Venues

Café Bree (Groenkloof)

Café Bree (Groenkloof)
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Cost
R80 - R150 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Hip & happening
Food
Café fare, Italian, Light meals, Mediterranean, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Diane de Beer

Food
Chef Luigi Marchini’s dream for a place that felt like his grandmother’s home – both a shop filled with art and doodads as well as a restaurant – will live on following his unexpected death in 2015. His partner, with the help of a new support team and friends, is keeping everything, including the chefs trained by Luigi, exactly the same. Choose one of his zivas (Yemeni layered bread with fillings) with names of local painters like Carl Buchner, Irma Stern and Maggie Loubser. These come with extraordinary fillings like roast lamb with Dijonnaise mayo, rocket and caramelised onion. It's still all about the food here: from the rich oxtail to the veal picatta with mushroom, onion, wine and cream sauce. It’s comfort food deluxe with the most decadent home-baked cakes, cupcakes and cheesecake.

Wine
They have a few basic wines favouring Durbanville Hills and Hill and Dale as well as an Italian selection from Villa Teresa (organic) and Prosecco. They also offer a wide variety of soft drinks from cordials to fruit juices.

Service
Riaan Luiters is fully in charge of the friendliest bunch of waiter with a hands-on manager.

Ambience
It’s like walking into an art shop with something for everyone and works like a charm when sitting at one of the inside tables – like visiting a close friend’s home. Many people know one another but newcomers are always welcome in this buzzy corner. With an outside deck in front of the shop, it’s as much fun inside or out. It’s classy, comfortable and convenient.

And…
Check their deli items and take some of the marinated brinjal home. It adds spice to anything from a sandwich to a roast.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Hennie Fisher

    Food
    Café Bree’s food is generally rooted in classic Italian cuisine, which means that it offers comfort food that will make even the crabbiest customer feel happy and relaxed. They do however also offer other items for breakfast or something light. Breakfast options include Bree’s poached eggs with salmon on rye or Low GI bread, rocket, mustard vinaigrette, and fresh dill, or what they call their Gourmet summer omelette, also with salmon and cream cheese, rocket, cocktail tomatoes and capers. True to the chef’s Italian roots, the oven-baked Lumaconi, filled with minced meat, spinach and béchamel sauce, or traditional lasagne, are superb versions of these classics. Veal Picatta, served with fettucine alla crema (mixed with cream and parmesan) are finger licking good, and the oxtail is made with a classic sofrito of carrots, onions and celery in a tomato-based sauce, making it deliciously rich but not heavy. The menu even lists a couple of pizzas; the Bree pizza comes topped with mozzarella, tomato, ham, bacon, salami, peppers, garlic, chilli and origanum. Their Zivas (handmade layered dough wraps from Yemen) are hugely popular, with various fillings celebrating famous South African artists: the Irma Stern, Maggie Loubser, Walter Battis, Frans Claerhout and the Carl Buchner, the latter made with roasted lamb, Dijon mayo, rocket and caramelized onion.

    Drinks
    Wines by the glass include Villa Jeresa, an organic Italian Pinot Grigio, and for those who might like something a little less assertive, the Theuniskraal Moscato Rosé. Prosecco can be ordered in a 750 ml or 200ml bottle, and what can be better to celebrate with than Italian bubbly? Wines are well priced, with the Earthbound organic Chenin Blanc selling at R90, and the Earthbound Pinot Noir at R110. Non-alcoholic drinks include Italian ice tea in peach or lemon, those delightful little Italian fruit juices in pear, peach or apple, Aranciata in both the bitter red and Dolce orange variations, and a citrus & herb drink called Chinotto.

    Service
    The owners are always on hand, assisted by a team of young helpers, all ready to serve, clear, share, suggest, hug, chat and generally make a visit here something special, as evidenced by the throngs of regulars of all ages obviously loving the vibe.

    Ambience
    Café Bree is tucked in between some other smaller restaurants in what is quite a busy little strip, but benefits greatly from the deck outside which makes for a lovely way to experience Pretoria’s fantastic climate. The casual observer may not immediately know if Café Bree is an antique shop, art gallery, florist or bakery, because it ticks all these boxes to some extent. The owners are ardent art collectors, and are always keen to tell more about a piece on the walls. Old fashioned showcases and cabinets line the walls, filled with crockery, tea sets, plates and other period ceramics. The large covered deck is much simpler, but the interior draws the crowds with its eclectic mix of dining-room sets, printed Sanderson-type fabric tablecloths, silver cruet sets, tea/coffee pots, and damask napkins with fabric ribbons, bunches and bunches of fresh roses, silk roses, anemones and hydrangeas. Pressed glass jugs filled with water and strawberries, some bottled jams and pickles and the odd box of Ouhuis Rooibos Tea are on sale, all contributing to the feeling of visiting a slightly over-the-top granny or aunt for afternoon tea.

    And…
    Sumptuous cakes are not only part of the look, but are tasty as well. These may include almond meringue custard cake; peanut butter tart with Lindt chocolate and roasted salted almonds; carrot cupcakes or the best ever peanut butter brittle cake. They serve an excellent fig cake, bake their own biscotti and polenta biscuits, make a decadent chocolate torte with amaretti biscuits, and on odd occasions (or pre-order) great breads such as health bread or bread with pistachios and honey. They make wedding cakes on order and in all likelihood one might bump into a satisfied customer returning empty dishes, as they will happily prepare a whole meal to pick up and warm at home.

    (August 2015)

  • Diane De Beer

    Food
    If what you need is comfort, this is the place to be. The food is hearty and generous and so are the people. It’s like enjoying the best-cooked meal in a place that feels like home, but is in fact an eclectic shop packed with antiques and art which you can peruse while having anything from the prettiest cupcake to an oxtail that will warm your heart. From gourmet omelettes (with the likes of salmon, cream cheese, rocket and capers; or crispy bacon, cream cheese, rocket and rosa tomatoes) to the outrageous marshmallow and cherry cheesecake to die for (and perhaps of!), it’s laidback and full of goodness – both the food and the ambience. Their menu runs the Italian spectrum, but one of the true standouts is their richly comforting oxtail, served with fettuccine alla crema.

    Drinks
    There’s a fair amount to choose from with organic red and white as well as more standard choices. From Italy you can try the Villa Teresa, or opt for the local organic Earthbound label.

    Service
    Partner Riaan Luiters is in command and keeps customers smiling.

    Ambience
    It’s a space packed with beautiful objects that the chef has collected; this decorating approach keeps every visit interesting. The name of the café refers to Bree (the redhead from Desperate Housewives), playing nicely into their dramatic sensibility, which surfaces in the eclectic nature of the interiors. The latter is constantly changing, because chef Luigi collects anything from paintings to tea sets.

    And…
    They’re now open at night too, so linger for a long, leisurely meal or book them when you need caterers.

    (July 2014)

  • Food
    It’s made with love and probably loads of stuff not good for your health, but the spirit is generous and hearty when it comes to food. It feels like a good home-cooked meal and sends you into a comfortable place from the first bite. They’ve introduced gourmet omelettes for grand breakfasts and a baked cheesecake that will spoil others for you forever.

    Wine
    A medium-sized wine list with organic red and white and more standard selections.

    Service
    Partner Riaan Luiters leads the charge charmingly.

    Ambience
    It’s part coffee shop and part interiors shop packed with beautiful objects that the chef has collected. The name change is indicative of their intent: it’s not bree (the Afrikaans for wide), but Bree, the redhead from Desperate Housewives!

    And...
    This is a blissful escape, even for a quick, but classy, coffee. Grab some of their deli items on the way out, especially their brinjal mix. (DdeB, October 2012)
  • Diane de Beer

    This unique spot delivers in all kinds of ways, from the food to the fussing over customers. New or a regular, you will get a lot of attention. They’ve created a unique blend of classic Italian comfort food together with an eclectic mix of antiques and art. It’s like visiting home from home, with both the ambience and the flavours right out there. Stand-out dishes: oxtail, summer salad, sole, veal piccata or different zivas (Yemen bread with fillings). They also make a fantastic brinjal pickle to take away. (Eat Out magazine 2014)

User reviews

  • As a return customer to Cafe Bree. I was utterly upset by the Manager sleeping on duty. He was sitting at the computer attempting to look like he was "working" but his sleeping was so off putting that we just finished our tea and left instead of having brunch as planned. He didn't even open his eyes when the phone rang or when we got up and left! So disappointed!!
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  • From the moment you walk into Café Bree, you know that you're going to have a special experience. Everyone, regulars and first timers alike, are treated like friends by owner and host, Riaan. There's a certain French Provance charm about the place, which is accentuated by the sidewalk seating. This is definitely the go-to place for friends and family to do some catching up. By the time I had to leave, it felt as if I wanted to call out a see-you-later to the other patrons. The food is beautifully delicious with generous portions. The service is friendly and attentive. BUT at Café Bree, it's not just about the food, it's about the whole package! It's about creating a space where you'd want to return to, time and time again.
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  • We literally just enjoyed a work-lunch at Cafe Bree after searching for something new to try in the Brooklyn/Groenkloof area. We were very impressed with the healthy portions vs pricing, the surprise entree and complimentary sweet-treat of a cupcake each when we were finished. All in all it was a very enjoyable experience and we look forward to heading back to try a few more of the menu items ... Thanks guys. The Armour-iT Team (Brooklyn, Pretoria)
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  • First time I went here with my sister nice atmosphere and very peaceful.
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  • I have been to Cafe Bree many times and it's a pleasure to spend time there.
    Do not expect a sleek minimalist interior. This is a place with old world charm, floral china, colourful flowers and art.
    The food is good, tasty and fresh. So are the cakes and pastries. Their Pasteis de Nata Portugese custard tarts) and cupcakes (carrot or red velvet) are divine. The red velvet is properly made with beetroot and cocao, not just red food colour. Everything they do speaks of generosity and care.
    Did I mention generosity? Go there and experience for yourself!
    Thanks Riaan and Luigi!
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  • Our youngest daughter recently turned 17 while we were out of the country. I organised with Riaan in advance for a breakfast for her with her friends. I could not have done it better myself! The table was beautifully set and as always, the food was outstanding, as well as the service. Thanks Riaan for making Kaitlin's birthday so special! (She also got a bag filled with goodies as a gift from Riaan!)
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  • What an awesome experience! Lovely food and outstanding service! Thank you so much- counting the days until our next visit!
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  • Riaan, and Luigi, thank you for always making any visit fantastic.
    your special Valentines dinner Thursday night was fantastic.
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  • Café Bree has the best mango juice in town and their cupcakes are fresh and tasty. The staff are very friendly and go out of their way to make each customer feel comfortable. Café Bree is the ideal destination if you are looking for a scrumptious meal or snack. Thank you!

    - Matthew
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  • Fantastic, as always. Whether it's breakfast, tea time or lunch, healthy or not, it's always the BEST!!! Be sure to try one of the Ziva dishes -absolutely devine .
    Thank you Riaan, for the best and friendliest service in town .Definitely returning soon.
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  • Cafe Bree is a friendly place where friends and family can hangout together while enjoy excellent delicious food and friendly service. I like their cupcakes most of all Their cupcakes always puts a smile on my face and makes my day.
    Thanks Cafe Bree and for making me smile :)
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  • LOVE LOVE LOVE CAFE BREE! Thank you Riaan for always providing my guests and I with outstanding service and delicious treats! The vibey music, ziva dishes and great attention to service detail really keeps us coming back. Bravo!
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  • What a great find..... I Love Cafe Bree. Great food good Service. Riaan makes you feel like the lost son has returned. Unbelievable Food really Good.
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  • I had to meet a client so I suggested Cafe Bree. She ordered Lemon cheese cake. It wasn't fresh. We discreetly told Rian the Manager that the cake isn't fresh. We were shocked by his reaction. He started shouting and insulting us becoming increasingly more aggressive. In a desperate attempt to save face in front of my client I asked for the bill so we can just pay and leave. But insulting us wasn't enough for Rian. He demanded that my client apologizes to him and to the waiter before we could leave the premises. So if you choose to visit Cafe Bree be sure to shut up and eat up whatever they dish out.
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  • Whatever your fancy, you will find it at Cafe Bree: from the well prepared dishes for the hungry to delicious cakes, you will find it here!
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  • Fantastic! As always.

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  • Excellent experience! Great food, delicious cakes, and awesome cupcakes! Wonderful atmosphere and staff!

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  • Great service and great food. Whenever I need a nice relaxing cup of coffee or lunch with a bit of a difference, this is the place I go to. Worth the trip any day.

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  • Luigi adds new meaning to what potentially could be a very boring omelette!
    The ambience, takes the sting out of Pretoria for a Cape Townian...divine!

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  • Great atmosphere, best service in town. The oxtail is defnitely best in town. Thanks Riaan you are the best host.

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  • Beautiful and absolutely delicious zivas and cupcakes! Loved the melanzane on the plates, every dish needs a little purple egg plant in life! Lovely atmosphere on any given day with loved ones. Thanks for the great service and homey feeling with divine fresh food. Will definitely be back for another round of Bree.

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  • Loving the beautiful tasting zivas with mouth watering melanzane and topped off with divine freshly baked red velvet and carrot cake cupcakes. Delightful and most relaxing atmosphere for a piblic holiday breakfast with one's loved ones. And most enjoyable owner and waiters! Thank you!

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  • This restaurant puts new meaning to the word "personal". From the service to the food, this is indeed outstanding. Riaan and Luigi have managed to merge the concepts of service and cafe cuisine and taken them to a new level. Do yourself a favour and visit this little paradise hidden in Groenkloof. Ps. Their cakes are delicious, with the best Red Velvet cupcakes anywhere!

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  • A very different experience to the normal coffee shop and restaurant, yet in the difference lies the awesome experience. Relaxing atmosphere, personal attention from Riaan, and simply unbeatable cuisine from Luigi while you admire the artworks all around you. You will make them your favourite meeting and function place after a visit; take my word for it.

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  • Cafe Bree has become my second office. Service is great and food extremely yummy, just check my waist line for confirmation. Must admit I have yet to find something on the menu I do not enjoy. Well done Riaan and staff. Special mention, Danie, the waiter, excellent service.

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  • If you are looking for food to tantalise your taste buds this is the place to eat. 'Abs fabs!' Then I can't even mention the cupcakes! As a cupcake addict I can only leave this statement *ambrosia*!

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  • The best atmosphere in town. Personalised service even from the owner. Food is absoulutely exceptional and value for money. It's definitely my favourite place to stop and take a breather when I am in PTA for business. Well done Cafe Bree.

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  • What a haven to escape to! Not only is the service friendly, efficient and warm, but the ambience so comforting. Riaan is such a charming host and likes to spoil customers. The food is delicious and the helpings generous. On top of it all, there is always something you are tempted to buy - from vintage teacups to imported Italian delicacies. Make this your favourite place to meet friends. Or go solo.

    Thank you to all the friendly faces at Cafe Bree.

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  • Lunch with the girls on 2 February was absolutely scrumptious! The cakes are to die for, and the service was friendly and snappy. Highly recommended.

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  • Riaan is so kind and friendly. Best food in town.

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  • Wow Riaan, the food is fantastic and the muffins - one look and I am hooked. This is one place where the food is only surpassed by the service. Thank you for bring a breath of fresh air to our meals there.

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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