Top Cape Town Restaurants
Cape Town has so many great restaurants it can be tricky to choose, even as a local let alone when you are only in town for a week or two on holiday. So we have tried to help you below with a very personal selection of our favourite places to eat in and around Cape Town. These range from fine dining establishments for special occasions to relaxed Sunday brunch venues, a fabulous sushi bar, our favourite local Italian, winelands haunts and even a lively party style restaurant on its own private beach!
Many Cape Town restaurants close on Mondays and advance reservations are often essential in summer (several weeks at least for the fine dining and most popular places!).
Cape Town restaurants - our top ten!
The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts
Located in the trendy Biscuit Mill complex in Salt River, near central Cape Town, The Test Kitchen has won SA Restaurant of the Year two years running and is in the World’s Top 50 Best Restaurants. Luke Dale Robert's cuisine mixes Asian and French influences with local ingredients and the chef’s highly imaginative, creative style in a stylish, modern setting with first class service and a truly impressive wine list.
The Greenhouse at Cellars Hohenhort
The Greenhouse is ranked 4th best restaurant in South Africa but is not yet so well known to visitors as some other Cape Town fine dining venues. But take our advice, and give it a try as the Greenhouse is one of our favourite places for special occasions, offering beautifully presented and consistently gorgeous cuisine with excellent, friendly service in an old colonial hotel setting in Constantia.
The Pot Luck Club
Luke Dale-Roberts' second Cape Town restaurant is also in the Old Biscuit Mill in Salt River. But taking the lift to the cool, urban top floor setting with polished steel-wood tables leads to a very different dining experience and a livelier less formal venue than Test Kitchen. Pot Luck works best as a group, sharing the small tapas style platters such as Asian style short rib, sour and crispy calamari and crispy pork belly.
Aubergine has long been a favourite fine dining venue of ours and always serves up innovative, delicious South African cuisine with a dash of Asian inspiration. Great service and a huge wine list (and excellent sommelier) help too. The venue is an old heritage building in Gardens close to Cape Town CBD dating back to 1830, with elegant, modern interiors an a pleasant garden terrace in the summer.
Back down to earth after all this fine dining talk, La Boheme on Man Road in Sea Point is one of our favourite places for more simple but still delicious "bistro" style cuisine. La Boheme is always busy with a faithful local crowd of regulars attracted by the warm welcome, consistently great value food, and extensive wine list with an innovative selection of over 60 wines by the glass.
Il Leone Mastrantonio
Another very popular choice with locals, but slightly off the regular tourist restaurant route, for us Il Leone tucked away on a side street in Green Point offers everything a good Italian family restaurant should - great value authentic Italian cuisine in a relaxed setting with friendly, knowledgeable staff and a very loyal local following, so it’s always busy and buzzing.
The Grand Cafe and Beach
This very large restaurant has a stunning setting on its own private beach close to the V&A Waterfront and offers a choice of tables inside the stylishly converted former warehouse or on the large deck outside on the beach. The mostly steak and seafood menu are quite pricey for Cape Town standards but its amazing beach setting and lively young crowd make it a really fun venue for larger groups and relaxed celebrations.
If you love sushi as much as we do then you must go to Takumi while you are in Cape Town, simple as that! Legend has it that the masterful sushi chef and owner Papa San has been known to push guests out of the door when he is tired and ready for bed, but we have always found the service exemplary, the setting simple yet stylish and most importantly the innovative and large selection of sushi and other Japanese cuisine utterly delicious!
Another of our all time favourite fine dining restaurants, serving sublime modern South African cuisine with French and Asian influences. The restaurant and its excellent team recently moved to a new setting high up on the mountain side between Hout Bay and Constantia, making for an impressive drive to lunch!
Another of our regulars recently, we agree with the latest Cape Town Eat Out guide that Bistrot Bizerca is one of Cape Town’s “hidden gems”, with relaxed bistro style French cuisine of a high standard in an attractive heritage building in central Cape Town that has a small courtyard out back where meals are served as well in summer.