Our Top 10 Restaurants in Cape Town
Keep in mind that this is a subjective list. Some of the restaurants mentioned are well known and enjoyed by many, from around the Cape Peninsula.
Please note that you may need to book ahead (ie when you book your holiday would be a good time) to get into some of the most popular ones. Others can be arranged nearer the time.
Cape Town City Centre & City Bowl:
The Test Kitchen
Opened in 2010, The Test Kitchen has quickly established itself as one of the best places to eat in South Africa, and reinforced the standing of chef and owner, Luke Dale-Roberts. However such success means that tables need to be booked several months in advance so be warned…
British-born Luke trained in Switzerland and England before heading to Asia for a five year stint, launching several restaurants in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines. “My time in Europe taught me to cook; my time in Asia broadened my horizons”, says Luke.
The restaurant is located in an old biscuit mill in Woodstock, a shabby-chic part of town. The huge open-plan kitchen takes up a substantial part of the restaurant, and there’s a real buzz to the place, with superb and knowledgeable waiting staff complimenting the great cuisine. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Recent Awards – Top Restaurant In South Africa in both 2014 and 2103 at the Eat Out awards 2013 S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Winner of the “Cacao Barry One To Watch Award”; 2013 S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna The World’s 50 Best Restaurants No.61; Chef of the Year at the prestigious Eat Out Dstv Food Network Restaurant Awards.
The Test Kitchen, The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
+27 (0) 21 447 2337
Opening hours: Tuesday- Saturday: Lunch: 12:30-14:00; Dinner: 19:00- 21:00
“A truly fantastic chef, … he has this ability of putting seemingly incongruent ingredients together in such a way that they work amazingly well – which is something close to my heart.”
– Heston Blumenthal, Chef and Owner, The Fat Duck.
The PotLuck Club
Pot Luck Club is the second, and more casual of Luke Dale-Roberts restaurants (see Test Kitchen above). Here is crowd-pleasing food which works again and again. Sticking to what works for them, The Pot Luck Club’s tapas-style menu is still divided into sections and abounds with extravagant flavour and edgy dishes devised by Luke Dale-Roberts and executed by head chef Wesley Randles. The fish tacos have become something of a legend. A serving of mussels steamed in bourbon and served in a chowder-esque broth with wood-fired corn is fantastic. The smoked beef fillet with truffled café au lait sauce is a decadent delight of pinkly smoked meat and rich, smooth truffle sauce. Desserts are not neglected; the pecan nut pie with celeriac ice cream is a knockout.
The only fly in the ointment is the need to book so very far in advance – allow a month at least, more in peak season…
Recent Awards – 2014 Eat Out Top 20 nominee Restaurant Awards
Pot Luck Club, Silo Building, The Old Biscuit Mill, 373-5 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
+27 (0) 21 447 0804
Opening hours: Tuesday- Saturday: Lunch: 12:30-14:00; Dinner:18:00- 20:30 (early seating) or 8.30pm til late
An award-winning sophisticated restaurant offering classic creations with a distinctly Asian flavour. Harald Bresselschmidt has been satisfying diners at his restaurant for almost 18 years and you can still find the place full of people, even in the dead of winter. The cooking is a delicious combination of healthy modern, classical cuisine influenced by subtle Asian spices. Each tantalizing course may be complemented by a choice of more than 250 wines. The dessert menu is a sugar fairy’s dream with specialties such as Tiramisu Soufflé and a selection of the finest international and local cheeses are always available. Chef Harald Bresselschmidt’s degustation menu is spectacular. If you’re going a la carte you’ll need some time to study the many pages before making a choice. Three, four or five-course menus on offer. In summer the secluded outside courtyard breaks away from the formal contemporary styling of the restaurant.
39 Barnet Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Tel: 021 465 4909
Lunch: Wednesday – Friday 12:00 – 14:00 (September – April, not on public holidays)
Dinner: Monday – Saturday 18:00 – 22:00
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront:
With spectacular views of Table Mountain and the yacht marina, chef Malika van Reenen has brought a passionate and innovative flair to this elegant contemporary restaurant with its bold and warm earthy tones and handcrafted chandeliers. Old-fashioned favourites are given new twists and unusual flavours are introduced effortlessly. The chef has drawn on the history of the Cape for her inspiration. Dishes such as the milk-poached kingklip served with lightly curried risotto are true works of art. Desserts that look and taste exquisite are there for your indulgence. The wine list provides a splendid choice at surprisingly reasonable prices. You can also choose between two tasting menus, one of which is for vegetarians. You can choose to take this with wine pairing for each course or choose wine from the wine list.
Cape Grace Hotel, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Tel: 021 418 0520
Baia Seafood Restaurant
Surely a contender for the best harbour views the Waterfront. This stylish, modern restaurant serves platters bursting with seafood. There’s always a choice of prawns, in varying degrees of size and price, crayfish and daily line fish. This can all be enjoyed outside or stylishly indoors. Please note that this is a casual restaurant rather than a fine dining experience. You’ll find an impressive wine list as well as cocktails.
Shop 6262, Upper Level, Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront
Tel: 021 421 0935/6/7
La Mouette Restaurant
Specialising in accessible and affordable fine dining, chef Henry Vigar’s Sea Point restaurant L has become a firm favourite among Capetonians, and it’s not hard to see why. The six-course tasting menu changes regularly and remains exceptional good value for money. Delivering classically French food with a few global twists, the portions are as generous as the pricing. And don’t forget about the à la carte menu…
Located in grand Tudor revival-style house in Sea Point’s Regent Street, the interior is flush with fine old fireplaces, lead-paned windows and multiple elegant dining rooms. It’s almost always busy, leading to an infectiously happy vibe.
Recent Awards – 2014 Eat Out Top 20 nominee Restaurant Awards
78 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
Tel: (021) 433 0856
The Roundhouse has a spectacular setting overlooking the Atlantic Ocean beaches. Inside, the décor is crisp and colonial with striking (and surprisingly comfortable) Nguni dining chairs. The food has a contemporary influence with a South African twist. Because of the seasonal approach, menus change almost weekly, so it’s a good idea to have a look at the website before you book. The Roundhouse is is also known for its desserts, especially the soufflé. Sommelier, Guy Harcourt-Wood, has carefully paired each course with a wine. There’s a choice of a la carte menu, 4 course and 6 course menu with and without wine pairing.
If you’re after a more relaxed affair, the restaurant’s outside section, known by the lovely name of The Rumbullion, offers a laid-back setting in which to enjoy drinks and tapas-style food during the warmer seasons.
Recent Awards – 2013 Eat Out Finalist, 2012 & 2014 Top 20 nominee Restaurant Awards
Kloof Road, The Glen, Camps Bay
Tel: (021) 438 4347
Opening Hours: Dinner (Tuesday – Saturday 18:00 until closed) & Lunch (Wednesday – Saturday 12:00 – 14:30)
Azure at the 12 Apostles
Showing a strong focus on seasonal ingredients and a talent for plating, Christo Pretorius offers an extensive à la carte menu plus three adventurous tasting menus at this hotel restaurant with its spectacular location overlooking the Atlantic. Highlights on the tasting menus include the blesbok, expertly cooked and served with a delicious combination of sweet potato, baked celeriac and cashew cream. The kabeljou, paired with parsnip purée and confit fennel, is equally good, and the prawn dhal with creamed cauliflower, coconut, compressed cucumber, coriander yoghurt and pineapple chutney makes for a memorable experience. Clearly, there’s a lot of passion and ambition here.
Service is warm, friendly and attentive, with knowledgeable wine pairing suggestions by the amiable sommelier Gregory Mutambe.
The interior features a strong African/seaside theme, with nautical blues, stripes, shells and sailboats. It doesn’t feel like a hotel restaurant, and the deck with its knockout views never fails to impress.
The 12 Apostles Hotel, Victoria Road, near Camps Bay, Cape Town
Tel: 021 437 9029
Opening times: Lunch: Daily 12:30 – 15:30 and Dinner: Daily 18:00 – 22:00
Catharina’s at Steenberg
Steenberg has restyled the old cellar into a contemporary restaurant with a stylish adjacent cigar bar offering a full selection of Steenberg and Constantia wines as well as whiskies, ports and spirits. In good weather lunches are served outside on the terrace under the oak trees with sweeping views across lawns and historic Cape Dutch buildings to the majestic mountains. Chef Garth Almazan specialises in Cape Continental cooking, updated and enhanced by innovative spices and sauces. Local growers are the heroes in his seasonal menus. These showcase local produce, from asparagus, wild mushrooms to sustainable line fish, free-range chicken, Chalmar beef and Karoo lamb.
The signature seafood platter features lightly seared scallops, yellowtail, squid, tempura crab and steamed West Coast mussels. If you’re after more robust, earthier flavours, opt for the popular Chalmar beef wing rib and smoked pork fillet. Desserts are a mix of traditional dishes and current delicacies such as pumpkin meringue pie and Cape brandy pudding.
Steenberg’s own award winning wines are on offer, at quite reasonable prices too, as well as a wide range of leading estate wines. Ask the experienced sommelier to pair your choice of dish with one of the award-winning wines of this estate.
The restaurant décor has changed substantially with a more modern style in this historic old building. Elegant yet still intimate with a funky champagne and cocktail bar or the option to enjoy a pre-dinner drink outside. The light boxes and décor tell the story of this heritage wine farm in text and images.
Steenberg Hotel, Off Tokai Road, Constantia
Tel: 021 713 2222
Opening Times: Open daily, Lunch & Dinner 11:00-23:00
The Greenhouse at Cellars
Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s dishes are beautifully presented and his focus is on playful, avant-garde cuisine. His understanding of ingredients runs deep with fantastic dishes such as the delicate carpaccio of scallops, tuna and abalone with a tiny wasabi panna cotta and little beads of soya. Each course, from the bread upon arrival to after-dinner petit fours – cocktail-inspired delights like a bloody Mary macaron and mint julep lollipops – shows a playful, imaginative touch.
The Greenhouse sommelier, Michelle Michaels is on hand for excellent advice. The setting, part of the well-known Cellars Hotel, is elegant and refined.
Recent Awards – 2013 Top 10 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards, Shortlisted for the 2014 Awards
Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia
Tel: (021) 794 2137
Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday Dinner: 19h00 – 21h30
And one to try again…
La Colombe has been one of Cape’s most iconic restaurants for nearly two decades and sadly closed in June 2014. However, originally on the historic Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate, it has now relocated under new management to the Silvermist Organic wine estate at Constantia Nek with stunning views over the wine valley and Hout Bay where its rapidly regaining its popular position in the city.
Executive chef Scot Kirton’s philosophy lies in the fusion of Asian and French cuisine and the pursuit of excellence on each plate. He combines the freshest seasonal produce, uncomplicated clean flavours and classical elegance. Book in advance as they have a large and devoted local clientele. The well-organised wine list focuses on wines from the farm and some French wines too.
La Colombe, Silvermist Wine Estate, Constantia Nek, Cape Town
Tel: (021) 795 0125
Lunch: Daily 12:30-14:00 & Dinner: Monday to Saturday (Sundays in summer only) 19:00-20:45
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