An amazing number of culinary gems are scattered around the city of Cape Town. Some are out in the open for everyone to see, while other hidden in nooks and crannies of the city.
Here are a few of my favorite places, which are known and loved mainly by locals like me. Well, not for long…
Lefty’s Dive Bar
Close to all the pubs and clubs of Harrington Street on the east side of the city, Lefty’s pulls in the crowds. Friday and Saturday nights are always busy, so expect about a 20-minute wait to get a seat. The ever-changing blackboard menu ensures you never have to get the same thing twice, unless you want to. Lefty’s is especially well known for its succulent ribs (six pieces for US$7 with no fries), Kentucky chicken and waffles, and reasonable prices: nothing costs over US$8. The bar draws a very mixed crowd of 9-5 office workers, students and hipsters who come to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff, great food and good value.
Address: 105 Harrington Street, Cape Town
Hours: Monday 4pm til late, and Tuesday-Saturday from 11am til late.
YARD is collective space that is home to a number of restaurants, including Mucky Mary, The Bitch’s Tits and Deluxe Coffeeworks by day, and the famous burger joint The Dogs Bollocks by night.
Mucky Mary serves up delicious breakfasts, and The Bitch’s Tits does a fantastic lunch. Both breakfast and lunch are served all day between 7am and 4pm.
The Dogs Bollocks is an unpretentious, low-key burger joint. It was started by Nigel Wood who would only make 30 burgers per night with no exceptions. Over the years it has grown to become the best burger place in Cape Town and with a recently extended menu now offering ribs, chicken wings and nachos, it is only growing from strength to strength.
Address: 6 Roodehek Street, Gardens
Hours: Mucky Mary and The Bitch’s Tits from 7am to 4pm, and The Dogs Bullocks from 5pm to 10pm
A favourite of many South Africans, boerewors rolls, commonly known as boeries, are farm-style sausages on a roll. They are commonly sold at sporting events and busy street corners by drunken clubbers and soccer fans.
This simple delight inspired a favourite restaurant of Capetonians, called Gourmet Boerie. Whether you try the traditional boerie with caramelised onions or something fancier like the Gorgonzola Deluxe Boerie topped with poached pear, caramelised pecan nuts and rocket, there is something for everyone — including vegetarians. All boeries go for around US$6, come in a selection of lamb, ostrich, beef and chicken, and are served with french fries.
Address: 8 Kloof Street, Cape Town
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 12pm to 1030pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 3pm.
Black Sheep Restaurant
This laid-back gastropub not only has excellent fresh, seasonal food, but it’s also a stylish social venue.
Black Sheep is a “blackboard restaurant,” meaning that the menu changes every day and is written on the blackboard. Once a menu item is scratched off the blackboard, it is no longer available to order. Recent dishes include slow roasted pork belly with crackling, butternut, bacon and chard, and polenta with artichokes, beans and goat cheese. Appetizers are available for US$5, and mains for $12.
A delicious set menu is also available for regulars who like to know what they’re going to get each time. and unique family-style roasts can be shared between four to six friends.
Black Sheep has three dining areas (including a mezzanine for private parties), a cozy fireplace, and amazing views of Table Mountain. If you’re not in the mood for food, you can opt for the street-side bar, which offers cocktails and craft beers.
Address: 104 Kloof street, Cape Town
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday lunch from 12pm until 3pm, and dinner from 6pm until 1030pm. Monday dinner from 6pm-1030pm.
This corner cafe in the windy suburb of Vredehoek sits on the slopes of Table Mountain and offers locals (and visitors) an amazing place to enjoy views of the city while having some delicious food. Sidewalk Cafe offer amazing breakfasts, tasty lunches and romantic dinners, set in a charming, rustic beach-themed venue. Casual by day and sophisticated at night, the restaurant is both homey and elegant at the same time.
Meals are priced between US$6 and $12 and are reasonable sized. Plug points are scattered throughout the restaurant and it’s got free wi-fi as well, making it a great temporary office if need be.
Address: 33 Derry Street, Vredehoek
Hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 10pm and Sunday from 9am to 2pm
The Pot Luck Club & Gallery
After the success of The Test Kitchen, award-winning chef Luke Dale-Roberts has done it again with his new eatery called The Pot Luck Club & Gallery. This tapas bar and restaurant shows off Dale-Roberts’ pure genius in the kitchen. The menu includes Asian-influenced pork belly served with XO dressing, red cabbage and apple slaw, doenjang glazed beef short ribs with steamed bun and pickles and Springbok rending with coconut pap.
Not only is the food exquisite, the location is breathtaking; elevated above the Old Biscuit Mill in the creative suburb of Woodstock, it has views of Devils Peak and Table Mountain.
Address: Silo Top Floor, The Old Biscuit Mill, 373-375 Albert Road
Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 6-10pm, Saturday lunch from 1230-2pm and dinner from 6-10pm
Nuri Sushi Factory
Cape Town has loads of sushi hotspots, but no other place offers the variety, quality and unique approach that Nuri Sushi Factory does. Having previously worked in some of the best sushi restaurants in Cape Town, co-owner Adam Bartal uses his skills to creating amazing mouthfuls of delight.
Located in the centre of the city, this grab-and-go takeaway-style restaurant serves traditional California rolls, hand rolls, maki, nigiri and sashimi, and also offers unique dishes such as The Nuri Stack — eight triple-stacked fashion sandwiches topped with a homemade Asian peanut dressing and sprinkled with sesame oil, spring onion and crushed peanuts. Dishes are priced around US$5 per platter.
Address: 8 Parliament Street, Cape Town
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 12pm to 9pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm