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Arugula Bistro and Bread

Arugula Bistro and Bread
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Cost
R120 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Bakery fare, Bistro fare, Health food, Seafood, Steak
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Food 
There is something very appealing about walking into a place where freshly made fettuccine is hanging out to dry and the air is filled with the delicious aroma of home baked bread, and where homemade ice creams glisten in the fridges, waiting for the moment you will choose them to finish off your meal. Chef Neil Swart is holding the fort here very well, serving bistro style food in generous portions. The superbly rich chicken liver parfait with an apricot compote and toasted ciabatta is still a knockout, as is the charcuterie platter with balsamic caramel. Clever banting choices, which may appeal to others as well, include excellent grass-fed rib-eye steak with pan-fried veggies and smoked paprika butter; slow-roasted pork belly (for which they are famous) with cauliflower purée, baby marrow ribbons and garlic butter; and a delicious home-smoked chicken salad with bacon, parmesan and banting mayo. The fettuccine with prawns, cream, and fresh basil, and the oxtail risotto with parmesan and toasted almonds are great choices if you like Italian food. The generous cheddar burger with bacon, pickled jalapeños, garlic butter and homemade chips continues to enthral local carnivores. And as for those ice creams, the salted caramel and chocolate-chunk Nutella are the stars of the show.

Drinks 
They offer a very good list, carefully selected, featuring wines from Elgin and Villiera and others at good prices, in carafes or per bottle. Beers include Alliance Amber Ale and Saboteur.

Service 
The service staff are quietly efficient and friendly.

Ambience 
The space is fairly large and walled in glass, which lets in plenty of light. The open-plan kitchen allows one to feel part of the action without getting too involved. At night the place takes on a more glamorous character.

And… 
If you don’t take away some fabulous bread or ice cream you will live to regret it.

(July 2014)

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  • Their focus on uncomplicated flavours belies the excellent options on offer, like deboned lamb rib with mustard mash and ratatouille; and oxtail ravioli in burnt butter with prune chutney.

User reviews

  • Had dinner at Arugula. The calamari chouriço gnocchi starter was delicious. For mains we had the steak and beer battered fish. Consistently great. The ice cream (flavours change periodically) is made on premises and is a must! The coffee is also great. The waitstaff are really friendly and the restaurant has a lovely dinner vibe. When visiting during the day, be sure to take home one of the best ciabattas available around here. The scones (tea time treat ) are also delicious with no trace of bicarbonate aftertaste you so often find.
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  • I have mixed feelings about our dinner at Arugula. Although the food was great, the extraction is not good in the restaurant and because the restaurant is open plan felt like it was quite "smokey" inside. The service was not great, the waitress was not knowledgeable on the menu at all. Not sure if we will be back soon.
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  • Friendly place with great food! Homemade things to thrill the taste buds. And they're steak is great but then again also the porkbelly...
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  • We went to Arugula for my 4/5th time last night. As always, the service and food were outstanding. Really incredible place.
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  • We had a very nice meal at Arugula with our 2 young children. I found the kids menu very nice and the normal menu had a nice variety of dishes on offer. Our main meals of pork belly and the korean ribs were very nice, but slightly under-seasoned and lacking an umpf of flavour. We will definitely go again, especially to try out their lunch menu which looks delicious!
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  • I was treated by a friend for lunch for my birthday and had never heard or been to Arugula before. The food was so delicious just the right portion and the flavours were amazing. I had the deboned lamb and it was to die for. For dessert we tried there caramel vodka custard cream doughnut with caramel ice cream..never tasted anything like it each mouthful was savoured and did not want to finish it. Would highly recommend this restaurant and will definitely be going back again to try out the different flavours of ice cream. Thank you to the chefs.....
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  • I love that place :) Ice cream is the best , that in clods the staff the food the place. i just love it ! :)
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  • Visited Arugula for the first time last week and was blown away by the service and food. Durbanville area is really lacking in the way of niche market eateries that serve wholesome slow food. If you are anything like me and enjoy a meal where you can taste that all the ingredients are fresh AND home made then its worth a visit.
    They have a great wine list, mostly including wines from in and around the wine area of Durbanville. I had the roast lamb ravioli - highly recommended for those who like fresh made filled pastas. Be sure not to miss out on the weird and wonderful icecreams for dessert. My favourite is the salted caramel.
    It really is about time that the Northern suburbs joined the rest of Cape Town in the slow foodie, good foodie movement. Well done Arugula for setting the pace and direction. YUM.
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  • What a jewel of a place! This bistro is quite something. The food and service are equally outstanding! I can recommend EVERYTHING on the menu!
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  • To write a review of Arugula about one single experience will never do them justice. For us it has been like being on a journey from their early days.
    I love good food, but to really enjoy a dinner takes so much more. Whether local or abroad I always look for something different and off the beaten track. Commercial restaurants, no matter how renowned mostly just don’t make the cut.
    When the first signs of Arugula started appearing it immediately caught my attention. Call it a gut feel or woman’s intuition, but I just knew it was going to be extra ordinary. And so, shortly after they opened their doors we just could not resist. We got to meet Neil and the team. They did not hesitate to inform us that (at that stage) they had no liquor license, but should we like we would be in time to get a bottle of wine at the liquor store downstairs.
    It was quiet, only one other table occupied in the warm elegant Bistro, and we got to know Arugula’s background. Four youngsters who made their mark in the Hotel industry but had the dream of becoming more... They decided to take it heads on with an All or nothing attitude, something quite courageous, while surrounded with comments like “Just like the rest they’ll never make it” and “we give them six months to a year” – as overheard from the other table.
    The dinner was delicious, with unfolding views and charming atmosphere. From there on we would frequently swing around for dinner with a homely feel but an indulgent touch. Cold beverages were taken off our hands to be kept in the fridge till served and red wines were served like it was the best from the cellar.
    Some evenings we even had the joy of delicious sourdough bread accompanying us home after dinner. The perfect provocation for a good bread table at any party, adding some glamor with Neil’s crates (to the astonishment of his team he sometimes lend it out).
    Even when they got their much awaited liquor license no effort was too much if you brought your own. More rapid than I think anyone expected tings started to change. Only dinners, became breakfast and lunch. The most enticing homemade ice creams in decadent flavors appeared one after the other.
    Soon it was not to be assumed there would be a table available anymore. Bookings became more advisable especially with their Camembert Burger Specials on a Monday. Who knew a burger could look this good, satisfy all your taste buds and still be on a reasonable deal. The once quiet Bistro has become engulfed in the murmur of satisfied voices, giving you the break from everything else while still feeling part of something bigger.
    Heartfelt hospitality was at the root of this all, with a flair of passion and pride. You can see in the food that this was love in motion. From preparation, to cooking to presentation, nothing misses a beat. Waitrons are friendly and warm, making you feel at home. And if you are lucky you’ll be served by Teresa, with the most beautiful Afrikaans pronunciation and a memory second to none.
    The newest addition to Arugula’s variety is the exquisite Food and Wine pairing, where selected wine farms bring their best and the team creates divine dishes that compliment them to the tee. The paring is done with innovation and precision, taking your senses beyond limits. A culinary experience not to be missed!!
    I’m inclined to believe there are much more exciting surprises to be expected and that Arugula will rocket into the future....
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  • It's tough to open a restaurant in the Durbanville area, Having lived here all my life I have seen the restaurants come and go. One by one they open, and within a year they are gone, but memories and perhaps flavours in the case of an elite few that were unfortunate to have been lacking the appropriate patronage,

    However, I have the feeling that Arugula is here to stay, It is not often that I have seen such an exceptional restaurant. One that has such an attention to detail and flavour and actually delivers what they have promised and more. I was at the restaurant but last week and decided upon the Prime rib with the mustard sauce and home-made gnocchi. After all the places I have eaten (and being into the culinary world and a trainee chef, trust me it is many, both in South Africa and abroad -parents both being british) I am used to dishes not presenting what the menu says it will. Yet at Arugula i was expecting a decent dish, and received what I can only describe as phenomenal, It was exquisitely flavoured, perfectly cooked and lacking in absolutely nothing. Prime rib can be fatty and unpleasant to eat when prepared incorrectly, but I gobbled it down like it were ice cream on a hot summer's day (their ice-creams are also amazing by the way).

    It is a place that I am happy to frequent. And with the regular changing of the menu and the use of local and fresh ingredients the menu never disappoints. I ate at the One&Only this week, for the Reuben invites dinner with Margot Janse, and perhaps surprisingly in some people's eyes, given status and all, I couldn't help but think that for the price I would much rather have eaten at Arugula and enjoyed it more.

    I highly recommend this restaurant to anybody who may consider themselves a foody, or are simply looking for a good meal in a relaxed atmosphere, I will continue to be a regular customer and hope that many others will follow my example.

    Very well done. 5 stars.
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  • We were at the Hillcrest wine pairing and it was awesome. The food was divine, perfect matching the wine. The food is really something different, not the normal type of food, well prepared and serve in style. The service was also excellent, it was a wonderful experience and a wonderful evening out. I can really recommend the Bistro and the wine pairing evenings.
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  • Friendly, professional and delicious...what more do you need?? Oh...great views, good service and bread to die for! Well done guys!
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  • The menu has changed since our last visit. Now trimmed down, losing the "chef's menu"section. More mainstream, less adventurous . Disappointing, as it was very good. Market forces?
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  • This is my favourite restaurant in Cape Town at the moment! Fantastic food, outstanding service and beautiful views from the restaurant. Will go back again and again and will recommend it to all!
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  • Amazing place with stunning views at night time.
    Lovely food - we had the hake which was beautifully cooked, steak (the best we have had in a good while) and the camembert burger which was very yummy. Amazing ice creams and their toffee cheesecake is a complete winner!
    Fantastic service, great that the kitchen is open to the customers... love it!

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  • Again blown away, the extended kitchen I'll never have!

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  • Excellent, I always feel satisfied when I walk out. If you do go have a three course meal as the dining experience and quality of food that is served is of high quality.

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  • Simply the best place on earth to go and indulge in only the best deliciousness. From breakfast straight down to their home-made (yummy) ice cream - everything they offer is pleasing, delicious and beautifully presented. I have to stop myself to not visit them daily - worth every penny.

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  • Great venue, not late night (like after 10), but then again we're not late night people. I had the burger with fig and camerbert, and the wife had the prawn linquine - both great plates of food in terms of taste and presentation. I also like the open kitchen. The big black dude who greeted us at the door greeted us in Afrikaans which I appreciated even though that might have been the only Afrikaans he knows, few wines but great quality. And a nice story on the front of the menu. We'll definitely go back again!

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  • Good food, reasonable service. Not a late night venue, be prepared to leave at about 10pm.

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  • I’ve eaten at some of the best restaurants Cape Town has to offer and I was pleasantly surprised to discover this hidden gem in Welgemoed, Bellville.

    The service was very good and that in itself is a rear commodity there days. We were a party of six people and all the food from starter to dessert was of exceptiona qualityl. If you looking for good quality food, no need to drive out to the so-called culinary capital, Franschhoek, anymore.

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  • Since Arugula opened in April last year I have been a regular. How can you stay away from excellent fresh dishes, friendly staff and a lovely view? The fillet steak is a must and the ice cream they create on site is spectacular. Their breakfasts and Origin coffee is the perfect combination!

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  • An absolute gem! Small menu and outstanding food. Excellent wine selection. This restaurant cannot be faulted in any category. The chicken liver pate is a must...

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  • One of the best kept secrets in the Cape. Young chef and owner Neil prepares wonderful family fine food. Even the bacon and jams are made in-house. The best pork belly ever!

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  • We enjoyed a lovely lunch - gnocci with artichokes and roasted red pepper. Light and well-balanced. Delicious charcuterie board. Good service - will be back soon!

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  • Beautiful view, good service in a comfortable, relaxed setting and delicious food prepared with care and passion. We enjoyed a long, relaxed Sunday brunch and never felt rushed.Bought a baguette as we left which we thoroughly enjoyed with roasted vine tomatoes, basil pesto, mozzarello and parma ham later the afternoon. Definitely all to be repeated!

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Menu

Set menu - Available on website

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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