This is a running commentary of my favorite food-ventures in Cape Town. I would also love it if you added to the list, because I looooove trying new restaurants!
- Bihari on Main Road Newlands is my favorite Indian Food restaurant in Cape Town. Bihari’s curries are beautiful, the service is great, and the restaurant has a lovely ambience. Ty and I always order the Butter Chicken, Lamb Kadai, naan (I love peshwari), and gulab jamun, which is an incredible dessert of bread balls soaked in honey and rose water. It is about R110 per dish, so Ty and I go for special occasions.
- For affordable yet awesome Indian Food, we go to Eastern Food Bazaar on Darling Street. This is an Eastern food heaven that takes up an entire block of street full of vendors. Not only is the food incredibly cheap but there is a large variety and the portion sizes are ginormous. The special thing about Eastern Food Bazaar is that it caters to all people from all walks of life and I love that. Ty and I always share an order of Butter Chicken for about R35, which enables us to stuff our faces past comfort. Also be sure to try the scrumptious pistachio and cashew fig ice cream for R10.
- Fork on Long Street is gourmet tapas with an industrial chic, hip edge that only provides a fork for eating. Their food is bite-size and delectable and we have yet to have a dish there that is not superb. Our favorite is the dijon-y crumb-crusted pork belly and steak on crostini. The dishes range from about R35-70 and we usually order 5 dishes plus dessert, so expect to spend about R500 for the evening.
- Yindees off of Kloof Street is the best Thai Food I have had in Cape Town thus far. We went with friends of ours and every dish was bursting with flavors. If the Phad Thai is delicious, you know it’s worth it. I had never had deep fried ice-cream and I can safely say, their deep fried, coconut and sesame encrusted ice cream was one of the best desserts I have ever had.
- Cafe Paradiso is situated at the top of Kloof Street, in a cute neighborhood with a spectacular view of Table Mountain. I highly recommend going there for a sundowners drink to get toasty by a crackling fire pit and snack on their delicious meat antipasti.
- When you walk in to Bombay Bicycle on upper Kloof Street you become entranced and intrigued by the eclectic array of floor to ceiling trinkets strewn all over the restaurant. We went to Bombay on a Thursday in October and was not-so-surprised to see the entire restaurant covered with Christmas decorations, including the staff, who proceeded to walk around covering the heads of their guests with extravagant hats to dine in the Christmas spirit. We got 800g of 2 for 1 falling-off-the-bone ribs for R140 covered in sweet, tangy, and sticky bbq sauce, which was absolutely finger-lickin’ good.
- For the best sushi in town, venture to Minato, the hole-in-the-wall spot on Buiten Street. This restaurant may look a bit shabby but don’t be fooled; their sushi is absolutely amazing. (All) the inside-out rolls are my personal favorite. We usually order 2-3 rolls per person, which cost about R55 each. A friend of mine took me there and gave the rules to me straight:
1. Never take study abroad students to Minato
2. Never be loud or obnoxious
3. Never be rude to the staff
4. Never ever leave any sushi on your plate
5. Newbies must eat a Crying Roll as initiation
- If you are looking for cheap, quick, tasty, MSG’ed, oily seafood, Ty and I highly recommend Ocean Basket on Kloof Street, which is unashamedly one of our favorite restaurants. We without a doubt always order: fish, chips, and calamari grilled and cajun style, with “da top up” order of grilled cajun prawns (I am obsessed with prawns). Coupled with a glass of house dry white wine and a Black Label, this is the perfect weekday, post-work meal that will cost no more than R120.
- When I first came to South Africa, I turned my snobby American nose up at Spur’s American Western/Native American decor and cow print family sized u-shaped seating. However, Ty pleaded with me to go with him until I finally gave in for Monday’s 2 for 1 Spur Burgers and needless to say, we now have a Spur Family Card. We are always keen for Monday burgers slathered with pepper sauce served with fries and greasy onion rings for under R50.
- Although I have had somewhat disappointing service at Lazari in Vredehoek, which included never receiving my cheesecake, I am willing to look past that because they make the best eggs benedict in town for about R50 and it is a great place to study Biostatistics with friends.
- Queen of tarts hidden away in Observatory is adorable with its quaint shabby chic country atmosphere and is open for breakfast and lunch. It took about an hour to be served but my grilled aubergine, pesto, feta, red pepper,and fresh tomato sandwich on beautiful brown bread completely turned my mood around. My meal was about R55, which is a bit expensive for lunch, but too lovely to pass up.
- Good Mexican food is hard to come by here in South Africa but El Burro in Green Point, although gourmet rather than taqueria authentic, satiates my cravings. The restaurant’s atmosphere is romantic, with low lighting, dark wood seating, and shades of deep red. There is also something special about sharing with others and connecting with your food as you build your own grilled chicken fajitas overflowing with salsas, sour cream, and guac.
- If you are looking for a juicy and unique burger or your dream milkshake go to the hippest spot in town, Royale Eatery in the heart of Long Street. Royale offers any burger for about R70 or milkshake for about R30 you can think of. My favorite burger is the Federale with chorizo, chillies, coriander, and guac, served with sweet potato fries, and my favorite milkshake is the Milo & Fresh Banana. Ty’s favorite burger is the Sweet Petunia with mushroom, fresh rocket and home-made mustard mayo, served with regular fries, and his favorite milkshake is the Nuttikrust. Also, for a delightful and refreshing cocktail, try the Strawberry And Basil Mule.
- Rafiki’s on Kloof Nek is a vibing hawaiian themed spot to grab a drink and is always jam packed on half-price thin-crust pizza Mondays, so be sure to make a reservation. I always struggle to order because the Fhungi, The Works, Banana Boy, and Mother Clucker are equally as awesome for about R30 each but Ty always orders the Mother Clucker without fail.
- If you are jonesin’ for the highest-of-quality, grass-fed, free-range, organic, and local meat eating experience, visit Carne on Keerom Street. Even the restaurant decor is reminiscent of a slaughter house with shades of blood red, textured grey cement walls, and perspex chairs, which create a chilly vibe. Waiters assist in the decision making process by approaching each table with a large tray full of raw cuts of meat and proceeding to explain what part of the cow each cut comes from, its greatest attributes, and how it should be cooked. For dessert we ordered the il fondente al cioccolato, which was undeniably the most diviiiiiiine rich chocolate-y lava-y goodness we have ever had.
- After hearing rave reviews, I finally went to San Julian on Rose Street with the MPH ladies. Spanish words buzzed by our heads and mexican hats and flags decorated the walls. We ordered a jug of margaritas, which was the absolute best I have ever had, downed the first and ordered a second before our meals even arrived. I highly recommend the Tacos de Carne Asada, which were delicious homemade corn tortillas filled with guac, succulent marinated beef, refried beans, and spicy salsas.
- After months and months of self-inflicted agony due to booking a reservation at The Test Kitchen in the Old Biscuit Mill 5 months in advance, our 4 year anniversary finally arrived and I took Ty for an eagerly anticipated fancy shmancy meal. The ambience was industrial chic and just sitting there made you feel cool, the service fantastic, the wine superb and plentiful, and the courses beyond ingredients I even knew existed with a presentation and succession of flavors that was geniusly executed. I never thought I would willingly spend as much on a dinner as I would on groceries to sustain us for two weeks, but I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could afford it.
- Stay tuned to read about my fine dining experiences at: The Woodlands Eatery, Savoy Cabbage, and Clarke’s.