In 2010, when La Mouette opened on Regent Road, Sea Point, the street looked very different. “It was very hard for the first two years. It was so isolated,” says co-owner Mari Vigar. “If it wasn’t for our landlord, who believed in us, we probably wouldn’t be here today. But he’s cultivated a lot of smaller businesses. And we’re so proud of what Regent Road has become,” she says.
The development of the Checkers centre – The Point – also helped to invigorate the area, bringing with it that very rare commodity: parking. Today, the six-block stretch from St John’s Road to Queen’s Road has developed an impressive restaurant density.
At the news that the whole block beneath the Mojo Hotel is soon to become a market, Sea Point resident and enthusiast Katharine Jacobs ventures out to find a restaurant for every occasion.
Beautifully crafted gold-dusted skulls, tiny yellow ducks, and utterly moreish pretzel bark: the counter in this chocolate-coloured café is thing of beauty. There are also OTT milkshakes, dessert-stuffed doughnuts, cake jars and doughnut sundaes. The coffee – a custom blend – is great, too.
Organic, vegan, sugar- and gluten-free food has never looked so delicious. The matcha flapjacks are legendary, but now a cosy pumpkin-pie version vies for attention. There are also raw baby-marrow pastas, vegan burgers, raw organic ‘Snickers’ bars, vegan sushi and poké.
Named for Sea Point’s ubiquitous bird, the sea gull, this restaurant has become a Sea Point icon itself. More elegant than its namesake, the converted Tudor-style house offers considered food in several cosy dining rooms or in the courtyard garden. At the time of writing, you can get the six-course tasting menu for R445 (or R795 with wine) – which is pretty great value!
Craft Burger Bar
The scent of barbecue sauce draws in patrons from a block or two in either direction. These are genuinely delicious burgers with soft rolls and your choice of toppings. Build your own burger for an incredibly affordable price.
For a time, Goloso had a branch on either side of the road, one offering pasta and the other, pizza. Now, this puzzling situation has come to an end, and both pasta and pizza are available at the surviving branch, which has expanded. Pasta is made on-site with 00 flour and free-range eggs, and the lasagne is the stuff of legend. Pizzas, too, have a loyal following – think thin, bubbling bases and classic toppings. Try the calzone or the fior di latte with buffalo mozzarella, slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.
Regent Road doesn’t really offer sea views, but this upmarket grill on the first floor of The Point centre has a lovely outside deck with vistas of Lion’s Head. Watch the headlamps of hikers twinkle like a necklace around the long-suffering mountain on summer nights, while you tuck into grilled line fish or springbok loin with macerated pear. Meat cuts are pricey – think R170 to R230 – but at lunch there are some more affordable options like burgers and roast chicken with warm crushed potato and salsa salad.
This friendly café has won awards for its wonderfully smooth, rich Isabella Blend. There are pastries and some little cupcakes, but it’s really about the perfect coffee here. The interior has recently been expanded, and is calm, white and pet-friendly, but take my advice and order your coffee to go and take it for a walk to the promenade.
Bootlegger Coffee Company
The breakfasts are fantastic: try a beef mince omelette or an omega smash with avo, salmon and poached eggs. If there were an award for best coffee milkshake, Bootlegger would take it. The coffee special – R15 before 8.30am – is pretty hard to beat, too. There’s also a branch inside the Point centre for a quick cuppa.
This spot pumps on weekend mornings. The masterful renovation of the covered courtyard of the Amalfi Hotel has created a magical little space, twinkling with oversize light bulbs. Espresso Lab coffee, free-range eggs and artisanal bread don’t go amiss either. Try toasted banana bread with espresso butter (there’s even a banting version), exotic mushroom ragout with white wine, cream, asparagus, prosciutto and a poached egg; or a breakfast doughnut with pecan-nut praline, jam, vanilla icing and bacon salt.
Inspired by the Jewish delis of New York, this beautiful little space serves up excellent latke Benedicts, cheesy Reuben sarmies, bagels and even the famous black-and-white cookie.
Mushrooms on sourdough with fresh mozzarella and poached eggs and rocket is the way to go. Absurdly rich and cheesy, it makes a good winter breakfast.
This is the place to go for galbi, Korea’s answer to braai, cooked in sunken grills set into the tables. The spicy pan-fried pork dish is also a winner, and comes with a quintet of little bowls of pickles. Don’t be put off by the somewhat uninspiring shop-front: There’s another section in the back where most of the people are likely sitting. (If Korean cuisine is your thing, also try Korean Soju in Main Road Sea Point.)
This stylish South Indian restaurant has become a vibey hotspot thanks to moody décor, tasty food and a great bar. Try tapas like squid heads with lime, coriander and green chilli or opt for the larger Calvinia spring lamb curry for mains.
Three Wise Monkeys
Poké is a Hawaiian chopped salad that basically amounts to deconstructed sushi – lovely on hot days. There are also big bowls of warming ramen, and tasty sushi.
This tiny new Latin American spot boasts a beautiful, serene interior – think white marble, minty green and wood – and as soon as it gets its liquor licence, we predict it’ll be buzzing. There are addictive nachos and guacamole, and the churros, available with the chocolate on the inside (!), are entirely worth the calories.
Shin Thai Asian Kitchen
The décor is fairly basic, but cheap prices, plus the fact that everything on the vast pan-Asian menu is well made, means Shin Thai endures. Order your sushi to go, and eat it on the rocks that jut out in front of the promenade, overlooking the sea. Curries are also tasty, and offer great value for money, ranging between R48 and R72.
Crumbs & Cream
The heroes at this brightly coloured little store are the wonderfully chewy cookies. They’ve also recently released a macaron ice cream sandwich, mini ice-cream cakes with a layer of caramel in the middle, and micro choc-chip cookies, as a topping.
Atlantic Express Train Restaurant
If it is your desire to dine inside a refitted train carriage, you can do that here, too. This decades-old restaurant is strictly Halaal, and no alcohol is permitted on the premises. It’s possible to get a very affordable meal here (burgers from R49; toasted sarmies from R30), but it also offers steaks and seafood platters.
One of Cape Town’s few sit-down Kosher restaurants, Avron’s has been around since 1999, and while some things could do with an update, the eatery has its fans. We hear the ribs, espetada and the lamb curry are good.
Ribs are the thing to order here. Select yours from the butchery section, and they’ll be braaied outside to fall-off-the-bone perfection, while you quaff wine inside.
For pizza and psy-trance music:
Homey pizzas and very friendly owners. Get your gig tickets here.
For homestyle Greek:
Order the shwarma.
For comfortable brunch and a dog-friendly space:
A charming café offering good value for money.
For Chinese food:
This spot has some dedicated fans from years gone by, but has had mixed reviews of late.