The 10 Best Chinese Restaurants in Cape Town

Chinese Restaurants

Bao buns, potstickers, Peking duck and noodle soups … Chinese comfort food we’re craving right now.

There’s something about Chinese cuisine that sparks comfort food cravings… whether you’re in the mood for dim sum or a slurpalicious chilli-flecked noodle soup. Tucked away in the Mother City you’ll find what you’re looking for in unpretentious neighbourhood eateries that have been in the same family for decades, but also in sleek contemporary temples to pan Asian dining where they steam up a mean dumpling without any fusion confusion. There’s a whole varied landscape of regional Chinese traditions to explore beyond the takeaway standbys of spring rolls and chicken chow mein. Think soft shell crab, xiao long bao (soup dumplings), Peking duck, prawn har gow, street food bao buns, prawn toast, and salt and pepper squid…

The Red Room

Chinese Restaurants: Red Room
Claire Gunn

Pan-Asian in inspiration, The Red Room takes its lead from the culinary melting pot of Hong Kong, where you can feast on flavours from the surrounding Asian cuisines in umami profusion. Hidden away downstairs at the Mount Nelson, it’s a moody and opulent speakeasy-themed space in shades of red, with cosy deep-velvet booths, lazy susans, and an intimate bar. Chefs Liam Tomlin and David Schneider, together with head chef Caroline Lamb, celebrate each cuisine with respect (no fusion confusion), and you can dine à la carte or go for the set menu in traditional Chefs Warehouse style. From the Chinese spectrum of the menu look out for their speciality Peking duck, prawn har gow dumplings, crispy chicken wonton, chilli salt fried squid, and prawn toast among other favourites.
Good to know You also can book just for cocktails and small plates in the Dim Sum lounge.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 6pm –  9.30pm
Bar: Monday –  Saturday, 5pm –  late
Contact 021 483 1516, reservations@cwredroom.co.za
Where to find it The Mount Nelson, 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Tomson

Chinese Restaurants: Tomson

Discover South Cantonese street food with a kick, at unassumingly cool Tomson, from the Max Bagels and Leo’s team. At the helm is third-generation Chinese-South African Andrew Kai, whose inspiration comes from the South Cantonese flavours of his childhood. Think wontons with pork and shrimp or shiitake and tofu all doused in a vibrant chilli sauce, or sliced Sichuan pork with a kick of kimchi. You’ll also find fiery and flavoursome chilli beef with broccoli in the most moreish sauce, crispy pork belly and hainanese chicken, salt and pepper prawns, smacked cucumber, and softly steamed white fish. The small white eatery offers a full view of (and glorious aromas from) the bustling kitchen if you’re lucky enough to nab a spot at the counter. Alternatively, and a winner in warmer weather, sit on the pavement benches – perfect for sharing some plates with friends.
Good to know Booking is via direct message on Instagram (or Dineplan), and is recommended (bookings are for dinner only). Else you can perch at neighbouring Leo’s for a glass of vino while you wait for a spot to open up.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 9pm
Monday, 6pm – 10pm
Contact @tomson_cpttomsoncpt@gmail.com
Address 120 Bree Street, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Dawn Asian Restaurant

Chinese Restaurants: Dawn

Paper fish sculptures, a water feature and dark red decor, with comfortable booths, a private dining room and a central bar, Dawn embodies contemporary Chinese dining with style. Owners Ronnie and Giselle Mao come from the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Hunan (they met while hiking Skeleton Gorge in Cape Town) and decided to bring authentic but modern Chinese cuisine to their adopted city. There’s an almost bewildering array of dishes, from dim sum to small plate tapas, rice dishes, and larger dishes on the chefs’ choice list. We particularly loved the crispy Chinese aubergines with a sweet caramelised sticky sauce and chilli; and golden soup with beef carpaccio, a gently sour broth with silky rice noodles and slivers of beef; the Two Typhoon Shelter style crispy soft shell crab; and the Peking duck, crispy skin, lean meat and delicately thin pancakes (they import their duck from China so it’s the real deal). They make all their own sauces and dumplings in house, with three chefs from different Chinese provinces to recreate the authentic flavours and styles of the various regional traditions.
Good to know There are a few outdoor tables on Jarvis Street for sunny days.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 11am – 10pm
Friday + Saturday, 11am – 10.30pm
Contact 069 615 9537
Where to find it 10 Jarvis Street, Cape Quarter, De Waterkant, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

HeSheng Chinese Restaurant

Chinese Restaurants: Hesheng

Authentic with a capital A, HeSheng prides itself on lip-smacking food that has long had Sea Point locals, Chinese patrons and a few of Cape Town’s top chefs coming back for more. New owners (two young couples who worked with Ma and then took over in 2023) have kept the same no-frills philosophy of cheap-and-cheerful decor and honest-to-goodness food, and pretty much the same menu of adventurous dishes that you won’t find elsewhere in the city. In addition to dim sum, noodles, wonton soups and spring rolls, there are also exciting salads and vegetable dishes (the xiao long bao comes highly recommended). Word of mouth has turned this once-secret hole-in-the-wall into a famed Sea Point favourite.
Opening times Monday, Wednesday – Sunday, 11.30am – 3pm; 5pm – 9pm
Contact 021 433 0739
Where to find it 269 Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town

South China Dim Sum Bar

Chinese Restaurants: South China Dimsum

South China Dim Sum Bar has been at the forefront of authentic dim sum in Cape Town for over a decade, with a quirky hole-in-the-wall vibe, vintage Bruce Lee film posters and chalkboard menus. Owner and chef, Ed Hung, who you’ll see at work in the open kitchen, keeps the streetfood vibe with a short, regularly changing menu designed for sharing. We particularly loved the siu mai (open-faced dumplings with pork belly and shiitake mushrooms), vegetable potstickers with nuoc cham sweet chilli sauce, prawn har gow, and beef potstickers with chinkiang black vinegar. The char siu bao (steamed wheat bun filled with honey-roasted pork and onion) is an effortless eat, the poached lettuce dish is packed with flavour, and don’t even think of leaving the restaurant without trying the braised-beef short rib and steamed jasmine rice.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2.30pm; 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Contact 078 846 3656
Where to find it 289 Long Street, Cape Town

Linko

Chinese Restaurants: Linko

With cheerful orange walls and neon anime signs on the walls, owner Jun Zhou has added a youthful energy to Linko since he took over running the family restaurant from his father. Originally from Shanghai, they have owned this Obz stalwart since 2004. The menu retains the traditional regional Chinese favourites, such as authentic xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and sheng jian bao (pan-fried pork bao freshly handmade by friends of his father) as well as sushi. Jun comes up with innovative and delicious ideas such as the Bing, a burrito-style wrap filled with their crispy chicken, sweet and sour noodles and cucumber. Portions are generous…the huge bowl of spicy Szechuan beef noodle soup is a satisfying meal in itself.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am – 9pm
Contact 021 447 6509
Where to find it 88 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town

Bao Down

Chinese Restaurants: Bao Down

Big things, they say, come in small packages – which is certainly the case for this Green Point gem. In a beautifully calm space, with soft-pink walls, vintage bird prints, antique mirrors, greenery and origami-esque lights, chef Graham Oldfield serves a concise Asian small-plate menu with bao buns as the hero (they even feature in dessert). The place gets packed to the brim with regulars looking for flavour-filled bites, including moreish Korean fried chicken, hoisin-braised duck leg, pork belly, gochujang sweet potato, and spicy prawn baos, plus wonton soup and prawn toast – all artfully plated on Chinese supermarket crockery.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 6pm – 11pm (5:30pm – 11pm during winter months)
Saturday, 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 11pm (5:30pm – 11pm during winter months)
Contact 066 022 1165, restaurantbaodown@gmail.com
Where to find it 1st Floor, Exhibition Building, 79 Main Road, Green Point
Book through DinePlan

Lee’s Chinese Restaurant

Chinese Restaurants: Lees

There’s no attempt at decor here at this traditional Chinese restaurant overlooking a Bergvliet parking lot, but somehow there’s always a buzz and the small space gets busy. Originally from South China, three generations of the family have owned Lee’s since 2003, and it’s a firm local favourite both for takeout and eat in, with a popular sushi offering as well as the traditional Chinese dishes. The spring rolls are divine, fresh, crunchy, tasty and substantial, and we enjoyed chicken in oyster sauce, stir-fried broccoli and mushroom and sweet-and-sour prawns, all excellent value. For a decadent finish we highly recommend keeping space for the deep-fried banana spring roll with ice cream, absolutely delicious.
Opening times Sunday – Thursday, 11am – 8pm
Friday + Saturday, 10.30am – 8pm
Contact 071 363 9861
Where to find it Sherwood Centre, Bergvliet, Cape Town

Chuck Yang’s

Chinese Restaurants: Chuck Yangs

They say “we are not a fast food shop, we are good food done quickly”, and that sums up what Rondebosch locals love about Chuck Yang’s. The small hole in the wall space is unpretentious and unassuming, serving up the classic Chinese dishes done right. Their General chicken is a go-to with tangy sticky sauce and roast sesame seeds. Chicken chow mein is served on homemade noodles, sweet-and-sour chicken comes with plenty of vegetables and juicy fruit as well as the crispy chicken pieces, and coriander beef is fragrant with herbs and onions.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 11.30am –  9pm
Sunday, 11am –  9pm
Contact 074 224 1538
Where to find it 92 Campground Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town

Tang Waterfront

Chinese Restaurants: Tang

A sophisticated, sensual space clad in pale oak and marble (with pops of cherry blossoms), Tang is inspired by classic Cantonese eateries in Hong Kong and Japanese izakayas. It then refines all those pan Asian flavours and aromas into an upmarket dining experience (all with the best Waterfront views, of course). The menu features modern iterations of classic Asian cuisine – cooked in woks and on a robata grill to infuse smoky flavours. The signature Peking duck is superb, there’s prime wagyu and Angus beef, lobster, langoustines, soft shell crab and more. And a variety of gyoza (potstickers) and tantalising sushi, plus decadent desserts with the flavours of yuzu, matcha, ginger, sake, sesame – and chocolate.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 11pm
Contact 076 652 8772 (also WhatsApp), reservationsva@tanghospitality.com
Where to find it Shop 153, Ground Level, Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Yummy Dim Sum

You have to be in the know to find this gem, hidden away behind a metal fence in a Montague Gardens factory. The factory produces dim sum for many Cape Town restaurants and Asian grocer freezers, but you can pop in to eat fresh from the kitchen in the no-frills four-table cafeteria. Order from the tickbox menu of wonton soups, stir fries, noodles, small plate dumplings, specialty pastries, pan-fried radish cake and more (go in a group so you can taste as many dishes as possible). The must-tries are the mix puffs, rice roll steamed pancakes and totally delicious soup dumplings, as authentic and fresh as you can get, and served with red, puerh and oolong teas. 

Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am –  5pm
Saturday, 10am –  2pm
Contact 081 464 5628
Where to find it 8 Marconi Drive, Montague Gardens, Cape Town

Which are your favourites? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 02 July 2024

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