Last January, I visited Cape Town (here you can read more about the most amazing boutique hotels I discovered) and of course I went on a hunt for the best restaurants. In this post I’m sharing 6 favorite restaurants that are definitely worth a visit.
1. The Potluck Club
Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is well known for his Test Kitchen, which currently holds the 22th position in the list of Best Restaurants of the World. You need to make your reservation months in advance and even then you can be too late, as yours truly discovered. But don’t worry, because there is a sister restaurant. According too many it’s (almost) as good, but much more approachable and much more budget-friendly: The Potluck Club. This restaurant is also located in the Woodstock area, where it’s getting more buzzing and popular during the days and weekends, but where it can be kind of desolate during the evenings. Therefore, a taxi (Uber) is a must. They will drop you off in front of an elevator, where you’re being welcomed by a restaurant team member. And when you arrive upstairs, it’s like walking into a different world: a lively room with bar, gorgeous city view and crowded tables. Our welcome was kind of chaotic, but our very sweet waiter totally compensated this. The Potluck Club works with two shifts and a flavor-based menu, with lots of small dishes to share. Some of my favorites: the crispy chickpea fries with aioli (very addictive!), the mini fish taco’s with ceviche and the s’mores with roasted frozen marshmallow (really), peanut butter ice cream and chocolate cookies. Prices are very reasonable and every single dish was executed perfectly.
Clarke’s is very suitable for breakfast and lunch, but is a just as lovely casual diner spot. In Clarke’s very Instagram-worthy interior you can choose simple, but wonderfully prepared dishes from the small menu and service is enthusiastic. Clarke’s offers fresh oysters for only 15 Rand, so that’s a must for sure. And will it be a burger after that? Or the gourmet hotdog with kimchi and miso mayo? Or the Caesar salad?
3. The Codfather
In beach area Camps Bay, you will find locally famous restaurant The Codfather, which is one of the best seafood spots in town. Just ignore the silly name and bare entrance, because this is a really good place. You can start at the sushi bar, for probably the best sushi ever and then follow the waiter to the catches of the day. Order everything that looks good (the only hard thing is choosing!), agree to the weighted price and enjoy a pan filled with perfectly prepared seafood, fish and well-seasoned vegetables, tons of sauces and crispy potatoes. No-nonsense, but very delicious and about as fresh as it gets. My favorite was the langoustine, without a doubt: creamy, slightly sweet and so much better than lobster.
Also in Camps Bay and much more fancy is restaurant UMI, which is clearly Japanese inspired. The interior is gorgeous, with lots of blossoms and outside makes for a gorgeous beach view. The vibe is slightly more ‘seen and be seen’, but food and service are great. Order the fries with miso salt, the sashimi or fried soft shell crab (or splurge on the slightly dull, but always delicious miso black cod, although it’s kind of expensive) and definitely make sure to order the surprisingly good spinach salad with yuzu, miso and Parmesan. Beautiful little dish.
5. Yours Truly
Yours Truly has several locations in the city and is a very popular spot, mostly during the evenings, when lots of groups stay here for a drink. The menu is super simple: pizza and salad. That’s about it. Those pizzas are rectangular ones with a thin crust and simple toppings and very worth-wile. The Kloof Street location also offers an amazing rooftop terrace, which is a great place to stay after your meal.
6. Chefs Warehouse & Canteen
My ultimate favorite is last on this list. Somewhat hidden in the back of a cooking store, you can find Chefs Warehouse & Canteen, where reservations are non-existent and you just have to come early. And by early I mean really early, because the kitchen closes at eight and opens already at half past four. With a little bit of luck, you’re being put on the waiting list, guided to an even more hidden basement bar to have a glass of wine while you wait for your table. And when that table becomes available, you enter a tiny space with a few common tables and a bar. It’s like discovering a secret restaurant. There’s no menu, just eight courses that are served in full speed (only downside) and that you’re supposed to share together. The dishes change every day, but we enjoyed fresh yellowtail with ponzu, extremely creamy onion risotto, lamb croquettes with black garlic jus and hens egg with crispy onions and Parmesan cream. No wonder that many chefs dine here, because this was just crazy good! The fixed menu price is only 650 Rand (for 2) and that’s absolutely very, very affordable.
And then some
OK, I just can’t help it, some more tips: Kloof Street House has a gorgeous garden with string lights and a big house filled with curiosa, but also a varied menu and attentive service. After dinner, you should definitely get an ice cream across the street, where Unframed offers wonderful gelato. In the same street you find Chalk & Cork, where you share all kinds of tapas on a cozy terrace and where the gnocchi are light as pillows. And when you’re in Cape Town and crave Mediterranean food, you’re probably going to love Mezepoli. I definitely enjoyed the homemade hummus, dolmades and the very addictive warm pita bread.
The best spots for breakfast, coffee and lunch will follow next!