• Megan Gieske

The Best, Most Iconic Restaurants in Cape Town

Updated: May 4


Photo by Sanju M Gurung


Food is an expression of everything we are. It's our grandmothers, it's our history, it's what we love, it's how we love, and unlike ourselves, nothing can be hidden in cooking. Cooking tells no lies. Food in South Africa is South Africa. It's skopo, it's samoosas, it's rotis, it's bobotie, it's gatsbys, it's a braai, it's biltong, and yes, it's even chicken feet and tripe. (If you leave before at least trying Cape Malay samoosas and bobotie, we can't be friends).


Cape Town is so much more than burgers and pasta, and yes, although those are on this list too, make sure you don't leave before experiencing Cape Town's exciting food culture, influenced by every color of the rainbow in this Rainbow Nation.


From someone who treats eating out like it's a hobby, these are my favorite restaurants and takeaways in Cape Town, some of the best of the best, reasons to visit in themselves.


Psst…Want more Cape Town, South Africa travel tips? Check out these other posts:


Read on for the best of eating out in Cape Town.


Table of Contents

The Golden Dish, Gatesville

Jordan Ways of Cooking, Langa

Kalky's, Kalk Bay

Neighborgoods Market, Woodstock

Sushi Box, (Chain)

Jamaica Me Crazy, Woodstock

Willoughby and Co, V&A Waterfront

Mojo Market, Sea Point

Brass Bell, Kalk Bay

Hudsons', (Chain)

Mario's Italian Restaurant, Green Point

Iron Steak and Bar, City Centre

 


the golden dish, gatesville


If you're coming to The Golden Dish, you're coming for a "gatsby." This "sandwich" is probably least deserving of the slam "sandwich" than any other. It would be better called Ubuntu because not only is it a food of the people, it's a food that makes Capetonians Capetonians, and they will defend it to the last. Don't wear your white clothes because you're ordering a long baguette stuffed with salty slap chips, crisp salad, fried egg, and polony, Cape Malay masala steak, or Vienna sausages.






jordan ways of cooking, langa


Okay, I might have a bias towards this place because I love Langa and believe in increasing tourism to the townships but hear me out. Jordan's is a whole vibe any day of the week with a live DJ, and parties at almost every table. The food is incredible. My partner and I love the Braai meat platter (#swoon) loaded with beef chops, sausages, chicken wings, chakalaka, steamed bread, and fries. For R450, it's enough to feed both of us twice over.


If you're shy to visit Langa (and you shouldn't be because you can be introduced by my friends at Siviwe Tours), Jordan's just opened a new location in Woodstock.


KALKY'S, kalk bay


Looking for the best fish and chips in Cape Town? Stop looking! In Kalk Bay, Kalky’s is an institution. The sometimes-long queues are well worth the wait for the fish and chips they’ve been serving since the 1950's. At a price that hasn’t changed much with the ages, fish and chips will only cost you R75. Don’t forget to take cash, as they don’t take cards and the ATM inside often has a queue.










neighborgoods market, woodstock


This award-winning market features over 100 specialty traders every Saturday and now Sunday, creating a weekly space for farmers, bakers, growers, celebrated local chefs, and the like. The Neighborgoods Market is housed in an old sky-lit brick warehouse and courtyard in the Old Biscuit Mill in the industrial, Brooklyn-esque neighborhood of Woodstock. It’s as much a source of farm-fresh and organic foods as it is a hub of Cape Town’s trendiest, jazziest locals. Live music and the “it’s four-o-clock somewhere” mindset keeps this place vibing.








SUSHI BOX, (chain)


Sushi Box is a gourmet sushi restaurant serving fresh, innovative sushi all across Cape Town with branches in Newlands, Kloof Street, De Waterkant, Willowbridge Mall, and Constantia. My favorite of their locations is on Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate. Where else can you enjoy your crispy prawn rolls (tempura prawn and avo rolls topped with mayo, sweet chili, sesame seeds, and 7 spice) while you watch the sunset over Elephant's Eye Cave and Muizenberg Mountain?










JAMAICA ME CRAZY, woodstock


Jamaica Me Crazy may be a Caribbean place, but it’s not the sound of the islands full of the lull of palm trees swaying in the breeze that I love, it’s the pizza. You have to try this pizza. No, it’s not margarita, or grandma, or even mac and cheese. It’s BBQ chicken, mango slices, cream cheese, and red onion that will have you calling Aruba. My first trip to Cape Town, I ordered it twice in two days, and ate and loved all sixteen slices!










Willoughby and co, V&A waterfront


During my first trip to Cape Town, when I stopped to check out the menu at Willoughby and Co, a local told me, “This is the best seafood in Cape Town.” She was right to point me here. Not only is their seafood delicious, but there’s a wealth of oceanic options to choose from. What’s coming out of the kitchen the most? The Willoughby-only rice balls topped with prawn or salmon.










MOJO MARKEt, sea point


The Mojo Market features over 30 food vendors with everything from biltong to ramen to baklava. Every weeknight, they host live music at 7pm, as well as Saturday shows at 1pm, 6pm, and 8:30pm, and Sunday shows at 1pm and 7pm, making it the perfect place to hang out, grab a bite and pint any day of the week.













brass bell, kalk bay


One of the biggest reasons I love the Brass Bell is it's located right on the water above two tidal pools. While you're waiting for your food to arrive, you can take a quick dip just meters away from your table. I love their grilled fish and chips paired with a Rock Shandy or better yet, a Savannah, my favorite South African cider. There's no better way to refresh from the heat after a day of strolling and shopping in Kalk Bay.










hudsons', (chain)


Even if you’re a New Yorker, you’ll feel like you’re in Greenwich chowing down on the city’s best burger. If the Manhattan map on the wall or the Cosmopolitans don’t do it for you, the burgers will. Try one Hudsons' burgers with creamy avocado and onion relish.



















mario's Italian restaurant, green point


Staying in Green Point? Mario’s Italian Restaurant is worth a visit, if only to see grandma throwing the pizzas or cutting pasta in the back kitchen. Mario’s is within walking distance from many Green Point stays. From the main road, stop in for a cup of coffee or one of their chocolatey cakes.
















iron steak and bar, city centre


Iron Steak and Bar is one of my favorite new downtown discoveries. Not only are their steaks exceptional, but dining with them is an experience from start to finish. Beginning with when you sit down, you're treated to their delicious popcorn with Wagyu beef drippings. Whatever main you order will be a star even if it's not steak. I loved their Korean fried chicken burger. The best part? Anyone who orders a main leaves with a token for a sea-salt, caramel ice cream rolled in dark chocolate shavings, a perfect pairing. Enjoy it right then or bring your token back for a sweet fix.













did i miss your favorite restaurant? hit me up and let me know in the comments.

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