Home to the best coffee in town, pizzerias with added pizzazz and underground drinking dens with long lists of whiskies – welcome to the Mother City’s foodie hub.
With the rise of Cape Town as one of the world’s coolest capitals, there’s been a bit of jostling in the Mother City between streets claiming the coveted title of the hippest. While Kloof and Long Street were once the main contenders, Bree Street quietly slipped in while no one was watching and snatched the crown. It’s all about food, here: with its on-point collection of artisan cafes, jazzy bars and top restaurants, it’s not hard to convince people to stop by. Join us on a journey through its highlights with some ace spots to stay nearby.
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While little more than a hole-in-the-wall eatery, the General Store quickly cooked itself up a steaming reputation. Chef Colette Robert was inspired after a stint in London to open this cafe-cum-grocery store, and her health-leaning, weekly changing menu of pies, salads and bakes has taken the street by storm. There are mouthwatering handmade nibbles to take away, too, and some Capetonians even tip this place for serving the best coffee in town.
Once destined to be torn down for a car park, this cluster of 18th-century buildings was saved from that ignoble fate after a sizable outcry. The end result was the restoration of the site into a collection of excellent dining, retail and office spaces – even a working blacksmith. Its central courtyard is a pleasantly serene spot to relax with a drink in the sun, while the preserved stone-built complex provides an insight into Cape Town’s past.
This curiously named hotel occupies an imposingly handsome building on a leafy pedestrianised lane, a few blocks south of Bree Street. It is five-star fabulousness all the way, mostly concentrated on its rooftop, featuring a fancy indoor-outdoor pool and swanky restaurant. Its 32 studios and suites all fuse industrial chic with a modern take on Victorian design to admittedly gorgeous effect.
With its name inspired by a Biggie Smalls track, you know this pizzeria is going to have a little more pizzazz than most. A pink-on-pink colour scheme bathed in neon certainly dials up the glam, while profanity-laced graffiti sets a tone of tongue-in-cheek irreverence. But most importantly, their authentic Italian-style pizzas are among the city’s finest. Regular DJ sessions and damn good cocktails turn it into a coveted nightspot, too.
This gloriously camp Cape Town cabaret theatre prides itself on guaranteeing the audience an experience quite unlike any other in the city. Shows range from stand-up and live music to burlesque comedy and ‘adult’ panto, performed in a very intimate theatre space. Interaction with the audience is part of the fun – be prepared for a roasting if you sit too near the front. Expect flamboyant drag acts, louche laughs and an atmosphere of unbridled entertainment.
If you had to pick one word to describe the Cartel House Hotel it would be ‘plush’. There’s an unabashed opulence about the interior design, from padded velvet doors to bespoke furnishings and four-poster beds. With just six rooms, each is individually styled, some with wall-to-wall windows and others with spacious hammock-slung terraces. A rooftop pool offers space for cityscape cooling, while a digital concierge will help with your dining reservation in Bree Street, a few blocks away.
A Bree Street mainstay for longer than most, this cute bar-cafe can pin its popularity on a laid-back hipster-tinged vibe that lasts from early breakfast to after-dark drinks. The day menu is brunching heaven, with everything from antiox-rich smoothies to eggs every way imaginable. A night menu offers up hearty treats like four-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese and grass-fed burgers, together with a heroic list of boozy refreshment.
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