The steak savants among us will tell you that a perfectly prepared steak is a rare treat – rare being the operative word – and everyone has their own opinion about what exactly it is. Is it the quality of the meat, the way it’s reared, prepared and aged? Are the sides important? And does the atmosphere of the eatery play a role? It’s probably a mix of all of those factors… Which is why we decided to call our mates over at SteakBoyz, who chimed in on where to get the best cuts in Cape Town. These lads know meat – and are very discerning when it comes to eating it – so, if they’ve given it the thumbs up, you know it’s a cracker. As always, if we’ve left anything out, please add it in the comments below.
1. Hussar Grill, Camps Bay
Top-quality aged beef, skilled grillers, excellent service, and a no-corkage policy are just some of the reasons that this steakhouse is somewhat of an institution among locals, and a must-visit for out-of-towners.
We recommend Tourists might be intrigued by the novelty of ordering local venison, but you can’t go wrong with the Madagascan pepper fillet served with a cream and green peppercorn reduction (R159 for 200g) – steak snobs, I see you turning up your noses… However, clued-up manager Lenny explained that the peppercorns are soaked in brine before cooking, giving them a soft and smooth texture. It was superb! For dessert, baked cheesecake was my first choice but, disappointingly, it was still in the oven. So, Nandi, our lovely waitress, recommended the fondant, which was, unfortunately, not baked cheese cake…
SteakBoyz recommend Fillet and sirloin on-the-bone: well-matured, class-A meat.
Contact 021 438 0151, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 108 Camps Bay Drive, Camps Bay
2. Carne Constantia
A delicious combination of South African ingredients and Italian-prepared food, Giorgio Nava’s southern suburbs meatery is all about bold, authentic dishes with layers of flavour. Like in all of his six restaurants, the interiors are pared down and contemporary. Giorgio’s passion for his craft has trickled down to his super-knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, so we entrusted our ordering to our waiter Venay, who pulled it out of the hat.
We recommend the lamb ravioli for starters – one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten! Seasoned to the centre, the lamb was enhanced by the sage butter and Parmesan.
Steakboyz recommend The 1.2kg Fiorentina for two people for mains. Like all Giorgio’s beef, the T-bone comes from a grass-fed-for-24-months cow, which is then dry-aged to perfection and prepared exquisitely. The chocolate fondant for dessert was to dine for.
Read our full review of Carne.
Contact 021 761 0247, email@example.com
Location Carne Constantia
3. Manna Epicure
This foodie hotspot on Kloof Street made it onto our Best Breakfasts in Cape Town because the food is delicious. And that applies to its steaks, too. For a non-steakhouse, we were mighty impressed with the extensive meat options – under “the braai” – on the menu.
We recommend The pared-down, all-white interiors might’ve influenced my decision to go for an unembellished classic – the 200g aged-inhouse Chalmar beef with Café de Paris butter. Tender, juicy and mouthwateringly moreish. Deon, our super-informed server, recommended the sautéed broccoli with toasted almonds and garlic as a side, which was equally to braai for.
SteakBoyz recommend the Chalmar cuts of aged fillet, ribeye and sirloin with chimichurri. Contact 021 426 2413, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact 021 426 2413, email@example.com
Location Manna Epicure
4. Don Armando
Located in the Prestwich Street precinct (right next door to its Italian sister, Il Leoone), this Argentinian parilla (grillhouse) specialises in asado (that’s braaied meat in this neck of the woods). The restaurant is cosy and contemporary, with wooden floors and comfy booths. We sat on the balcony outside, as it was a perfect Cape evening and, when it got chilly, our waiter Blessing brought us snug Don Armando-branded fleece blankies. Meat, obviously, is the main event on the concise menu, and all cuts come with your choice of a side. For me, there’s nothing better than steak and chips, so I ordered the Papas Fritas (hand-cut potato chips), but if you want to add a splash of green to your plate, go for the pan-fried spinach with garlic and lemon or the mixed salad. The starters menu includes other Argentinian specialities, such as empañadas and quinoa salad.
SteakBoyz recommend picanha (pronounced, pee-KAHN-ya) – 800g of pure, unadulterated meat, covered in a blanket of moreish fat. A popular South American cut, it’s taken from the section just above the rump. I wasn’t up for that quantity of meat, so my partner and I shared a prime rib steak and fillet on the bone, which the kitchen cut up for us and served on a platter. Both were tender, tasty and well prepared, and came with chimichurri dip on the side, but if you’d prefer a different sauce, choose from mushroom, pepper, mustard or garlic and herb.
Read our full review of Don Armando.
Contact 021 418 1462, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Don Armando
5. Butcher Shop & Grill
Ask for a window seat at this popular restaurant on the Mouille Point strip, so you can enjoy lighthouse and sea views while tucking into your steak. Our impossibly charming waiter Tinashe escorted us to the deli and butcher section where we snacked on biltong while getting a crash course on the variety of cuts (and the difference between grass- and grain-fed meat). After selecting my piece of fillet from the display, I let Tinashe handle the rest: preparation and choice of side. He recommended the salt, pepper and mustard rub, and French fries. Needless to say, I was utterly satisfied.
Contact 021 434 0813, email@example.com
Location 125 Beach Road, Mouille Point, Sea Point, Cape Town
6. Nelson’s Eye
The exterior of this restaurant does not scream “steak heaven”. However, first impressions are soon trumped when you take your first bite. Nelson’s Eye has been around since the 1960s, and when current owner Steven took over more than a decade ago, he changed very little. Apart from extending the menu and the floor space, he didn’t tamper with the decor or style of cooking. An exposed grill and memorabilia all over the walls creates a cosy taverna vibe, and there are snug alcoves for intimate group dinners.
We recommend As per our server’s recommendation, we opted for the Out of the Pan Hollandse Biefstuk (fillet), which is rolled in spices, brandy flambéd and served in a mushroom, mustard and red-wine sauce. Arno Carstens prefers his favourite cut with the Café topping (herb and garlic butter).
Price R270 for 280g + side dishes
Contact 021 423 2601, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 9 Hof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
See the full menu
7. Belthazar Restaurant & Wine Bar
It boasts the biggest wine-by-the-glass menu in the world (over 250!), but there’s more to this slick eatery than vino. There’s steak. Lots of it – all aged for 28 days on the premises. While we waited for our mains, our service ambassador (not waiter!) Nico brought us some divine challah-style bread with sausage in Napoletana sauce to snack on.
We recommend The fillet done in olive oil. Less is always more. Nico recommended the mac & cheese as a side, but I wasn’t feely carby, so I went for the baked pumpkin, whose sweetness complemented the fillet’s saltiness perfectly. For dessert, I disregarded Nico again, and went for the peppermint crisp and caramel delight, rather than the cheese cake, for which Belthazar is famous, and I wasn’t disappointed. It hit the sickly sweet spot.
Contact 021 421 3753, email@example.com
Location Belthazar Restaurant
8. Charcoal Dining
Its name hints at being a place to find good steak – which is certainly true among locals, businessmen and tourists who stay in nearby hotels and guesthouses. The intimate dimly lit restaurant surrounded by a collection of photographic art (for sale) sets the scene for the short bistro-style menu created by chef and co-owner Roy van Litsenborgh. We were impressed that the wine list, though not inexpensive, featured Limestone Hills Chardonnay, among some of the most trendy local cellars.
We recommend The rare roasted Waygu sirloin with wholegrain mustard sauce. It was was well charred on the outside, bloodily pink in the middle, tender and tasty! However, next time I’ll order the sauce on the side, as I’m not convinced that it did the meat justice poured over it. My partner ordered the grilled matured rib-eye steak with a green peppercorn sauce that was mild enough to allow the juicy and tasty cut to shine, but a sharper sauce might have added more punch. Terry, the attentive and friendly maitre d’ recommended the grilled fillet with hand-cut chips, porcini mushrooms and seasonal vegetables – which would suit any diner frightened of fat.
Contact: 021 422 3232, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Charcoal Dining Gardens
9. NV-80 Grill & Bar
This elegant eatery prides itself on serving AAA-grade Chalmar beef, which adheres to strict, humane farming processes, and is free of artificial additives and antibiotics.
SteakBoyz recommend the sirloin-on-the-bone.
Contact 021 439 7112, email@example.com
Location NV-80 Grill & Bar
10. The Avenue
This down-to-earth restaurant, with a cosy, old-school atmosphere and conversation-friendly music in the background, is perfect for date night or a family dinner. During summer it’s rather nice to sit on the streetside stoep. Owner and chef, Tony Mason, carefully selects the cuts of meat, which are basted in a mouth-watering secret family sauce. They are then chargrilled to your specifications and served with roasted veg and your carb of your choice (chips, mashed potato or basmati rice).
We recommend The T-bone steak (400g) with rich mushroom sauce. It’s not a small piece of meat, but the charred fat on one side and succulent meat around the bone makes eating it less of a chore and more of a pleasure. Tony’s recommendation is the sirloin (200g), which is also very soft and succulent (even when cooked well done).
Contact 0216710623, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 47 Second Avenue, Harfield Village, Claremont, Cape Town