Eat Out






Winner: Best Everyday Eateries

Bookable on the Eat Out app

Cape Town City Centre


BEST FOR Date night and celebrations. FOOD 95 Keerom thrives year after year, always drawing a crowd and never slipping on quality. The menu is rooted in chef-patron Giorgio Nava’s native northern Italy, fused with ingredients of SA. The carpaccio – beef, linefish or salmon – is always a fine start, as is the hand-chopped and perfectly seasoned steak tartare. Butternut ravioli in burnt sage butter is spoken of in hushed tones by regulars and, if you’re lucky, the special of lamb ragù ravioli will be on offer. The prime cuts are grilled Italian-style, dressed with olive oil and salt – the gargantuan La Fiorentina T-bone for two is superb. Leave room for legendary chocolate fondant, rum baba or semifreddo. DRINKS An excellent list of Italian wines and grappas. SERVICE Reliably good, with Giorgio himself keeping a close eye. AMBIENCE The cosy ground floor rooms are intimate, while the airy upstairs is better for larger groups. (RH)

95 Keerom Street, City Bowl; 021 422 0765; avg main meal R200 dinner: Mon to Sat


BEST FOR After-work drinks and a light supper, or a cosy date night. FOOD This speakeasy-style bar offers a meze-style selection of plates ideal for sharing. It’s light food with ample flavour, offering a refreshing twist on the usual bar grub that’ll have you dipping, forking and scooping. Glossy, charred aubergine with an addictively good black-garlic emulsion is a hit; equally pleasing are the tangy home-made labneh with charred broccoli, thyme and crispy lavash and the heartier roasted lamb shoulder with hot, herb-sprinkled pita triangles, tzatziki, cured onion and sweet pomegranate jewels. For dessert, end on really good baklava cigars or head upstairs for a nightcap in a cosy alcove. DRINKS Plenty wines by the glass, beers, zippy cocktails and interesting alcohol-free sippers such as Turkish delight soda. SERVICE On the ball and friendly. AMBIENCE Seriously beautiful. The historic space has Persian carpets, leather sofas, vintage-style wallpaper and moody amber lighting in nooks and lounges on three floors. (NB)

35 Buitengracht Street, City Bowl; 021 012 5331; avg main meal R90 lunch: Mon to Sat dinner: Mon to Sat


BEST FOR Fine dining focusing on local ingredients. FOOD For starters, the deliciously tender grilled octopus served with veggie rice paper rolls and a spicy sauce is all kinds of yum. There’s also a burrata with aged balsamic, an unusual salmon soup and hot-smoked hake. For mains, the linefish is pure perfection – crispy skin, tender flaky flesh, served with spring vegetable paella. The herb-crumbed ostrich comes perfectly cooked and a trio of pork is also on offer, which includes the pig tongue and liver. For dessert, skip the local cheese platter for the sublime and silky crème brûlée served with the loveliest zingy granadilla sorbet. The symphony of citrus is beautifully plated and the kumquat marmalade, orange cake and orange sorbet all complement each other perfectly. DRINKS Vast local and international wine selection. SERVICE Attentive and friendly. AMBIENCE Warm and welcoming, with lots of wood and soft lighting. (ZN)

39 Barnet Street, Gardens;021 465 0000; avg main meal R290 lunch: Wed to Fri dinner: Mon to Sat


BEST FOR A casual dinner or a romantic date. FOOD A little Mecca for fans of the steamed buns after which the restaurant is named. You should order three or four dishes to share off the small menu, and the prawn toast bao, a steamed bun filled with prawn, then crumbed and deep-fried, is a cult favourite. Meat-eaters should sample the slow-braised Karoo lamb shoulder bao or the saucy chicken wings with just the right amount of spice, and vegetarians will love the Asian green bean salad with puffed rice or the cauliflower cake. End off with Bao Down’s take on Milkbar’s famous ‘crack pie’, with a fudgy caramel centre and a sprinkling of salty cornflakes to offset the sweetness. DRINKS Small but adventurous wine list. SERVICE Competent. AMBIENCE A retro chic aesthetic, with blush pink walls, mint mosaic tiles and pops of gold. Go with friends who’ll talk over the din. (TP)

3 Vredehoek Avenue, Oranjezicht; 066 022 1165; avg main meal R80 dinner: Tue to Sat


BEST FOR A romantic dinner. FOOD The ingredients-driven tasting menu in this 20-seater changes daily and there’s no telling whether you’ll get a series of pork dishes or more plant-based, packed with seasonal vegetables in delightful variety. It’s sumptuous, proper food. Immaculately grilled hake with the most voluptuous sweetcorn purée is so simple; just two elements are on the plate, but both are perfect, and no further embellishment is necessary. The beef tongue with celeriac, beef broth and crispy onions is another dish where restraint is key: the incredibly rich flavours could easily overpower one another if any element were over-reduced or seasoned, but they work in harmonious balance. The tipsy tart with brown-bread ice cream to finish is rich, dark, ambrosial. A nursery classic elevated to fine-dining splendour. DRINKS Playful, quirky and serious wines. SERVICE Excellent. AMBIENCE The open kitchen is part of the theatre of this intimate dining experience. The interiors are dark, sleek and welcoming. (PGW)

110 Harrington Street, City Bowl; 021 461 0335; tasting menu R450 lunch: Mon to Sun dinner: Mon to Sun


BEST FOR A work lunch with a view. FOOD The menu at this charming Bree Street spot is full of original twists. The ricotta-and-spinach gnudi are a great bet, dressed with pine nuts and sage butter. Puddings are fabulous, though. The baked cheesecake is perfection, and the warm date cake is satisfyingly sticky, with a spicy gingery gelato to offset the sweetness of the cake. DRINKS An intriguing, well-structured winelist and a range of cocktails. If you’re looking for something hot, try one of the nut milk infusions made with house-made cashew milk. SERVICE Well-trained and warm. AMBIENCE In a restored heritage building with exposed brick-and-stone work, beautiful joinery, and geometric light fittings and artisan crockery keeping things modern. (KP)

176 Bree Street, City Bowl; 021 823 8695; avg main meal R160 breakfast: Mon to Sat lunch: Mon to Sat dinner: Thu to Fri


BEST FOR Comfort food. FOOD This always-busy brasserie is known for its blackboard menu of interesting, seasonal dishes. The smoked snoek trout with pickled onions, dune lettuce and toast is a winner, with a perfectly creamy texture and delicate, smoky flavour. Fresh, home-made pappardelle topped with a rib-sticking springbok ragu and generous parmesan, and the superbly cooked grilled hanger steak, liven things up. Desserts like the simple almond tart with gooseberry compote and crème fraîche end things off on a sweet note. DRINKS Extensive drinks menu, with a great mix of larger wineries and smaller independent ones, and a vast selection of local spirits. SERVICE Speedy and efficient. AMBIENCE You’re guaranteed a warm, buzzy vibe at this well-loved spot. (JS)

104 Kloof Street, City Bowl; 021 426 2753; avg main meal R150 lunch: Tue to Sat dinner: Tue to Sat


BEST FOR A sharing dinner with friends; a quick bite before a show. FOOD Smaller plates to share is the name of the game. Think tuna carpaccio, polpette al sugo (pork and beef meatballs in a tomato sauce), and ortofrito (battered and fried zucchini, artichokes and broccoli). The flavours are robust and the portions substantial. The pizette are alluring, in particular the Foresta, with wild mushrooms, rosemary, mascarpone, parmesan and truffle drizzle. Desserts include a lemon posset, tiramisu, and the tempting cremoso: a dark chocolate mousse with orange compote and biscotti. DRINKS An excellent offering of wines, good cocktails nd craft beers. SERVICE Good and efficient. AMBIENCE Urban cool. The vibey terrace is perfect for people-watching in good weather. (JC)

The Block, Corner of Bree Street and Wale Street, City Bowl; 021 422 0188; avg main meal R120 lunch: Mon to Sat dinner: Mon to Sat


BEST FOR A big night out on the town. FOOD The newly renovated brasserie weaves together Indian and Cape Malay cuisines to create a unique melting pot. Novices might opt for a set menu; otherwise mix and match smoky starters from the tandoor. Dishes are superbly presented, colourful and richly fragrant, and easy to share. There’s a wide choice for vegetarians, from creamy kofta curry to gobi mutter. Highlights are Kerala-style prawn curry and the succulent masala tikka Karoo lamb chop. Don’t forget flaky paratha or naan bread. Desserts boast spun-sugar spirals and cascading dry ice. DRINKS Comprehensive wines, beers, cocktails and spirits. SERVICE Slick and attentive. AMBIENCE Opulent and exotic, with mosaics, chandeliers and gleaming brass lamps. (GH)

Taj Cape Town, corner Wale Street and St George’s Mall; 021 819 2000; avg main meal R400, tasting menu R650 dinner: Mon to Sun


BEST FOR Quiet family dinners or date night. FOOD Ethically sourced meat treated with care. For starters look forward to delightfully simple chicken tortellini in a clear broth, dotted with mushrooms and kale, or the deep-fried parmesan croquettes in a hearty mushroom ragout, which you won’t be able to get out of your mind. For mains, the order of the day must be bone-in rib eye that’s charred on the outside yet meltingly marbled on the inside. Pair it with your choice of classic sauce: béarnaise, red wine, bordelaise or pepper, mopped up with thick-cut fries. Offerings of chocolate torte and lemon tart will tempt you into ordering dessert. DRINKS A long and well-priced list of wines. SERVICE Warm and welcoming. AMBIENCE You feel instantly relaxed and settled. (JS)

The Palms, 145 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock; 021 286 6207; avg main meal R160 breakfast: Mon to Sat lunch: Mon to Sat dinner: Mon to Sat


BEST FOR A casual date night. FOOD The menu is made up of simple, hearty dishes, intended to be shared as tapas. The risotto is a no-brainer, with flecks of mushroom and hints of tarragon and roasted garlic, as is the prawn and potato gnocchi, served with a satisfyingly creamy tomato-and-basil bisque. The mussels, served in a simple white wine, cream and garlic sauce are also delicious, complete with grilled bread for mopping up the remaining sauce. While the main menu is long, the dessert menu happily offers only four dishes, and here the crème brûlée is particularly well-executed, with a crispy sugar topping and creamy custard base. DRINKS Large selection of local wines at reasonable prices, and a very well-curated gin offering too. SERVICE Unobtrusive while still welcoming and attentive. AMBIENCE Laid-back and cosy, with the feel of being inside the wine cellar. (JS)

95 Hout Street, City Bowl; 021 422 0695; avg main meal R90 dinner: Mon to Sat


BEST FOR Exceptional pizza, arguably the best in town. FOOD It’s hard to compete with the perfectly puffy, flame-blackened crust that is both crispy and light, but before you fall face-first into one of the pizzas (the Fabio with oven-roasted bacon, feta and avocado and the Piccante with slow-cooked spicy pulled pork, cherry tomatoes and red onion are both delectable), try the delicious cheese with fresh tomato, basil, pine nuts and balsamic reduction. The small selection of antipasti is also a great way to start the meal, especially the porcini arancini. You’ll delight in the pasta and risotto options, especially the hearty prawn and smoked tomato risotto. Dessert is a simple choice: tiramisu or torta di ricotta. The latter is packed with a punch of lemon, and beautifully balanced with burnt honey gel and ricotta gelato. DRINKS A top-notch, well-curated wine list. The coffee is good. SERVICE Knowledgeable and warm. AMBIENCE Modern, upmarket and industrial-looking with metal and wood. (AG)

375 Albert Road, Woodstock; 021 447 6505; avg main meal R140 breakfast: Sat lunch: Tue to Sat dinner: Mon to Sat


BEST FOR Steak, of course. FOOD Kick things off with ravioli: the slow-baked Karoo lamb is a classic, and the butternut and ricotta version, doused in rich sage butter, is the ultimate comfort dish. To help decide on mains, a waiter will bring round the famed meat platter, which includes lesser known cuts like spider steak, hanger steak and flat-iron. All are expertly aged, and flash-grilled exactly to specification at 400°C. Plating is minimal – your meat, cooked simply with olive oil, rosemary and sea salt, with three little carrot sticks and perhaps a floret of cauliflower. It’s a good idea to order one of the sauces on the side and the thin-cut fries are also excellent. You must however save space for the dark chocolate fondant. Its centre is perfectly molten. DRINKS Comprehensive wine list. SERVICE Warm and well-trained. AMBIENCE Cosy and inviting, thanks to wood panelling and exposed brickwork. (KP)

153 Kloof Street, Gardens; 021 426 5566; avg main meal R190 lunch: Mon to Sat dinner: Mon to Sat


Carnivores with gourmet tastes. Italian restaurateur Giorgio Nava woos the regulars with a winning formula based on a marriage of authentic Milanese cooking with a range of premium, grass-fed beef, free-range lamb, venison, pork and chicken. While specialist marbled cuts like beef hangar, flat iron, spider and tomahawk steak will intrigue, classics such as prime rib, rump, sirloin and T-bone satisfy the meatiest appetite. Served with all the trimmings from thin-cut shoestring fries to sublime potato mash with sauces like rich béarnaise and green peppercorn. There’s also scaloppini of seared rib-eye in a white-wine-and-lemon sauce or home-made pasta with imported prosciutto, porcini or gorgonzola. Make sure to leave space for Giorgio’s legendary dark Italian fondant. A good selection of top Cape cellars Polished, charming and helpful. Casual yet intimate with exposed brick walls, wood panels and soothing tones.

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