Bring a big appetite to properly enjoy this downtown Italian eatery, and then take the afternoon off.
This is no ordinary corner café. With natural light pouring through the windows, this airy white space with the occasional neo-classical ornament located a crucial few steps above street level on the corner of Riebeek and Loop is an inner-city oasis. It offers a blissful respite from whatever brought you to this gritty part of downtown Cape Town, as well as a well-made Italian-ish meal and, shall we say, a glass of prosecco?
It’s definitely the sort of place where not having a glass of vino with your Bolognese alla Sorrentina or lamb ragù pappardelle seems such a shame that you should absolutely consider bending whatever rules you may have about lunchtime imbibing. The food – and the mood – are simply too good. It’s also rather too much.
Both the very flavoursome (how can it not be) Giulio’s pasta puttanesca and the open lamb wrap (slices of tender lamb on home-made hummus with toasted pine nuts and lemon-mint yoghurt) arrive in portions guaranteed to rule out a productive afternoon, so you may as well wash it down with a glass of Babylonstoren rosé.
A busy pizza oven and an all-day breakfast menu round out the menu, the latter featuring such crossover crowd-pleasers as pancakes with maple syrup, and a bowl of warm oats with optional Nutella or peanut butter.
Only a serious sweet tooth will have room for dessert. The tiramisu has an excellent reputation, and the gelato is the real deal, but the trick is to keep an eye on the cloche on the counter which, depending on the day, may display such tempting things as lemon, lime and blueberry teacakes or a ricotta, orange and Nutella tart.
The drinks menu is compact and pleasing. There are beetroot or turmeric lattes for those so inclined, and a small selection of vino bianco or rosso, several of which are available by the glass. If you’re feeling festive at breakfast time, both the mimosa and the Bloody Mary are very good.
Smiles all round from the friendly and efficient wait staff.
It’s an upbeat place to meet friends for breakfast or lunch, or for an after-work bite on Thursdays and Fridays, but it’s equally welcoming of just you and your laptop if you’re due for a change of scenery.
An extended lunch break.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
My favourite restaurant in Cape Town! Can’t go wrong with Giulio’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Food is delicious, ambiance is great and the staff and owner are really friendly and attentive.
Real Italian food in the heart of Cape Town! Having left a life in Italy behind, Giulio's is the place I find myself whenever I'm missing true and honest Italian cooking. Giulio greets you at the door like an Italian mama would greet her family. Brekkies are sublime and hearty but I'm here for the handmade pasta! Leave room for some Tiramisu!
One of the best cafe’s for a delicious healthy scrumptious meal in Cape Town.
Coffees . Superb .
I would highly recommend going there!
My favourite restaurant in Cape Town. Breakfasts are phenomenal, coffee is always perfect. Staff always friendly and attentive. Host always accommodating. Always make a point of stopping at Giulio’s when I’m in town.
Jeremy du Plessis
Hands down the best Italian food in the city bowl, and the best vegan breakfast on the entire peninsula. Giulio cares sincerely about his business, about quality food and about the people he hosts, and it's obvious as soon as you walk through the door.
Jeremy du Plessis
Hands down the best Italian food in the city bowl, and the best Saturday vegan on the entire peninsula. Giulio cares sincerely about his business, about quality food and about the people he hosts, and it's obvious as soon as you walk through the door.
Giulios is just one of those places that always gets it right be it a before work breaki or an indulgent Friday afternoon lunch.
The most amazing food and atmosphere. Kid friendly as well.
Absolutely love this place! Captivating all round. Always a vibe! Some of the best meals have been eaten here.
Simply my favourite restaurant in Cape Town. The food is incredible, the service impeccable and you couldn’t ask for a better vibe. Giulio’s is always busy because it is always exceptional.
JP Le Roux
What a experience!!
I had such a lovely breakfast at Gulio's Cafe. The food, portion size, staff and ambiance are only some of the reasons I would revisit this Cape Town gem.
Gulio's Cafe is truly unique and must be visited by all!
Giulios is like coming home - always greeted with a smile, fantastic food and the decor is sublime.
Somewhere I make a point of visiting every time I come to Cape Town, their breakfasts are hearty and generous (those pancakes!!!) and the salad counter is fantastic for a working lunch.
Truly one of the best eateries in Cape Town when it comes to consistency and quality.
Giulio’s pulls out all the stops to make sure all your expectations are met and exceeded. The most creative menu and friendliest staff in Cape Town.
A trip to Cape Town is incomplete without stopping off to eat at Giulio’s Café, very little comes close to the personalized service, outstanding food and warm welcoming staff. I would highly recommend it to all.
I had the privilege and pleasure to live in Italy a few years ago and one of the hardest things to leave behind was the exquisite home cooked food. Italian food in South Africa is so often lacking in its authenticity and particularly when it comes to using fresh ingredients. Giulios is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite go to Italian restaurant not only in Cape Town but nationwide. The fact that I adore Guilio himself and his passionate, tenacious and always friendly attitude towards me and my friends who dine in his beautiful cafe has no bearing on the fact that the food is exceptional. It's hard to pin it down what exactly stands given that each dish is unreal, but the Lamb Ragu Pappardelle may be the biggest reason why I can't keep my ageing figure in check, never mind the carrot cake that puts me in cake heaven. You taste his passion in the food and see his charming and caring nature reflected in the wonderful service I always receive from his impeccable waiters. In a time where fine dining often lacks that human touch, Giulios stands out as a restaurant where I'm always made to feel at home and above all leave, every time, with that food afterglow that so few places are able to give these days. Guilios takes me back to Italy and leaves me always feeling like I'm in a place that cares deeply about great food and the people that eat it. I've got nothing but praise for this Italian gem and we should be proud to have such a talented restauranter in Cape Town.
Absolute perfection. The warm greeting when you enter to the exceptional food and amazing vibe and ambience will have you returning regularly!
Simply stunning! The food, ambiance and service is impeccable. The food is outstanding, I can honestly say that once you have eaten here you won't want to go any where else! The vibe is on point and the service is amazing. The team are very attentive and super friendly. Would highly recommended it, if you haven't been you are missing out on something seriously amazing!
The Best carrot cake I have ever eaten! Incredible coffee, great vibe and a convenient location! 1 of Cape Towns little gems :)
Best eatery in the city - relaxed, but total attention to detail in the menu, service and food. if only they were open on Sundays..
Visiting from Australia, I found this perfect little gem. Great food. Great ambience. Definitely recommended.
It simply doesn’t get better! My absolute go-to breaky and lunch spot - weekdays and Saturday’s! Enjoyed my first dinner experience at Giulio’s and it was nothing short of perfect! The food was absolutely delicious and the atmosphere even better. Giulio and his team are so friendly and accommodating! Perfection!
I am very fortunate that I can call Giulio's Café my local. The food, service and ambience are next level. It is on the top of my list for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even just for a relaxing coffee.