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Clarke's Bar & Dining Room
Photograph: Supplied

The 15 best restaurants on Bree St.

Not sure where to eat on Cape Town’s gourmet boulevard? Here’s Time Out's pick of the very best that Bree Street has to offer.

Richard Holmes
Written by
Richard Holmes

Like a menu with too many great options, deciding where to eat on Bree Street is never an easy task. This inner-city boulevard – named because it was bree (wide, in Afrikaans) enough to turn an ox cart back in the day – has become Cape Town’s go-to destination for a gourmet wander.

From the bottom end near the Foreshore district to the upper reaches bordering the Bo-Kaap, there’s a fantastic diversity of dining destinations on offer. But where to begin? Don’t worry… Time Out did the hard work for you by eating our way uphill to select the best restaurants Bree Street has to offer. 

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Born and raised in the city, Richard Holmes is a travel writer based in Cape Town. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Time Out Market Cape Town

The Best Bites & Drinks on Bree Street

Grub & Vine (and Culture Wine Bar)
Photograph: Nickey Bothma

1. Grub & Vine (and Culture Wine Bar)

Matt Manning has built a loyal local following at Grub & Vine, with his upmarket yet unpretentious New York-inspired bistro in the heart of the Bree Street strip, where a menu d’jour offers two- and three-courses from a dozen or so elevated bistro plates. ‘Good honest cooking, with proper sauces. That’s the style we do, and we do it well,’ says Manning. ‘And we serve it with a great wine list that we’re known for.’

The Grub & Vine wine list is certainly impressive, which led to Manning opening Culture Wine Bar alongside. Here you’ll find a few lighter plates, each with Manning’s signature touch, alongside a wine list of more than 600 labels. It’s the perfect place to take a deep dive into the world of Cape wine, in the heart of the city. Can’t make it to Bree Street? Stop in at Culture Wine Bar at the Time Out Market Cape Town, where you’ll find a snapshot of the experience alongside some of the city’s top chefs.

103 Bree St.

Iron Steak and Bar
Photograph: Supplied

2. Iron Steak and Bar

At first glance the menu at Iron Steak and Bar looks pretty simple: a 200g grass-fed flat iron steak, served with a house leaf salad. At R165 it’s a good deal, though you can triple that price if you’d rather upgrade to Wagyu. Ah, but wait, here’s the chalkboard menu, which showcases the depth of meaty discovery on offer at this sophisticated inner-city steakhouse. And here you’ll struggle to choose, from a swarthy rib-eye to the remarkable tomahawk. There are more traditional prime cuts, of course, and a great selection of Wagyu too, all cooked to your liking on an imported Spanish Vulcano Grez grill. Pair your protein with the inspired collection of side plates: truffled ‘mac & cheese’ is criminally more-ish, as are the chips done in wagyu dripping. Keeping off carbs? The apple, fennel and walnut salad offers a fine alternative to the traditional roasted butternut and creamed spinach on offer. Pair it all with a bold red wine from the handpicked collection of Cape estates.

114 Bree St.

Boma on Bree
Photograph: Paris Brummer

3. Boma on Bree

Chef Vusi Ndlovu is a busy man. When he’s not behind the grill at MLILO Fires of Africa, his groundbreaking eatery at Time Out Market Cape Town, you’ll likely find him here at Boma on Bree, where he brings a similarly Afro-centric approach to a menu geared as a culinary celebration of the continent. In a colourfully quirky space that draws a vibrant crowd late at night, Ndlovu’s menu ranges from Cape Malay to shisanyama to traditional Afrikaans kitchens, offering a pan-African showcase of dishes, most of them kissed with a lick of smoke and flame.

107 Bree St.

Photograph: Supplied

4. Hacienda

First things first: do not come here for boring ol’ Tex-Mex. Rather, at Hacienda the menu takes its cue from the Baja Peninsula to create a unique take on ‘Coastal Mexican’ cuisine. After snacking on a plate of totopos, begin with the guacamole; prepared to your taste tableside, as a perfect starter for two while you browse the menu. It’s helpfully divided into five sections: Land, Ocean, Tacos, Fire and Dessert.

It’s a menu of small plates, so you’ll want at least two plates; three if you’re hungry. The ceviche of local kabeljou is outstanding, with just the right kick from the leche de tigre, while vegetarians will love the Oaxaca adobo rice with salsa verde. Guajillo-dusted corn elevates a simple vegetable side dish into a more-ish delight, while the tacos range from brisket to spicy chicken. Dessert? It’s got to be the churros, right? Hacienda also boasts the largest collection of premium tequila and mezcal in the city, and you won’t want to miss their Tajin-spiced margarita.

92 Bree St.

The Bailey (and Chef’s Warehouse)
Photograph: Claire Gunn

5. The Bailey (and Chef’s Warehouse)

Liam Tomlin may have made a name with his string of Chef’s Warehouse restaurants – there’s one on the ground floor here – but be sure to leave an evening for dinner at The Bailey upstairs. In bringing The Bailey to life Tomlin took plenty of inspiration from The Wolseley in London’s Mayfair, creating a space of understated charm, old-school service and a concise brasserie menu unashamedly drawing on French culinary tropes. Think reduced sauces and the memorable confit duck leg served with parsnips and sauce bigarade. Think beef tongue with sauce Madeira, and a groaning cheese trolley served tableside. Just don’t forget to start with oysters, and end with something Scottish in the rooftop whisky bar.

91 Bree St.

Burger & Lobster
Photograph: Supplied

6. Burger & Lobster

There’s far more to Burger & Lobster than the eponymous buns with free-range beef patties, or toasted brioche filled with succulent lobster meat dressed with lobster butter and Japanese kewpie mayo. Start with the small plates, where there’s a welcome focus on seafood: try the grilled king prawns doused with kimchi and melon salsa, or soft-shell crabs with nduja and seaweed crisps. Feeling indulgent? The Lobster Soufflé is superb, but you may want to leave room for the Large Plates too.

There’s an impressive collection of bespoke cocktails on offer, alongside a wine list of (mostly) boutique Cape estates; almost all available by the glass. It all adds up to a space that delivers top-drawer dining in a contemporary destination with plenty of urban appeal. Every day from 4pm-5.30pm is the Half-Price Social Hour, with 50% off on selected drinks and a well-priced menu of Bar Bites.

105 Bree St.

Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room
Photograph: Supplied

7. Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room

A stylish take on the traditional diner, Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room has become a staple of the Bree Street restaurant strip. That’s largely thanks to the superb beef burgers served on buttery brioche buns, but their soup-and-grilled-cheese sandwich offer at lunch remains one of the best affordable bites in the city. Look out for well-priced breakfast specials before 9am, when you’ll find savvy digital nomads tapping into the free Wi-Fi.

133 Bree St.

SeaBreeze Fish & Shell
Photograph: Claire Gunn

8. SeaBreeze Fish & Shell

A little bit chic with a dose of fun, the sky-blue exterior of SeaBreeze will grab your attention as you wander up Bree Street. SeaBreeze serves up a tempting menu of seafood specialities in a wonderfully unpretentious setting. Start with oysters, plucked fresh from both the East and West Coast and served six different ways. Small Plates allow a taster of the kitchen’s coastal creativity, with the likes of tuna sliders, prawn arancini and hake ceviche. Or keep it simple with the SeaBreeze Classics: the line-caught hake they’re famous for, or the fragrant fish pie. It’s a menu that’s both inventive and traditional, from a kitchen that prides itself on fresh seafood.

213 Bree St.

The Drinkery
Photograph: Supplied

9. The Drinkery

The Drinkery is a gem of a watering hole is hidden away upstairs in Heritage Square, a modern speakeasy shaking up a menu of innovative house cocktails and the classics done properly. That’s thanks to a bespoke collection of boutique brands behind the bar, from small-batch Caribbean rums to single-barrel single malts. Get there early to grab a terrace table overlooking the sheltered courtyard.

Heritage Square, Bree St.

Rosetta Roastery
Photograph: Andrew Macdonald

10. Rosetta Roastery

For a caffeine kick look no further than this stylish inner-city café, where minimalist décor and some of the city’s best coffee conspire to create a haven for digital nomads, remote workers and savvy locals. Rosetta Roastery is famous for its single-origin artisan-roasted coffee, and each day you’ll find a choice of beans on offer at the counter here. Alongside espresso-based drinks the menu runs to Kyoto-style, pour-over and batch brewed filter coffee. There’s a compact menu of (mostly) breakfast and brunch plates too, best enjoyed at the pavement tables outside.

101 Bree St.

Photograph: Supplied

11. Tomson

Many Asian eateries in Cape Town focus purely on sushi or dim sum, but at Tomson Andrew Kai celebrates his Chinese-South African heritage on a menu of southern Cantonese plates. Here the compact menu wanders from wonton noodle soups topped with chilli crisp to Sichuan pork plated with spicy house kimchi. It’s a cosy spot, with just a handful of tables indoors and out on the street, but for an intimate taste of Cantonese cuisine in Cape Town this is your best bet.

120 Bree St.

Aiko Sushi
Photograph: Vega DuPont

12. Aiko Sushi

There’s no shortage of sushi restaurants in Cape Town, but Aiko hits the sweet spot of well-priced plates that don’t skimp on quality produce. The a la carte menu runs through the usual (sushi) suspects, alongside a selection of more unusual plates: ever wanted a sushi ‘burger’, ‘burrito’ or ‘sushi donut’? Now’s your chance. Their daily all-you-can-eat special is a good deal for the hungry, and Aiko keeps vegans happy, with a selection of tofu-based tempura plates.

4 Bree St.

Pizza Shed
Photograph: Pizza Shed

13. Pizza Shed

With locations in both the city centre and Observatory, Pizza Shed is your best bet on Bree Street for a taste of Napoli in the Mother City. The secret to their superb pizzas is the dough, which enjoys a 48-hour rise before being hand-stretched and wood-fired. Just about everything on the menu is good here, but The Truffle with exotic mushrooms and truffle oil is a standout.

231 Bree St.

14. Cowfish

There’s something for everyone at Cowfish, a national brand that has popped up on Bree Street with a vast menu that ranges from poke bowls and sushi platters to hefty hamburgers and seared steaks sizzling off the grill. If you’re dining with a group and nobody can decide on what they feel like eating, Cowfish will keep everyone happy. It’s all served up in a historic space of stone walls and heavy beams beautifully brought into the 21st century.

50 Bree St.

Clay Café in the City
Photograph: Supplied

15. Clay Café in the City

An offshoot of the hugely popular creative space in Hout Bay, Clay Café in the City combines a hands-on artistic experience with a compact menu of food, wine and more-ish baked goodies. The formula is simple: select your blank-canvas ceramic work (prices vary) and settle in to paint and decorate your masterpiece. A tapas-style menu will keep you well fed, while the concise wine list taps into boutique Cape cellars. Painted ceramics are fired and ready for collection a few weeks after your visit, so be sure to plan ahead.

199 Bree St.

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