Top foodies share their favourite restaurants in the Cape Town CBD

Restaurants now have permission to open their doors to sit-down visits from patrons. To celebrate, the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) asked three of their favourite foodies – food stylist, writer and photographer Sam Linsell; Food Jams founder and MasterChef SA finalist Jade de Waal; and cookbook publisher, food writer and critic, Tamsin Snyman – to share some of their top city centre eateries.

Jade de Waal: Food James founder and former MasterChef SA finalist

1. Hemelhuijs, Waterkant Street

It’s the imagination and visual delight of the restaurant, the comforting but beautifully presented food and, of course, the fries! Try the signature Karoo breakfast with golden farm eggs; soft mielie pap with honey; and toasted mosbolletjie bread with homemade apricot jam – and lashings of nostalgia on the side.

The warm poached egg and salmon breakfast that will be offered on the Hemelhuijs x So Yum menu. Photo supplied.

2. Just Like Papa, Harrington Street

This is a one-stop-shop for awesome coffee (Moses Lebofa operates his micro-business, Coffee By Moses, inside this concept store), epic gifts and venue hire. I’m still planning my next party at their store.

3. Honest Chocolate Café, Wale Street

This hidden gem takes chocolate to unthinkable levels. Try the St Anna’s lightly salted nachos accompanied by an indulgent chocolate and finished off with a dash of chilli on the side if you crave that fiery kick.

Gooseberry fondant at Honest Chocolate Cafe

4. Nude Foods, Constitution Street

[I love] the variety of food, perfect for shopping in small and large quantities, minus plastic packaging – this is the future of shopping! [They’re] supplying Capetonians with non-GMO, locally supplied and affordable whole foods, as well as earth-friendly body and home products. [You’ll find] everything from beetroots and nut butter to aluminium-free bicarb and grey-water-safe body wash.

 Sam Linsell: Food stylist, writer, photographer and recipe developer

1. Chefs Warehouse & Canteen, Bree Street

The best food you will find in the city without a reservation. Always world-class and delicious. Top tip: Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia and Chefs Warehouse at Maison are both open for business! Beau Pick Up and Go offers a selection of dreamy tapas for two. At Maison, you can pick up a basket and shop the marketplace or pop in over the weekend for a unique shop-and-collect experience.

Tapas-inspired dishes at Chefs Warehouse & Canteen. Photo by Claire Gunn.

2. La Tête, Bree Street 

I love the simple menu that celebrates the ingredients. Just really delicious, honest food presented in an unpretentious way. You have to try the madeleines! Rumour has it they’re the best biscuits in the Mother City…

3. Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room, Bree Street

This is one of my favourite burger joints – it’s pretty much the only thing I ever order there. I’ll definitely be stopping by. What’s a burger without a side? In this case, go all out and get yourself some four-cheese mac and cheese for a carb-on-carb extravaganza.

4. Love Thy Neighbour, Bree Street

This is my favourite local drinking spot and I love it on a Friday after work. It’s wonderful to sit outside here all-year-round. It’s casual and perfect for meeting friends. This Greek gem is all about sharing – including generous bowls of hummus served with golden, fresh pita breads.

5. The Melting Pot Cafeteria, Wale Street

I love the evolving menu that changes every few weeks. You can either hit it on an Indian tapas cycle or one more inspired by South East Asia. The main theme is shareable street food inspired by Thai, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine.

Taco Carnitas at The Melting Pot Cafeteria

Taco Carnitas at The Melting Pot Cafeteria

Other favourites: OBI for sushi, South China Dim Sum Bar and Tjing Tjing Tori

Tamsin Snyman: Food personality, critic and cookbook author

1. FYN, Parliament Street

You step into a breathtakingly beautiful restaurant room with floor-to-ceiling, triple-storey glass windows framing a one-of-its-kind tandem view of towering Table Mountain and majestic Lion’s Head. It’s no wonder FYN is scooping up every national design award to be had. Jennifer Hugé’s on-point wine pairings are a standout. Her care, passion and attention to detail are enhanced with every mouthful.

2. Mulberry and Prince, Pepper Street

Step inside the small, sassy space and you’ll soon discover where the coolest of cool food aficionados hang out. Look out for their riff on cacio e pepe made with their house-made pasta; gnocchi à la Parisienne; or freshly shucked oysters with yuzu-kosho (a fermented Japanese seasoning made with fresh chillies and fragrant citrus flavours).

Exterior at Mulberry & Prince

3. La Tête, Bree Street 

A culinary dream of two brothers, Giles and James Edwards, magically materialised after a decade of training in the UK. They spent seven years working under the global great nose-to-tail king Fergus Henderson at London’s St John, whose food philosophy and whole-animal celebration approach inspired the brothers to bring this love to South African shores.

The seven-day brined crispy pigs’ tails are ones to try. These tails lie in brine for ten days before being braised in chicken stock and crumbed. Next, they’re deep-fried and served with a delicious confit garlic aïoli!

4. Belly of the Beast, Harrington Street 

This is the first South African restaurant born from crowdfunding. It consists of a tasting menu that changes by the day, so you go in not knowing what’s for dinner. This allows chefs Neil Swart and Anouschka Horn to show off the Western Cape’s exceptionally fresh seasonal bounty. Pastry master Anouschka’s ice cream is the thing to try. The beautiful plating defies the pudding label – topped by hazelnuts, a sago slice rests on deep brown caramel with a waft of meringue, vanilla pod ice cream and a drizzle of mint oil, followed by an extra sweet treat to top it all off.

Keep an eye out for our foodies’ top picks in Johannesburg and Durban too!

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