Venues

Dear Me Food World

Dear Me Food World
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Cost
R110 to R130 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Bakery fare, Bistro fare, Deli fare, Health food, Modern, South African
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R60

Critic's review

Jeanne Calitz

Food
When it opened a few years ago, Dear Me set quite a benchmark for ethical dining in Cape Town, and for their accommodation of dietary preferences. Under the helm of the young gun Vanessa Marx, who later became Eat Out’s first Rising Star, the restaurant sent out plates of delicious, inventive food brimming with seasonal flavours and personality. And you could indulge without the guilt: combined with a health focus, they catered for all the ‘free froms’ – whether it be free from nuts, eggs, lactose, wheat, gluten, starch, and animal products – so that whatever your particular poison, you could be sure to find a meal here that did not contain it.

It’s good to know that even after Vanessa’s departure earlier in 2015, Dear Me is still continuing this tradition of catering for those less fortunate in their digestive capacity. (And our number seems to be growing by the day.) The menu is shortish but offers enough variety and the option to tweak certain dishes to suit your needs.

Light meals like wraps and sandwiches share the limelight with more substantial options like an exotic mushroom risotto with parmesan and truffle oil, and a Cajun chicken breast burger with chilli aioli and homemade chips.

I go for the pan-fried trout with lemon-and-herb cous cous and roasted cherry tomatoes, while my friend opts for the lamb rogan josh with cucumber raita, pineapple pickle, and tomato-and-onion salsa. After swopping a few bites to sample everything, we conclude that both dishes are good strong lunch options, if not exactly memorable.

Onwards to dessert: a portion of sticky toffee pudding with molasses ice cream turns into a bit of a disappointment; the pudding reveals itself to be quite dry, and is overpowered by the strong taste of the molasses. My friend’s order of coconut, mango and lime sorbet is the better choice, a silky and light treat bursting with bright tropical flavours.

All in all, the food is fine, though it lacks that zing, that lovely undertone of excitement and creativity that Marx brought to the table. Nevertheless, it remains a good breakfast or lunch choice, and will continue to be a strong go-to option for those with dietary limitations.

Drinks
All the main lunch items are accompanied by well-picked wine pairing suggestions. They offer some great juices (the ‘cool down’ version with apple, mint and cucumber is very refreshing) and some very on-trend smoothies. The breakfast cocktails – like the mimosa of Steenberg sparkling sauvignon blanc with orange juice, and the Gramosa with grapefruit juice – are a nice touch.

Service
They get the job done, but it has to be said that on the day of our visit, the single waitress doing the rounds was hardly welcoming and made no real effort to engage with the clientele. It wouldn’t hurt to crack a smile.

Ambience
It’s a crisp and fresh space, uncluttered, with touches of wood, green and white. Thanks to the deli-area being located in the back, you can still enjoy a conversation through the noise of the espresso machines. It’s a lovely venue that invites you to linger, especially at the counters fronting the big glass windows, a nice spot to watch the world go by.

And… 

Stock up on freshly baked goods and other artisanal treats at the deli, or get a coffee to go – they do a good brew here.

(October 2015)

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  • Ishay Govender-Ypma

    Food 
    Part of the urban revival in the Cape Town CBD, Dear Me is a casual diner on the ground floor of a small but delightful space by Eat Out Rising Star of 2013, chef Vanessa Marx, who specialises in preparing locally sourced produce and catering for a variety of dietary requirements and restrictions. Vegans and those who try to steer clear of gluten, lactose, carbs and eggs (amongst others) would do well here. While many restaurants adopt a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, Dear Me prides itself on adapting to the customer’s needs. The aim, they say, is that one should be able to dine here everyday and not be made to feel guilty about health, weight or wealth.

    With an array of options catering for various dietary restrictions, and the fact that the produce you’re consuming is also free-range, organic and locally sourced, eating here is certainly a healthful choice. For breakfast, go for the good eggs Benedict with smoked trout, or if you want a healthier option, the chia seed porridge with goji berries may take your fancy.

    Lunch menus change frequently and every dish comes with a suggested wine pairing, some main dishes are also available in starter portions, and vice versa. The confit tuna with broccoli, chilli, olives and almonds, for example, can be enjoyed in a large serving – a filling and fresh treat. The salad and sandwich options are usually large, if a little pricey.

    Drinks
    There is a wonderful selection of freshly pressed juices such as the unusual fig, apple and ginger. The smoothies are also inviting. Order the Holiday, with pineapple, papaya, coconut sorbet and lime, or something wholesome like almond milk with nutmeg. The wine selection is good and benefits from the appointment of a new sommelier at The White Room – the dinner offering upstairs.

    Service 
    Service is prompt and efficient, but could be a little more welcoming.

    Ambience
    A fresh, cosy space with lots of white, wood and splashes of green. A popular spot for casual business meetings, it’s frequented by professionals from the area.

    And… 
    The deli features specialist breads, cookies and preserves. Make a booking for the wonderfully creative multi-course dinner upstairs at The White Room, held weekly on Thursday evenings.

    (July 2014)

  • It has been called a beacon of hope. Healthy food that tastes bloody marvellous is the principle behind Dear Me, under the knife of chef Vanessa Marx (winner of the 2013 Rising Star Award). Menu items come with wine pairing suggestions, and there’s a strong ethical and local focus in terms of sourcing ingredients. The menu changes regularly, but try salmon salad with fresh greens; roasted butternut risotto; sweet melon and goat’s cheese salad with mint and pine nuts.
  • Food
    In this spot described as part brasserie and part pantry, head chef Vanessa Marx has catapulted a predominantly breakfast and lunch space as a haven for innovative dishes made with the freshest ingredients that have been grown sustainably. Vegans and others with dietary restrictions are welcomed. The freshly squeezed juices and the slow-roasted free-range smoky pork neck glazed in honey remain popular.

    Wine
    A neat, but good quality list of local wines.

    Service
    Friendly, but sometimes slow.

    Ambience
    Bright, open and fresh. Ideal for lunch meetings.

    And...
    Buy some bread and relish to take home. The majestic white room upstairs can be hired for private functions. (IGY, October 2012)

User reviews

  • Great place to enjoy breakfast with real good coffee and service.
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  • Dear Me is my favorite breakfast/lunch spot in Cape Town. They serve the best Eggs Benedict in SA. They use only the freshest free range produce which makes a big difference. I would highly recommend going there for lunch as the menu is always filled with exciting, mouth watering dishes. The wine pairings are meticulously thought out for each individual dish and really adds something special to the dining experience. Otherwise be sure to ask Narsh for a flat white or try a freshly squeezed juice.
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  • Finding a Celiac friendly menu is difficult, especially one that offers a wide variety of choices, that all look interesting and tasty. The food was absolutely delicious and inuvative. The unique combinations offered a super taste experience and I truly look forward to trying many more of their dishes in future. I really enjoyed the entire dining experience!
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  • Absolutely loved my bacon Benedict at Dear Me! It was my first time there and I had heard that they make a great eggs benny. I was not disappointed
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  • Dear Me is definitely one of our most favourite morning haunts in Cape Town. The breakfasts they do are always incredible, whether you order Eggs Benedict, Shakshuka or muesli, the coffee is great (the biscotti on the side is always a winner!) and the service is sweet and efficient. It's a little hidden away on Longmarket Street so it's never crazy busy which is nice, and I would recommend it in a flash for anyone looking for a quirky and cool cafe with amazing food to begin the day in!
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  • Dear Me is my favourite breakfast venue. The food is always delicious and inspired. Its a challenge to decide what to try because everything on the menu looks good but as of yet I have never been disappointed. Today I had the truffled scrambled eggs. Amazing. I love their tea menu and even their basic English Breakfast tea is a loose leaf tea served in a beautiful tea pot and is delicious. High recommended.
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  • Must agree with the previous writer. Dear Me is my favorite breakfast and lunch venue when I am in Cape Town. The Eggs Benedict is indeed the best ever....so good, in fact, that I have not tried anything else for breakfast at Dear Me in my many visits! For lunch I usually opt for the "Exotic mushroom Risotto, Kleinrivier Parmesan and Truffle Oil" which is absolutely stunning! The "Lamb Rogan Josh and fragrant rice" is also to die for!! The suggested wines with lunch is spot-on, the service is magnificent and the ambience great. Can't wait to visit the new addition to Dear Me (Torii) on my next Cape Town visit end of September - have only heard fantastic things about the food and wine! P.S. Can't we have a Dear Me in Johannesburg please ??????
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  • I did not even eat Eggs Benedict before visiting 'Dear Me'! So much for that... It is still the best Benedict I have had since I have been on the hunt for a breakfast that even remotely compares to my ultimate favorite Bacon Eggs Benedict (PS: The ham and pulled pork versions are divine too). I am a slight 'Dear Me' addict and can recommend all their freshly baked and squeezed yummies. 'Dear Me' is all about ME!!!!
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  • Incredible sensibility into their food and just delicious food. Their service is always on point and exciting new menu updates constantly.
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  • Dear Me remains one of my favourite breakfast spots in Cape Town. Beautiful relaxed venue, and best Eggs Benedict in town!!! I never feel rushed when I enjoy breakfast at this funky spot.
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  • Dear Me is my favourite lunch spot. They have an excellent chef who always comes up with fantastic, quality and fresh dishes. The service staff are the best-it's the kinda place that knows you by name, and will always go the extra mile. I love their smoothies, soups, and of course the risotto :)
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  • We found this little gem purely by chance this morning and we had the most delicious breakfast. Eggs Benedict & Shakshuka ..... WOW!!! Best find for us and one we will have to keep it a secret or else we will never get a table again! :) Thanks for an unforgettable experience
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  • Lunch at 'Dear Me' after an absence of some time, once again confirmed that this owner managed venue is a 'culinary oasis' in central Cape Town. A delicious seasonal menu delivers creative yet thoughtful offerings many available as half or full portions. The clip-board menus and drinks lists are always fresh, clean and accurate, great attention to detail shows so positively, at what is a great little bistro and cafe.
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  • The place and menu both look great and that is why it was on my 2014 to-do list of lunch spots in the CT CBD. However, the service left something to be desired and more importantly my meal left a lot to be desired.

    I ordered the steak sandwich where the portion of bread was four times the size of the steak, my medium-rare steak came medium-well and even worse it was tough and sinewy (just a bad cut of steak I assume).

    On the upside, the bearnaise (far too little provided) and fries were good (not great).

    Sadly for Dear Me there are much better steak sandwiches around town for far cheaper (more names keep popping into my head as I reminisce over the best sandwiches in town) and those at comparative prices blow the one I had today out of the water.

    The meal that my colleague had was the Sauteed summer vegetables and there was nothing much to be said about this, it was an average meal at best.
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  • Well we had a pretty disappointing first experience at Dear Me. When the steak was served, it was tough and not tasty at all. The steak was flank which was not what I would expect from a R200pp set menu (for Valentines Day). The place was cute, the service was fine (if a little slow)., but the overall experience was a let-down.
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  • I dine out frequently. Yet, the dinner I had with Myles at “Dear Me” recently was one of the most memorable in a long while. It started with a charming lady at Frankie Fenner, where I went meat shopping a couple of weeks ago, who enthusiastically recommended the restaurant to me. We had an interesting conversation about cooking and how we both like to use local ingredients. She started raving about Dear Me’s head chef Vanessa Marx and telling me that they are supplying the food spot with free range meat selected from local farms. I was basically just waiting for the right occasion to convince myself of Vanessa’s talent in the kitchen.

    Thursday evenings only, the self-proclaimed “all-day brasserie, pantry and event space in the heart of the CBD”, affords passage through its doors for an exclusive dinner cooked with reckless abandon. I can confidently report that I could taste the dedication to an exquisite selection of ingredients in every bite.

    This was not a night where I could just whip the camera out of my pocket and press the widget just like that! No, things are getting kind of serious between my lover and me. So please bear with me – no pictures from that night. All that I can say is, that I ordered Boef Bourguignon, the fateful dish that hits you like a heroin shot, you try it once, you won’t ever be able to erase the taste out of your mind. An entrée which, contrary to its appearance, transcends the realm of regular beef-stew by a god’s mile. I had beef bourguignon exactly once in my life and that was in Paris, a couple of years ago, since then I am branded. A Boef Bourguignon addict for the rest of my life. That night at Dear Me, I could not resist the temptation. I was determined to relapse and shot myself to the other side once again!

    Don’t ask me why I chose the Wild Mushroom Soup as a starter. It doesn’t sound very promising, in fact it sounded even vacuous to me. Nonetheless I was subconsciously attracted by the idea of having mushroom soup. Not because it promises excitement, I ordered it because I never had one before. You actually expect something that vaguely tastes like mushroom. Can you remember ever having mushroom soup, hello?! My gut feeling didn’t disappoint me. I am seriously planning on going back and squeezing the recipe for this magnificent dish out of the head chef. The taste was absolutely potent and rich, however still absolutely natural.

    I have a vague recollection of talking to one of the kitchen staff members. I heard her say something like “You have to come for breakfast sometime…best eggs Benedict in town”. And then we left, high from stimulating conversation and even more stimulating red wine. Not to mention the dessert. One Camembert disc served heated on a small iron pan, handsomely topped with dark glossy berry compote.
    Myles and I are back. For breakfast this time. Sober and relatively decent on a beautiful rainy morning. He is fashionably late of course and loftily prances in at 11,11, breakfast ended at 11. An easy challenge for me. With a stiff brow and a haughty register, I convinced the kitchen staff to make an exception for us. Needless to say they conceded. We started off with a Flat White and a Cafe Latte, and yes, without any scowls from the waiter, breakfast was served. Two eggs Benedict, one with bacon, the other with smoked salmon on English muffins with fresh rocket. Bam! And that isn’t nearly all.

    I remember Myles saying “Beetroot follows us everywhere” and he is right in a way. Beetroot used to be that sour, pickled vegetable that your grandmother eats with blood-sausage and jacket potato. I hated it as a child. Today, you find beetroot on every second page of a food magazine! I can’t imagine a life without it anymore, it’s weird. Roasted, cooked or juiced, it doesn’t matter as long as there is beetroot in the house. I didn’t have to think twice to order a fresh beetroot, apple and fennel juice. It’s a lovely combination, the fennel combats the beetroot’s earthen taste and just brings it alive, you would swear it was a tonic.

    And while we were both sipping on our juice we had a warm brownie and some shortbread as “breakfast dessert”, decadent pleasure-seekers that we are. I mean the place is called Dear Me after all.
    Review by Dennis Molewa

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  • Walk down a side street, slip through the door, and end up in a small quaint place to chow down (maybe not even noticing the bar upstairs). A little bit Alice in Wonderland mixed with a little bit hipster, there are plants hanging upside-down from the ceiling and whimsical detailing on the walls (see hip and Alice), Dear Me is simply appealing. Oh goodness it’s good.

    The eggs Benedict are runny. Just juicy enough to run through the holes of your fork and drip onto your clothing, a sign of 'eggs ben success'.

    The mushroom truffle frittata carries a powerful taste profile that skips around the palate. Definitely the best choice for breakfast. It’s a bit pricey but worth every penny. Add the scrambled eggs for protein and heartiness.

    Beware, the menu is confusing, not calculus confusing, or spelling confusing for those of you who think you are just so clever with your math skills, but it’s misleading, the pricing is inconsistent.

    Overall, a lovely place to eat and definitely worth while.

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  • Wonderful inner city eatery. Menu caters for every food allergy/fetish imaginable. Menu changes daily so their claim of "fresh, seasonal produce only" is true. Service is always brilliant and they serve Espresso Lab coffee - what could possibly be better?

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  • Whether you run in for a quick lunch or linger over a dinner with friends, the tasty offerings on the menu served by the friendly staff always makes it worth the spoil, because that is what we want when we eat out. We can all rustle up a mean meal, but if you sit down at somebody else's table you want to indulge in menu and the service, the upstairs bar for coffee is a warm little nest to end off he evening with a night cap.

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  • Very cute place with a comfortable atmosphere. Really delicious food, I had the couscous salad with pomegranates, pistachio and goats cheese and the crème brule which were both delicious and I tried the duck croquette which was divine! Four of us were having such a pleasant lunch until we had to pay. After an unsuccessful attempt with the credit card machine the first time, the waitress tried again successfully. My father who paid for lunch, got two sms’s from 2 separate company’s charging us for lunch. Dear Me charged us for lunch which was correct and then we were charged for the same amount from another company, Rooftop something or other which was owned by the same people. My father immediately assumed the waitress deliberately swiped and charged his card twice and immediately went back to Dear Me to report it. As he reported it to the manager or owner, she called in the waitress and told the waitress that she has to pay back my father from her own pocket. The waitress did so by gathering money from her co-workers to pay back my father. No one denied that she swiped and charged the card twice; she did know that she did it and it seemed as if it wasn’t the first time this has happened there and they calmly got my father’s money back without questions or an apology as if they do this often. If you go to Dear Me to enjoy the good food, hold onto your handbag tightly and you better pay with cash because it looks like only thief’s work there!

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  • Dear Me was absolutely fabulous for a dinner. Had a great time. The food was beyond the term excellent. What I particularly enjoyed was the fact that the food kept its natural taste - not experienced too often. I would also like to complement the staff for an efficient and pleasurable experience.

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  • Another outstanding quick drop and go lunch at Dear Me yesterday. Amazing. Lunch tomorrow with my tart friends from PE. I am sure we will not be disappointed!

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  • As you can see by the surname I am a regular visitor to Dear Me. Without being bias I have always had food that has been prepared with thought and inspiration. Well executed and presented with a lot of care and thought. In view of the fact that the restuarant caters of all dietary needs, one can go there and will always find something that favours your palate. Service is outstanding and needless to say the food and coffee is an experience everyone should have . Well done Dear Me - nothing can be faulted - and they are accommodating at all times.

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  • Decided to pop in for breakfast because my partner, a concierge at a 5 star hotel, had heard so many good things about this place. Loved the atmosphere and sat down ready to order. We arrived at 10h50 and were told that breakfast was closed and lunch would only be served at 12h00. There was no flexibility to us as customers and the service received was down right rude. Just a reminder that customers are the ones that pay for the experience and help to keep you going. Had no choice but to stand up and leave and I guess you have now lost two customers for the life of your restaurant.

    Recommendation, Please be polite to your customers and please be flexible. Once the fad is over and you are no longer the talking point, you need to rely on your returning customers.

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  • Loved the food; loved the place.

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  • Already one of my favourite places in Cape Town, amazing food, brilliant service and Friday was no exception. After a rough week I went for lunch with an equally stressed out friend, after being greeted warmly by the team we asked for recommendations and were advised on 3 dishes which we shared (and we still had space for dessert because here you can actually order smaller portions).

    Ronel not only suggested which dish we should start with first but dished up for us too. The food was amazing as always and we had a chocolate brownie and a coconut cream pannacotta with orange blossom for dessert. The pannacotta smelled beautiful from the blossom and was of the perfect consistency and flavour.

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  • I too loved the space but had the same experience with the salmon trout sandwhich - the rye bread was doughy and stuck to my teeth. Such a pity as I love the fact that bread is baked on the premises.

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  • Love the staff and decor and vibe in this space, but....the bread is absolutely terrible. We were served a warm seed loaf at the start of our meal, 80% of the bread was still dough. I then foolishly ordered a rye and smoked salmon sandwich, the rye bread was so doughy the sandwich was inedible. I was totally dissapointed and I'm in two minds about returning.

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  • I had read the reviews, and expected perhaps another Cape Town breakfast/coffee shop that also did lunch. What awaited me was a great restoration of a central building, with witty touches, including upturned succulents on the ceiling and a whilst deli food is available, a true daily bistro style a la carte with interesting fresh seasonal ingredients, cleverly put together to create delicious food with interesting wines. My honey glazed pork neck kassler with accompanying potatoes, beans and onions was utterly delicious. A space upstairs for private functions and a dinner menu every Thursday evening - I saw a sample copy of this menu, and cant wait to be back for that. A great addition to the CBD.
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  • Fresh, different and good wholesome food for a reasonable price.Ambiance and service excellent. A must try
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  • Fantastic, fresh and delicious. Loved the spot and decor.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Breakfast
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • WiFi

Stores and Markets

Opening times: Monday to Friday 7am to 3pm

Simple honest food. This is what you will encounter at this diabetic, wheat/lactose intolerant, celiac friendly deli. The best of freshly baked breads, preserves, chutneys, oils and vinegars. Lessen your carbon footprint and pop into their deli.
Smart shoppers tip: They sell the most delightful preserves.

Store categories
Delis and farm stalls, Fruit, vegetables, preserves and nuts, Olives and oils

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