhoff’s food is beautifully plated with a masterful combination of flavours and textures. The menus change seasonally, but expect flavours like seaweed daaltjie, mushroom with sherry and chocolate, Atlantic tuna with sesame dressing, and peking lamb with yuzu gel.
La Colombe (Constantia)
Expect a singular experience at this Top 10 restaurant. While the dining experience and menu has undergone some changes, you can expect seasonal flavours like asparagus with king crab, barbecue quail with aubergine, gem squash and coconut, the famous tuna La Colombe, and a special trip into an enchanted forest.
La Mouette (Sea Point)
Chef-patron Henry Vigar goes from strength to strength at his celebrated restaurant. You might encounter onion soup with cheese croquette and crouton; duck with parsnip puree and pickled shiitake; and line fish with garlic cream and charred leeks. End on the milk and honey dessert with goat’s milk ice cream and honeycomb.
Planet Restaurant (Gardens)
Executive chef Rudi Liebenberg may be one of the Cape’s heavyweight chefs, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Well-constructed dishes include braised springbok shank; roasted chicken tortellini with mushrooms; and a show-stopping beef Wellington. End on the chocolate fondue for two.
Savoy Cabbage (City Bowl)
Savoy Cabbage has long been a staple of Cape Town’s fine-dining scene. The menu changes with the seasons, but could include tomato tart; twice-baked cheese souffle; house-smoked Norwegian salmon; and Oak Valley beef sirloin with Montpellier butter.
The Test Kitchen (Woodstock)
At the reigning number one restaurant you’ll find food entertainment as richly layered and engrossing as a well-written film. The menu is constantly evolving and the focus is on flavour, flavour, flavour. The dark room menu shows a love of global flavours, while the light room showcases dishes such as 12-hour smoked sea bass tartare with lovage oil; chargrilled scallop with cauliflower cheese; lamb sweetbreads with liquorice liver jus; and pan-seared duck with sour cherry clafoutis.
Baps Shayona (Rylands)
Here you’ll find a wide variety of vegetarian dishes that stem from the tenets of the Hindu diet, with no onion or garlic. The most popular dishes include the pani puri, paneer curry (with naan to mop up the gravy), masala dosa, and the thali, a wonderful selection of curries, biryani, roti, puri and sambar served atop a tray.
Bihari Indian Restaurant (Newlands)
At this landmark in the southern suburbs you can watch the chefs at the tandoor ovens, roasting kebabs on long skewers and baking fresh naan breads to mop up the aromatic madras, masala, korma and vindaloo sauces.
Bukhara (City Bowl)
This is the place to go for a special, delicious authentic meal. For mains you might opt for butter chicken and prawn masala, with a side of naan and garlic raita. The delectable mango ice cream is the only way to end off such a spicy feast.
Locals flock here for their curry fix from the tandoor oven. Start with samoosas, marinated line fish or minced lamb. If you order the gorgeous lamb vindaloo or madras, be warned: they’ll bring a tear to your eye. The chicken breyani is a mountain of aromatic loveliness.
Maharajah Vegetarian (Rondebosch)
The extensive menu here tempts with a range of authentic curries. The slow-cooked sauces are richly layered with braised spices – mild, medium or hot. Popular specialties are lentil dhal, palak paneer, korma and chickpea-and-butternut curry.
Maharajah South Indian Restaurant (Tamboerskloof)
The many choices could easily send your head into a spin. Luckily, the knowledgeable waiters provide insight. Samoosas or chilli bites are a good start. The lamb curry on the bone is delicious, as is the butter chicken.
Punjab Express (Tokai)
Freshly ground spices infuse the restaurant with exotic fragrances of the traditional northern Indian cuisine. You’ll find excellent versions of all richly flavoured, slow-cooked Punjabi standards, from signature chicken tikka and tandoori chicken to lamb kebabs, atchar prawns and highway chicken curry.
Here you’ll find comfort food, South-Indian-style, from Kerala-born restaurateur Seelan Sundoo. Small sharing plates of wok-fried squid heads with lime, coriander and chilli spice have a great kick; the puri patha also gets the thumbs up. The mini bunny chows – three to a plate – are also very popular. You might try something from the clay oven: Kerala roasted chicken, fish roe with curry leaves, or kingklip with ginger and coriander.
Chef Liam Tomlin has created a Chefs Warehouse experience with an Indian lilt in this stunning Gardens venue. Here you’ll find mildly-spiced North Indian tapas with options like succulent tandoori chicken and delicately steamed fish. The wine list is perfectly suited to the spicy food.
95 Keerom (Gardens)
Giorgio Nava has attracted aficonados for many years. The beef tartare is one of the best in town, hand-cut and anointed with SA olive oil. Also fabulous are the ravioli, butternut or spinach, topped with sage butter and parmesan, and gorgonzola gnocchi. Much of the meat is from Giorgio’s farms. Tiramisu and chocolate fondant make for great endings.
A Tavola (Claremont)
Traditional Italian food of the highest order. Work your way from the antipasti (zucchini fritti) through the primi (hand-made linguine pescatore), on to secondi (veal saltimbocca alla Romana), and end with dolci or gelato and an espresso.
Bocca (City Bowl)
The solid menu hasn’t changed much since opening, attracting a steady stream of diners here for business or pleasure. Classic Neapolitan-style pizzas fall in two categories – with or without a tomato base. Bocca is also known for tapas like zucchini fries with garlic aioli and the ever-popular crispy pork ribs. End with an espresso and some biscotti.
Consistency and contemporary Italian cuisine are the benchmarks here. Start with one of the best antipasti and charcuterie selections in town, then move onto fantastic pizzas, pastas or a signature risotto. Try to leave space for the dolce pizza.
Col’Cacchio Pizzeria (Foreshore)
This family-friendly eatery is best known for pizzas, but it has so much more to offer. Salads are abundant and the meaty pastas are a highlight. Banters will be delighted with a number of carb-free offerings. Tiramisu and panna cotta end off the meal.
The Cousins (City Bowl)
Inspired by their nonna, who taught them to cook, these three Italian cousins from the Romagna province specialise in delicious pasta with authentic ingredients. Try delectable burrata or gnocchi with a piquant sauce of blue cheese and pecans to start. For dessert, try the tiramisu.
Cucina Labia (Muizenberg)
Reliable classics and innovative dishes is what you’ll find here. Expect dishes like pork rollatini with walnut crostini; wild mushroom arancini with porcini powder; nero pasta sheets with smoked feta and tomato; and Italian meatball burger with mature cheddar and truffled aioli.
Il Leone Mastrantonio (Green Point)
You’ll get all the classics at this always-vibey eatery. It’s renowned for carpaccio di pesce and the linguine Portofino (perfectly cooked pasta smothered in a mélange of prawns, cherry tomatoes and white wine sauce). There are short, long, open and closed pasta with all the traditional fillings. Tiramisu ends the meal on a high note.
The lunch menu at this Bree Street spot offers baguettes, wraps and platters loaded with imported ingredients like mortadella, Italian gorgonzola and Milanese salami. For dinner, opt for beef or octopus carpaccio, seared tuna, pastas and risotto. The saltimbocca – veal with prosciutto crudo, sage, white wine and polenta – is rich and tasty.
Magica Roma (Pinelands)
A Cape Town institution famed for old-school Italian fare, this is the spot for something really retro. If the usual pizza and pasta suspects don’t pique your fancy, try the panzerotti veal with ricotta, parmesan and sage. End on classic tiramisu.
Massimo’s (Hout Bay)
Owners Massimo and Tracy offer warm hospitality and generous portions at reasonable prices at this local landmark. Share a selection of cold and hot spuntini (tapas) to start. Regulars can’t resist the 30+ thin-crust pizzas and the extensive pasta menu with sauces from arrabiatta to carbonara and puttanesca.
Nonna Lina (Gardens)
The menu at this local favourite offers everything one would except from an Italian establishment and more, from a traditional thin-based margherita to Sardinian specialities like pane guttiau – a snack of thin bread, warmed in extra-virgin olive oil and salt.
Ristorante Posticino (Sea Point)
Posticino is a staple on the Cape Town pizza and pasta firmament, and a favourite with locals and tourists alike. Mix it up at your table with a selection of pizzas and pastas, and barter with one another to create your own signatures.
If you’re craving the authentic taste of Italian pastries in Cape Town, you’ll find it in the unlikely location of Bloubergstrand, just across the road from the beach. Expect options of croissants with Nutella; cream-filled doughnuts; mille feuille; and strudel. For a savoury bite, there’s tasty Italian pizzas and antipasti platters.
Unpretentious and authentic Italian food is what you’ll get here. Enjoy homemade bread and olive oil to start before moving on to one of their hearty pastas or gnocchi with Sicilian rib sauce.
The Greek Fisherman (V&A Waterfront)
Taste your way through a platter of meze favourites, from white bait, spanakopita and grilled sardines to halloumi, mussels, grilled prawns and warm pita breads with dips. Another highlight is the signature slow-roasted lamb and tender souvlaki. Leave space for the chocolate hazelnut baklava.
Maria’s Greek Restaurant (Gardens)
This hidden gem with a cosy atmosphere is perfect for a night out with friends or a date. If you enjoy sharing, dig into the delightful, delicious meze. The slow-roasted lamb with artichokes in a creamy tomato ouzo sauce is the signature dish for good reason. There are also many vegetarian, free-range chicken and seafood options.
Marika’s (City Bowl)
There’s so much variety and deliciousness offered here. Whether you start with spanakopita, or chewy halloumi, you won’t have any regrets. For mains, go for grilled baby calamari, butterflied prawns, or signature lemon-and-herb baked lamb.
Anatoli Turkish Restaurant (Green Point)
Look forward to tasty food in a setting straight out of old Istanbul. Starters are served from a large tray – choose from smoky baba ghanoush, lamb koftas and spicy olives to hummus or dolmades, and a smorgasbord of dips with piping hot flatbreads. For mains, order the lamb shank or the cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, lamb mince, pine nuts and herbs.
Sloppy Sam (Green Point)
Start with a delicious selection of creamy dips, dolmades and pickled octopus with piping hot pitas. The meatballs are a favourite for mains and the baked brinjal is recommended. The lamb dishes are also legendary. Finish up with some of the best baklava in town.
ASH Restaurant (City Bowl)
This charcoal-themed menu changes often and boasts big, smoky flavours. Expect the likes of dry-ageed beef tataki with ponzu dressing; lamb neck scrumpet with stone fruit; beef sweetbreads with French mustard mayo; and slow-cooked pork jowl with buttered parsnips.
Bistro Sixteen82 (Tokai)
Expect pleasing views and a stunning contemporary setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner here. Linger over eggs Benedicts for breakfasts, lunches of tempura prawn, or green-listed line fish, and tapas portions of beef tataki, lamb ribs, and mussels.
Black Sheep (Gardens)
This is an uncomplicated, delicious dining experience. Mouthwatering dishes include rainbow trout gravadlax; Asian black bean beef short rib; parppardelle with rabbit and white wine; and five-spice hoisin pork belly.
Bouchon Bistro (City Bowl)
Look forward to seasonal tapas with the same flavours as its sister restaurant, La Boheme. Options include melting camembert with phyllo pastry; bacon-wrapped pork fillet; artichoke risotto; and pulled oxtail with gnocchi.
Chalk & Cork (Gardens)
This is tapas-style eating at its best, with a choice of boards, bar snacks and carefully conceived dishes to share. Their wood-fired pizzas deserve a mention, too.
This stylish spot may be styled like a canteen, but the food is far more fancy. Meat is free range, and much of it is cooked in the wood-fired oven. Great for lunch and early dinners.
Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia)
Headed up by Ivor Jones, Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia offers fresh food with a serious flavour punch. The views are magnificent.
Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen (City Bowl)
Liam Tomlin’s every dish is a sensory experience at this Bree Street venue. Perfectly plated and presented tapas will have your taste buds applauding.
Davy Croquettes (Gardens)
The tempting menu at this croquette bar features deep-fried, oozy and cheesy morsels. Flavour combinations include braised ox tongue and salsa verde; biltong and dried fruit; chorizo and harissa; and pork belly and sage.
The Foodbarn Deli & Tapas (Noordhoek)
Franck Dangereux’s more casual eatery is always filled to the brim. Daytime offers a selection of baked goods, but from 6pm to 9pm the kitchen comes alive to serve exciting tapas.
The menu at the 2016 Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year features tuna crudo with green olive and roasted pork fat dressing; mussels with crispy bacon and lemon confit; and Korean fried chicken with butter espuma. Mains usually include one option per protein – beef, duck, pork, lamb and line fish – and faithful risotto for the vegetarians. End on the sensational cheese board.
Homespun by Matt (Table View)
This is eclectic cooking in its widest sense, drawing inspiration from many sources. The menu changes often but expect dishes like moist prawn dumplings with togarashi mayo; beef tataki; succulent lamb belly with pesto mash; and tempura duck with vermicelli.
Kloof Street House (Gardens)
Kloof Street House keeps it classy with indulgent offerings. Enjoy the Moroccan-spiced lamb rump or delicious bouillabaisse with line fish, salmon, prawns, calamari, mussels and clams. For vegetarians, the baked aubergine and parmesan may go down well.
The Mess Restaurant (Green Point)
It’s all about sharing at The Mess, where tapas-style tasters are encouraged for starters, and even the mains can be enjoyed by more than one. Try a trio of mezzo spreads, beef tataki with ponzu dressing, and don’t miss the lamb neck.
Marrow (City Bowl)
This trendy broth bar by the people behind Honest Chocolate and The Gin Bar offers nourishing broth lunches and dinners for city bowl dwellers. The brown option brings a meatier flavour, while the green option is based on dashi, with the addition of parsley and kombu. Fresh and savoury, it also has additions of steamed angelfish, broccoli, leeks and some orange to lift it all. If you’re vegan, the white broth is bound to satisfy.
Mulberry & Prince (City Bowl)
South African Cornel Mostert and New Yorker Cynthia Rivera bring a slice of the city that never sleeps to Cape Town. Sharing plates can best be described as New American – think roasted oyster with horseradish emulsion; creamy burrata with black garlic; and dusted squid with endive and wild fennel. The restaurant is also now open for Sunday brunch.
Myoga Restaurant (Newlands)
Chef-patron Mike Bassett’s contemporary culinary imagination blends east and west in a mélange of the highest quality. Look forward to dishes like scallops with kelp leek powder; confit duck terrine with pickles; black butter chicken with black rice risotto; and Tamil kingklip with Thai green broth and toasted coconut.
The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock)
The dishes created by Luke Dale-Roberts and his team are intelligent, evolved and surprising, with the menu divided into sour, bitter, sweet, salty and umami. Highlights include the iconic fish tacos; beef fillet with cafe au lait; fish sliders; and shredded confit duck leg with fresh plums.
Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town (V&A Waterfront)
The offering here begins with signature chilli-salted squid. Inventive main courses please with signature pork belly, Karoo lamb three ways, and line fish with chilli linguine.
The Shortmarket Club (City Bowl)
The menu here is more bistro-inspired than at its sibling, The Pot Luck Club. There are some Asian touches, but there’s also steak, roasted potatoes and pasta. Other tempting options include crispy pig cheek with gorgonzola cream, Cape Malay sustainable fish with jasmine rice; and sumac-roasted duck breast.
This cosy Mozambican café is just off the famous Surfers’ Corner in Muizenberg. Starters include mussels in a spicy soup, a Mozambican salad, a prawn salad and the Caldo Verde soup. The legendary LM prawns are a must-have. The chalkboard also offers peri-peri chicken with rice.
Dias Tavern (City Bowl)
Every town needs more spots like the Tavern: unchanging, unpretentious, and almost always full of happy, satisfied customers. Tuck into hearty peri-peri chicken livers and follow with a steak with pepper sauce, calamari, or a surf-and-turf combo for which they’re famous.
Blowfish Restaurant (Table View)
The main reason to be here is for SASSI green-listed fish. Choose what you’d like from the fridge and ask for it to be prepared in numerous ways. Sides like chips, mash and sauces are extra.
Café Orca Seafood Restaurant (Melkbosstrand)
The star here is seafood in its many forms, as fresh as can be. Try fat West Coast mussels with bacon, garlic and blue cheese or spicy prawns with Cajun butter for starters. Go on to line fish with lemon butter or Moroccan-style with tomatoes, capers and harissa.
Fish on the Rocks (Hout Bay)
This family-owned fish shop has been serving great seafood for almost 30 years. Start with a paper cornet of legendary scampi or calamari rings, followed by grilled or fried hake, yellowtail or snoek. Portions are generous.
Harbour House (Kalk Bay)
The kitchen at this sea-facing restaurant sends out favourites like West Coast mussels steamed in white wine, garlic, thyme and cream; hearty bouillabaisse with signature rouille sauce; fresh line fish of the day; sautéed smoked paprika calamari; and a most impressive seafood platter for two.
Hokey Poke (City Bowl)
Cape Town’s first standalone poké spot serves up the Hawaiian-inspired bowls of raw fish with a host of other fresh ingredients. Think pineapple, avo, coriander, salmon, salmon crackling, pickled beetroot, edamame beans or even nacho chips.
Pesce Azzurro (Woodstock)
Dishes here are simple, fresh and prepared with love. Start with mussels in a fragrant broth, fresh tuna carpaccio or the Caprese salad with soft mozzarella and confit tomatoes. For mains, try the generous spaghetti scoglio (the showstopper) tossed with generous seafood, or the hake in a Siciliana-style tomato sauce.
SeaBreeze Fish & Shell (City Bowl)
Bree Street’s seafood spot prides itself on local, sustainable fish and a delicious offering of oysters. Perch at the bar and sling back your choice of Knysna, Saldanha Bay or Lüderitz oysters, or go for classic fish and chips with a proper beer batter. Bubbly by the glass is also available, of course.
Willoughby & Co. (V&A Waterfront)
From Cali rolls to the famous 4×4 rolls with creamy rock shrimp, each bite of sushi is well-made and full of freshness and flavour. There’s a number of Japanese dishes, too, including grilled crispy rice with hot and spicy salmon; rich salmon grenades; grilled yakitori chicken; and soft-shell crab with ponzu. Classic desserts finish the meal.
Black Bull Steakhouse (West Beach)
Wildly popular since its opening, this steakhouse clearly focuses on meat, but you could always start with creamy garlic snails or excellent chicken livers. As for the main event, there are sticky barbecue pork ribs; sirloin, rump or fillet steaks; lamb chops; and ostrich options.
The Butcher Shop & Grill (Mouille Point)
This has become a go-to spot in Mouille Point for all meat lovers. Mains simply have to be meaty: select the cut and size from the menu or the butcher counter. The sirloin on the bone is perfectly cooked and seasoned, and the classic fillet is an intense and juicy choice, with a surprising amount of flavour.
Cattle Baron (Bellville)
Obviously the thing to eat is meat, but the vast menu offers some unusual options. The pièce de résistance is their famous chateaubriand, flamed at the table. The knockout dessert is the silky crème brûlée.
The Chicken Shop (Sea Point)
Expect glorious chooks at this fast-casual rotisserie chicken shop. There are whole roasted chickens that are succulent and golden, as well as easy-eating options like schnitzels, burgers, grilled breasts and delicious sides with hot and cold options available.
The Crazy Horse (City Bowl)
This British-style gastropub on Bree Street has already garnered a following for its great, hearty fare and drinks selection. The Scotch eggs, pork scratchings, and beef Wellington with gravy are winning choices.
Don Armando (Green Point)
The fare is predominantly for meat lovers, but starters include a few veg options. The mains consist of everything from classic sirloin steak and rump to grilled short rib, T-bone and lamb chops. All are served with fresh chimichurri sauce and papas fritas or salad.
Simple, honest food is the winning formula at this unpretentious venue that offers a retro mix of South African steakhouse fare. Carnivores will be in a quandary over a hearty rack of signature barbecue pork ribs, rib-eye, sirloin or tenderloin – all grilled to your exact order over the coals.
Order a host of sides and meats and share them family-style. Starter highlights are pigs’ tails with sticky marinade and wild-mushroom arancini. The barbecue section offers various cuts, some of which are smoked on-site. Dessert consists of dainty tartlets and superb gelato.
HQ (City Bowl)
Diners get a simple salad of lettuce, pine nuts and high-quality parmesan shavings with mustard vinaigrette followed by the main event, which is sirloin steak – either local or Australian Angus – with café de Paris butter and shoestring fries. Crème brûlée is an excellent finish.
The Hussar Grill (Rondebosch)
The Hussar Grill is one of the oldest grillrooms in the country, where a healthy appetite is a prerequisite. Fillet, rump and sirloin are grilled to your liking and served with fries, mash, baby potatoes or a salad. End the evening with a gooey fondant or the chocolate-vodka martini.
Pirates Steakhouse and Pub (Plumstead)
This is a nostalgic landmark for great burgers, steak and ribs in the ‘burbs. Choice cuts – fillet, rump and pork ribs – are fall-off-the-bone tender, basted with house barbecue sauce, and flame-grilled to order. Nothing much ever changes around here, which is how the locals like it.
Primal Eatery (City Bowl)
Located in the spot formerly occupied by Charcoal, this meatery grills even the watermelon. The geranium cheesecake is something special, too.
The Sneaky Sausage (City Bowl)
Tucked away above The House of Machines, this stylish German beer hall serves up all kinds of sausage – bratwurst, bockwurst, knackwurst, cheese griller, chorizo, or a combination of three. Pickles, sauerkraut and roasted garlic aioli lift things a notch.
By no means a complete list of all Cape Town restaurants, this list comprises the top restaurants rated and reviewed for the 2017 Eat Out magazine as well as recently reviewed restaurants.