Imagining Kalk Bay without Olympia Café is virtually impossible. Wildly popular with locals, it is the place to go to soak up the super laid-back style that is part of this neck of the woods. While it is basically a bakery, with great breads, pastries and cakes, it is also the home of down-to-earth food, often influenced by the sea — obviously.
The menu itself is in a constant state of flux, but things to expect are fabulous mussels in a rich creamy garlic and wine sauce; heavenly cold gazpacho, perfect for a hot summer day; penne with mushroom sauce; a hearty steak roll Portuguese-style; and a light mango, feta and pecan salad. Roast teriyaki-style pork loin with buttered mash and broccoli is more stick-to-the-ribs stuff. Check out the blackboard for daily specials.
Breakfasts are the holy hour here with superb croissants with various fillings, frittatas, and some of the best coffee this side of the bay.
A small selection of various wines to suit most tastes and pockets. Remember this is Kalk Bay – don’t get precious.
Usually well on top of things.
This is the ultimate in cool, with no pretension or glamour. It’s situated right on the main road so be careful crossing over to walk off lunch by the sea.
Pop in at their bakery around the corner and get a load of goodies to take home.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
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.
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 is hurried but generally very good given they are often busy. The staff are always friendly with loads of personality.
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.
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.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bernadette Le RouxA 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 LotzOn 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.
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!
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!
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.