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Jack Black Taproom, Cape Town
Photograph: Jack Black Taproom

The 12 best burgers in Cape Town

From classic, meaty barbecues to vegan innovators, the Mother City has burgers for all occasions

Written by Richard Holmes

Despite no shortage of golden arches or promises of a whopping great meal, the best burgers in Cape Town are not to be found in your well-known global takeaway chains. In fact, steer well clear of those – this city is scattered with countless vibrant burger bars and laid-back eateries that leave ’em all for dust.

South Africans love a good braai (aka barbecue) and the allure of a juicy flame-grilled patty – served on a great bun, with an inventive array of toppings – means burger restaurants have flourished across the city. Happily, the menus typically tap into South Africa’s burgeoning craft-beer scene too.

So with a beer in one hand and a brew in the other, you’re all set. Not sure where to start? You won’t go wrong with our rundown of the best burgers in Cape Town, picked by local writer Richard Holmes.


😋 The best restaurants in Cape Town
🍣 The best sushi in Cape Town
🍕 The best pizza in Cape Town
🍷 The best wine farms in and around Cape Town
📍 The best things to do in Cape Town
🛏 Where to stay in Cape Town

Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.

The best burgers in Cape Town

For more than a decade Clarke’s has been a favourite trendy hangout in the city centre, with ‘day’ and ‘night’ menus catering for everyone from digital nomads in need of wifi through to crowds heading out for a night in the city. The burgers are a standout on both menus, made with a generous patty of grass-fed beef and served on a brioche bun topped with local Havarti cheese. There is a pair of meat-free options and a wide choice of sides, including delicious double-fried chips, while the house-made kimchi is also excellent. The best seats are at the front windows, facing the buzz of Bree Street, or ask for a seat at the bar counter.

133 Bree St, City Centre, 8001

The name rather gives the game away here: as Burger & Lobster promises, this is a solidly upscale take on your average burger bar. If you’re not up for the lobster roll – deshelled meat pan-fried in lobster butter, served with a Japanese mayo on a brioche roll – then the classic B&L burger is superb, with a meaty handmade patty topped with pickles and salad. Or get the best of both worlds with The Wolf burger: a 180g beef patty topped with lobster, truffle mayo and brie. Burger & Lobster has also built a loyal following for its cocktail menu. Throw in excellent service and sleek décor and you have one of the city’s best dinner destinations, full stop.

105 Bree St, City Centre, 8001


What began as something of a cult pop-up has grown into a much-loved inner-city burger joint. With its wooden bench-tables lining a concrete alleyway, The Dog’s Bollocks is not going to win any style awards, but the gargantuan burgers and pocket-friendly prices make up for the minimalist décor. Each burger on the menu begins with a hefty 200g patty and salad perched on oversized sesame bun with the option to add a number of toppings. There are chicken and vegetarian options too. And Pizza Warehouse on the same site serves up some of Cape Town’s best pizza.

6 Roodehek St, Gardens, 8001

Inspired by the movie Casablanca, Rick’s Café Americain has been a staple of the Kloof Street strip for years. In 2020 it reopened in a beautifully renovated Victorian building with a rooftop terrace that dishes up superb views of Table Mountain – it’s a fine spot to tuck into their classic Rick’s Cheeseburger. Made with organic beef, it comes topped with cheddar, pickles and red onion jam, and a range of sides. Beyond the burgers, Rick’s boasts an impressive selection of South African wines, craft beers and local gins.

103 Kloof Street, Gardens, 8001


In the heart of the busy Sea Point strip, this laidback burger bar keeps its menu small and focused. The burger patties at Engruna are a sight to behold: 200g of juicy beef grilled to a perfect medium-rare. Toppings and sides run to the usual suspects, so if you’re after something unusual, maybe go for the ostrich burger with guacamole and homemade relish. The best tables are out on the street-facing terrace, but note that there’s no table service (takeaways only) after 5pm.

341 Main Rd, Sea Point, 8005

This tiny burger joint in Woodstock’s Old Biscuit Mill precinct punches above its weight, with a generous selection of inspired burgers paired with local craft beers. Look past the straight-up beef option and browse their more inventive creations: El Borracho is packed with Mexican flavours – homemade jalapeño mayo, chilli salsa and guacamole – while The Karoo Grazer brings lamb, fried brinjal and tomato relish to the table. For local flavour go for The Flimsy Gypsy, made with 200g of free-range ostrich mince topped with brie, garlic mayo and aubergine piccalilli. Redemption Burgers is packed on a Saturday when the Neighbourgoods market is in full swing, so it’s best to visit mid-week.

Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, 7925


You’ll find a handful of Jerry’s outposts across Cape Town, but the boisterous atmosphere of the Observatory branch makes this our favourite. Set amidst the bars of Lower Main Road, it’s the perfect place to fuel up before a night on the town. Panko-crumbed cheese ‘Bombs’ – filled with everything from pulled pork to kimchi – are an ideal starter, before you tuck into the main event. The burger menu is extensive, with generous patties on a brioche bun. The ‘Jerry’ of Swiss cheese, rocket and red-onion relish is the signature, with vegan and vegetarian options on offer too. Can’t decide on just one burger? Opt for the trio of sliders instead.

123 Lower Main Rd, Observatory, 7925

Promising ‘The Best Damn Burger’ in town, this neighbourhood eatery in Claremont draws devotees from across the city. That’s partly because Woodies is one of Cape Town’s few halal-certified burger joints – but even if that’s not a concern, the burgers are top-notch. The menu is refreshingly simple, with a choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian to start, and a selection of toppings if you want to upscale your order. The Twin Box (two burgers) and Squad Box (four) are great value for groups, and if you’re truly starving you’ll gaze lovingly at The Colossus, a four-patty monster that’ll keep hunger pangs at bay for days. There are a handful of indoor tables, but most patrons choose to take away.

66 Belvedere Rd, Claremont, 7700


In its original Long Street location, Royale Eatery was a pioneer in Cape Town’s craft burger scene – as famous for its rooftop bar as its innovative menu. While covid lockdowns killed off the original locale, Royale has risen again in a handful of locations across Cape Town. Locals love the outpost in the Claremont business district: it’s smaller in size and menu than the original, but the flavour-packed patties and moreish sweet potato fries are as good as ever. Going meat-free? The Vegan Royale is superb, as are the ‘Xtra Thick’ shakes.

20 Vineyard Rd, Claremont, 7708

Have a hankering for fried chicken? Give the colonel a skip and opt for this South African burger chain instead. The chicken burgers at Free Bird do everything right: the breasts are from free-range birds, the buttermilk and flour coating is perfectly crispy, sides are made from scratch and the chips are hand-cut each day. You’ll find seven branches across Cape Town, but head to the Muizenberg outpost for a memorable after-surf bite. 

10 Empire Building, Beach Rd, Muizenberg, 7950


Look past its location in an unlovely light-industrial precinct of Cape Town’s southern suburbs and you’ll find plenty of reasons to visit this vibey brewery-taproom. For starters, there’s the beer. Jack Black (no relation) helped forge the craft beer scene in Cape Town, and the Taproom features both regular brews and seasonal taps. They all pair perfectly with the burgers, which range from classic beef to spicy pulled pork braised in their Butcher Block Ale. The vegan burger of marinated aubergine and miso-roasted carrots is surprisingly good too. Portions are generous across the board, so arrive hungry – and look out for the two-for-one special on Wednesdays.

10 Brigid Rd, Diep River, 7945

Drawing heavily on American diner tropes in both décor and menu, Hudsons has been turning out flame-grilled fare since 2009 and has since built a loyal following of hungry locals. The extensive menu offers more than 14 burger varieties, from the classic Original Royale with bacon and cheese to a juicy wagyu patty with caramelised onion and homemade pickles. Impressively, there are five vegan options, including a Beyond Meat burger, all of which are half-price on ‘Vegan Mondays’. There are four Hudsons restaurants across the city: Green Point and Kloof Street are ideal for night owls, while the Muizenberg eatery draws in a sandy-footed family crowd straight from the beach.

Various locations

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