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Olympia Café and Deli

Olympia Café and Deli
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Cost
R100
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Contemporary cool
Food
Bakery fare, Bistro fare, Deli fare, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Sandiso Ngubane

Food
Olympia Café is an iconic Kalk Bay restaurant that has remained extremely popular since it first opened over 20 years ago. It’s a super casual eatery that dishes up delicious, robust and fresh meals from their daily blackboard menu. In summer you can expect gourmet salads and in winter hearty soups like tomato and lentil or lamb and vegetable. Fresh locally caught mussels are a popular item on their menu and are cooked with white wine, cream and garlic. They can be ordered in starter or main course sizes.

Only the freshest fish is used, and their line fish is served on buttery mash with a salad. Their linguini di mare is one of the their signature dishes and is so popular they can't take it off the menu. Nor should they, because it is sublime and highly recommended. The tomato sauce base for this recipe is slowly roasted in the oven, giving it a very intense and umami taste. Thick chunks of linefish, fresh mussels and prawns complete the dish. Fresh home-made ciabatta is served with every meal from their bakery next door. Breakfasts are equally popular, with the croissant taking centre stage on their menu.

Drinks
They have a small very reasonably priced selection of wines and do great freshly squeezed juices. For the more health conscious they offer a daily smoothie and serve kombucha. The coffee is from Truth and their tea selection robust.

Service
Service is hurried but generally very good given they are often busy. The staff are always friendly with loads of personality.

Ambience
The décor is rustic and casual; quintessentially Kalk Bay in feel. The vibe is often busy and chaotic but it’s always cosy and comfortable.

And...
In the afternoons between lunch and dinner service they offer a pared down blackboard menu, so you are able to eat there at any time of the day. It’s worth popping into their bakery down the road to pick up something delicious to take home.

(September 2016)

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  • Priscilla Urquhart

    Food
    The Olympia Café and Bakery is a well-established, much loved institution and has survived years of restaurant revolution along the popular Kalk Bay Main Road hugging the False Bay coastline. The bakery churns out freshly baked breads and pastries and the daily chalkboard offers a range of homemade dishes such as omelette with sweet chilli, camembert and rocket; a frittata with bacon, rocket, feta and mushrooms; and the chipolata with scrambled eggs, grilled tomato and mushrooms, which seems to be a popular choice, judging by the orders coming out of the kitchen. My best by far is the Olympia baked croissants. On this visit the flavours of the day offer a choice between ham, mustard and mozzarella; bacon and banana; mushroom and mozzarella or spinach and feta. Why more breakfast spots don’t dabble in the baked croissant creation is a mystery in itself, as there is certainly a lot of flavour and depth in this value-for-money winner. And then there’s always strawberries or seasonal berries with yoghurt and honey if you’re after a healthy kick during a quick pit stop on an early morning cycle. If you happen to find your way here at lunchtime and manage to bag a table, the bowl of mussels makes for a memorable, as does the penne gorgonzola. The evolving chalkboard menu is a surprise and delight, with dishes such as sirloin of beef accompanied by crumbed mushrooms, potato rosti and broccoli; fish of the day (kabeljou on the night) with roasted vegetables; linguine mare, and to warm the cockles of your heart, a lamb curry that will have you licking the bones clean!

    Drinks
    A well-chosen list of local estate wines at fair prices. Included is a collection of local and imported artisan beers such as Devil’s Peak.

    Service
    Good, but it can be a bit slow at times, depending on how busy the restaurant is. If you’re a local this is business as usual, and it’s easy to spot the out-of-towners wondering when their cappuccino or lunch order is arriving from the chaotic, noisy kitchen that is Olympia.

    Ambience
    The black and white chequered floor provides the perfect stage for this bohemian rhapsody of tables, chairs and eclectic art – which encapsulates the essence of Kalk Bay and it’s quirky, slightly off-beat rhythm.

    And…
    The Red Door bakery round the corner is the perfect spot for when you can’t find parking or get a table at the Olympia, offering absurdly delicious breads, pastries and coffees. You will be back!

    (September 2015)

  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    For all the things Olympia gets wrong, it’s hard to fault the generous portions of bistro fare that emerge from the (somewhat scruffy) kitchen. A plate of fresh ciabatta dunked in olive oil and balsamic vinegar will whet your appetite while you peruse the chalkboard menu of simple, rustic food that delivers on flavour every time. The generous platter of mussels cooked in garlic, cream and white wine remains a stalwart of the menu, but the yellowtail with crushed potato and roasted pork belly are equally good. There’s also a good selection of vegetarian options, but limited choices for dessert.

    Drinks 
    They offer a small list of interesting Cape estates at extremely good prices, or try Olympia’s own Cabernet Franc 2009 from vineyards growing on the slopes behind the restaurant. Pity about the cheap glasses. The handful of beers includes the delicious Devil’s Peak IPA.

    Service
    Olympia continues to live up to its reputation for truly terrible service. It’s haphazard and disinterested at best, abominable and rude on busy weekend mornings. It’s become, bizarrely, a badge of pride for the restaurant so it’s unlikely to change. Take a dose of patience along with you.

    Ambience
    Half the charm of Olympia is its casual, ramshackle feel of cramped wooden tables and the occasional dog at your feet. Charming and bustling on good days, chaotic when crowded. The bar counter is best for watching the world pass by on weekends.

    And… 
    The coffee is excellent, so end off with a flat white or pop to the Red Door bakery next door for a take-away with a pastry.

    (July 2014)

  • Bernadette Le Roux

    A Kalk Bay stalwart, Olympia Café is still as buzzing as ever – and the mussels in white wine and cream are still as good as ever. It's a vibey and busy space where no reservations are taken to cater for loyal locals. The bathrooms are pitiful, as is the walk through the dirty kitchen to get there, but that doesn't seem to deter anyone. Fresh breads are baked in the bakery next door, so a basket of ciabatta is always a happy welcome.
  • Petro Lotz

    On weekends, cyclists, bikers and everyone else flock to this shop. You can either sit inside or in the 'outside' area, adorned with interesting mosaics. I have to have my fix whenever we visit Cape Town – I love the vibe and the straight forwardness of this place. And the coffee, of course. The croissants are hard to beat, as are the sweet pastries.
  • On weekends, everyone flocks to this buzzing little spot. Sit at the counter to gaze at the ocean with a coffee, a filled croissant or lemon tart. For dinner, order a pizza or moules marinière.
  • "Food
    This beloved purveyor of bohemian goodness continues to dish up generous portions of the freshest fare, available in the form of the perfect breakfast (pastries and the addictively chewy ciabatta baked next door) and mouth-watering mains, such as the legendary seared tuna, mussels in cream sauce and gorgeous pastas. You won't regret finding space for dessert.

    Wine
    A well-rounded if small chalkboard selection of largely local (peninsula) vintages, available by the bottle or glass.

    Service
    If you don't mind the occasional ‘you're lucky to be here’ attitude, well… you're lucky to be here!

    Ambience
    Chalkboard menus, rickety tables and a ringside seat on the kitchen create a casual yet buzzy vibe. The bathrooms tend to alarm stuffy out-of-towners.

    And...
    No bookings are taken. Be sure to put your name on the chalkboard to secure a spot. (LM, October 2012)

User reviews

  • Best Food in False Bay. Awesome small menu with Vegetarian, Seafood and Meat options. Everything is quality as well as no frills to it, just great food made with care!
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  • Nothing that exciting on the breakfast menu. Pastries below average. Service ranged between over familiar (I'm not "love" or "darling") and non-existent. Seems to be consistently full though, so I doubt it will change - but really not worth it overall.
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  • Well done guys!!!! Absolutely brilliant. Love your setting and food. Although service is a bit slow - so what. Take it in your stride. Love it - will be back soon!
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  • After my fiance raved about his amazing breakfast he had with his best man at Olympia Cafe and Deli in Kalk Bay, I knew I had to check it out for myself. We braved a windy day and as we were bar hopping, we arrived at Olympia in the heart of dinner service. We chose to sit in the courtyard and had the perfect view to see the chefs in action in the front kitchen. The aroma's were heavenly and as the menu constantly changes, we had to select our meal from a huge chalkboard kindly brought closer to us by one of the waiters. I was peckish though the roast leg of lamb looked delicious and tempting. After receiving fresh homemade bread while we perused the menu, I opted for a starter Penne mushroom and the waitress recommended a combination of orange and carrot juice, a first but definitely not last time I would order though had to ask for ice as it was a bit warm. The atmosphere was bustling and its a great venue for family dinners, impromptu business meetings or a date. I was impressed with the portion and flavours and freshness of my dish and definitely will be back to order a main course.
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  • Love it or hate it - that's Olympia. we LOVE it. Food consistently good and we find the service excellent and are on first name terms with the waiters. You do really need to be there by 5.30 for the first serving but I should be telling anyone!
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  • This is the original artisanal restaurant, still haunted by the labour of making great food day in and day out. We had dinner there last night, having tried breakfast and lunch before. Everything was wonderful, as it should be. Forget La Parada, enjoy Olympia!

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  • This restaurant is clearly only open because the food is still nice. Service is beyond disgusting and the place is filthy. If you are going to have an open kitchen I do not want to see the chefs stuffing their faces with food while preparing mine. Serious change needed!

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  • Compliments to the chefs, but the service is ridiculous. Standing for 10 minutes and waiters walk past without greeting. Annex down the road has welcoming service 24/7.

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  • Brilliant, simple yet scrumptious food. No pretenses, cozy, and always packed with locals; thats when you know its good. We were nearly on a first name basis with the waiters by the time we left Cape Town!
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  • Dirty and slow.
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  • Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so I am always weary of trying out new places but this one delivered. Fresh ingredients, tantalizingly food; definitely a new favorite. Also try the mocha; best I have ever had.
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  • Shocking, unfriendly service from a waitron called Rachel. I wont be back.
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  • We love to stop in at Olympia while cycling through Kalk Bay (Im the one with the pink bike!). Its what keeps me going for the 65kms +! All I think about is, a cuppa and pastry at Olympia sometime on the route! Friendly staff, although they have been known to forget a coffee here and there, its sorted out quickly. One day I want to come for dinner because I always drool over the menu on the blackboard! If you are worried about it being dirty or messy - its a beachy cafe, for hecks sake!
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  • I loved the fresh food and energetic atmosphere at the cafe. My husband had a delicious tuna salad and I ordered half of a portion of smoked chicken with penne and a cheese sauce. Both dishes were amazingly delicious. We couldnt leave the restaurant without trying a couple of the nicely presented deserts. The tiramisu was good, but the lemon tart was great. During a two week vacation in Cape Town, my husband and I managed to make it to the cafe twice. Well certainly go back to see what they have on the menu when we return to the Cape.
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  • Olympia was recommended to us by friends but I was dubious about how we would be received as we had our two golden retrievers travelling with us, however to our delight the reception could not have been more accommodating. We were given a table inside and even though space is a concern the waiters did their utmost to indulge us. All the food we saw coming out of the kitchen looked incredible and the simple potato and bacon soup and steak roll we had was awesome. The atmosphere in this unfussy but trendy café is great.In future whenever I’m in Cape Town I’ll do what ever it takes to visit this establishment
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  • We visit Olympia Cafe for breakfast at least once a month and are absolutely never disappointed (certainly have never had tummy troubles). We love their incredibly light scrambled eggs and omelets. The fruit over yogurt is sinfully delicious. The coffee is great and we always make room for a couple (or few) of the home baked pastries too. Their food and service is consistently great. We have also been there for dinner a few times and always had excellent food the quality of which outshines much more ritzy places. Its true that it is a bit scruffy and may not be for everyone, but this is definitely a diamond in the rough!
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  • Having had dinner there this past week, I am not sure that I will be returning in a hurry. This place really needs a spruce up. Whilst I understand the cafe style look I dont understand why it has to be so dirty and it is getting worse and worse, as the prices become higher and higher! If one is expected to pay R140 for a fish dish, cloth napkins would be nice. I also didnt expect to experience the food poisioning I had later that evening!
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  • The olympia cafe is a place to go for good food, good atmosphere and a relaxing vibe.But be warned, if you are looking for something spotless - this isnt it. If you are looking for something quiet - this isnt it.Olympia is a place for people who want to talk, enjoy life and enjoy good food without much interest in where they are eating. The decor is rustic and the effort is put into the food and friendliness, not the design.The staff are also very friendly. Definitely a place worth stopping at on your way past.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Child friendly
  • Dog-friendly
  • Licensed
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

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