Gardens is an affluent inner-city suburb in Cape Town populated by young professionals, chic boutiques, hotels, hip bars and restaurants. Just a stone’s throw away from the bustling city center, Gardens is the ideal location to grab a drink and bite to eat after a long day of sightseeing.
Chef Pon’s Asian Kitchen
Chef Pon’s Asian Kitchen is a Gardens institution that has served its eclectic pan-Asian menu for over a decade. Kick off your culinary experience with mouthwatering tapas including Indonesian chicken and beef satay, prawn tempura or dim sum. Alternatively, try one of the fragrant soups like Tom Yung Khung that comes with a spicy kick. Mains include a range of mild to hot Thai curries, aromatic duck and delicious seafood dishes. If you’re brave enough, try the Thai Beef Jungle Curry or Angry Duck and wash it down with a Singha beer. The stylish interior features Chinese wall panels and dark wooden furniture accentuated by Asian artworks and candle-lit tables — an ideal setting for dinner dates.
If you’re looking for a relaxed environment that serves wholesome food for the whole family, come to Café Paradiso. Established over 20 years ago, this rustic styled restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine made from the freshest ingredients. From antipasti and open sandwiches to pasta and succulent meat dishes, Café Paradiso has something for everyone. Standouts include bacon wrapped kudu loin with blue cheese, and butternut and fig pilaf with mint yoghurt for vegetarians. Kids get to try their hand at making homemade pizza, gingerbread men and cupcakes while parents enjoy their lunch in the beautiful garden setting.
Restaurant, South African, Contemporary, European, African, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, $$$
One of the few establishments in Cape Town to serve an all-day breakfast, Arnold’s is your go-to for lazy afternoons after a night on the town. Arnold’s relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff will make you feel right at home as you munch on Mike’s free-range breakfast or Carol’s french toast. A well-priced lunch and dinner menu offers unique South African cuisine, including game meat, burgers, vegetarian dishes and fresh seafood. For the more adventurous, try Arnold’s signature dishes like warthog ribs or crocodile tagine. Be sure to catch the daily happy hour from 16:30 to 18:30, when drinks and cocktails are sold at special prices.
Brasserie, Restaurant, South African, Vegetarian, Contemporary, Dessert, $$$
Set in a grand Victorian house at the foot of Kloof Street, Kloof Street House’sbrasserie style menu features seasonal contemporary fare, including free-range, grass-fed meats, fish of the day and creative vegetarian dishes. Artfully presented, the food is rich and flavorful as you dine in the picturesque garden or inside one of the ornately decorated rooms. Equally decadent is the selection of desserts and cocktails. There’s something for every palate.
This award-winning restaurant calls itself a ‘gastronomic haven’ – and rightfully so. Aubergine’s seasonal menus incorporate influences from the East and West resulting in a rich combination of flavors and textures. Choose from springbok loin, rabbit seared in sage butter or duck breast in sour fig sauce. The degustation menu is the winner here, expertly pairing unique dishes with local wines, delighting the senses. A standout is Abalone (a South African delicacy) sautéed and served with squid ink risotto paired with a local rosé. As for the decor, it’s simple yet elegant, featuring yellowwood tables, original wooden sash windows and blackwood floors.
Bistro, Restaurant, French, Italian, South African, $$$
Based on the French bistro philosophy, this is the perfect place to savor a meal while enjoying the company of family and friends. An award-winning establishment, Societi Bistro prides itself on sourcing local, organic ingredients and sustainable seafood. The seasonal menus include French and Italian cuisine as well as South African favorites like Karoo lamb shank, venison and fresh fish. Decorated in the French Provençal style, the ambiance is laid back and the service friendly.
A visit to The Bombay Bicycle Club is a truly memorable experience. This wacky, bohemian-themed restaurant offers modern fare fit for a king or queen. Try the Bombay ribs, prawns sautéed in garlic and rosemary butter or the artichoke, truffle and prawn risotto. If you’re up for dessert, go for the chocolate chili and ginger malva pudding (a twist on a South African favorite) or the Bombay chocolate filled cigars. Wash down your meal with one of the tasty cocktails with a Bombay spin. The restaurant does tend to fill up quickly so be sure to make a reservation.
Rick’s Café Américain take its cue from the movie classic Casablanca. Its warm, inviting interior set in a century old Victorian house transports diners to a bygone era. The food is unpretentious and hearty, featuring delightful tapas, burgers, seafood, vegetarian and Moroccan dishes. Meals can be enjoyed inside or on the roof deck, which boasts a stunning view of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.
For an authentic Asian experience head to Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant, featuring a mainly Vietnamese menu with Japanese influences. Starters include dim sum, tapas and soups while mains include curries, beef, poultry, pork and seafood. The restaurant features a wrap around balcony with a great view of Table Mountain and the decor is simplistic and elegant, with Asian accents.
A Kloof Street institution, Da Vinci’s is well-known for its range of juicy burgers and thin-based pizzas cooked in a wood fire. The menu also boasts grills, pasta, salads and a kids’ menu. Favorites include the burger-in-a-bowl (a bunless burger served with a salad), prime-age sirloin steak and delicious spare ribs. A popular hangout for families with children, the ambiance is comfy and casual featuring blank newsprint covered tables with crayons to bring out your creative side. And if that’s not enough, there’s Happy Hour every weekday when all drinks are half-price from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.