South Africans love their meat, and it’s fairly easy to find a perfectly cooked beef steak on most decent Cape Town restaurant menus. But when it comes down to the best of the best, the topic becomes more divisive. Most meat eaters have their favourite establishments in the city, and it’ll take a lot to persuade them otherwise.
Though unassuming from the outside, if there’s one restaurant that regularly rises to the top of most Capetonian’s best steak lists it’s Nelson’s Eye. That’s because they’ve been cooking some of the best cuts of meat since the 1960s. Over the years very little has changed in this restaurant, and given the homely atmosphere, good service and superb selection of cuts, sauces and spices, it’s no wonder that it’s still going strong well into its 50th year.
Headquarters, or HQ to most, has held the reputation of one of the best steak restaurant in Cape Town for a number of years now. For a while, that was pretty much all you could get at this vibrant City Bowl restaurant. Though the menu has relaxed somewhat over the years, their steak is still among the best in the city, and as a steak fan you’d be foolish to venture too far from their signature sirloin steak.
The Hussar Grill is another established restaurant on the steakhouse block. They’ve been going for more than 50 years, and now have branches dotted throughout the country. Though the South African steakhouse behemoth Spur bought them out for a sizeable fortune in 2013, they’ve still stayed true to most of their original values of producing high-end steaks in traditional surroundings. There are now Hussar Grill branches strategically located throughout the Cape.
Cattle Baron has a vast and surprisingly diverse menu, though the focus is obviously on all things meat. This is a large chain of steakhouses and there are stores throughout the Western Cape, which means it sometimes lacks the charm of smaller neighbourhood eateries. But when you consider just how well they prepare a diverse range of cuts and styles, meat eaters simply can’t go wrong.
Carne is an Italian-style meat-focused restaurant that has drawn favour from critics for several years. They source much of its meat from premium locations, offer a variety of traditional and unusual cuts, and combine them with Italian techniques and flavours to make for a truly unique meat-eating experience.
The Butcher Shop & Grill in Mouille Point is a firm favourite among locals in the area, in spite of slightly draconian rules, such as minimum per head charges and needing to dress “accordingly”. Patrons can select the cut and size from the butcher counter, and they will happily talk you through the available options and what to expect from each. Once you’ve picked your piece of meat they’ll expertly prepare it to your liking, along with your choice of side.
The two sister restaurants of Il Leone Mastrantonio and Don Armando, on Cape Town’s Prestwich Street, are quiet favourites among locals and visitors alike. Il Leone produces some remarkable Italian fare, but if you’re looking for some of the city’s best meat head on down to Don Armando. There you’ll find a meat lover’s paradise, complete with various tender cuts packed full of flavour. There are other variations on the menu, along with some vegetarian options, but it’s the meat that keeps the crowds coming back.
Though many discount the V&A Waterfront’s restaurants for being overpriced, there are a few such as Belthazar that are worth the extra premiums. This trendy steakhouse and wine bar is famous for its rib eye steaks and seemingly endless selection of wines, many of which are available by the glass.
Buzbey Grill is one of the city’s oldest steakhouses, and though they may not be the trendiest place to wine and dine, their charm, history and remarkable steaks are all you’ll need. The restaurant has had the same proprietor for more than 20 years, and it feels as if the prices haven’t changed much since.
Black Bull Steakhouse is a great option if you find yourself in the Tableview region of Cape Town. It opened to critical acclaim and glowing reviews, and though it’s popular with families they tick the boxes for most meat eaters. The obvious thing to eat here is meat, and you’ll find it in a range of forms, from grilled beef, pork ribs and ostrich steaks, right through to a selection of traditional beef cuts.
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