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The best restaurants in Cape Town

Pork belly with crackling and a crumb

Cape Town is such an amazing, vibrant city with so much to see and do – from visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach to the epic views from Table Mountain and the colourful streets of the Bo Kaap. But where are the best restaurants to eat at? Here are our favourite places to eat in Cape Town.

It’s worth noting that if you want to eat at the best restaurants in Cape Town, you need to book them in advance. In South Africa they use a system called Dine Plan and you have to always pay a deposit when booking, which is then taken off your bill when you dine.

The Potluck Club

The Potluck Club has been a Cape Town institution since 2012 and is located in Woodstock in the Old Biscuit Mill. The concept is small plates that are inspired by countries around the world. The restaurant is very cool, with an open kitchen concept, and there is an amazing view as it’s located on the 6th floor.

The food was really excellent. We ordered a lot of dishes and there was only one that we thought needed improvement. The beetroot tartare was a particular highlight – and surprise!

Beetroot tartare from Potluck Club in Cape Town

When we visited they had Wagyu beef with a truffle sauce as a special and it was so darn good, we had to order another portion. We left feeling very satisfied even if lighter in pocket!

Wagyu beef with a truffle sauce from Potluck Club in Cape Town

Hudsons – the burger joint

Located on the very cool and hip Kloof Street is Hudsons, where we literally had the best burgers of our lives. We started with some chicken tacos to share and they were delicious, even if they took a while to arrive. As it’s a burger joint, we obviously ordered burgers – although they also do salads, pizza and other dishes such as steak, chicken wings and pork ribs. I ordered The Hudson and my husband had the Double Bacon Cheese. They were honestly the best burgers we’ve had for years and years – or maybe the best ever! If you’re a burger lover, I highly recommend Hudsons. They also have branches in Muizenberg and Green Point.

Double Bacon Cheese burger and fries from Hudson in Cape Town

Belly of the Beast

Belly of the Beast was definitely one of our favourite meals in Cape Town – even though the menu is a set tasting one. They also make no apology for not modifying the menu for guests, unless you have an allergy and have let them know in advance.

The concept of the restaurant is that when you go to your grandmother’s house, you have no say in what she will feed you but you’ll love it!

The restaurant only seats 24 so I’d highly recommend booking as you’ll be unlikely to just get a table on the day. The space is very stylish and there is an open kitchen.

There are six courses for a very modest R500 per person (at the time of writing). The food is a fine dining style, beautifully presented and decent portions.

A bowl with sweet potato crisps and snoek pate with a glass of sparkling wine

I loved almost every course but my highlights were the fish course and the ‘pap and vleis’ course, which was a delicious cut of lamb.

A blue dish with a tower of maize mash and lamb with vegetables

Belly of the Beast also served one of the best desserts we’d had! As well as all the yummy food, there is a very decent wine list and I loved how they change it monthly (along with the food menu) and choose wines from small and boutique wineries.

Chocolate slice with salted caramel ice-cream and vodka jelly served on a blue plate

Pier

Pier, along with The Waterside which is the restaurant below, is part of the La Colombe group and was voted the second best restaurant in Africa. It really is a fine dining experience with a touch of the theatrical!

The concept is a multi-course tasting menu where some of the courses are served by the chefs directly at your table, whilst they explain the dish to you. One such course was the oyster dish, which was made at our table. The chef gently poached the oyster in MCC (South Africa’s equivalent of Champagne) and then served it with a foam, cucumber and caviar. Not only did it look spectacular, it tasted wonderful.

A poached oyster in an oyster shell sitting on a plate decorated with seashells.

There was only one course I didn’t like, which was a fish dish with a Cape Malay sauce – just not really my taste. Everything else was thoroughly enjoyable and we left feeling happy and satisfied!

A honey and pear dessert served on a plate that looks like a beehive

Nobu

As we were staying at the One & Only, we of course had to have dinner at Nobu – the only one in Africa. We’ve been to both Nobu’s in New York and were interested in how they compared. Food wise, I think they were on a par but decor-wise, I think New York has the edge.

We sat at the sushi bar and loved being able to see (and chat) to the sushi chefs. And of course we had to order sushi!

California rolls and avocado maki on a wooden board with pickled ginger and wasabi

We absolutely loved the Wagyu sliders and the Wagyu gyoza with yuza truffle – really recommend ordering them. The Wagyu was melt-in-the-mouth.

Wagu beef sliders on a plate with a serviette that says Nobu

If you book a table at Nobu, be sure to go earlier for a drink at the bar at the One & Only. It’s really beautiful and if you go before sunset, you’ll have an incredible view of Table Mountain.

Bar at the One & Only in Cape Town with a view of Table Mountain

Test Kitchen Fledgelings

Years ago we tried to get a table at Test Kitchen but to no avail as it was so popular and we left it too late to book. Whilst Test Kitchen is no longer, Test Kitchen Fledgelings has sprung up so we had to book a table! It’s a lovely concept actually as the kitchen staff are made up of people who are forging a career in the hospitality industry and they are taught and mentored by the Head Chef, previously of Nobu.

The restaurant is located in the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock – the same building as The Potluck Club (they are part of the same restaurant group). The decor was great and we loved the open kitchen concept.

Two glasses of sparkling wine with plates of food on a table

The menu is quite varied and there is an Asian influence. We absolutely adored the ‘tuna crunchies’, which were tuna rolls with a crunchy element.

A plate of sushi with crunchy bits and a mayo

We had great food and service at Test Kitchen Fledgelings. Our only complaint was that our sparkling wine was warm, which is a big ‘no no’.

Grub and Vine

No trip to Cape Town is complete without a wander down Bree street. And on Bree Street you’ll find loads of great places to eat and drink. One of them happens to be Grub and Vine, which is a fabulous restaurant by Chef Patron Matt Manning, who has studied under the likes of Marcus Wareing – and it shows. The food is absolutely superb!

Beetroot tart from Grub and Vine

I went with my best friends for lunch and we had such a great time. We sat in The Blue Room, which had a pianist playing. We all agreed that the food was exceptional and it was so reasonably priced. The service was excellent too – would highly recommend!

Chicken Ballotine with mushrooms and salad leaves

The Waterside

If you’re looking for picture-perfect dishes that resemble works of art AND actually taste delicious, then book a table at The Waterside in the V&A. The menu is fairly small with a set number of dishes and a few options to choose from.

The bread was accompanied with the most beautiful dishes – a dip of roasted garlic with smoked pine nut and rosemary and then a chicken liver parfait with rhubarb. There was also a little tartlet filled with beef tartare.

Plates with bread and dips as a starter

My husband’s starter of pork belly with crispy crackling was delicious and the colours just popped on the plate.

Dish of pork belly topped with crispy crackling and some green leaves and pick radishes

We both had the seabass as our main and the crispy mussels were an absolute delight. A really stunning dish.

For a fine dining experience with a gorgeous setting, brilliant service and fabulous food, head to The Waterside!

Plate of grilled seabass with crispy mussels against a backdrop of the harbour

Zenzero

A visit to the beautiful beach at Camps Bay, with lunch thrown in, is always on our list when we visit Cape Town. To be honest, the restaurants along the beach are not as nice as some of the others we’ve been to – menu too big and too varied, decor not that great… After literally eyeing up every single restaurant we settled on Zenzero and we’re so glad we did as the food was great.

We started with their homemade sourdough (made in their wood-fired oven) with whipped feta and roasted tomatoes (sooooo good) as well as grilled octopus, which was perfectly cooked.

Grilled octopus with a burnt lemon and a plate of whipped feta and tomatoes in the background

We both choose the grilled kingclip as our main, with Jersey potatoes and broccoli. The fish was superb – beautifully cooked and the lemon sauce that accompanied it was a perfect accompaniment.

Grilled kingklip with lemon sauce

So those were our best restaurants in Cape Town. If you’ve been to Cape Town, let us know which ones you loved and you’d recommend!

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Best restaurants in Cape Town

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.

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