These are our tried-and-tested picks…
In a city like Cape Town where new restaurants open faster than you can knock back a tequila, it’s easy to get caught up in the hot-right-now hype. But, actually, there’s a lot more depth to Cape Town’s food scene than the chaotic maze of where to eat now. These are our tried-and-tested picks…
The Test Kitchen
Cape Town has been on the tourist radar for decades, but it was arguably Luke Dale Roberts who put her on the international fine-dining map back in 2010. In all four of his exceptional Cape Town venues, you’ll find intelligent, seasonal cooking that’s, most importantly, incredibly tasty.
At the 40-seater TTK (as it’s known among insiders), your dinner starts in the Dark Room for an array of inventive snacks inspired by Luke’s travels around the world, and then moves to the Light Room, where you experience Luke’s bold, experimental and contemporary dishes with an optional wine-pairing.
Once you’ve dined here, you’ll understand why it’s the only (South) African restaurant to be featured consistently in the The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.
Good to know Reservations open quarterly (on 1 December, 1 March, 1 June and 1 September) at 8am for the three months thereafter.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 8pm
Contact 021 447 2337, email@example.com
Where to find it The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan
Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia
When seven of the country’s top chefs rate a restaurant among the best in Cape Town, you pretty much know it’s the real deal. The eatery in question is Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse & Canteen on Bree Street, which now has four sister restaurants, namely Thali, Chefs Warehouse at Maison (in Franschhoek), Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia and Jewells at the Spice Route – bringing chef Liam’s tally of eateries to five.
Chef Ivor Jones, who co-owns Beau Constantia with Liam, has concocted a delectable array of imaginative global tapas whose flavours will remain in your mind long after you’ve taken your last bite. Coupled with the stunning setting, chic interiors and panoramic vistas at the Constantia Valley, this is a dining experience you won’t soon forget.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 2:30pm; 5.30pm – 8.30pm; Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm
Contact 021 794 8632, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Beau Constantia, 1043 Constantia Main Road, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan
Reached by a long winding road set against the eastern slope of Table Mountain, The Cellars-Hohenort hotel is home to one of Cape Town’s timeless gems. As its name implies, Greenhouse is enclosed in a glass box to maximise its magnificent garden setting, with see-through panels overhead creating the illusion of being outside. At the assured helm is head chef Farrel Hirsch who has created a series of inventive yet pared-back modern South African dishes.
Opening times Friday & Saturday, 12pm – 2pm
Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 9.30pm
Contact 021 795 6226, email@example.com
Where to find it The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia
Overlooking an exquisite stretch of the Atlantic Ocean in a leafy pocket of Camps Bay, Salsify at The Roundhouse is co-owned by Luke Dale Roberts and 30-year-old Ryan Cole (who served as Luke’s head chef at The Test Kitchen). A nod to its ocean-facing setting – and Ryan’s father who was a professional fisherman – fish features prominently on the menu, skillfully and sensitively prepared.
Each dish is a miniature wonder: refined, sustainable cooking at its unshowy best. The interiors, too, are impeccable: a judicious mix of edgy sophistication, with avant-garde art set against sumptuous fabrics and furnishings. And, as you’d expect, service is exemplary.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday; 12.30pm – 2pm; 6.30pm – 9pm
Contact 021 010 6444, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note The restaurant does not take reservations via email
Where to find it Roundhouse Road, Camps Bay
Book through DinePlan
The concept had been simmering in chef Peter Tempelhoff’s brain for 22 years before he opened FYN, the 60-seater urban eatery that he co-owns with Jennifer Hugé (general manager) and Ashley Moss (executive chef) – a dynamic and assured threesome. The menu (and decor) is African-inspired, with an overarching Japanese aesthetic, making for an utterly seductive (and delicious) combination of tastes, flavours, textures and styles.
FYN’s fast-paced innercity Where to find it informs the menu – a condensed five-course kaiseki–style experience – with some of the most original wine pairings, courtesy of Jennifer (who spent 17 years at La Colombe as sommelier and manager). Bravo! I hope this signals an end to long, drawn-out menus everywhere.
As for the setting, the restaurant perches on the fifth floor, boasting sky-high views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. The interiors are sophisticated, warm, up-to-the-minute, with the kitchen in the centre of the space.
One of the many highlights of my meal was sipping bubbly from a coupe. So chic!
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm; 6pm – 8.30pm
Contact 021 286 2733, email@example.com
Where to find it 37 Parliament Street, Speakers Corner, Church Square, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan
The Foodbarn Restaurant
Internationally renowned chef Franck Dangereux is widely recognised as one of the forerunners of the fine-dining scene in Cape Town, having established the original La Colombe restaurant on Uitsig farm over 20 years ago. But at The Foodbarn fancy fine-dining is not what you’re here for; Franck’s been there; done that. Here, diners are treated to decadent fine-dining cuisine in a relaxed, family-friendly (and even dog-friendly) environment! Franck’s roots in southern France inform his style, but it is the bonhomie of this converted barn, with its farm-inspired decor, and the relaxed Noordhoek Village vibe that make dining here a wonderful day out for the entire clan.
Opening times Daily, 12pm – 2.30pm; Tuesday – Saturday, 7pm – 9.30pm
Contact 021 789 1390, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Noordhoek Farm Village, Corner Village Lane and Noordhoek Main Road, Noordhoek
Book through DinePlan
High up on the slopes of the Constantiaberg mountains, Silvermist Wine Estate is a veritable jewel in the Constantia Wine Valley’s crown. And it is here, on this farm, that you’ll find La Colombe, headed by multi-award-winning chef-proprietor Scot Kirton and executive chef James Gaag. The stylish restaurant’s pared-down interior is the perfect canvas for James and his team to conjure creative French-Asian dishes using foraged ingredients that they magically finesse into immaculately plated dishes.
Good to know Scot recently added Epice to his group of restaurants, which also includes La Petite Colombe, Foxcroft and Protégé.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 1.30pm; 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Contact 021 794 2390, email@example.com
Where to find it Silvermist Wine Estate, Main Road, Constantia Nek, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan
Kyoto Garden Japanese Restaurant
Sitting cheek by jowl with some of the city’s hippest watering holes and street-food joints, this serene gem on Kloof Nek Road is consistently ranked among the best by some of Cape Town’s top chefs and connoisseurs (Franck Dangereux, Peter Tempelhoff and John Maytham, to name a few). Here, beautifully crafted sushi, is served in a warm, minimally decorated space, with hands-on owner, Pennsylvania-born Scott Wood, ensuring diners are treated to the ultimate guest experience. Kyoto is just as suited to a special-occasion dinner as it is for a spontaneous pop-in. The menu might appear pricey, but you are assured of the very best quality, as Scott is forensic about the authenticity of the ingredients used.
If sushi’s not your thing, opt for a piece of fish, flash-grilled the Japanese way, over coals, at your table!
Stick around late enough, Scott might just pour you a glass of Hibiki Harmony Blended Whiskey…
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 5.30pm – 11pm
Contact 021 422 2001, kyotogardensushict.com
Where to find it 11 Lower Kloof Nek Road, Gardens, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan
From Liam Tomlin (head honcho of the Chefs Warehouse group of restaurants) and Dimo Papachristodoulou (Fat Cactus and Long Street Café), this exciting Indian-tapas eatery is a case of the more (dishes you share), the merrier. The popular Tapas for Two, curated by head chef JP van der Haar, comprises eight dishes, including sambals, poppadoms and tandoor, culminating in the most heavenly curries that, combined with the exotic interior decor and lighting, will transport you to the fragrant streets of Delhi.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 5pm – 9.30pm; Friday & Saturday, 12pm – 2.30pm
Contact 021 286 2110, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 3 Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town
Belly of the Beast
This online-booking-only fine-dining restaurant sprang up rather sneakily on Harrington Street in August 2018. Owner-chef Neil chose to pursue dreams of unhindered culinary creativity, roping in long-time friend Anouchka Horn, whom he met while working at Terroir Restaurant. The industrio-mod eatery serves a maximum of 20 guests per service, which Neil explains: “Cooking dishes on a smaller scale enhances the depth of flavour of each element” – something all home cooks can relate to.
An exposed kitchen lines one side of the small space, with a street-facing window on the other.
For R599 per person, you’re treated to a number of excellent courses, as well as bread service, a (life-changing) palette cleanser à la Anouchka, and an after-dessert delight (“a last hoorah”, as Neil calls it). You won’t find value like this anywhere else on the precinct.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 7pm – 10pm
Wednesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm
Contact 021 461 0335, email@example.com
Where to find it 110 Harrington Street, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan
Grub & Vine
“So, this is Grub & Vine,” says chef Matt Manning as he welcomes us into his bistro on Bree Street. “Small, vibey, honest, unpretentious,” he adds in his signature Essex accent – a description, we soon discover to be a gross understatement, when we take the first mouthful of our starters: new-season asparagus, ricotta beignet, hen egg, mushroom ketchup and hazelnuts.
Thirty-one-year-old Matt has certainly hit a culinary sweet spot – and filled a gap in the discerning-foodie market: beautifully prepared and executed dishes that taste heavenly – with none of the pomp and ponceyness that often accompany upscale dining experiences.
The characterful interiors – distressed concrete floors, avian prints, rattan chairs, atmospheric hanging lights and pot plants everywhere – enhance the buzzy vibe in the compact 40-seater. That, and the fact that the galley is on show, so diners can watch Matt and his busy team while they wait for their meal.
Good to know Grub & Vine’s second dining room seats 30 people, and can be hired as a private dining space.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 12pm – 2:30 pm; 6pm – 10pm
Saturday, 6pm – 10pm
Where to find it 103 Bree Street, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan
Ever since it swung open its monochromatic doors in November 2016, La Tête has been wowing local gourmands (and the international foodie set) with its fresh, original and utterly delicious French-bistro fare. Chef Giles Edwards’ quiet emphasis on doing things right rather than trying to show off comes across in all his honest, unpretentious dishes and, even though the restaurant has become famous for its staunch nose-to-tail stance (where no part of the animal goes to waste), it is his vegetable dishes that keep blowing us away (specifically the fresh, finely chopped kohlrabi salad; broccoli vinaigrette and the wonderfully retro celeriac salad).
The ascetic aesthetic – if you will – is all part of the charm: the all-white walls bear no art, and the wooden chairs could have come straight out of a monastery. Service is knowledgeable, professional and enthusiastic, and the winelist discerning and superb.
Opening times Lunch: Tuesday – Friday, 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: 6pm –11pm; Saturday, 6pm – 11pm
Contact 021 418 1299, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Where to find it 17 Bree Street, Cape Town
Owner Jacques Erasmus’ passion for travel is evident in the ever-changing, thoroughly modern and whimsical decor of this oasis in the CBD. The highly creative seasonal menu is bursting with options, one more delicious than the next. Whet your appetite with a freshly squeezed juice, then settle in for a comforting homemade potato rösti with lightly smoked trout, soft whipped herb cheese and a soft poached egg, or old-fashioned grilled farm-style sausage in a rich tomato “smoor” with buttered toast.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm; Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Contact 021 418 2042, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 71 Waterkant Street, Central Business District, Cape Town
The Pot Luck Club
Another top-drawer eatery from Luke Dale Roberts, The Pot Luck Club is headed by chef Jason Kosmas, whose exciting menu is designed to showcase all five flavour profiles (salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami). Plate-sharing is encouraged, so that diners can experience a gastronomical gamut of tastes. Situated on the top floor of the Silo at The Old Biscuit Mill, the ambient eatery boasts killer city views, especially at night.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12.30 – 2pm; 6pm – 10pm; Sunday, 11am – 12.30pm
Contact 021 447 0804, email@example.com
Where to find it Silo Top Floor, The Old Biscuit Mill, 373 – 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan
South China Dim Sum
The term “hole in the wall” has been used to describe this Long Street haunt that’s imbued with flavour and the feel of an old Cantonese Tea House. Here, the keyword is simplicity: from the wooden benches and closely set tables to the authentic, mouth-popping flavours in every single dish that comes out of owner-chef Edmund Hung’s kitchen. Tradition practiced to perfection.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2.30pm; 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Contact 078 846 3656, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 289 Long Street, Cape Town City Central, Cape Town
Chefs Warehouse & Canteen
What was launched as a Cookery School by acclaimed chef Liam Tomlin, Chefs Warehouse & Canteen has been transformed into a gastronomic treasure trove where, aside from enjoying flavour-bursting canteen-style fine dining, guests can shop for kitchen paraphernalia, speciality ingredients, recipe books and even chefs’ clothing (in the downstairs shop).
Liam and his team also have a branch at the picturesque Beau Constantia, where chef Ivor Jones heads the kitchen.
Due to the relaxed canteen style, the restaurant does not take bookings.
Opening times Monday — Saturday, 12pm— 2:30pm; 4.30pm — 8.30pm
Contact 021 422 0128, email@example.com
Where to find it 92 Bree Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
Tjing Tjing Torii
You’ll find this brightly coloured street-food joint at street level, where the pulsating pace, ultra-cool electro-indie beats, Harajuku-inspired decor and on-the-ball service are the perfect backdrop for flavour-popping, Japanese street food.
Open from 10am for brunch until late, Torii serves an array of options, including temaki, bento boxes, sando boxes, gyoza, yakitori, ramen and rice bowls, and classic Japanese confections (such as mochi, taiyaki and fluffy soufflé pancakes) with a Tjing Tjing twist.
Good to know While you’re there pop into the perennial rooftop bar where top-drawer tipples, a selection of Japanese snacks and ice-cool beats are the order of the night.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – late
Contact 021 422 4374, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 165 Longmarket Street, Cape Town
Behind an inviting green-mosaic exterior is a soft-pink and potplant-infused space that serves a bunch of flavour-packed dishes, artfully plated on rather original crockery. On the concise menu of six mains, two sides, and a dessert of the day, you’ll find utterly moreish bao buns, perfectly restrained yellowtail sashimi, and lip-smacking beef tataki.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 10pm
Contact 066 022 1165, email@example.com
Where to find it 3 Vredehoek Avenue, Oranjezicht, Cape Town
Black Sheep Restaurant
This cool, contemporary space is where chef Jonathan Japha serves comfort dishes that change daily, so you could, theoretically, eat here every day of the week and never have the same thing!
If you’re not in the mood for a hearty meal, grab a seat at the street-facing bar, and enjoy a sundowner with a naturally lit view of Table Mountain, or pop over the road to Dark Horse, its sister spot for a buzzy drink.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 3pm; 6.30pm – 10pm
Monday, 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 426 2661, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 104 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
We also rate
Got more time on your hands? Then add these other cool spots to your must-do list:
- Upper Bloem
- Table Seven
- The Silo
- Mulberry & Prince
- Seabreeze Fish & Shell
- Riverine Rabbit
- The Stack
- The Gin Bar
- El Burro in Green Point
Off the eaten track
If you’re planning a day trip out of Cape Town, we highly recommend:
- Waterkloof Estate in Somerset West
- Wolfgat in Paternoster
- Overture at Hidden Valley
- La Chêne in Franschhoek
- Chefs Warehouse at Maison in Franschhoek
- La Petite Colombe in Franschhoek
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