Eating and drinking in Cape Town

By Keri Muller, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on Cape Town.

Overall rating:4.0 out of 5 (based on 2 votes)
Recommended for:
Food and Drink, Winter Sun, Budget, Expensive, Mid-range

Cape Town isn't just a beautiful city - it also has a great foodie scene, with strong European influences. From breakfast to sundowners and beyond, these are my favourite places to eat and drink

Best for breakfast

Breakfast on a Saturday and Sunday morning is a permanent feature of my weekend. I flip between a range of delis and restaurants that all serve good, proper coffee and know how to cook eggs over easy the right way (soft inside but not slimy on the outside). Lazari has been, and I think will always be, my number one, and not just for breakfast. Chris, the gorgeous Greek owner, is running around chatting to everyone and if you look like you are dithering, the slightly harassed-looking staff are quick to tell you what you should have, with a cheeky smile. Gooey eggs Benedict, flapjacks and bacon, the traditional fry-up and fresh fruit salad... All of this can be topped off with a pink iced cupcake or a very large slice of lemon meringue. If you are a little late for brekkie, try the grilled lamb salad or the meze platter.

Fresh and fishy

Coming in second (for me) is the Olympic Café in Kalk Bay. Unfortunately, this little restaurant has been so widely featured on every ‘best kept secrets’ list ever written about Cape Town that one has to be feeling in the mood for a little wait. It’s worth it though, so write your name on the blackboard and take a wander down the street. Timing is everything, so don’t stay away too long or you will miss your table. Try seared tuna fresh from the harbour across the road, seafood pasta in a tangy tomato-based sauce with strips of hake, mussels and capers, a dozen fresh mussels swamped in a buttery white wine and garlic sauce, or fresh yellowtail, gently grilled on seasonal vegetables. The ingredients are fresh and cooked perfectly, translating into some of the best food in Cape Town at whatever time of the day.

Down the market

Markets, and particularly organic/home-grown/local markets, have become terribly popular. The Old Biscuit Mill Market down in lower Woodstock happens every Saturday from 9 till 2 and offers a real glimpse of Cape Town’s fashionable young (and not so young) things. Between all of them, you will find some real treats. On arrival, grab yourself a fresh lemonade, Bloody Mary or a Mule (berry juice, mint and vodka), then do a lap of all the stalls and taste the different foods on offer, from cheeses to olives, biltong to organic chocolate, honey from the hive on the slopes of Table Mountain to perfect little chocolate tortes… the list goes on. Once you have a clearer idea of what is on offer, then, and only then, start buying. After stuffing yourself, stroll over to the tent that houses local young fashion designers and have a browse round the frocks, jewellery and shoes.

Harbour haunt

Now, if you are after postcard sea views and good seafood, hop across the Peninsula to Kalk Bay harbour, where you'll find Live Bait. This restaurant is perched right on the rocks, looking out to sea in one direction and down the harbour wall in the other. I can honestly say that you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. We have whiled away many a Sunday afternoon here drinking Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir and talking of totally trivial things. Personal favourites? The Cajun-style grilled calamari tubes, traditional fish and chips, and death by chocolate dessert. One thing to note: you really should book a window table, and there are two seatings for lunch, 12 and 2 o’clock.

Simply steak

For steak, there are two places you should go: Boo Radley’s and HQ. Boo Radley's is an intimate diner experience with a simple menu. Starters include a suitably 80s-style prawn cocktail in a martini glass, layered with finely-chopped lettuce and avocado complete with four prawns draped over the edges. Mains range from the traditional burger and fries to the perfectly done blue (not bloody) fillet steak served with a Béarnaise sauce. Other options include a seafood pasta and a grilled linefish of the day. HQ, on the other hand, serves only steaks. That’s it. Each is served with a salad to start and frites to accompany as well as a choice of sauce. Simple and delicious.

Sundowner hotspot

Early evening is a very special time of the day and you should be well positioned to enjoy it. Capetonians love sundowners and whether it’s just on the beach with a six-pack or lounging on a deck somewhere, make sure you have a plan and arrive on time. Wakame’s rooftop bar, Wafu, in Mouille Point, looks out over Table Bay to Robben Island. There is a wide choice of cocktails and they serve one of my favourite wines, the Pecan Stream Sauvignon Blanc. When you get hungry, order some of their delicious sushi.

Salsa and trailers

Just round the corner and slightly up the hill is the area of De Waterkant. The Cape Quarter is a little piazza that's home to a few bars and restaurants: Fiesta is rather fun and on some nights they have salsa dancing. Further into the city centre on Long Street is the Grand Daddy Hotel, with the coolest Airstream Trailer Park and bar on its roof. The bar is open every evening and on Fridays in summer there is live music. Some nights it’s a harmonica-playing cowboy called Lonesome Dave and at other times a Balkan trumpet band complete with fake dancing bear – if you’re lucky.

Find out more

For the complete list of every eatery in Cape Town along with user reviews, have a look at (it’s like a local tripadvisor). The contact details and address for all the above restaurants can also be found here.

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More information on Eating and drinking in Cape Town:

Keri Muller
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
Average: 4 (2 votes)
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First uploaded:
21 October 2009
Last updated:
6 years 5 weeks 6 days 15 hours 44 min 43 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Budget level:
Budget, Mid-range, Expensive

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Community comments (3)

0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Thanks Keri..I'm certainly going to follow up some of these tips on my next trip to CT.

I agree, pity that just about everyone knows of the Olympia, but their seating system usually means you can get a table fairly's utterly unique!

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1 of 1 people found the following comment helpful.

A really good guide, Keri, with some great recommendations - your local knowledge really shines through. I lived in Cape Town for a while, but there are several suggestions in here that are new to me, and I look forward to trying them out next time I'm there! The only reason I've marked you down on usefulness is because (a) you haven't included contact details for all restaurants (I know you refer people to the eatout website, but it would be more helpful to have all the info here) and (b) you haven't written anything about the hotels you've added as links, and I'd like to know a bit more about them, and what makes them the best places to stay. It would also be very useful to have some indication of costs at the various places. Other than that, this is great - thanks. Look forward to seeing more guides from you.

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Hi Suzanne

Thank you for your comments.

I will definately update the hotels and pricing section but for the restuarants I would prefer to direct people to eatout as it really a great site and kept up to date. Diners also post comments so it is unbiased and they also keep track of special offers. Before I sound like I am promoting - there is also another good site for all the nitty gritty information.