10 Of The Best Restaurants In Cape Town

10 best restaurants in cape town

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When you’re in a new city, there will always come a point where you’re overwhelmed by all the dining options. Cape Town, with its rich culinary fabric, doesn’t help much in this regard. As someone who’s been around the bustling streets of The Mother City, I’ve tasted my way through both hidden gems and famed establishments.

For the average traveller, distinguishing between a genuine culinary delight and a mere tourist trap can be daunting. But there’s no need for you to worry, I’ve got you covered! After gambling with my palette way more than once, I’ve whittled down all the ones I’ve experienced to highlight only the best restaurants in Cape Town.

From fine dining with panoramic views to cosy bistros, here are the best restaurants in the fairest Cape:

  • Chefs Warehouse
  • La Colombe
  • Test Kitchen
  • Pot Luck Club
  • Kyoto Garden Sushi
  • The Shortmarket Club
  • Kloof Street House
  • Babel
  • Cape Malay Kitchen
  • Azure Restaurant

The Culinary Landscape of Cape Town

You’ve probably heard this before but you’re about to hear it again: Cape Town is a melting pot of cultures. Its culinary scene shows just how far the city’s cultural roots extend. On my last visit, I was struck by the sheer diversity on the menu.

From the aromatic spices of Cape Malay cuisine, a testament to the city’s historical ties with Indonesia, to the hearty “bredies” (stews) that warm the soul on a chilly evening. I remember wandering through the colourful streets of Bo-Kaap, where the scent of cardamom and cinnamon from freshly made koesisters wafted through the air, just begging me to indulge.

But Cape Town’s culinary journey doesn’t stop there. The city offers a modern twist on traditional dishes, with fine dining establishments that are mentioned among some of the best in the world. Yet, in the middle of contemporary, there’s a deep respect for tradition.

The ‘Seven Colours’ meal, a vibrant display of dishes that’s a staple in many South African homes, shows this. It’s a celebration of food, colour, and culture, all on one plate.

And let’s not forget the iconic Gatsby, a sandwich so hearty it’s made for sharing, or the Bunny Chow, a delightful curry-filled bread bowl that tells a story of innovation and resilience. Cape Town’s culinary landscape is a journey, one that’s full of history, flavoured with diversity and served with a side of breathtaking views.

10 Best Restaurants in Cape Town

Price range indications:

$ – Affordable

$$ – Moderately expensive

$$$ – Expensive

$$$$ – Very expensive

1. Chefs Warehouse – Best for innovative tapas and wine pairings

Chefs Warehouse, Cape Town

Location: Beau Constantia Wine Farm, 1043 Constantia Main Road, Constantia Neck

Price range: $$$

Comfortably nestled among the scenic beauty of Constantia, Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia stands out as one of the best restaurants in Cape Town, giving you a truly unparalleled dining experience.

With a backdrop of one of the most breathtaking views in the Cape, the restaurant itself is a visual treat. But what truly sets it apart is its commitment to pure, unadulterated fine dining. There’s no theatrical smoke and mirrors here, just top-notch cooking led by the talented Chef Ivor Jones.

On my last visit, I absolutely loved the simplicity and authenticity of each dish, a symbol of the restaurant’s philosophy of putting flavour above the facade. I honestly just felt super relaxed there and not like I was at any old restaurant. Chef Ivor really puts his foot through all the dishes, not literally for those who’ve never heard that expression before.

Nearby Attractions: Beau Constantia Vineyard, offering wine tastings and tours.

Unique selling points

  • Offers one of the most stunning views in Cape Town.
  • Led by the renowned Chef Ivor Jones.
  • Prioritises flavour over theatrical presentation.
  • Known for its impeccable service and ambience.
  • A favourite among locals and tourists alike for its genuine culinary experience.

2. La Colombe – Best for traditional fine dining

La Colombe, Cape Town

Location: Silvermist Wine Estate, Main Road, Constantia Neck

Price range: $$$$

You’ll find a true treasure atop the scenic Silvermist Organic Wine Estate in Constantia, in the form of La Colombe. With the personable staff and high-quality dishes, the dining experience there makes you feel like a celebrity. As you make your way up the winding road, the panoramic views of the southern suburbs and False Bay captivate you, setting the tone for the gastronomic journey ahead.

The restaurant’s interior is a blend of elegance and whimsy, with artefacts that hint at the creativity that unfolds on the plate. One of the standout servings is actually a palate cleanser called the Dove’s Nest. It’s a testament to their innovative approach, where a literal nest cradles two eggs, offering a burst of citrus when sipped.

I was apprehensive at first because of how experimental it all looked, but upon sampling it, I immediately knew why La Colombe is one of the best restaurants in Cape Town.

Unique selling points

  • Award-Winning Cuisine: La Colombe consistently ranks among the top restaurants in Cape Town
  • Innovative presentation
  • Their extensive wine list
  • The staff’s professionalism
  • Breathtaking views of vineyards and lush greenery.

3. TTK Fledgelings (Formerly Test Kitchen) – Best for experimental and avant-garde dishes

TTK Fledgelings, Cape Town

Location: The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock

Price range: $$$

Tucked away in the heart of the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, TTK Fledgelings is a culinary playground where boundaries are pushed, and taste buds are tantalized. Stepping into the restaurant feels like entering a modern art gallery, with its industrial-chic design and open-plan kitchen.

It’s apparently the brainchild of renowned chef Luke Dale-Roberts, who has made the establishment a must-visit dining destination in Cape Town. The Dark Room offers a series of small plates, each a symphony of flavours, while the Light Room serves a more extensive tasting menu that showcases the chef’s innovative approach to cuisine.

I can’t say I was absolutely blown away when I went there but maybe it’s just my taste buds, you be the judge.

Unique selling points

  • TTK Fledgelings has garnered international acclaim
  • Open-plan kitchen
  • Offers both vegetarian and pescatarian tasting menus
  • Located in the vibrant Old Biscuit Mill

4. Pot Luck Club – Best for panoramic city views

Pot Luck Club, Cape Town

Location: The Silo, The Old Biscuit Mill, 373-375 Albert Rd, Woodstock

Price range: $$$

Pot Luck Club is another gem you can find in Woodstock’s Old Biscuit Mill. This restaurant has been dazzling diners since its Valentine’s Day opening in 2012. This isn’t your average dining experience, it’s an adventure for the senses, where the hum of conversation competes with the sizzle from the kitchen.

And then there’s the panoramic views of Cape Town from the sixth floor. They’re nothing short of breathtaking as the bold flavours on your plate. The atmosphere buzzes with the energy of a place of a social hub where food and culture collide. I must admit though, although the food was pretty good when I went, the menu was a bit overwhelming and hard to decipher without the help of a waiter.

Unique selling points

  • Innovative menu
  • Global tapas experience
  • Legendary Sunday brunch
  • Seafood stunners, like the Vietnamese fish salad and coal-seared linefish.

5. Kyoto Garden Sushi – Best for authentic Japanese cuisine

Kyoto Garden Sushi, Cape Town

Location: 11 Kloof Nek Rd, Gardens

Price range: $$$$

Kyoto Garden Sushi offers a serene escape into the world of authentic Japanese cuisine. As you step into this dimly lit sanctuary, you’re greeted with a vibe of old-world luxury that whispers tales of the Far East.

The restaurant’s tasting menu is a masterpiece by Chef Koshi Koyama, and a journey through the beauty and complexity of the sea, featuring exquisite ingredients like Alaskan King Crab and Spanish sea urchin.

Plus, the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability is also a point of pride, with a menu featuring SASSI green-listed species. Overall, Dining at Kyoto Garden is a memory etched in my mind. The balance of flavours, the story each dish tells, and the impeccable service make it a must-visit for anyone looking to find authentic Japanese food in Cape Town.

Nearby Attractions: After indulging in the culinary delights of Kyoto Garden, take a leisurely stroll down Kloof Street, known for its vibrant shops and local crafts.

Unique selling points

  • Awarded Eat Out’s Best Seafood Restaurant
  • Sourcing of premium, sustainable seafood
  • Handmade wasabi and a delicate soy sauce

6. Ouzeri – Best for authentic Cypriot and Greek food

Ouzeri, Cape Town

Location: 58 Wale St, Cape Town City Centre

Price: $$ – $$$

Ouzeri, Cape Town’s first Greek Cypriot restaurant, is a celebration of Mediterranean life. Here, Nic Charalambous brings the essence of Cyprus and Greece to the bustling Wale Street, offering a refreshing dining experience that’s both authentic and innovative.

The menu is a mix of regional flavours, featuring mezze plates like the zesty warm green olives with spicy paprika oil and the traditional eliopita. Each dish, from the hearty youvetsi to the succulent lamb ribs with skordalia, is crafted to be shared, encouraging a communal table buzzing with conversation and laughter.

The wine list is a journey through local vineyards, with staff ready to guide you to the perfect pairing, whether it’s a robust barrel wine or a delicate pét-nat. And for those with a sweet tooth, the mahalepi and yoghurt cake offer a delightful end to the feast.

It’s one of those places that just keeps you coming back for more.

Unique selling points

  • Eclectic music playlist
  • Comfortable atmosphere with a minimalist approach to decoration
  • Accommodate special dietary requirements

7. Kloof Street House – Best for romantic evenings

Kloof Street House, Cape Town

Location: 30 Kloof St, Gardens

Price range: $$$

Kloof Street House is where the charm of old-world Cape Town meets a bohemian rhapsody. Located in a Victorian-era house and adorned with fairy lights and lush greenery, this eclectic restaurant offers a relaxing retreat in the heart of the city. On the menu, you’ll find a fusion of cuisines, each dish crafted to tell its own story.

Finding Kloof Street House was like discovering a secret garden in the midst of the city’s hustle. I say ‘finding’ because you can easily miss it when you walk by, which adds to its appeal in a way. If you’re wondering where to find a dining experience that’s both intimate and vibrant, Kloof Street House is your answer. And if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, ask for their signature mix.

Nearby Attractions: Just a stroll away from the vibrant lifestyle on Long Street and the tranquil Company’s Garden.

Unique selling points

  • A diverse menu
  • Live jazz on Sundays
  • An extensive cocktail list
  • Cosy fireplace

8. Ramenhead – Best for upbeat atmosphere

Ramenhead, Cape Town

Location: 37 Parliament St, Cape Town City Centre

Price range: $$

For the ramen aficionado, Ramenhead is a must-visit in Cape Town’s culinary scene. This eatery pays homage to traditional Japanese ramen houses and is infused with a dynamic South African twist. The atmosphere buzzes with an edgy, casual vibe, perfect for enjoying the art of ramen.

When I first entered, I was greeted by the aroma of umami-rich broths that had simmered to perfection. The noodles, a highlight of their craft, are made fresh on-site, promising an unparalleled taste experience. The menu, though concise, offers a symphony of flavours, from the spicy peanut ponzu in the tuna tataki to the lighter sesame miso.

Ramenhead’s commitment to quality also extends to their drinks, with a selection curated by FYN’s beverage director, Jennifer Hugé. The selection is impressive, from fine wines to creative cocktails like the ‘dirty nori martini’. And for sake lovers, the variety is sure to delight.

The service at Ramenhead matches the excellence of the food—attentive, friendly, and always ready to recommend the perfect dish or drink. The ambience, which was designed by Tristan du Plessis, reflects the unpretentious spirit of ramen while adding a contemporary, eclectic flair.

Unique selling points

  • Friendly and attentive service
  • Authentic Japanese ramen
  • Extensive drinks menu

9. Malay Kitchen – Best for traditional South African dishes

Malay Kitchen, Cape Town

Location: 1 Doncaster Rd, Kenilworth (In Kenilworth Centre)

Price range: $

Malay Kitchen is a vibrant culinary escape where you can find the heart and soul of Cape Malay cooking. Tucked away in Kenilworth’s busy streets, this eatery is a treasure trove of spices and flavours, offering an authentic taste of the city’s rich cultural background. The locals always mention the roti and curry, claiming it’s as close to their grandmother’s cooking as it gets.

Diving into a plate of Malay Kitchen’s samoosas, you can taste the layers of history in each bite. The blend of sweet and savoury in their curry dishes is a culinary journey. Another bonus is that the staff are super friendly which likely explains why the restaurant had a constant flow of people when I visited.

Unique selling points

  • Specializes in traditional Cape Malay dishes like Bobotie and Denningvleis.
  • Friendly staff happy to share stories and the history behind their dishes.
  • Intimate and colourful setting.

10. The Azure Restaurant – Best for seafood and ocean views

The Azure Restaurant, Cape Town

Location: Queen Victoria St, Oudekraal (Nature Reserve)

Price range: $$$$

The Azure Restaurant is where to find some of the most breathtaking views in Cape Town. Located at the edge of Camps Bay, it offers a dining experience that’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate.

Dining at Azure, the sun dipping below the horizon was a performance in itself, complemented by the symphony of waves crashing against the rocks. The steamed langoustine I had was a revelation, perfectly cooked, each forkful harmonising with the ocean’s whisper. Trust me, if you visit Azure, you have to do so just before sunset, thank me later.

Nearby Attractions: If you go to Camps Bay early, enjoy a stroll on the beach before dinner.

Unique selling points

  • Spectacular ocean views
  • Comprehensive vegan menu
  • Impeccable service and an ambience

Tips for Dining in Cape Town

Now, before you rush off to feast on Cape Town’s culinary delights, here are some things you need to know…

  • Tipping etiquette: In Cape Town, like most of South Africa, it’s customary to tip your waiter at least 10% of your bill. Given the quality of service and the affordability of dining in the city, you’ll often find yourself leaving a bit more. Always try to leave a cash tip rather than on your credit card, as it’s easier for the staff.
  • Embrace local flavours: Like I said, Cape Town’s culinary scene is a melting pot of cultures. On the menu, you can find everything from traditional South African dishes to fine dining experiences that rival some of the best in the world. Don’t shy away from trying something new!If you’re trying a spicy Cape Malay dish then I’d recommend taking some Gaviscon (Pepto Bismol) with you, just in case.
  • Stay hydrated: Cape Town is known for its wines, so you’ll likely find yourself ‘tasting’ way more than one glass. But if you’re driving, remember the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Trust me, you don’t want to end up in Pollsmoor Prison, the locals have told me some pretty scary stories about that place.Pair alcohol with a bottle of water and always have a designated driver or make use of e-hailing taxi services.
  • Be mindful of car guards: In addition to official parking attendants, you’ll likely come across ‘car guards.’ They’re particularly common in popular dining areas but you find them pretty much anywhere cars can or are parked. To be honest, they’d probably even offer to ‘guard’ if you’re parking in your own driveway.Anyway, they’re not government-employed, so tipping is at your discretion. If you feel they’ve been helpful, a tip of R2 ($0.10) to R5 ($0.30) is customary. They generally aren’t bad people and can be helpful, but remember that not everyone has good intentions.

FAQs

Is Cape Town a foodie city?

That is a resounding yes! Cape Town is a gastronomic paradise with a rich tapestry of culinary influences. From local South African dishes to international gourmet experiences, the city’s vibrant restaurant scene has got something for pretty much every palate. It’s a haven for foodies.

Do they serve food at the wine estates in Cape Town?

I’d be worried if they didn’t. Most wine estates in Cape Town offer sumptuous food pairings with their wines. The Durbanville Hills is a good example of a wine estate that does this. You’ll generally find that a lot of these wine estates have gourmet restaurants and casual bistros, giving you a delightful culinary experience amidst the scenic vineyards. Bear in mind that these places generally offer, lighter meals.

Which restaurants offer the best views of Cape Town?

Chefs Warehouse, Azure Restaurant, and Bistro Sixteen82 offer breathtaking views. Views are subjective of course, but trust me, these ones will give you something to marvel at. Also, 14 Stories, while mainly a bar, serves some decent dishes and boasts an unmatched rooftop panorama of the CBD.

How far in advance should I make reservations for these top restaurants?

This kind of depends on when you’re visiting Cape Town. It’s like people in Cape Town don’t work because you’ll find most of the restaurants packed from Monday to Friday. In this sense, it’s wise to book at least two weeks in advance for the popular spots. During peak tourist seasons, consider reserving even earlier. It ensures you don’t miss out on these sought-after dining experiences.

Are there any unique South African dishes I should try while in Cape Town?

There are a lot of dishes that you could try, too many to mention. But the absolute must-try dishes are Bunny Chow, Bobotie, and Malva Pudding. Exploring the Cape Malay cuisine is also a must but be warned as there’s a lot to choose from in that category.

Conclusion

Cape Town is undeniably a culinary gem, where every corner turned leads you to a gastronomic delight. From the innovative tapas at Chefs Warehouse to the panoramic views at Azure Restaurant, the best restaurants in Cape Town serve more than just food, they serve experiences.

If you can, explore the local flavours on the menu and you’ll quickly discover stories told through dishes. Remember the tips that I gave you, like the importance of reservations and understanding the local tipping etiquette.

It’s in the nuances, the little moments in a restaurant, where you truly connect with the city’s heartbeat. So, if you’re wondering where to find the essence of Cape Town, it’s right there, on your plate, in the vibrant fusion of tastes and cultures. Happy dining!


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