Venues

Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room

Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room
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  • Location 0214247648
  • Phone Number 133 Bree Street, City Bowl, Cape Town
  • email info@manfood.co.za
  • Website URL www.clarkesdining.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Monday 7am to 5pm (kitchen closes 4.45pm); Tuesday to Friday 7am to 12midnight (kitchen closes for an hour at 4pm); Saturday 8am to 4pm; Sundays 8am to 3pm; Open Public Holidays

Cost
R70 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Bakery fare, Burgers, Coffee, Food from the Americas, Modern, Vegetarian
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500
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Critic's review

Lisa van Aswegen

Food
Start the day with house-made granola, a decent fry-up (the huevos rancheros have a cult following) or simple avo on toast. Lunch and dinner time sees serious diner fare: the four cheese mac and cheese will have you in cheesy heaven, while salads such as the classic Caesar are light and zesty, packed with crunch. Smoked pulled pork or Reuben sarmies, a juicy burger, or a packed-with goodness pressed veggie sandwich hit the spot time and again.

Welcome bar snacks, like twice-fried fries with aioli or their Rooster Dog with kimchi and sriracha, go down well with a drink or two. If you're an oyster fan, this is the place to be – the baked oysters are a treat. Sweets are simple: hot fudge brownie sundae or a scoop of ice cream hit the sweet spot.

Drinks
Fresh juices, smoothies and Deluxe coffees keep things ticking over in the mornings. Move on to classic cocktails with a twist – such as their own hibiscus cordial with gin – as the day goes on. A small but interesting wine list and decent selection of craft beers rounds things off. Look out for their regular drinks and happy hour specials.

Service
Super chilled but super friendly. Staff seem at home and enjoy your enjoyment of the food.

Ambience
Sit outside watching Bree Street life, inside at the bar or at one of the tables. There's a large courtyard table at the back, ideal for a group get-together.

And…
The addition of a small deck on the pavement adds to its outside appeal.

(September 2016)

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  • Hope Malau

    Food
    Clarke’s has two simple menus: one for the day and another for night. Breakfast, however, is served throughout the day. Who doesn’t like breakfast all day? Top your choice of sourdough or five-grain toast with eight ingredients, including Nutella, pan-fried mushrooms, eggs two ways or home-made jam. For lunch, you can enjoy home-made brioche bun burgers, either vegetarian or beef. The vegetarian burger could also satisfy meat lovers – it’s filled with zucchini and beetroot and served with aubergine, smoked mozzarella and the tastiest double-fried chips or a salad. The grass-fed beef burger with Underberger cheese is just as mouthwatering as it sounds. For dinner, take your pick from pizza, West Coast oyster chowder, cauliflower soup and more.

    Drinks
    Clarke’s rooibos and honey ice tea refreshes like nothing on earth. For a healthy kick, enjoy The Breakfast smoothie filled with blueberries, banana, chia, hemp and flax seeds. For an alcoholic option, try one of the four beers on tap or standard bottled beers and ciders. There’s also a variety of red and white wines by the glass or bottle.

    Service
    There’s a casual and friendly vibe to the service. The waiters do not hover around your table while you stuff your face, which is perfect. They also don’t wear standard uniforms or stiff attire, yet they’re very visible. Overall, the service is offered with a smile and the food makes you want to go back for seconds and thirds.

    Ambience
    A very relaxed and hip atmosphere. The offers a fine dose of Cape Town’s culture, so it would be a great place for tourists to start.

    And…
    Sweet tooths should not expect a big variety, but the menu of three desserts is topped by a chocolate pie with 70 % Valrhona chocolate that just melts in the mouth.

  • Lentswe Bhengu

    Food 
    Even though this diner has become known for its delicious and generous burgers – served in a basket with fries – they’ve also become a popular breakfast and brunch spot, with delectable items like brûléed French toast served with bacon, warm apples, ricotta and toasted pecans. They run weekly specials such as The Jackpot, on the breakfast menu, featuring free-range hash eggs with coffee and fresh orange juice. Not to be missed.

    As for lunch and dinnertime fare, opt for a very classy mac and cheese with smoked mozzarella, goat's cheese and pecorino, and tip the boat by adding some bacon. The burgers are made from free-range meat sourced from the well known local butchery, Bill Riley Meats. Order a choice of sides that include fries or cheese fries and buttermilk coleslaw – there’s a typical American diner room vibe to this experience.

    Drinks
    This being trendy Bree Street and craft beer the talk of the town, Clarke’s offers craft options and regular beers on tap, at an average of R30 for a glass of artisanal brew. There’s a rather fine list of cocktails and also a short but well selected wine list.

    Service 
    The waiters are passionate, well spoken and very knowledgeable about current food trends. Expect service of a relaxed and friendly nature.

    Ambience 
    The venue attracts an array of city slickers and creatives. The diner sports a quirky and relaxed atmosphere through its creative use of space and décor.

    And… 
    Daily happy hours make this the perfect after work watering hole. You will notice the young and trendy arriving in droves.

    (July 2014)

     

  • Great diner food with a grown-up touch. Burgers have flaky and buttery brioche buns, rare patties and pickles. Known for great breakfasts like hash eggs and huevos rancheros. Don’t let the hipster crowd with skateboards put you off.
  • Food
    This trendy spot dishes up American favourites with aplomb. Breakfast is served all day (hurrah!) so try French toast with ricotta, the homemade granola or spicy huevos rancheros. Lunch is all about comforting classics: heavenly burgers on a rich brioche bun; pulled pork subs; or the Reuben with brisket or good ol’ mac and cheese. There’s cob salad for the more virtuous. Everything has lashings of flavour and a good dose of attitude.

    Wine
    There’s a good range of beers like Jack Black Lager and Darling Brew Native Ale on the list, along with a small selection of wines. Cocktails like an Old Fashioned have a certain speakeasy charm.

    Service
    It’s fast and friendly and suitably hip for buzzing Bree Street.

    Ambience
    Sit at the large counter space, near a window in the front or at a table at the back. It has a warm warehouse vibe, although it’s a small space, with plants in terracotta pots and pavement seating adding charm.

    And...
    They proudly proclaim ingredients’ provenance on the menu. (LvA, October 2012)

User reviews

  • Best burger is Cape Town!
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  • I walked over on a rainy, cold Friday but once inside, all my chills faded away. Clarke's was like a hidden tropical paradise inside, with palm fronds and shorts-wearing waiters. It was jam packed full of all kinds of people, and the aroma of fried food and coffee was enough to cheer the darkest heart. I ordered the Reuben, which came on delicious buttered sourdough and the biggest pickle known to man. It was a perfect balance of tangy and meaty – although I couldn't really discern the blue-cheese dressing promised by the description. The double-cooked chips were insanely good – crispy and golden with actual potato flavour – and they came with a gorgeously silky aioli. I also loved that I could order an interesting non-boozy drink over lunchtime, the soda water with hibiscus cordial and fresh lime. Yum, yum, yum!

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  • Clarkes was an inner city local gem filled with awesome food and portions ... Unfortunately everytime I've gone lately it's came up lacking seasoning, ingredients and not to mention the portion size of the breakfasts have halved ... After the last two visits complaining about my hash eggs being literally not even palm siZed and the chickpea salad being super watery and not as flavoursome and full of delicous ingredients as the salads I used to crave on a daily basis ....I'm doubting eating there again ....
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  • Clarke’s is my absolute favourite place to have breakfast in town for a few reasons.
    Location, Location, Location
    I love that it’s on Bree Street which is not too busy because I usually have my breakfast/brunch there after visiting Long Street the previous night. So, with a slightly sore head and bulging eyes the last thing I want is noise.
    The food
    The food is absolutely delicious and fresh. If you sit at the bar you can watch the chefs make you a sandwich that would make you not want to have tomato and cheese sandwich again. The bread is fresh and so are the ingredients. The best thing is that they sell breakfast all day. There are so many options to choose from that there is always something new to try. The burgers are to die for. I think the secret is with the bun. It looks like pastry with thick pieces of beef and all the fillings you can stomach with golden chips that are so tasty. Most people go there for burgers and I understand why. They have very nice vegetarian options as well that look as good as the meat dishes.
    Prices
    The prices are reasonable if you look at the quality of the food they are serving. I have been to places where I have paid nearly R100 for a tiny burger, 3 chips and a soggy salad.
    Service
    Here you do not have to ask for a glass of water. The minute you sit down you get your glass of water and I think this is a nice touch. The waiters are quite friendly and will give you time to make your choices. You do not wait for your food for too long either. One thing I didn’t like though is that they didn’t have some of the drinks options on the menu. I was looking forward to trying their Clark’s lemonade which I assumed would be homemade but they didn’t have it. I wasn’t too crazy about their ice tea either but come weekend, Clarke’s is never too far from my mind when it comes to satisfying my hangover munchies.
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  • Simply the greatest cheeseburger ever. The basics balanced and executed to
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  • Hey guys, Sam the Food Blogger here from Bon Appétit Magazine

    At first I was a little skeptical to go try Clarke's because of the sh***y reviews. But when we got there on Saturday at 6pm, the waitresses were nice, they asked us where we wanted to sit, and we ordered drinks which didn't take long at all. Everything was clean including the cutlery (which I am a stickler for checking...I hate dirty cutlery and will have them wash it if I'm not happy) but all seemed good. We chatted and when we were ready to order, we told them what we wanted. I had the Mac & Cheese with bacon and my friend had a cheeseburger with an egg. We were chatting until our food arrived and it couldn't have been overly longer than usual or I would have noticed and started complaining. The food was incredible and piping hot.

    The actual pub/bar is simply lit and the decor rustic with light greenery (which you don't see often in Cape Town pub grubs) with outside seating and they didn't mind that we started by sitting inside and then moved to the outside for the rest of the night. The guy who busses the tables was super pleasant and so were the waitresses.

    Listen, I'm sure that when it gets pumping, like in the mornings and probably afternoons, then the amount of staff per customer probably exacerbates the waiting time as well as impatient customers and generally people who are just rude like to complain but I don't know why anyone would complain. You would wait at any other place that was busy, why is waiting when it's super busy suddenly a reason to complain. Just relax and drink your coffee.

    It's a chill, pleasant place with good food and good vibes. It doesn't have a huge menu but what is on the menu is executed extremely well and I highly recommend it.

    But don't take my word for it or anyone else's for that matter, go and try it out for yourself. Don't dismiss it like I nearly did just because of some lousy reviews.
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  • Clarkes Bar & Dining Room on Bree is often reviewed along with other hamburger joints. It is in fact more than that, a great little menu, good attitude, great service and always well run and spotlessly clean.

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  • Nothing wrong in this eatery where everything is made with love, I've tried nearly everything on the menu and coming often just for a drink it's neat and tidy - the waiters are doing a good job.
    I think that because it's a really small place people tend to queue a lot, come during the day or for lunch it's not crowded and the food is really good.
    The cheese burger and the cheesy fries are the best, and it's reasonably priced.

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  • Trendy or tacky?
    Called to make a booking only to find out it's walk-ins only. Arrived 8pm only to be told there was no waiting list, then watched the next walk-ins be added to a waiting list and the third set of walk-ins being led straight to a table... the place is chaotic, the service even worse - we tried to get a beer from the bar for about 15 minutes before we walked out and that was after we watched a guy walk inside 3 times begging for salt. Tables weren't cleaned so people were sitting surrounded by old beer glasses and burger baskets. No staff seemed to take any notice anywhere. Leave this one to the Bree Street hipsters maybe...

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  • Stay Away! It is a waste of time and money. The staff is inattentive, the food sub-standard quality. Arrive for breakfast at 8am. Asked for coffee and croissant - not to be heated. Repeated the NOT TO BE HEATED. After waiting 20 minutes coffee arrive, 5 minutess later a croissant that was heated up. When I asked to have it sent back as I specifically requested NOT BE HEATED I got the following reply - they have to heat it up as it was frozen. Who in his right mind serves a frozen croissant for breakfast? I really really don't get it - this place does not do any justice to Bree Street.

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  • Rather unfortunate that I never got to eat here, clearly they are so popular at the moment they don't need clients. Website says open at 7,00 during the week but arrived at 7,10 to be told rather dismissively that we could wait until 8,00 for breakfast and they might think about giving us coffee. That was fine but when I mentioned helpfully that they just might want to update their website I got even more attitude. Sad but true example of poor service losing clientele. Five friends already changed plans to go there - the restaurant business in Cape Town is competitive and having unpleasant staff is one sure way to limit your success!

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  • I would go to Clarke’s again for the atmosphere and vibe primarily. The burgers are just ok and mine was very dry, even lashings of ketchup didn’t help! Also – if this food is your speciality then it would be nice to ask your guests how they like there burgers done, as mine was well-done, which is not to my liking. Service is good and friendly but the no booking policy can be a bit of pain as patrons don’t necessarily want to sit at the bar for an hour to get a table or have someone else go ahead of you in the line. I liked the basket-idea that the food arrived in - was cool but it slips and slides all over the table but it makes it quite authentic and like an American-style diner.

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  • Zooty, fun, busy. We just had a cup of coffee. It was very good. Friendly waitress...

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  • Have been three times now. I just had to get that best burger in town... But - the burgers are quite average. There are lots of better ones in other places. And at one time they were out of that burger! A bit weird as this is the signature dish here. In fact I think the fries are the best thing here, skin on and really crispy. And the ice cream from The lovely Creamery.

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  • I guess we had high expectations after reading all the wonderful views . We where, however, really disappointed with the burgers. The patty itself is great but the bun was too oily. Overall the burger was really dry, not even adding some ketchup to it saved it. Clarke's saving grace is atmosphere and the drinks special. I would not eat another burger there.

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  • I'm just saying this because I like the place. The Reuben needs work, and the Cobb salad is pretty overwhelming. Burgers and fries are awesome.

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  • Oh my gosh this is the most delicious burger I have ever eaten - the meat was absolutely awesome. Each mouthful was a yum moment! The only thing missing is a great chilli sauce or fresh chopped chilis for the chilli lovers - but my friend Brigitte had some of her homemade chilli sauce in her handbag - yes - interesting thing to carry around! Loved the place - found the service a little spotty - but loved the touch of water straight onto your table and constant refills. Lovely place, I will be back.

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  • Best hash breakfast ever, with crispy cauliflower, spring onion and haddock added - amazing. Extra strong Deluxe Coffee - delicious. Great music and very attentive staff.

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  • Huge burger - yum. Order fries for everyone to share - big portion. Wholesomely unhealthy and tasty! Ambience ok. Menu only had burgers on for beginning. Was sad they then closed for a Christmas break - bit odd just after they opened and over busy time. Definitely worth a visit.

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Beer served
  • Breakfast
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian

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