The Grahamstown National Arts Festival restaurant guide

One of the coolest things about Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown) – besides the talent displayed at the variety of shows at the annual National Arts Festival (taking place from 27 June to 7 July 2019), graduation weekend, the buzzing nightlife, and how you can walk everywhere – is the food scene. It’s complete with everything from charming corner cafés to contemporary Italian restaurants and legendary spots that leave every former Rhodent and Grahamstown resident nostalgic about the good old days. Here’s where to eat in Makhanda.


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There is a new mural in town. It is beautiful. #Grahamstown #Fraser’s

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37 on New (37 New Street)

This recently renamed and renovated spot is where you’ll find specials often organised specifically for the Arts Festival. A popular one? R2 tequila shots.

The Bakery (38 Somerset Street)

This small artisanal bakery situated on the corner of Somerset and High Street (Opposite the famous Arch) offers freshly baked breads, pastries and healthy, delicious ‘food on the go’.

The Barista Sisa (38 Somerset Street)

Treat yourself to a cup of coffee between shows at this authentically African coffee shop located in a restored historic building on the corner of Somerset and High street known as Opposite the Arch.

Cafe Delizzia (112 High Street)

Looking for a good sit-down special? Pop in here any day of the week, plus make a turn for Cafe Delizzia’s famous breakfast specials.


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Café Delizzia, High Street, #Makhanda.

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Cafe D’Vine (31 New Street)

Expect a relaxed tea-by-the-pot-type of vibe from this charming little café. Cafe D’Vine serves breakfast, brunch and lunch with the option to enjoy your meal in a tranquil (inside or outside) environment. Try the thin-slice pizzas or the freshly baked cakes with coffee.


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Gino’s Italian Restaurant & Take-Away (Hill Street)

This cosy family restaurant has an extensive menu featuring everything from burgers to authentic Indian curries. But the pizzas and pastas are popular choices, with options including napolitana, arrabiata or carbonara pasta; and vegetarian, seafood and meat pizzas like the Hawaiian or the Mexicana. Also look out for the daily specials.


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Handmade Coffees (Somerset Street)

It’s what it says on the label: fresh handmade coffee that’ll keep you warm for the duration of the festival.

Haricots Deli & Bistro (34 New Street)

Haricots is a go-to for just about any occasion – whether you want to pop in for a quick coffee and cake, or for a more substantial breakfast, lunch or dinner. The lunch menu features a selection of dishes like creamy mushroom pasta or a satisfying steak and chips; while the dinner menu includes dishes like Malay chicken curry served with rice and veggies. Don’t forget to take an Insta-worthy pic in front of the stairs by the entrance.


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Major Fraser’s Craft Bar and Eatery (38 Somerset Street)

This is the spot for a great vibe with delicious artisanal wood-fired pizzas, your favourite craft beer and gin cocktails. The pizza names are inspired by the military and highlights include The Private (margherita on Major Fraser’s rustic woodfired base), The Lieutenant (a vegetarian pizza topped with avo, smoked feta, caramelised onions, rocket and herb oil), and The Major topped with honey-glazed bacon, avo and smoked feta.

Olde 65 (65 New Street)

This Grahamstown icon offers the best of both worlds – it’s a restaurant offering anything from traditional South African food to burger and chips by day, and the best club experience by night.


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Rite of passage

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Pothole & Donkey (123 to 125 High Street)

Pothole & Donkey offers a great, relatively small breakfast menu with quirky dish names like Donkey Cart (mince and one egg on toast) and The Pothole Breakfast (two eggs, bacon, tomato and a slice of toast). There are also pastas, salads, wraps and baked goods. The drinks menu includes house wines, a variety of classic cocktails and a selection of hot beverages.


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The Rat & Parrot (59 New Street)

Were you even in Grahamstown if you didn’t go to this legendary establishment and order the bacovian (bacon, avo and feta) or meaty treat (bacon, ham, salami, beef, garlic and barbecue sauce) pizza and a few draughts? The pub fare isn’t half bad either, with dishes like steak, egg and chips; or the double hake and chips.


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Brunch #food #southafricanfood #theratandparrot #restaurantandbar #grahamstown #easterncape #southafrica

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Red Café (127 High Street)

This quaint café is situated upstairs, with the entrance close to Van Schaik bookshop on the popular High Street. It’s great for a relaxing ‘tea party’ vibe during a chilly Grahamstown winter. The breakfast special comes highly recommended, as does the Oreo and peanut butter milkshakes.

Relish Coffee, Smoothie and Sandwich Bar (8 Allen Street)

Relish is ideal for an on-the-go meal. It offers tasty but healthy sandwiches and smoothies.


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Hello beautiful Spicy special on a ciabatta roll fresh

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Revelations Coffee Shop (5, Pepper Grove Mall, 22 African Street & Allen Street)

Revelations has an extensive breakfast menu, with R42.50 specials including wraps, waffles and French toast. Light meals stay under the R55 mark and include toasted wraps, tramezzinis, sandwiches made with homemade bread, and savoury pancakes.


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It’s always a good time for cake!

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The Rustic Route Food Market (1 Scotts Avenue)

The Rustic Route Food Market is a relatively new kid on the New Street food block, but it’s already a firm favourite among students and locals. Go for the specials: two large pizzas for R100; two-for-one cocktails on Wednesdays; shisa nyama platters from R60; two-for-one burgers every Thursday; and R100 for 330ml Bernini blush, classic or ruby berry carry-packs every day from 6pm to 10pm.


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Saints Bistro (131 High Street)

This is the spot of choice for students and residents alike – whether it’s for a solo trip, romantic date, group hangout or family night. Saints is popular for its burgers and pastas, with options like bacon or chicken Alfredo pasta. Burgers come with beef, chicken, kudu or soy patties and chips. There’s also an extensive drinks menu featuring wines by the bottle or glass, cocktails, beers, spirits, soft drinks and hot beverages.

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