Review: casual ingredient-focused cooking at Gigi Rooftop Restaurant & Bar

Fast facts

Restaurant name: Gigi Rooftop Restaurant & Bar

Address: Gorgeous George Hotel, 118 St George’s Mall, Cape Town City Centre

Phone number: 021 612 0999

Opening times: Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner

Average price of each plate: R340

Corkage fee:No BYO

Parking situation: Scarce, but Mandela Rhodes Building on Burg Street is recommended for paid and secure parking (cash only)

Food type: Casual ingredient-focused cooking

Located on the sixth floor of the Gorgeous George Hotel in Cape Town, nestled amongst the city centre building topography, Gigi Rooftop Restaurant & Bar perches in its own bright and vibey oasis beneath the concrete skyline.


Dishes vary from smaller bar snacks and shared meze boards to seasonal vegetable-driven main courses, ocean catch and a variety of braaied meats. First-of-the-season globe artichokes are battered and fried, served atop a zesty chili labneh and finished with pecorino cheese and a salad of herbs and crunchy seeds. The daily special of seared tuna arrived cooked well-done (and not in the good sense) – unfortunately gone so far beyond that it was reminiscent of the dry grey architecture that encircles the establishment.


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Other main course options come with a choice of two accompanying side dishes and a sauce, and the beer-battered leeks with aioli is a voyage in crunchy comfort you’d not want to miss. Succulent and crispy whole roasted baby chicken, with the option of hot (spicy) or not, prompts curiosity about the chef’s motivation for creating such a fiery dish. It’s a delicious trip in flaming psychedelic euphoria. Other options include lamb and beef cuts of the day, a spiced pork chop, or a sustainably caught whole-braaied fish.


A wonderful and tantalising variety of cocktails of both the new and the classic options will have you spoilt for choice, accompanied amongst a beverage list that is articulate in its crafting, making sure to satisfy all. A concise winelist has been curated to offer a selection of familiar estate names and their varietals.


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Arrival is warm and friendly, and as they have two seatings in the evenings, you’ll be reminded that your table has a three-hour time slot allocation – still, plenty of time, right? Well, no, not if mathematics is not your strong point as two hours in you could be told to vacate said table for the next reservation.


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Service is very relaxed and casual – possibly to a fault, as waitrons do not wear uniforms which can make it a challenge in identifying them from patrons when it gets busy (and it does). A wonderful, relaxed banter by the waitrons makes you feel as if you’re engaging with someone familiar by listening to their personal recommendations and preferences on the food and drinks lists.


Inside dining takes on the appearance of a moody speakeasy adorned with a mix of leather seating and décor tastefully surrounding the room with the collections of someone’s round-the-world expeditions. Whilst outside dining takes place in a contemporary conservatorium on a wooden and terracotta terrace, which opens up to an uber-chic dining space – it is a vibe, and understandably popular amongst the Instagram social scene. On some evenings there is a DJ to set that sunset mood alongside the emerald-glass pool (unfortunately the pool’s use is for guests of the hotel only). It’s an expensive outing for the offering, but if it’s only to have a few cocktails and some small bites just to say that you’ve been, one can’t argue with that.


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Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

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