Burgers in Cape Town are big business. Though trendy Long Street eatery Royale set the original tone way back in the day, there are now dozens of restaurants around the city grappling for the top spot. Many have come and gone, and all Capetonians have their personal favourites, but if you’re looking for authentic quality in the best locations, point your salivating mouth in the direction of one of these fine burger spots.
IYO Burgers (Inside & You're Out)
Restaurant, South African, $$$
IYO started out as a mobile burger stand, but their grass-fed, organic burgers proved so popular they set up permanent shop on Cape Town’s Bree Street. They’ve now expanded to take over even more space in the original venue, and yet are still staying true to their original mantra of producing burgers with top quality, ethically sourced ingredients. Along with their venue, the list of available burgers has expanded, but the original Whiskey Braai-BQ still ticks all the boxes.
Restaurant, South African, American, Vegetarian, $$$
The YARD, Cape Town | Courtesy Dog's Bollocks
You’ll find Dog’s Bollocks in an unsuspecting side alley in the Cape Town suburb of Gardens. Though they initially made a name for themselves by casually serving a limited number of delicious burgers each night, in the most unpretentious and pleasingly quirky venue imaginable, they’ve since formalised much of their operations. They’re still as popular as ever, and though they may have lost some of their original no-frills charm, they still knock out some of the city’s best — and biggest — burgers each night.
The original Cape Town gourmet burger venue may have lost some ground to the dozens of others that have followed in its wake, but they still rank among the best in the city. The casual but quirky Long Street restaurant is an institution, and they now offer more than 50 options to choose from. Though first timers shouldn’t look much further than the Classic Royale to savour just how solid these burgers really are.
Clarkes Cheeseburger | Courtesy Clarkes Bar & Dining Room
Clarke’s is a slick restaurant, coffee shop and bar on popular Bree Street that seemed to become an overnight institution. They offer a range of quality diner style meals throughout the day, but their no-frills burgers have won over fans across the city. They’re served greasy in a basket with a layer of cheese and quality fries, and though far from the healthiest option, they always seem to hit the spot.
The Butcher Man in Green Point feels like it’s first a standalone butchery, second a restaurant, but this only really means one thing — the meat used in the burgers there is the best available. They’re particularly popular for their Waygu beef burgers, but they’ll also serve up a traditional cheese or chicken burger if you’re looking for something different. Pair them up with sweet potato fries for a simple meal that’s big on quality and flavour.
Jerry’s is an unpretentious burger bar with five locations across Cape Town. They shy away from over glamourising their menu, and simply produce solid burgers that hit all the right notes. Their toppings are varied, ingredients fresh, and they offer a variety of craft beers on tap.
When Hudsons opened up in their cosy Kloof Street venue, many argued that they would give Royale, just down the road, a real run for their money. Eight branches later, and they’re still churning out some of the city’s most reliable burgers. Though they’re generally able to produce a reliable burger regardless of the location, there’s still something appealing about tucking into ‘The Hudson’ burger at one of Cape Town’s original gourmet burger establishments.
Devil’s Peak Brewery makes some of the city’s best craft beers, and their popular Taproom matches these with an incredible cheese burger. It comes with a toasted bun, Emmental cheese and perfect fries.
Woodies at the V&A Waterfront Food Market may primarily deal in the takeaway realm, but with delectable burgers – and ample seating in the market and surrounding Waterfront precinct – they’re well worth a visit. Their burgers are large, juicy and halal, making them one of the most popular establishments in the market.
Engruna is a child restaurant of Sea Point favourites La Boheme and La Bruixa, and they offer all of the quality you’d expect of the better known elders. Their focus is primarily on burgers, and they always seem to get it right, whether you go for a classic cheese burger, or branch out into something a bit more adventurous. The burgers all come with perfect fries, which you can upscale to parmesan and truffle for a small surplus.