Long, long time ago, even before Bree Street and Woodstock got all fancy and gentrified, Kloof Street was a hot culinary destination. In the 90s, places such as Rozenhof (and even Café Paradiso and Yindee’s) created a stir, because there was relatively little competition. Things have changed since then, with a slew of restaurants opening (and closing) on this busy eight-block strip. The street itself, and its neighbouring precinct, Kloof Nek Corner, remains a dining powerhouse, despite staunch competition in close proximity. Here are our picks on Kloof Street and Kloof Nek Road.
From Liam Tomlin, the head honcho of Chefs Warehouse, in partnership with Dimo Papachristodoulou (Fat Cactus and Long Street Café), comes this exciting Indian tapas-style eatery, where the more (dishes you share), the merrier. The popular Tapas for Two (R700) 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 India.
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
2. Janse & Co
City slickers (who love a spot of haute cuisine every now and again),you’re in for the mother of all treats! Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg (of Maison in Franschhoek fame) opened a new spot on Kloof Street in December 2017 – with his wife and pastry chef, Liezl Odendaal.
As he did for six delicious years at Maison, Arno has created a menu of boundary-pushing yet perfectly pared-down dishes, but instead of a relaxed farm setting, diners can now enjoy these palate-popping dishes in a super-stylish innercity environment. His starting point, as always: the best ingredients, prepared with passion, with a strong focus on provenance and seasonality, of course. The 20-item menu changes according to seasonal availability, and as Janse & Co’s delightfully affable restaurant manager, Ronel Smidt, says: “Don’t get too attached to anything on the menu because Arno changes them regularly!”.
Opening times Thursday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm; Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 9pm
Contact 021 422 0384, email@example.com
Where to find it 75 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Reviewer Nikki Benatar
3. Kyoto Garden Sushi
From USA-born Scott Wood comes this serene and sophisticated Japanese dining experience, where classic sushi favourites are plentiful, but the option to try some of the menu’s exotic offerings is hard to resist. We’re talking salmon from Alaska, lobster from Maine, and deep-sea scallops from Japan, to name a few, all of which receive the respect they deserve from the zealous team of chefs. Or sink your hooks into a comforting bowl of ramen or grease-free tempura, as you take in the serene, Zen-inspired surrounds. It’s pricier than many, but worth every single cent.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 5.30pm – 11pm
Contact 021 422 2001, kyotogardensushict.com
Where to find it 11 Lower Kloof Nek Road, Gardens, Cape Town
Reviewer Nikki Benatar
4. The Power & The Glory
The sidewalk on Kloof Nek Road would be practically unrecognisable without the streams of thirsty hipsters overflowing from The Power & The Glory. P&G (as it’s known to locals) has established a sense of community among its visitors through uncomplicated yet delicious grub, an impossibly cool yet lively atmosphere, and of course, it’s ever-popular Black Ram bar that becomes the main attraction after 5pm. Pop in for a hotdog and cider as you soak up the city scene, or embrace your adventurous side with a famous gherkin shot.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 8am – 1am
Saturday, 9am – 1am
Contact 021 422 2108, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 13D Kloof Nek Road, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town
5. Planet Restaurant at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
Above the Company’s Garden, behind famous white pillars, this iconic hotel needs little introduction. Headed by chef Dion Vengatass, Planet Restaurant is the perfect destination for dinner with a dash of glamour. The superb food is enhanced by the galaxy-inspired decor and interiors, complete with crystal orbs and a star-flecked ceiling, making it rather lovely for after-work rendez-vous.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 483 1948, email@example.com
Where to find it Mount Nelson Hotel, 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town
6. Black Sheep Restaurant
This cool, contemporary space is a go-to zone for foodies, hipsters and office workers in the area. Not surprisingly, because chef Jonathan Japha serves up a range of comfort dishes that are wholesome, flavourful and utterly satisfying. He changes his menu daily, so you could eat there 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.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 3pm; 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Monday, 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 426 2661, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 104 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Set under the eaves of a revamped Victorian house, this magical restaurant is set around the trunk of a 150-year-old olive tree strung with fairy lights – it almost feels as if you’ve stepped into the pages of a medieval fairytale book.
Tuesday jazz nights, when Mr Keys & The Funky Munks take to the stage for a two-hour set, are sold-out affairs, and on other nights the Asian-style sharing plates vie with the delicious cocktail menu for diners’ affections. Cocktail purées are made fresh each day, and drinks mixed by trained mixologists. Another added bonus is that the kitchen stays open until 12pm each night – a rare occurrence in Cape Town!It’s easy to understand why this Arabian Nights-inspired locale has been upholding its reputation as a Kloof Street gem for over a decade.
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Opening times Monday – Sunday, 5pm – 2am.
Contact 021 422 0909, email@example.com
Where to find it 68 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
8. Today & Tomorrow
Located in the space that was once home to Mitico Restaurant, Today & Tomorrow is the sister of Yours Truly – the popular locale up the street. But while Yours Truly is great for laidback DJ beats, chatter and drinks, Today & Tomorrow is perfect for a relaxed sit-down bite with an edge.
Casually laid tables overflow with all types: everyone from the excitable Yours Truly locals, couples on dates, friends catching up, and even the occasional family sharing a plate of loaded fries.
Many aspects hint to its part in the Yours Truly group (similar logo design, hanging plants, young waitstaff and twinkling fairy lights), but T&T has a magic of its own that will have you returning, er, today and tomorrow!
The menu is unpretentious, and features wholesome, darn delicious classics: everything from smoothie bowls, eggs benedict, and banana bread to salads, pizza, pasta, fried chicken, and steak sandwiches.
We recommend the house burger: a tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef patty on a heavenly toasted-brioche bun, with garlic mayo and a side of your choice. There’s also a delectable dessert menu that features crème brûlée, cheesecake, tiramisu, and a gooey chocolate brownie, as well an extensive drinks menu, offering everything from wine, beer and spirits, to fruit juices and freshly brewed coffee.
Opened 16 May 2018
Opening times Sunday – Tuesday, 8am – 12am
Wednesday – Saturday, 8am – 2am
Contact 021 422 0175, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 71 Kloof Street, Cape Town
Reviewer Kent Cloete
9. Kloof Street House
Housed in a 20th century Victorian house, this cool courtyard restaurant, set back from busy Kloof Street, is like stepping into the pages of The Great Gatsby. Hidden behind thick shrubs, you might miss it but, once inside, you’ll be happy that you didn’t. The twinkling fairy lights and velvet cushions that line the garden seating area, as well as the warmly lit, romantic setting of the cosy-chic interior, makes this one of Kloof Street’s sexiest haunts for a special occasion, date night, or a no-excuses-needed meal with family and friends. Relax under the trees outside with a delicious cocktail and a tapas sharing platter, or settle into a plush chair inside one of the perfectly curated dining rooms for a brasserie-style main, and the famous popcorn cheesecake dessert.
Opening times Monday 5pm – 2am
Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 2am
Contact 021 423 4413, email@example.com
Where to find it Kloof Street House, 39 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
10. Stacked Diner
You might fall off your chair in disbelief when you clock the prices of the burgers at this cool diner on Kloof Street – R47 for 100% free-range, grass-fed beef burger, which just so happens to be bloody delicious. (Consider that a factory-farmed patty from a big nationwide chain – no names mentioned – costs almost double!)
But, wait, there’s more… included in that paltry amount are as many toppings as you desire including caramelised onions, chipotle mayo, gherkins, jalapeños, grilled mushrooms, among many more.
The menu also includes 100% pure pork, preservative-free hot dogs, salads, all-day breakfasts, waffles, real buttermilk flapjacks, desserts and real dairy ice-cream, handspun shakes. Sit at a street-facing table and shlurp on a cloyingly decadent shake, while gazing at unfettered views of Table Mountain through the large sliding windows.
Opening times Sunday – Thursday, 7.30am – 10pm; Friday – Saturday, 7.30am – 11pm
Contact 021 422 1572, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 60B Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Reviewer Nikki Benatar
11. Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant and Sushi Bar
When it rather presciently opened 21 years ago (in 1997), Saigon set the gold standard in Asian cuisine with Vietnamese Thipert Van My at the assured helm. Over the intervening years, the restaurant has gained a vast and devoted following. Standards have remained rock-solid. It’s almost always full (booking essential, especially in season) and I have never had so much as a morsel that was not delectable: aromatic, evocative, and with a generous and respectful treatment of fresh and vibrant ingredients. The management and wait-staff welcome you as if to their own homes and the room, which is gorgeous, has one of those aching panoramic views of Table Mountain that during a summer sunset is epiphanic.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 12pm – 2.30pm; 6pm – 10.30pm
Saturday 6pm – 10.30pm
Sunday 12pm – 2.30pm; 6pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 424 7670, email@example.com
Where to find it Corner Kloof and Camp Streets, Gardens, Cape Town
Reviewer Gordon Radowsky
12. Manna Epicure
Owned by Agnès and Jonny van der Westhuizen (she’s French-Corsican and he’s a boereseuntjie from Citrusdal), Manna Epicure combines French flair and homegrown hospitality. It’s a popular all-day breakfast spot, offering a delicious assortment of gluten-free options, too – we recommend the scrumptious coconut bread. The contemporary all-white interiors make it a lovely choice to enjoy a modern bistro-style lunch or dinner.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 8am – 10pm
Sunday – Monday, 8am – 9pm
Contact 021 426 2413, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 151 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
13. El Burro Taqueria
The sister restaurant to the original Green Point branch, El Burro Taqueria dishes up the same mouth-popping Mexican flavours, but with a bite-sized twist. Tons of tapas, where the more items your order, the more tastes and textures you’ll experience. It’s a much smaller space than its Newlands and Green Point siblings, but just as big on ambience and flavour.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 11pm
Contact 021 422 3554, email@example.com
Where to find it 1 New Church Street and Kloof Nek Road, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town
What looks like an inconspicuous house from the outside is actually an award-winning Kloof Street eatery, where irresistible aromas, warm service and fragrant flavours have been luring lovers of authentic Thai for close on 20 years.
Traditional Thai artefacts create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it the ideal space to dive into some deep-fried spring rolls, savour a steamy curry and nibble on some noodles.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 3pm; 5.30pm – 10.30pm
Sunday, 5.30pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 422 1012, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 22 Camp Street, Gardens, Cape Town
15. Yours Truly
Dotted with MacBooks by day, this iconic Kloof Street café morphs into a party central by late afternoon, when coffee cups are traded in for wine glasses, and the only screens in use are for large projected surf videos and live DJ beats. A pretty combination of greenery and a wood, this venue provides refuge from the concrete jungle outside and is the perfect place to share a pizza and a beer.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 6am – 12am
Contact 021426 2587, email@example.com
Where to find it 73 Kloof Street, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town
16. Mustacchio Café
Inspired by an Italian caffe, this coffeeshop-restaurant pours attention and flavour into every cup – just like the Italians do. If you’ve already exceeded your daily caffeine limit, fear not; they also offer tasty cocktails and a selection of craft beer and premium spirits. Pop in at any time of the day for a satisfying breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 7am – 9pm
Saturday – Sunday, 9am – 9pm
Contact 021 422 3004, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Shop number 1, Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
17. The Bombay Bicycle Club
If the vintage car on the roof doesn’t catch your eye, then the large Jollywood sign and a sprinkling of fairy lights on the outside walls ought to. Part of the fantastic Madame Zingara franchise, the BBC (as it’s known to locals) is a dining experience worth trying at least once! Bohemian decor and moody red and gold lighting evoke a fantasy world, where lively staff enhance the jolly atmosphere. Enjoy a cocktail at the bar, then slip off to a secluded swing-seat table at the back for a romantic dinner.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 4pm – 12pm (bar); 6pm – 11pm (kitchen)
Contact 021 423 6805, email@example.com
Where to find it 151 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
We also rate
- Miller’s Thumb for tasty, well-prepared seafood
- Nourish’d Café & Juicery for heavenly smoothies and wholesome meals
- Arnolds on Kloof for early bird coffees and excellent-value all-day breakfasts
- Tiger’s Milk for the vibe and satisfying post-work beers and burgers
- Molten Toffee for artisanal coffee and cloying treats
- The Deckhouse Crabshack & BBQ for rustic, no-nonsense seafood
- Sushi Box for good sushi
- Beleza Restaurant for finger-licking Portuguese
- Carne on Kloof for Giorgio Nava’s superb meat and Italian dishes
- Café Paradiso for Mediterranean-style dining in a picturesque garden setting
- Life Unframed for the best ice cream in Cape Town (even if the vibe is slightly sterile for an ice-cream parlour)
- Olive Branch Deli for wholesome local produce
- Jerry’s Burger Bar for hit-the-spot burgers
- Rick’s Café Americain for its endless list of cocktails
- The Fat Cactus for mouthwatering nachos and tantalising gingerbread shots
Researched by Kent Cloete, Matthew Flax, Nikki Benatar, Michelle de Bruin
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