The 10 Best Restaurants In The Cape Town City Bowl

© Felix Seuffert
© Felix Seuffert
Photo of Lee-Shay Collison
9 February 2017

Cape Town was recently named best food city in the world by Condé Nast Traveler for its variety of cosmopolitan cuisine. From savvy steakhouses and pan-Asian eateries to award-winning food labs and African bistros, Cape Town has something for all tastes. We take a look at the top restaurants located in the city center.

The Test Kitchen

Restaurant, South African, Contemporary, $$$
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Named the best restaurant in South Africa for the fourth year running and ranked 22 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, The Test Kitchen is a gastronomical nirvana located in the artsy suburb of Woodstock. Founder and Head Chef, Luke Dale-Roberts, offers diners eclectic, international fare from an a la carte menu, and five and ten course tasting menus. Do not be fooled by the industrial-chic interior and laid-back ambiance — here the food speaks for itself. A highlight is the light curry glazed kingklip atop a carrot and cashew purée, finished with carrot beurre noisette. Owing to its famous reputation, the restaurant books out months in advance so be sure to book online well before your trip to the Mother City.

The Pot Luck Club

Bar, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, South African, $$$
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To see the chefs in action, sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen
To see the chefs in action, sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen | Courtesy of The Pot Luck Club
The Pot Luck Club is The Test Kitchen’s younger and equally brilliant sibling, run by Head Chef Wesley Randles under the guidance of Luke Dale-Roberts. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant made its début on the top ten list of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards last year for its innovative array of tapas. ‘Sharing dishes’ are divided into five categories — salty, sour, sweet, umami and bitter — to allow guests to try each taste sensation on its own or as a whole. The ambiance is relaxed with an edgy-cool interior designed by some of the city’s foremost art and design personalities.

Addis in Cape

Restaurant, Ethiopian, African, Vegetarian, $$$
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Rated Best African Eatery, Addis in Cape is highly recommended for authentic Ethiopian cuisine, known for its rich flavors and generous use of herbs and spices. The fragrant dishes are served together on a large plate layered with a sourdough called injera and are eaten by hand, using the dough to scoop out the flavorful stews and sauces. Try the kitfo — an Ethiopian delicacy consisting of beef tartar mixed with kibe (clarified butter simmered in spices and herbs), or the shimbera asa wot — chickpea cakes simmered in berebere sauce. Don’t leave without trying some tej, a sweet homemade honey wine or the home-brewed Ethiopian coffee. The restaurant is decorated in traditional Ethiopian furnishings creating an exotic ambiance and memorable dining experience.

Inside & You’re Out

Restaurant, South African, Vegan, Vegetarian
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The best burger joint in town, Inside & You’re Out serves tasty cuisine made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. What makes their burgers stand out is that each grass-fed beef patty is stuffed with artisanal cheese and other gourmet ingredients. The restaurant is small and low-key but this doesn’t detract from the exceptional food. Favorites include the Whisky Braai-BBQ — a smoked, cheddar-filled beef patty topped with organic bacon, avo, wild rocket and a signature whisky-barbecue sauce; and the B-B.L.T — a boerenkaas cheddar-stuffed beef patty topped with tomato, bacon and onion jam, butter lettuce and garlic mayo.

El Burro (Greenpoint)

El Burro is a popular choice for Mexican food lovers in the Cape Town city bowl. You can look forward to all the usual favorites like enchiladas, quesadillas and tacos with a variety of fillings, but you can also choose to build your own tacos. Get a table on the balcony and be sure to try one of their refreshing variations of the classic margarita cocktail.

81 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town, +27 21 021 433 2364

Active Sushi

Restaurant, Sushi, $$$
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Active Sushi
Active Sushi | Courtesy Active Sushi

Rated the best Asian eatery by Eat Out, Active Sushi serves an extensive selection of fresh sushi in a relaxed environment. The restaurant is known for its well-priced lunch special — a 20 piece platter for just R100, around $7. Great value for money and friendly service ensures this chic eatery is always busy so make a reservation before you go.

Bistro Bizerca

Bistro, Restaurant, South African, French
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Situated on Heritage Square, Bistro Bizerca is a cosy restaurant that serves classic French cuisine with a South African twist. The menu comprises a variety of classic dishes while daily seasonal creations can be ordered from the chalkboard menu. Chef Laurent sources only the best and freshest ingredients from local suppliers and fresh fish is delivered daily. Try their signature raw Norwegian salmon salad with ginger, soy and shallots or the veal tongue with gruyére cheese and waterblommetjies (water lilies). Enjoy your meal in the laid-back dining room featuring wooden floors and raw brick walls or outside in the courtyard on balmy, summer evenings.

Maharajah Restaurant

Restaurant, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
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Rated the best Indian eatery by Eat Out, Maharajah offers a range of classic north and south Indian cuisine in an elegant setting. Exotic ingredients and spices are expertly combined to bring out authentic Indian flavors in each dish. Must-try dishes include lamb curry on the bone, butter chicken and the mixed seafood fish curry. Perfect for candle-lit dinners, the restaurant interior features dark wood furniture, Indian artworks and red accents.

Il Leone Mastrantonio

Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Rated one of the best Italian restaurants in Cape Town, Il Leone Mastrantonio serves authentic Italian fare in a revamped Georgian house in Green Point. The menu includes classic pasta dishes in delicious homemade sauces, antipasti, gnocchi, risotto, meat and fish. Pair your meal with one of the local or Italian varietals from the extensive wine list and don’t forget to try one of the decadent desserts. The restaurant’s relaxed ambiance is complemented by simple wooden furniture and eye-catching artworks on the walls.

Reuben’s at The One&Only Hotel

Restaurant, South African, European, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
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Reuben’s is owned by award-winning South African chef, Reuben Riffel, whose passion and expertise is interpreted in every meal. Situated in the luxurious One&Only Hotel in the V&A Waterfront, Reuben’s offers a unique take on distinctly South African cuisine utilizing sustainable and free-range ingredients. Diners can look forward to a sumptuous selection of South African classics updated with a modern sophisticated twist. The large, stylish restaurant is perfect for a celebratory night out.

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