Top 10 Hidden Gems In Cape Town

hidden gems in cape town

All of our content is written by humans, not robots.

Cape Town, the Mother City, is filled with world-class restaurants, charming bars, captivating natural settings, diverse cultures and renowned landmarks. However, among all the best Cape Town has to offer, there is also a plethora of local hidden gems waiting to be discovered by those visiting from abroad.

From secret beaches to historic neighbourhoods and off-the-beaten-track hiking trails, the city is a treasure trove, with something special in every corner. In this guide, we’ll unpack some lesser-known eateries, a secret beach or two, and some of the best-hidden gems in Cape Town and its surrounds.

1. Best For Craft Beers: Aegir Project

Aegir Project in Cape Town is a hidden gem where craft beer enthusiasts and culinary connoisseurs converge in a laid-back and atmospheric setting

So you’ve just completed a scenic drive along the photographic Chapmans Peak drive. You’re thirsty and have worked up an appetite. Head over to the seaside neighbourhood of Noordhoek, home to the Aegir Project, a craft beer taproom and burger joint. Aegir Project is a charming, upbeat and family-friendly taproom and restaurant with some of the highest-rated craft beers in Cape Town.

I recommend starting off with a tasting tray – a selection of five Aegir brews. This is an excellent way to experience as many of the diverse beer flavours on offer. And, once you’re done, you can always order a pint of your favourite ale or lager.

If you’re visiting for breakfast, try their Ricotta Be Kidding Me scrambled egg. It’s simple but tasty, freshly house-baked sourdough bread with whipped ricotta, fluffy scrambled egg and flavoursome Sichuan chilli oil.

If you’re visiting for lunch or dinner, the options are simple but a treat, either go for a pizza (I recommend Nduja), or keep it classic and feast on a classic burger. I always go for the Giant IPA, with sweet melon undertones, pine needles, marmalade, tangerine, candied orange and grapefruit.

What’s truly magical about the setting of Aegir Project is that it feels as if you’ve stepped into a town in the middle of nowhere, as Noordhoek feels like a charming small town with its friendly and wholesome locals.

Must try:

  • I like any of their burgers, but the Smash Burger is the best, in my humble opinion.
  • The Nduja Pizza, with spicy Italian pork, Fior di latte and tomato sauce.
  • A tasting tray of beer.

Great to know:

  • Aegir also boasts limited-release barrel-aged beers.
  • They also offer take-home beers, fill a 2-litre growler and take it back to your hotel!
  • Address: 65 Beach Rd, Noordhoek, Cape Town

2. Best For A Secret Beach Day: Smitswinkelsbaai Secret Beach

Smitswinkelsbaai Secret Beach in Cape Town is a hidden gem where nature's beauty unfolds along a pristine shoreline, tucked away from the bustle of the city

Cape Town has no shortage of stunning beaches. From the glam of Clifton 4th to the laidback vibes of Danger Beach in Kalk Bay, Cape Town is blessed with beautiful beaches with pristine waters. Among all the popular spots such as Camps Bay, Llandudno and Muizenberg, several secret beaches are strewn across the peninsula.

One such hidden gem is Smitswinkelsbaai Beach, a secret, almost private beach close to Cape Point Nature Reserve.

Getting to Smitswinkelbaai is only accessible on foot. It’s a 10 to 15-minute walk down and a 20-minute hike back up, so be prepared. Keep the cooler box light or allow your strongest friend to carry everything up.

To get there is a secret in itself. Before reaching Cape Point Nature Reserve, you’ll find a small lookout point with a parking space opposite. Find the pathway down to the beach. Follow the signs, and after about 15 minutes, you’ll find a tiny, secluded and often quiet beach with beautiful rock pools and stunning water.

Must try:

  • If you have time for more exploration, check out Cape Point Nature Reserve.

Great to know:

  • There are no shops to buy anything in the area, so prepare beforehand for everything you need for a secluded beach day.
  • Address: Lies hidden beneath the curve of the road that takes you to Cape Point Nature Reserve.

3. Best Gem In Hout Bay: The Collective Hout Bay

The Collective Hout Bay in Cape Town is a hidden gem where creativity, community, and culinary delights converge in an artsy and welcoming setting

The Collective Hout Bay is one of the best-hidden gems in Cape Town for both locals and travellers alike. In fact, up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t know about this wonderful place despite being a Cape Town local. It’s a historic old post office building in the quaint seaside suburb of Hout Bay, boasting a collective of 180 ceramic artists, furniture crafters and more.

It’s also home to the beloved Collective Cafe, which serves breakfasts, cakes, pastries, gourmet bagels, some of the best coffee, and more! If you find yourself there between Tuesday and Sunday around 12:30 pm to 3 pm, you’ll be treated to Tamalyn Petch’s bountiful harvest table buffet with its ever-changing daily menu.

Must try:

  • Simba’s amazing sourdough bread.
  • If available at the Harvest Table, the pan-friend hake is a must-eat.

Great to know:

  • All food items are available as takeaways.
  • Cafe Collective forms part of Hout Bay’s Last Thursday initiative every month, offering wholesome picnic baskets and live music.
  • Address: 35 Main Rd, Scott Estate, Cape Town

4. Best For A Homely Meal: Joon

Joon Restaurant in Cape Town is a hidden gem where culinary innovation meets cozy charm in an unassuming setting

When I lived in Muizenberg last year, I was lucky enough to live a hop-and-a-skip away from Joon, a tucked-away eatery in the back streets of The Village in Muizies. Spearheaded by the mother and daughter combo, June and Lindsay Homan, this hidden gem is home to an ever-changing menu of homely dishes. If you’re hunting for the best eggs benedict on that side of the peninsula, Joon is where it is.

Joon also has a stellar pizza menu featuring their signature thin crust. The pizzas are well-priced, ranging from R75 to R85, with something for everyone, including vegetarians. When I visited, I opted for the Joon, with roasted butternut, feta, caramelised onion, toasted sunflower seeds and fresh rocket. All I can say is that I was not disappointed!

Joon is notably charming and wholesome, welcoming dogs and barefooted surfers, making it an ideal spot for a relaxed breakfast or an early evening dinner.

Must try:

  • The eggs benny
  • The Joon Pizza
  • The Cheese Cake

Great to know:

  • Joon has several options for vegans and vegetarians.
  • Address: 40 Palmer Rd, Muizenberg, Cape Town

5. Best For Gin & Bubbly: The Gin Bar

The Gin Bar in Cape Town is a hidden gem tucked away in a historic courtyard, where the spirit of gin comes to life in a charming and intimate setting

While it’s hardly a secret to locals anymore, if you’re new to Cape Town, The Gin Bar is a hidden gem worth visiting. The Gin Bar is tucked away behind the Honest Chocolate Cafe on Wale Street in Cape Town.

On your way in, you’ll be greeted with the alluring scents of handmade chocolate before entering a small courtyard reminiscent of an alleyway in Italy. During the day, The Gin Bar’s courtyard is touched with warm sunlight, and at night, the bar interior is a dimly lit romantic affair serving up signature gin cocktails.

If you’re not a gin fan, don’t despair. The Gin Bar also boasts a lovely nook, the Bubbly Bar, offering up some of the best Method Cap Classique (MCC), the South African version of champagne.

The Gin Bar has a beautifully curated menu of what they call “House Remedies”, their house G&Ts “to cure all manner of ills”. My favourite is “The Heart”, made with Inverroche Amber Gin, Barker & Quin Light Tonic, a sprig of rosemary infused with strawberry, orange and cloves.

Other favourites I’ve tried include “The Soul” (made with KWV Gin, basil, clove and grapefruit) and “The Ambition” (made with Three Juniper Gin, elderflower syrup, thyme, cucumber and cinnamon). If you’re hungry, there is the lovely Bodega above, but more on this later.

Must try:

  • The Heart
  • The Soul
  • The Ambition

Great to know:

  • The Gin Bar also perfects classic cocktails such as martinis and one of the best negronis in Cape Town.
  • Address: 64A Wale St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

6. Best Ramen In Cape Town: Bodega Ramen

Bodega Ramen in Cape Town is a hidden gem where the soul-warming allure of ramen unfolds in a cozy and unassuming setting

As mentioned, Bodega Ramen is another hidden gem overlooking The Gin Bar. Bodega is a cosy and relaxed eatery that offers some of the best Ramen in Cape Town. The menu is concise, boasting fond ramen favourites, such as my favourite, the charsu pork belly with ajitama egg.

If you’re not in the mood for ramen, don’t fret; Bodega also offers several Asian-inspired small plates. My favourites include their karaage (deep-fried) chicken, burnt cabbage with peanuts, and fall-off-the-bone braised beef short rib.

For dessert, if you have room after ramen and sharing plates, you have to sample their burnt basque cheesecake. To really finish it off try their Ukhamba craft beer.

Must try:

  • Any of their ramen bowls, but the best, in my opinion, is the pork!
  • Kaarage chicken
  • Braised beef short-rib

Great to know:

  • Bodega offers rice noodles for gluten-free guests.
  • They also offer one vegan ramen dish and several vegan sharing plates.
  • Address: 64A Wale St, CBD, Cape Town

7. Best Secret Beach Near Camps Bay: Bali Beach

What would a list of hidden gems in Cape Town be without mentioning the pristine Bali Beach? Bali Beach is still one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets. This spot is a small pebbled beach with sheltered waters that are calm and serene, making it a quiet swimming spot.

You’ll find Bali Beach in Bakoven along the picturesque, winding coastline of Victoria Road. It must be noted that this beach is far easier to find parking at than busier beaches such as Clifton or Camps Bay.

Must try:

  • Bali Beach has some amazing scenic surroundings of the mountains and the coast, making it an ideal spot to snap some Instagram-worthy photographs on your adventures in Cape Town.

Great to know:

  • Once you’ve parked, look for a small sign on the fence and some steps leading down to the beach. You’ll trudge through some long grass as this beach is well hidden.
  • Address: Bakoven, Cape Town

8. Best For Making New Friends: Reverie Social Table

Reverie Social Table in Cape Town is a hidden gem where the art of dining becomes an intimate and communal experience in a residential setting

Let’s travel to Observatory, Cape Town, for my favourite spot in this predominantly student neighbourhood. Reverie Social Table is one of the most delightful hidden gems in Cape Town, offering a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Headed up by chef Julia Hattingh, dining at Reverie feels like being a part of a dinner party. Picture this: conversations flowing as smoothly as the wine, five courses of delectable culinary magic, and suddenly, it’s after 11 pm, and you’re ready to set up camp there.

What’s unique is that Julia’s hidden gem in Observatory is a pocket-sized eatery nestled downstairs in her home. The setting has everything: a tiny library and a cosy courtyard, where your “hello” drinks turn strangers into lifelong foodie friends.

Must try:

  • I would suggest attending this dinner soirée alone, as you’ll make new friends during the course of the night.

Great to know:

  • While it is a five-course set menu, if you have any dietary requirements, let them know when booking your Reverie experience.
  • Address: 226A Lower Main Rd, Observatory, Cape Town

9. Best For A Cultural Experience: Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum

Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum in Cape Town is a hidden gem nestled within the colorful streets of the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, where the rich cultural tapestry of Cape Malay history unfolds

If you’re in the mood for some of Cape Town’s rich and diverse history, I recommend visiting the Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum. Time travel back to the 1760s with a visit to this museum, a cultural hidden gem. Set in the historic and vibrant Bo-Kaap district, this museum offers captivating insights into Cape Malay heritage and Islamic traditions.

As a heritage site, the museum has been pristinely preserved both on the inside and outside, with the courtyard adorned with beautiful vines. A stunning, rustic kitchen also features traditional copper pots and old woodfire stoves. Entrance to this museum is free, making this hidden gem easily accessible.

Housed within an authentic 1768 building, the museum is meticulously outfitted to replicate a 19th-century residence belonging to a Muslim family.

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Bo-Kaap’s history, delving into its customs and beliefs. Gain insight into the community’s experiences, exploring the impact of political ideologies and apartheid’s discriminatory laws on its cultural fabric.

Must try:

  • Following your exploration of this city museum, meander through the surrounding area. If you time it right, keep an ear out for the melodious calls to prayer from the muezzin.

Great to know:

  • The Auwal Mosque, South Africa’s oldest mosque, is a short distance from the museum, constructed in the early 18th century. Adjacent lies the Tana Baru, the nation’s oldest Muslim cemetery.
  • Address: 71 Wale St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town

10. Best Fine Dining Mexican Fare: Una Más Mezcaleria

Una Mas - Mezcaleria in Cape Town is a Mexican culinary sanctuary where the soulful flavors of Mexico unfold in a vibrant and intimate setting

Relatively new to the Sea Point strip, Una Más Mezcaleria is one of the most incredible hidden gems in Cape Town. On February 14, 2022, Una Más Mezcaleria debuted on Regent Road in Sea Point. It marks the collaboration of brothers Sean and Gavin Binder with their neighbouring partner Ricky Simon from Three Wise Monkeys.

This petite restaurant features open windows facing the sidewalk, allowing guests to watch the lively street scene. By 7 pm, the venue buzzes with a packed house. Recently, Una Más Mezcaleria expanded its operating hours, now serving dinner, lunch, and brunch. This expansion indicates its popularity and demand; frankly, I’m not surprised.

The cocktail menu is like a novel, long and full of surprises. I ordered a Rosita, sweet and dry vermouth, Campari, reposado tequila, and bitters. Who knew tequila could dance this elegantly with vermouth and Campari?

In addition to a stellar cocktail menu, Una Más also boasts a fantastic food menu. I kicked off my Mexican affair with their moreish “Papas Fritas” (Polenta Fries) and the freshest tuna ceviche I’d ever encountered.

I went with the obvious move for mains: two portions of soft shell tacos. As I am a lover of all things slow-cooked, I went for the melt-in-your-mouth, slow-cooked beef tacos, perfectly complimented with pickled red onion, spicy green chilli, decadent olive salsa, mole Verde, cilantro and lime.

Because I’m a glutton for Mexican fare, especially gourmet-style tacos, I also ordered a portion of their “Langostino Ennegrecido” (Blackened Prawn). My tastebuds were greeted with a fiesta of flavours, the Tagin spiced prawns perfectly balanced with the homemade Pico de Gallo, with creamy avocado lime crema and cilantro.

Must try:

  • The Rosita
  • The Cocida Lenta (Slow-cooked Beef) soft-shell tacos.
  • The Langostino Ennegrecido (Blackened Prawn)
  • The classic margarita is one of the best in Cape Town.

Great to know:

  • Una Mas is open during load-shedding, with candles making for a romantic, intimate experience.
  • Address: Shop 2, 77 Regent Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town


1. When is the best time to visit these hidden gems?

The best times to explore these hidden gems depend on the experience you seek. Weekdays offer a more relaxed atmosphere at eateries and cultural spots, while weekends might bring livelier vibes, especially at nightlife venues. Consider weekdays for a quieter exploration and weekends for a more energetic ambience.

2. How can I get to these hidden gems?

Cape Town offers various transportation modes, including buses, taxis, rideshare services, and the MyCiTi bus system. While some hidden gems might be accessible via public transport, others may require private transportation or specific directions to reach them. Some locales might even be best discovered on foot for a leisurely exploration.

3. Are these hidden gems safe to visit?

Generally, the hidden gems mentioned are safe to visit. However, as with any travel destination, it’s advisable to maintain basic safety precautions, especially in less populated or remote areas. Additionally, being mindful of personal belongings and following local guidelines enhances the overall experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For Tourism Companies

Work With Us

For Hospitality Brands

Send Us An Enquiry

For Photographers

Submit Your Work

Our Destinations