There are many things the northern suburbs are known for: kite-surfing, cool-climate sauvignon blanc, lekker Afrikaans people (and sometimes not so lekker Afrikaans music). The one thing it’s not that well known for is its food scene. But we’re about to change that with our roundup of eateries worth venturing from the city for.
1. Homespun by Matt, Table View
Inspired by years spent in the kitchen of his father’s restaurant as a teeanger, owner Matt Schreuder draws from his global travels and the expertise of his talented chef, Waheeb Abrahams, to create what he calls “new and unique dining experiences”. The atmosphere is unpretentious and the staff upbeat and professional. The space is small. Cosy. Rather romantic. The dramatic decor is carried through to the mesmerising presentation of the cocktails and the food. But it’s not all show. It tastes as good as it looks. The value for money Matt and his team are able to offer has us excited about fine-dining again.
We recommend the beef tataki (R75), braised sticky pork belly (R135) and Valrhona blonde fondant (R80). The menu changes seasonally, but these favourites have stood the test of time.
Download the full à la carte menu for summer 2016/17
Do check out their monthly food and wine pairing evenings.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 11pm
Contact 021 556 2824
Where to find it Homespun, 1 Porterfield Road, Table View
2. Cafe Orca, Melkbos
This low-key seaside destination is one of my favourite places in the world to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. The fact that it doesn’t have a Facebook or Instagram account only adds to its appeal. Sit inside the rustic beach cottage, or under the thatch roof-sheltered patio. Feel the cool southeast breeze against your skin as you take in the sights and sounds of encroaching Melkbos Beach. As is the norm for a seafood restaurant that prides itself on serving the ocean’s freshest produce, menu items come and go based on availability. So do the daily specials that are usually excitingly uncommon catches of the day. What makes Orca stand out is the whimsy with which they marry unexpected flavours with seafood favourites. Think: mussels and blue cheese; or oysters and horseradish cream. Mind. Blown. It would be sacrilege not to give a tip of the hat to the staff – the service is always superb.
We recommend blue ocean mussels (R59) with the Ataraxia Chardonnay (the wine is quite pricey but the combination, which we discovered by accident, is excellent). The seafood platter for two (R439) is great value.
See the full menu
Opening times Tuesday, 12pm – 3.30pm & 6pm – 9pm
Wednesday – Saturday, 11.30am – 3.30pm & 6pm – 9pm
Sunday, 11am – 3.30pm
NB They don’t take bookings for lunch, so arrive early if you want to sit outside.
Contact 021 553 4120
Where to find it Cafe Orca, 88 Beach Road, Melkbosstrand
3. Durbanville Hills, Durbanville Wine Valley
If you haven’t yet been to Durbanville Hills’ contemporary bistro-style restaurant, you’ve definitely seen their flagship sauvignon blanc on the shelves of your favourite wine shop. Raking in one Michelangelo award after another for its wine, the farm’s restaurant is also making waves in the food department, recently winning the Best Restaurant Of The Winelands award at Restaurant Week South Africa. As the name suggests, Durbanville Hills is situated atop a hill in the Durbanville Wine Valley, with sweeping views of Table Mountain and Table Bay on grand display through double-volume glass walls.
In the kitchen head chef Louisa Greeff creates a simple, yet sophisticated menu each season. On our visit we had the Chef’s Platter: homemade bread and butters were served with sparkling wine, followed by a taster of sauvignon blanc. Next a sampling of starters and mains (off the lunch and dinner menu) were paired with the Rhinofields pinotage (which can only be purchased at the cellar itself). Lunch ended on a deliciously sweet note with an array of desserts, paired with the Noble Late Harvest – a personal favourite. If you’re a steak lover, hold thumbs that the grilled fillet is on the platter. It’s one of the best I’ve ever had.
We recommend the Chef’s Platter, R690 for two people including wine pairing (only available to order for lunch).
Download the full menu for summer 2016/17
Opening hours Breakfast: Tuesday – Sunday, 8.30am – 11am
Lunch: Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 10pm
Contact 021 558 1300
Where to find it Durbanville Hills Winery, Tygerberg Valley Road, Cape Farms, Cape Town
4. Ton Khoon, Tyger Waterfront
Image credit: Socialite
If you’re looking for a bona fide Thai experience, but aren’t prepared to compromise on stellar service and elegant ambiance, look no further than this must-try gem. The crisp decor borders on fine dining, yet feels warm and welcoming owing to tastefully authentic Asian touches. We love the wait staff’s colourful Thai outfits! When the weather plays along, sliding glass doors reveal for stylishly dressed tables on the water-facing veranda. The chiffonade of carefully curated chefs each have more than 10 years’ experience.
The Tom Yum Goong soup starter was so good, I had to fight my dinner companion off with a spoon. The balance of flavours is absolute perfection. All though Ton Khoon is dominantly a Thai restaurant, the sushi is in a class of it’s own. Manager Johan told us that chef Chon is notorious among the local fish suppliers, refusing to settle for a batch that is not as fresh as logistically possible. With that in mind, you can bet you’re in for some fintastic sashimi.
We recommend sushi, tempura prawns and basil crispy pork, which is not your typical starch-coated dish, but grilled in the oven until the crackling is the perfect consistency.
See the full Thai / Mains menu
See the full sushi menu
Operating hours Monday – Sunday, 11.30am – 11pm
Contact 021 914 9898
Where to find it Ton Khoon, Tyger Lake Building, Tygervalley Waterfront, Bellville
5. Pizza Vesuvio, Tyger Waterfront
Image credit: Carine Mukanga on Facebook
Few topics are as controversial as where to find the best pizza in town, but who doesn’t revel in a bit of controversy every so often? Owned and run by husband-and-wife duo Jerarvo Cozzolino (operations) and Silvana Marztico (head chef), Vesuvio follows 100-year-old family recipes in the making of its pasta and pizza bases, which are wood-fired, of course, and made with imported Italian ingredients (to stay true to Mamma’s methods).
The menu includes traditional antipasti and platters made using top-quality ingredients sourced from local Italian producers. The insalata caprese (R65) is made with real bufala mozzarella, while the carpaccio de bresaola (R99) is a winner among meat-lovers. The interiors follow the Italian theme: warm and rustic. The roof’s exposed skeleton, facebrick accents, reclaimed furniture, walled display cases of bric-à-brac and long tables conjure a sense of life in Italy. Saluti!
We recommend the pizza! Ranging from R78 for a margherita to R132 for the bianca neve (mozzarella, smoked provola, blue cheese, wild mushrooms, cherry tomato, rocket, basil, olive oil and pancetta).
Opening hours Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 10pm
Contact 021 914 1414
Where to find it Pizza Vesuvio, Waterfront and Fountain Roads, Bellville Park, Bellville
6. Arugula Bistro & Bread, Welgemoed
Almost always fully booked for dinner, Arugula Bistro opened in March 2012 and consistently offers flavourful, value-for-money fare. It’s the perfect spot for a quick weeknight bite if you’re in the mood for something special (just take care to reserve your table). The restaurant is small, situated on the first floor of the Welgemoed Forum centre, offering patrons a bird’s-eye view of the goings-on below. The clever layout of the open-plan kitchen allows you to watch the chefs in action, as you unwind from a long day at the office, chilled glass in hand. The menu is seasonal and changes quite often, but consistently includes LCHF options for carb-conscious diners. Keep an eye out for the chalkboard of daily specials – it always has something exciting on display. If you’re an early riser, the breakfast (and lunch) dishes are freshly made each morning and satisfy every time. So do the homemade ice creams!
We recommend the grass fed burgers (R85 – R95), homemade ice cream (R24 per scoop), and the food and wine pairing evenings that take place on the first Tuesday of every month.
See the full menu
Opening times Monday – Friday, 7.30am – 9pm
Saturday, 8am – 9pm
Contact 021 913 6906
Where to find it Arugula Bistro and Bread, Shop 18, Welgemoed Forum center, Welgemoed, Bellville
7. The Indian Chapter, Table View
Image credit: afktravel.com
Former TV and radio personality, Prim Reddy stepped out of public limelight and into the kitchen when she took over a failing restaurant and turned it into one of the best Indian destinations in Cape Town. Chapter 1 opened in 2013, shortly followed by adjacent Chapter 2 in the Carnaby Centre in Table View, with murmurings of more Chapters to come. Chapter 2’s interiors are understated with striking pieces scattered throughout the restaurant. Chapter 1 is more formal (if you’re looking to book for a special occasion). When the sun sets, a belly dancer appears for a remarkable 15-minute performance (which even the chef left his station to witness, probably for the umpteenth time). The appetisers are a variety of deep-fried specialities, kebabs, tandoori chicken and marinated and grilled linefish, while the aromatic mains of lamb are delicately balanced in flavour. Order the basmati rice and tandoori naan to compliment your mains.
Do BYOB if you’re a wine snob.
We recommend the chicken samoosa (Punjabi-style pyramid samoosa stuffed with spicy chicken mince), vegetarian pakoras (assorted vegetables dipped in spicy gram flour and deep fried). Lamb mains are the speciality and definitely worth the wait if the restaurant is busy.
See the full menu
Opening hours 10am – 10pm
Contact 021 557 5524
Where to find it The Indian Chapter, Carnaby Centre, 9 Marine Circle, Table View
8. Thaifoon, Bellville
One the most underrated Thai restaurants in Cape Town, Thaifoon has been operating in the same spot for more than 20 years. Even though it’s seen a number of owners at its helm, this northern suburbs institution offers authentic fare and attentive service. Current co-owners, John Hendricks and head chef Lanyai Malakhan, took over about four years ago and have upheld (if not elevated) the high culinary standard of their predecessors.
The decor is very kitsch, yet absolutely charming – complete with indoor water fountain, Sukhothai-style Buddhas and gold-engraved wall art. Draped fairy lights, wooden cabinets and patterned table cloths create a homely atmosphere. Aromas of stir-fried basil sporadically escape from the kitchen, confirming that each dish is made fresh to order. Long after the prettiest blue and white plates have been cleared, flavours of Thailand still linger on the palate.
We recommend The Tom Yum Goong (prawn and coconut soup) is sweet, sour, and deliciously spicy (R65). Wash it down with Durbanville Hills Merlot Rose (R120). The chicken in green curry is fragrant yet unobtrusive (R95), recommended with steamed jasmine rice (R18).
Opening hours Monday – Friday, 12pm – 2.30pm, 5.3pm – 10pm
Contact 021 914 5200
Where to find it Thaifoon, Shop 104, Santyger Centre, 313 Durban Road, Bo Oakdale, Bellville
9. Remex Mexican Cantina, Parklands & Richwood
Image credit: food.com
The decor might not win any style competitions, but the ambience will get you in the mood for a fiesta. Dishing up down-to-earth Mexican fare at its two branches, one in Richwood and the other in Parklands, Remex’s year-round festive vibe is the perfect setting for a night out with your mochachos. Take your pick of the communal sombreros dangling from the odd chair, and get acquainted with a jug or two of frozen margaritas. El Jimador tequila, which is made from 100% pure agave (read: no hangover), is the order of the day (as is evident by the long rows of empty bottles that serve as part of the decorations), and is feverishly marketed by the waiters. Trade in cotton napkins for the evening and have a chuckle at the toilet paper rolls that humorously grace each table. I’ve tried most of the dishes on the menu and can confidently say that “everything is good here”. The portions are also huge and the prices on the pocket-friendly side.
We recommend the nachos – served as individual portions of six (R71) or 12 (R132), topped with various fillings and covered with melted cheese, homemade guac and salsa, and sour cream.
See the full menu
Opening hours Monday – Saturday, 1pm – late
Contact 021 823 9828
Where to find it La Piazza Centre, Nederburg Road, Richwood, Milnerton
Contact 021 823 9837
Where to find it Remex Mexican Cantina Parklands, The Piazza Centre, corner of Link and Parklands Main Roads, Parklands
We also recommend…
…but didn’t have time to get to:
Poplars at D’Aria
Eat @ Altydgedacht
For the purposes of this article, we went as far west from the CBD as Melkbos, and as far north as Durbanville, selecting restaurants based on consistency of service and food. If you feel we’ve left any out, let us know in the comments below.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive the Best Of Cape Town first.