SA’s Best Chefs Name Their Top Restaurants in Cape Town 2019
Claire Gunn

We asked 60 of SA's top chefs where they eat when they're not whipping up feasts in their own kitchens.

It’s that time of year again! In 2017 and 2018, we asked some of SA’s top chefs where they liked to dine when they’re not conjuring culinary excellence in their own kitchens. Now, as Cape Town’s thriving restaurant scene continues to accrue accolades, and a new year dawns with more exciting developments on the horizon, we asked our counsel of gastronomic wizards to once again provide their hallowed insight.

We divided the questions into categories, to ensure we covered the gamut of experiences (and price ranges).

Do you agree with the chefs’ picks? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Meet our panel of chefs

We’d like to thank all the chefs who participated in 2019 (arranged below in alphabetical order). We appreciate you taking time from your busy schedules to provide your much-valued input.

The Best Restaurant Categories

1. For a casual meal
Because you’re not always in the mood for fine dining, and restaurants that offer good food and service in a casual atmosphere deserve recognition.

2. For a special occasion
On the other hand, when you’re looking to treat that special someone, you want a restaurant with the elegance to match the occasion.

3. Best new restaurant
There’s no shortage of exciting new eateries in Cape Town!

4. Best restaurant that is an “oldie but a goodie”
Grand old institutions that consistently deliver.

5. For a Winelands experience
Where the food and service match the spectacular scenery.

6. For a guilty pleasure
When only some fast food, a takeout, or a really decadent dessert will do the trick.

7. For authentic / international cuisine
A restaurant that specialises in a particular type of cuisine – whether Indian, Japanese, South African or even American – and executes it to perfection.

8. The best restaurant overall
The restaurant that ticks all the boxes. Great food, great service, great experience.

The Best Restaurant for a Casual Meal

WINNER: Four & Twenty Café

Breakfast Four and Twenty

This charming café takes the cake yet again (speaking of which, the cakes there are pretty good). Owner-chef Tracy-Leigh Genricks was inspired by her travels in France, and brought a piece of Paris back with her when she founded Four & Twenty in 2013. It has the feel of a Parisian sidewalk café, with pastries to match.

Contact 021 762 0975, info@fourandtwentycafe.co.za
Location 23 Wolfe Street, Chelsea Village, Wynberg

“This is obviously biased, but my wife’s café: Four & Twenty”
James Gaag (La Colombe)

RUNNER-UP: Clarke's Bar & Dining Room

Clarke's: Chefs Best restaurants

Going strong since 2011, the Bree Street diner is the go-to spot for breakfasts, burgers and brewskies.

Contact 087 470 0165, book through DinePlan
Location 133 Bree Street, Cape Town

“I suppose it helps that it’s a hundred metres away from work, but I love it. Good food. I normally have the omelette for brekkie (best in Cape Town, in my opinion) and the baby burger with twice-fried fries for lunch. The cocktails are awesome too!”
Ash Heeger (Riverine Rabbit)

“Top of my list for somewhere simple but top-quality – best burgers in town and cheese fries to die for.”
Peter Goffe-Wood (Ultimate Braai Master)

RUNNER-UP: Foxcroft

Foxcroft: Chefs Best Restaurants

Glen Foxcroft Williams, the prince of pastries, co-founded this Constantia gem with feted La Colombe chef-proprietor Scot Kirton. Though the vibe is more laid-back than its buttoned-up sister restaurants, the food is equally exceptional.

Contact 021 202 3304, book through DinePlan
Location Shop 8, High Constantia Centre, Groot Constantia Road, Constantia

“Relaxing vibe and the food is really good!”
Carolize Coetzee (Tokara Restaurant)

“Brilliant flavours, well-presented food. Lunch is nothing pretentious with an amazing view.”
Chad Blows (Two Oceans Restaurant)

“A laidback atmosphere but also great food, and amazing drinks. I always have good meals there.”
Stephen Raaf (Protégé)

RUNNER-UP: La Tête

La Tete: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Image: Claire Gunn

Chef-patron Giles Edwards serves up fresh, seasonal French-bistro fare at this Bree Street eatery, with a focus on nose-to-tail philosophy (using every part of the animal, leaving nothing to waste).

Contact 021 418 1299, info@latete.co.za
Location 17 Bree Street, Cape Town

“Consistent and unusual menu, no frill [sic].”
Giorgio Nava (Carne and 95 Keerom)

RUNNER-UP: South China Dim Sum Bar

South China Dim Sum: Chefs Best restaurants Image: Ruth Smith

Delicious dumplings and other Cantonese fare are the order of the day at this (very well) hidden gem on Long Street.

Contact 078 846 3656, southchinadimsumbar@gmail.com
Location 289 Long Street, Cape Town

“Really good quality, affordable, intimate and relaxed.”
André Hill (Upper Bloem)

“Amazingly down-to-earth and it’s all about the food! Simple and perfectly executed.”
Chris Erasmus (Foliage)

The Best Restaurant for a Special Occasion

WINNER: Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia

Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia: Chefs Best Restaurants Claire Gunn

Voted the best restaurant overall in our 2018 edition, the Constantia branch of Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse collection (which started with the legendary Chefs Warehouse & Canteen on Bree Street) is still one of the hottest venues in Cape Town, three years after its opening. With panoramic views of the Constantia Valley, and the top-class cuisine you’d expect of a Liam Tomlin establishment, it’s an experience worthy of any (special) occasion.

Contact 021 794 8632, book through DinePlan
Location Beau Constantia, 1043 Constantia Main Road, Glen Alpine, Constantia

“The food is some of the best in Cape Town, with spectacular views.”
Adele Grewar ( Abundance Catering Company)

“Ivor [Jones] and his team have created something fantastic, with a real pulse on ingredients and flair. The food is curious and intriguing without losing sight of what is really at hand. The setting plays a strong game, and I think you will struggle to find a better view, day or night.”
Giles Edwards (La Tête)

“The views are spectacular, the atmosphere is elegant yet unpretentious, and Ivor Jones’ food never disappoints. Perfect for a special occasion, as it has that certain wow factor.”
Matt Manning (Grub & Vine)

RUNNER-UP: Wolfgat

Wolfgat: Chefs Best Restaurants Image: Sam Linsell

Named Best Restaurant in the World at The World Restaurant Awards in Paris in February 2019, this intimate, 20-seater restaurant offers a one-of-a-kind experience. The two-hour journey up the West Coast to reach this charming revamped fisherman’s cottage on the Paternoster coastline makes any visit to Wolfgat a very special occasion indeed.

Contact book through DinePlan
Location 10 Sampson street, Paternoster

“We’ve loved going there for years. Every mouthful puts a smile on my face and the venue is so chilled, you could sit there all day.”
Luke Wonnacott (Table Seven)

“Never fails to impress.”
Ryan Cole (Salsify at The Roundhouse)

RUNNER-UP: Greenhouse

Greenhouse: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

The grand old Constantia gem is the epitome of elegance. Newly appointed head chef Farrel Hirsch has taken the lead from executive chef Peter Tempelhoff and former head chef Ashley Moss, pushing boundaries to create inspiring dishes. With a mesmerising garden setting that is maximised by the glass-panelled walls, it’s no wonder the chefs consistently rate Greenhouse as one of their top venues for a special occasion.

Contact 021 795 6226, reservations@greenhouserestaurant.co.za
Location The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia

“I had one of the most memorable meals of my life a couple of months ago at Greenhouse. Wow! Twelve courses of incredible food, wine and service. I honestly can’t recommend it enough for a special occasion.”
Ash Heeger (Riverine Rabbit)

RUNNER-UP: The Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen: Chefs Best Restaurants Image: Andy Lund

Incredible ambience and an immersive dining experience makes this world-famous restaurant one of the most desirable venues to celebrate any special event (especially considering how far in advance you have to book a table).

Contact 021 447 2337, book through DinePlan
Location The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock

“I have been there five times since 2011, and every time the experience is different but always memorable and amazing. It’s a dining wonder. A place where you feel like magic can happen.”
Frederico Dias (formerly Pot Luck Club)

“I love going to The Test Kitchen, and it always helps knowing the chef if you need to sneak in an emergency booking! Luke Dale Roberts cannot set a foot wrong in my opinion; his food is exceptional.”
Siba Mtongana (celebrity chef, entrepreneur and food judge)

The Best New Restaurant

WINNER: FYN

FYN: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Bruce Tuck

Peter Tempelhoff’s brand new 60-seater urban eatery – which he co-owns with Jennifer Hugé (general manager) and Ashley Moss (executive chef) – is clearly the hot new spot in town, as it received the most votes in this category by quite some distance. Some chefs voted for FYN without even having been there yet, such is the level of excitement generated by word of mouth. And even if we discounted those votes, it would still win by a comfortable margin.
Perched on the fifth floor, with 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. The African-inspired menu (with an overarching Japanese aesthetic) makes for a delicious combination of tastes, flavours, textures and styles.

Contact 021 286 2733, book through DinePlan
Location 37 Parliament Street, Speakers Corner, Church Square, Cape Town

“A fresh concept of the kitchen becoming part of the dining room, with really exciting flavours on your plates.”
Adele Grewar (Abundance Catering Company)

“One of a kind.”
Farrel Hirsch (Greenhouse)

RUNNER-UP: Bao Down

Bao Down: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Image: adamastorbacchus.blogspot.com

Former head chef of Chefs Warehouse, Graham Oldfield, devises dishes that are small in size but big on flavour at this popular Asian-American eatery (characterfully decorated by his wife, Philippa). Bao buns, moreish spicy chicken wings, and delicious beef brisket are just a few of the items on offer at Bao Down, artfully plated on crockery from Chinese supermarkets across Cape Town.

Contact 066 022 1165, restaurantbaodown@gmail.com
Location 3 Vredehoek Avenue, Oranjezicht, Cape Town

“It’s a small restaurant that produces food far better than what you get on some wine farms or high-end fine-dining restaurants. I would literally go everyday if I could.”
Jean-Pierre van der Haar (Thali)

“Love the unpretentious feel. The acoustics are not quite right yet – definitely a work in progress, but damn the flavours are extraordinary!”
Lapo Magni (Lapo’s Kitchen)

“The highlight was an aubergine dish with miso and sesame, probably the best thing I tasted in 2018.”
Rudi Liebenberg (Planet Bar at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel)

RUNNER-UP: The Commissary

The Commissary: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

From the international-award-winning team behind The Shortmarket Club comes this no-fuss casual eatery where gourmet street food is the order of the evening.

Contact 021 422 2902, info@theshortmarketclub.co.za
Location 88 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

“Wes [Randles] and Simon [Widdison] have nailed it. Amazingly good food, produced at next level with absolute coolness. The vibe is great and it’s no surprise that it’s full of chefs indulging on their day off. The winelist is great and the food and vibe exceptional. This is the way food and restaurants are going.”
Giles Edwards (La Tête)

“I’ve really been enjoying The Commissary lately, especially as they’re open on a Monday, my night off. The vibe is New York-cool-yet-casual, the service on the ball, and the tasty snacky plate options keep the meal varied and fun. You have to try the wedge salad!”
Matt Manning (Grub & Vine)

RUNNER-UP: Janse & Co

Janse & Co: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

It’s just over a year old now, but it’s clear the chefs still rate this stylish innercity eatery on Kloof Street as one of Cape Town’s hottest new venues. Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg offers boundary-pushing yet perfectly pared-down dishes at Janse & Co, with a strong focus on provenance and seasonality.

Contact 021 422 0384, book through DinePlan
Location 75 Kloof Street, Cape Town

RUNNER-UP: Upper Bloem

Upper Bloem: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

With a menu inspired by head chef André Hill’s childhood memories (growing up on Upper Bloem Street in the Bo Kaap), this modern fine-dining eatery on the Green Point strip is – as co-owner and chef Henry Vigar (of La Mouette fame) describes it – a journey of “flavours, spices, textures, colours, inspiration and nostalgia”.

Contact 021 433 1442, book through DinePlane
Location Shop 1, Winston Place, 65 Main Road, Green Point

“Simply to be described as fresh air. Exciting, fun and unpretentious like everything good should be.”
Guido Brambilla (BOCCA)

“Innovative cooking in a intimate setting. It’s great to see traditional South African food being interpreted in a modern restaurant idiom.”
Peter Goffe-Wood (Ultimate Braai Master)

“Imagine having two chefs you idolise in one kitchen, making food that feels true to their soul. What else would perfection be?”
Themba Bawuti (La Mouette)

The Best Oldie but Goodie

WINNER: The Foodbarn

The Foodbarn: Chefs Best Restaurants

Anyone surprised by this choice? We didn’t think so. French-born Franck Dangereux is one of the chefs credited with bringing fine-dining to the Cape, and in 2006 he opened this country-style restaurant in Noordhoek. It started out as a humble sandwich stall, but grew to become a Cape Town institution. And over a decade later, it’s still consistently delivering good service and delicious breakfasts, lunches and tapas, all in a relaxed, family-friendly setting.

Contact 021 789 1390, book through DinePlan
Location The Noordhoek Farm Village, Corner of Village Lane and Noordhoek Main Road, Noordhoek

“Franck, the man who put La Colombe [on the map] has been doing it right.”
Gustaaf Boshoff (Green Goose Eatery)

“It constantly delivers the same quality of food and service as the day it opened about 12 years ago. Franck Dangereux is still one of the most talented chefs in the Cape, and his food-and-wine pairing lunches are not to be missed.”
Peter Goffe-Wood (Ultimate Braai Master)

RUNNER-UP: Aubergine

Aubergine: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

Another stalwart on the restaurant scene, this fine-dining establishment – housed in a characterful old building in the heart of Cape Town – has been serving creative dishes and meticulously planned wine pairings since 1996. German-born chef-owner Harald Bresselschmidt is held in high regard by top chefs in South Africa, and throughout the world, for his culinary achievements. His passion for food – cultivated during his pastoral childhood on a dairy farm on the border of Belgium – shines through in his food philosophy, which emphasises fresh produce sourced directly from farmers and trusted suppliers.

Contact 021 465 0000, book through DinePlan
Location 39 Barnet Street, Gardens, Cape Town

“Chef Harald Bresselschmidt is always present – a guardian of quality and integrity.”
Guido Brambilla (BOCCA)

“Old-school restaurant with class and charm.”
Giorgio Nava (Carne and 95 Keerom)

RUNNER-UP: A Tavola

A Tavola: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Image: citybymouth.com

Fresh, seasonal produce is the order of the day at this busy restaurant in Claremont, where hearty aromas of bold Italian flavours waft into the dining area from the open-plan kitchen. Passionate owner David Haupt is committed to using organic herbs and vegetables, pasture-reared beef, sustainable fish and handmade pasta (including wheat and gluten-free) in all the tasty dishes.

Contact 021 671 1763, info@atavola.co.za
Location Library Square, Wilderness Road, Claremont

“David [Haupt] and Jomo [Salani] run one of my most visited restaurants in Cape Town. The winelist is phenomenal, and I suppose I go because I know I can always get vitello tonnato, and without doubt the calves’ liver pasta. I take my four-year-old son there most Fridays for lunch post school, as my mother used to do with me in Joburg.”
Giles Edwards (La Tête)

“The best Italian food I’ve eaten outside of Italy.”
Peter Goffe-Wood (Ultimate Braai Master)

RUNNER-UP: High Tea at the Mount Nelson

Belmond Mount Nelson High Tea: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Image: tabletopaper

The grand old hotel hosts several highly rated dining venues, including the Lord Nelson Restaurant and The Planet Bar (both of which were rated by chefs in various categories), but the High Tea here seems especially prominent in the minds of top chefs. Served in the lounge, on the spacious terrace or down in the garden around the fountain, the elegance of the presentation matches that of the illustrious venue.

Contact 021 483 1000, reservations.mnh@belmond.com
Location 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town

“I have to support my hubby (he’s their pastry chef). The tea experience is a bucket-list event!”
Veronica Canha-Hibbert (Silo Hotel)

“The Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel has a special magic about it, one of the best places in Cape Town for an afternoon High Tea.”
Adele Grewar (Abundance Catering Company)

The Best Restaurant for a Winelands Experience

WINNER: Chefs Warehouse at Maison

Chefs Warehouse at Maison: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Claire Gunn

In an extremely competitive category, where many culinary masters have long reigned, this relative newcomer rises to take top spot. Co-founded by chef-owners Liam Tomlin and David Schneider, and situated on the beautiful Maison Estate in Franschhoek, the latest addition to the Chefs Warehouse collection offers the signature scintillating tapas dishes, paired with Antwan Bondesio’s award-winning wines.

Contact 021 876 2116, book through DinePlan
Location Maison Estate, R45, Franschhoek

“Anything chef Liam Tomlin has a hand in is amazing. Standout dish by far is the linefish sashimi.”
Chad Blows (Two Oceans Restaurant)

“It is a beautiful fresh match of food and scenery.”
Chris Erasmus (Foliage)

“I love this view of Franschhoek. We have the iconic views from Haute Cabrière and La Petite Ferme, overlooking Franschhoek from higher up in the village, but this is a different view, almost as if you are in the French countryside.”
Vanie Padayachee (Marigold Authentic Indian)

RUNNER-UP: Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia

Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Image: Claire Gunn

Cutting-edge cuisine and mesmerising views of the valley means the Constantia branch of Chefs Warehouse ranks close behind its sister restaurant.

Contact 021 794 8632, book through DinePlan
Location Beau Constantia, 1043 Constantia Main Road, Glen Alpine, Constantia

“Amazing views, fantastic food, really good service.”
Andre Hill (Upper Bloem)

“Ivor [Jones] changes the menu quite frequently, and plays with Asian flavours and contemporary cuisine. I love the simplicity of the presentation, but yet it has such intricacy in terms of the layering of intense flavour that leaves you mesmerised and wondering ‘how did he do this?’. I wish I had a budget that would allow me to eat there every day. “
Dion Vengatass (Lord Nelson Restaurant at Belmond Mount Nelson)

“Everything about this place is spectacular – from the service to the food and drinks”
Luke Wonnacott (Table Seven)

“Great views along with spectacular food and wine. Chefs Warehouse always has interesting dishes and combinations.”
Stephen Raaf (Protégé)

RUNNER-UP: Overture

Overture: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

Bertus Basson’s Winelands wonder continues to rank as a prime destination for delicious South African-inspired cuisine, and spectacular views.

Contact 021 880 2721, book through DinePlan
Location Hidden Valley Wines, T4 Route off Annandale Road, R44, Stellenbosch

“Bertus [Basson] is the king of cooking local ingredients and taking it to the next level. With great views over the Winelands, you are in for a treat.”
Gregory Czarnecki (The Restaurant at Waterkloof)

“Overture is my favourite, you can’t beat the combination of scenery, service and food.”
Neil Swart (Belly of the Beast)

“It was the place where my wife and I tied the knot, and Bertus [Basson] designed a bespoke five-course menu for us and our guests.”
Gustaaf Boshoff (Green Goose Eatery)

RUNNER-UP: Jordan Restaurant

Jordan Restaurant: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

No list of great Winelands restaurants would be complete without this Stellenbosch stalwart, founded by the legendary George Jardine and helmed by chef Kyle Burn, whose meticulous dishes are accompanied by great wines and spectacular views of the Stellenbosch mountains. Add to that a walk-in cheese room, and a bakery where you can enjoy farm-fresh breakfasts and laid-back lunches.

Contact 021 881 3612, book through DinePlan
Location Jordan Wine Estate, Stellenbosch Kloof Road, Stellenbosch

“Jordan Restaurant ticks all the boxes with a spectacular view, friendly service and good food. I also love their cheese room with preserves and pickles.”
Adele Grewar (Abundance Catering Company)

“I have had countless great meals there; beautiful setting overlooking the mountains, and a fantastic cheese room.”
Henry Vigar (La Mouette and Upper Bloem)

“The setting is idyllic and the food is a treat. Coupled with flawless service, you can’t go wrong!”
Matt Manning (Grub & Vine)

The Best Restaurant for a Guilty Pleasure

WINNER (Tied): De Vrije Burger

De Vrije Burger: Chefs Best Restaurants

When you think of guilty pleasures, you think of burgers, and Bertus Basson’s takeaway burger joint in the heart of Stellenbosch has got that down to a fine art. A 200g free-range beef patty served on a homemade butter bun with your choice of trimmings, and even a free soft-serve ice cream on the side. Simple, yet beautiful to behold.

Contact info@devrijeburger.com
Location 24 Simonsplein, 61 Plein Street, Stellenbosch

“Best burger in Stellenbosch by far!”
Carolize Coetzee (Tokara Restaurant)

“Best burger in Stellies hands down.”
Michael Deg (Cavalli)

WINNER (Tied): The Creamery

The Creamery: Chefs Best Restaurants

The decadent dessert café is renowned for its delicious gelato, which is handmade using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients that have been produced in a conscious, sustainable way. No wonder the chefs rate this as a go-to spot for waffles and ice cream. (And the coffee ain’t bad either.)

Contact 021 447 7690, hello@thecreamery.co.za
Location Dean Street, Newlands; Beach Road, Mouille Point; and Palmyra Road, Claremont

“I love popping in summer after our promenade strolls. They take creamy to a whole different level. I also love the changing flavours, you never know what’s coming next month!”
Siba Mtongana (celebrity chef, entrepreneur and food judge)

“You have never had ice cream till you have had ice cream from The Creamery.”
Themba Bawuti (La Mouette)

RUNNER-UP: Jason Bakery

Jason Bakery: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

This corner bakery on Bree Street (and there’s a branch in Green Point, too) is the go-to spot for hipsters and innercity office workers looking for artisanal bread, buttery croissants, out-of-this-world pies and zingy sandwiches – not to mention the legendary doughssant, a croissant-doughnut hybrid pastry.

Contact 021 424 5644 (Bree Street); 021 433 0538 (Green Point) orders@jasonbakery.com
Location 185 Bree Street, Cape Town; 83 Main Road, Green Point

“You get everything here – from a quick bite to something sweet!”
Chris Erasmus (Foliage)

“Nothing beats their chocolate brownies.”
Dale Stevens (Faber at Avondale)

“For baked goods, I’m hitting up Jason [Bakery].”
Glen Williams (Foxcroft)

RUNNER-UP: Vadas Smokehouse

Vadas Smokehouse: Chefs Best Restaurants

Formerly Hoghouse BBQ & Bakery, it was relaunched in 2018 as Vadas Smokehouse, where head chef PJ Vadas (previously of The Roundhouse Restaurant and Camphors at Vergelegen) serves up hearty meat dishes (with beef, pork, chicken and eggs sourced from farmer Angus); farm-fresh bread; and an old Hoghouse favourite, the pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tart).

Contact 021 809 1137, book through DinePlan
Location Spier Wine Farm, Baden Powell Drive, Stellenbosch

“You can’t beat his [PJ Vadas] BBQ, and his southern-style pies are perfect. They also make the best pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tart) in town.”
Glen Williams (Foxcroft)

RUNNER-UP: Junior

Junior: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

Even top gourmet chefs like a bit of fast food now and then. At Junior, you can get the good old burger, fries and a shake (doughnuts are on offer, too), served over a countertop. It’s all very familiar, but the burgers here are prepared with more care and attention to ingredients than you’d get at regular fast-food joints, making it a favourite for top chefs.

Contact 021 422 2968, info@junior.co.za
Location 2, 12-16 Kloof Nek Road, Gardens

“I love those little burgers, and the fries with the Junior pink sauce are awesome!”
Frederico Dias (formerly Pot Luck Club)

“The cheese burger. Yum.”
Ryan Cole (Salsify at The Roundhouse)

The Best Restaurant for Authentic Cuisine

WINNER: Thali

Thali: Chefs Best Restaurants Claire Gunn

Liam Tomlin’s Indian tapas restaurant, now helmed by head chef Jean-Pierre van der Haar, continues to reign supreme in this category. Exotic Indian flavours, matched by the vibrant colour of the restaurant’s decor, makes Thali a favourite among top chefs for experiencing one of the world’s most popular cuisines. It joins its sister restaurants as a category winner in 2019.

Contact 021 286 2110, info@thalitapas.co.za
Location 3 Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town

“Thali, Thali, Thali. We both love Thali, and recommend it to a ton of people. Amazing flavours and cocktails. We’ve always left there feeling very satisfied.”
Neil Swart (Belly of the Beast)

“I feel Indian cuisine is one of the more tricky cuisines to master, as you are working with such bold flavours and spices. Getting those to work in harmony is a skill on its own.”
Roche Rossouw (La Parada)

“As good an Indian cuisine as I’ve eaten anywhere.”
Peter Goffe-Wood (Ultimate Braai Master)

RUNNER-UP: South China Dim Sum

South China Dim Sum Bar: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

This hole-in-the-wall on Long Street consistently ranks as a favourite among top chefs for some dim sum – the Cantonese term for small but hearty snack foods that are fried, steamed, stewed or baked and made for sharing.

Contact 078 846 3656, southchinadimsumbar@gmail.com
Location 289 Long Street, Cape Town

“While I have never been to China, the food has a clear identity of what it represents.”
Frederico Dias (formerly of Pot Luck Club)

RUNNER-UP: Nobu

Nobu: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

The Cape Town branch of the famous Nobu chain, which includes around 30 restaurants worldwide (co-owned by Robert de Niro and master chef Nobu Matsuhisa), this luxurious high-end venue has been delivering a consummate Japanese dining experience for years.

Contact 021 431 5261, book through DinePlan
Location One&Only Cape Town, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront

“The entire restaurant gives you that feel of being in an authentic restaurant. From the design and layout, to the beautiful sushi bar and even the Japanese greeting upon arrival!”
Jean-Pierre van der Haar (Thali)

RUNNER-UP: Obi Restaurant

Obi Restaurant: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

The one-and-only Hatsushiro Muraoka, otherwise known as Papa San, co-founded this no-frills eatery on Lower Long Street with his protégé Ben Bettendorf in 2016. Thankfully so, as sushi-loving Capetonians were wondering what to do with themselves after he closed down Takumi (which was itself the successor to his much-loved Minato).

Contact 021 418 4040, book through DinePlan
Location 14 Long Street, Cape Town

“Papa San and Ben [Bettendorf] never disappoint.”
Dale Stevens (Faber at Avondale)

“I love a restaurant where you can taste and feel the energy of the chef’s presence. “
Dion Vengatass (Lord Nelson Restaurant at Belmond Mount Nelson)

The Best Restaurant Overall

WINNER: Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia

Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Claire Gunn

It’s got the views, it’s got the food, it’s got the service and clearly, it’s got the consistency… the Constantia branch of Liam Tomlin’s unstoppable Chefs Warehouse collection takes our top spot for the second year running.
Top-class tapas courtesy of chef Ivor Jones (Luke Dale-Roberts’ right hand man at The Test Kitchen) and his team, combined with a spectacular venue and professional service, make this the complete dining package. But don’t take it from us, take it from the top chefs!

Contact 021 794 8632, book through DinePlan
Location Beau Constantia, 1043 Constantia Main Road, Glen Alpine, Constantia

“Pretty spectacular.”
Eric Bulpitt (Pierneef à La Motte)

“The food is incredible, the views are beautiful, and the service is great. Can’t go wrong.”
Frederico Dias (formerly Pot Luck Club)

“Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia knocks it out of the park on all fronts. Always banging, no pretense.”
Glen Williams (Foxcroft)

RUNNER-UP: La Colombe

La Colombe: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Image: Andrea van der Spuy

A veritable jewel in the Constantia Valley’s crown, this internationally acclaimed institution, currently helmed by head chef James Gaag and chef-proprietor Scot Kirton, has been delivering a first-class dining experience for years. The majestic setting above Silvermist Wine Estate certainly enhances the experience.

Contact 021 795 0125, book through DinePlan
Location Silvermist Wine Estate, Main Road, Constantia Nek

“This is a no brainer, La Colombe. There has not been a restaurant in Cape Town that has come closer to what the team at La Colombe have put together! Awesome.”
Lapo Magni (Lapo’s Kitchen)

“The La Colombe group have fine-dining down to an art form. Both my best meals of 2018 came from them.”
Michael Deg (Cavalli)

“Celebrating the opening of Belly of the Beast, we went to La Colombe for a lunch. Overall, everything was amazing. The service, food and vibe was all an awesome experience.”
Neil Swart (Belly of the Beast)

RUNNER-UP: The Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019 Image: Andy Lund

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. Once you’ve eaten here, you’ll understand why it’s the only (South) African restaurant to be featured in the The World’s Best Restaurant Awards.

Contact 021 447 2337, book through DinePlan
Location The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock

“You go for an experience, not just a dinner.”
Farrel Hirsch (Greenhouse)

“The whole experience was out of this world.”
Kyle Burn (Jordan Restaurant)

“The Test Kitchen is still the benchmark for the consummate restaurant experience – every year they seem to get better, there is no resting on laurels just a constant drive to push the envelope of good food, wine and service.”
Peter Goffe-Wood (Ultimate Braai Master)

RUNNER-UP: Wolfgat

Wolfgat: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

Named the Best Restaurant in the World at The World Restaurant Awards in Paris in February 2019, this pocket-sized gem in Paternoster, founded by chef Kobus van der Merwe, specialises in Strandveld cuisine.

Contact book through DinePlan
Location 10 Sampson street, Paternoster

“Such attention to detail. Perfect view and a unique experience every time!”
Carolize Coetzee (Tokara Restaurant)

“What can I say, I am just a massive fan.”
Ryan Cole (Salsify at The Roundhouse)

RUNNER-UP: The Restaurant at Waterkloof

The Restaurant at Waterkloof: Chefs Best Restaurants 2019

This shining glass tower in the Winelands is where French wizard Gregory Czarnecki and his team conjure up recipes inspired by his food-loving homeland, paired with wines from the estate’s own cellar.

Contact 021 858 1491, book through DinePlan
Location Waterkloof Wines, Sir Lowry’s Pass Road, Somerset West

“Exciting. Faultless.”
Zunia Boucher-Myers (Avontuur Estate)

“A dining masterpiece. The setting, the food, the service, all come together make this restaurant one of the very best!”
Veronica Canha-Hibbert (Silo Hotel)

“For sheer innovation and artistic expression that is equally matched by superb cooking.”
Gustaaf Boshoff (Green Goose Eatery)