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Seafood dishes at Galjoen restaurant
Photograph: Claire Gunn/Supplied

The 21 best restaurants in Cape Town

From fish and chips to fine dining, you’ll never go hungry in South Africa’s ‘Mother City’

Written by
Rebecca Weber
Alicia Erickson
Richard Holmes

Cape Town is one of the world’s most exciting destinations for foodies, whether you're seeking out street eats or setting up for an evening of serious fine dining. 

It’s a cosmopolitan culinary landscape and one that is increasingly aware of the need for diversity both on the plate and in the kitchens. In selecting our favourite spots (and we know there will be those who disagree) we’ve highlighted a cross-section of the city’s kitchens, from refined multi-course degustation menus to humble fish and chips enjoyed on a sunny harbour quayside. In our book, they can be equally memorable in their own way. 

So, our advice? Come hungry, and get stuck into our (ever-changing) selection of Cape Town’s best restaurants. 

🍳 The best breakfast and brunch spots in Cape Town
🛍 The best markets in Cape Town
🍕 The best pizza in Cape Town

This guide was recently updated by Richard Holmes, 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

Best restaurants in Cape Town

Photograph: Bruce Tuck

1. FYN

With a clutch of awards for both its innovative cuisine and commitment to sustainability, FYN offers a thoroughly contemporary fine dining experience in a beautifully eye-catching loft-style space boasting city and mountain views. But your eyes will be fixed firmly on your plate here, as you taste your way through a menu inspired by a unique fusion of South African ingredients and Japanese flavours and techniques. Cape Malay-style trout, prawns cooked in kelp and guinea fowl wontons are among the creations you can expect to find on the kaiseki set menus. Non-carnivores need not worry – pescatarian and plant-based menus are also available.

37 Parliament St, CBD, Cape Town, 8001

Photograph: Supplied


PIER brings a long-overdue dose of fine dining to the popular V&A Waterfront. Set in a historic building overlooking the working harbour, Head Chef John Norris-Rogers dishes up a memorable multi-course journey of flavours. Expect a culinary experience that weaves together classical French technique, superb local produce and a subtle touch of culinary theatrics. Book ahead for a window seat, where a tableau of sea views suits the wave of seafood-focused plates that roll out from the kitchen.

Pierhead Building, V&A Waterfront

Photograph: Supplied

3. Emazulwini

In a glorious light-filled space within Makers Landing – a food-focused incubator space on the edge of the V&A Waterfront – chef Mmabatho Molefe offers a celebration of the indigenous Nguni flavours of her childhood and culture, championing traditional local ingredients, flavours and textures. Think lamb loin with millet dauphinoise, or fried sardines plated with roasted peppers, tomato purée and a millet/spinach salad.

While the ingredients may be humble, the preparation and presentation at Emazulwini are world-class, with thoroughly elegant plates offering a unique culinary journey. Emazulwini is a delight any day of the week, but Makers Landing is a vibe on weekends when the indoor food stalls spring to life.

2nd Floor Cape Town Cruise Terminal, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront,

La Colombe
Photograph: Lisa Daubermann Photography

4. La Colombe

Hidden in the forests above the Constantia winelands, La Colombe – 'the dove' – is widely hailed as one of the world’s best restaurants. This is a destination, not merely dinner, so set aside some time for the extensive Chef’s Menu (there’s also a vegetarian option and a reduced menu at lunch) that combines flavours and textures from Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa into an experience gloriously playful, interactive, and creative at every turn. The hours slip by as talented chefs send a wonderland of dishes across the table, while inspired pairings – from cocktails and craft beer to boutique wineries – make this optional extra worth the spend. 

Silvermist Estate, Constantia Nek, Cape Town

Photograph: Jan Ras Photography

5. Salsify

Stretched out across the upper floor of an 18th-century hunting lodge amid the forests above Camps Bay, the tables at Salsify boast Atlantic Ocean views that make the plates from chef Ryan Shell all the more enticing. The seasonal menu draws inspiration from the abundant nature around the city: langoustine gnocchi with spring truffles, linefish in lemongrass cream and smoked springbok are some of the inventive items to grace the menu. Come hungry – and in time to catch the golden sunset light pouring through this stunning art-filled space.

Roundhouse, Round House Rd, Camps Bay

Photograph: Clarke's

6. Clarke’s

Set halfway along the gourmet boulevard of Bree Street, Clarke’s is as famous for its homemade burgers served up on house-baked brioche buns, as the excellent smoked tomato soup served with a cheese toastie. It’s a favoured hangout for digital nomads and hipsters alike, and buzzes with a Brooklyn energy every day of the week.

133 Bree Street, Cape Town

Photograph: Claire Gunn/Supplied

7. Galjoen

Named for South Africa’s national fish, Galjoen celebrates seasonal seafood plucked exclusively from local waters. There’s a set menu served daily, with the chefs asking you to put your trust (and appetite) in their hands with a selection of plates that will likely run from freshly shucked oysters to fantastically fresh line fish. Of course, it all depends on what the boats bring in that day, so surrender to the surprise and enjoy a proudly local taste of South African seas. An excellent wine selection, open kitchen and contemporary décor by leading artists makes this a must for anyone with a taste for seafood.

99 Harrington Street, Cape Town

The Pot Luck Club
Photograph: Supplied

8. The Pot Luck Club

Spanning the top floor of the original silos in The Old Biscuit Mill, The Pot Luck Club has floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the edgy Woodstock neighbourhood. The space is all modern, industrial elegance, with a rotating menu of small plates built on Asian flavours and superb local produce. Look for inventive spins on well-loved classics like fish tacos, and don’t miss the signature smoked fillet with café au lait sauce. The cocktail collection is superb, and the set menu Sunday Brunch is wildly popular with locals.

The Silo, The Old Biscuit Mill, 373-375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7915

Photograph: Biesmiellah

9. Biesmiellah

Enjoy a taste of local Cape Malay cuisine at Biesmiellah, a  much-loved Bo-Kaap restaurant where you’ll find unassuming furnishings and pocket-friendly prices. Start with a selection of local samoosas, or homemade vegetarian starters, before sharing a few of the famously fragrant Cape Malay curries. The lamb denningvleis and savoury bobotie are classics not to be missed

Cnr Wale St & Pentz Street, Bo-Kaap, Schotsche Kloof

Belly of the Beast
Photograph: Belly of the Beast

10. Belly of the Beast

Reservations are essential at Belly of the Beast, an intimate spot in the heart of Cape Town, with only one lunch and one dinner seating per day. There’s no menu, but instead a daily table d’hôte set menu of courses that takes its cue from local, sustainably sourced ingredients. Wine pairings draw on some of the Cape’s leading cellars. Expect a creative, immersive dining experience that’s hard to find elsewhere in the city. 

110 Harrington St, Cape Town City Centre

Photograph: Foxcroft

11. Foxcroft

A more relaxed alternative to its sister-restaurant La Colombe up the road, the selection of small plate menus at Foxcroft focuses on hyper-seasonality and sustainability. Despite the calibre of cooking, this is not fiddly fine dining, with warm and attentive service, refined plating and perfectly pitched portions.

Shop 8, High Constantia Centre, Groot Constantia Road, Constantia

Photograph: Claire Gunn / Thali

12. Thali

The atmospheric courtyard and dimly lit interior decorated with relics from the Indian sub-continent will immediately transport you to a vibey Bombay-style eatery. Thali offers a rotating tasting menu of contemporary Indian food shaped around the concept of thalis—a popular meal in India consisting of numerous small dishes. Here, the ever-changing menus are served in three courses, working their way from milder tastes to spicey dishes with an emphasis on the heat. Thali offers options to suit everyone in your group, from carnivores to vegans and vegetarians. If you thought the food was a showstopper, the inventive cocktails are equally as memorable, drawing inspiration from South Asian flavors. 

3 Park Rd, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001

Chef's Warehouse at Beau Constantia
Photograph: Claire Gunn/Supplied

13. Chef's Warehouse at Beau Constantia

Chef Ivor Jones dishes up some of the best value fine dining in Cape Town in this elegant space pitched high above the vineyards of the Constantia Valley. Jones is a stalwart of the Cape’s culinary scene, and here his inventive selection of four-course set menus selivers a wonderful cross-section of culinary inspiration. Beyond the plates the views are sensational, and on a fine day al fresco tables at Chef's Warehouse at Beau Constantia offer stellar views across the Constantia winelands.

Photograph: Supplied

14. Ramenhead

The team behind fine-dining juggernaut FYN take ramen to an entirely new level at this chic spot in the heart of the city. While you’ll also find a Ramenhead outpost at the bustling Time Out Market Cape Town in the V&A Waterfront precinct, it’s well worth a visit to the original to take in the impressive Yamato noodle machine, the first (and only) in Africa. Beyond the three soupy varieties of ramen on offer you’ll find a collection pre- and post-bites inspired by Japanese street-food favourites. Don’t miss the upmarket take on gyoza dumplings.

37 Parliament St, Cape Town City Centre

The Test Kitchen Fledgelings
Photograph: Supplied

15. The Test Kitchen Fledgelings

At The Test Kitchen Fledgelings acclaimed chef Luke Dale Roberts turns his energy towards offering opportunities for a new generation of talent. Aspiring chefs, often with zero formal training, are brought under the wing of former-Fledgelings and professional chefs, and taught the basics from the scullery to the pass. It’s a remarkable project offering employment, training and hope to a new generation.

While the goals are laudable, they don’t come at the expense of great food. The focus is on elevated cuisine, not fine dining, with an à la carte menu that runs from starters of umami-packed Korean Fried Chicken and fiery Fish Tacos, through to elegant mains of Springbok with a heady coffee jus, and creative vegetarian assiette of beetroot. At the table, the atmosphere is infectious and the service exemplary.


Seabreeze Fish & Shell
Photograph: Claire Gunn

16. Seabreeze Fish & Shell

A little bit chic with a dose of fun, the sky-blue exterior of SeaBreeze will grab your attention as you’re walking down Bree Street. SeaBreeze is the perfect spot to sample the best of the Mother City’s coastal cuisine in an unpretentious setting. You can’t go wrong with the squid ink tagliatelle for dinner, while ahi tuna sliders make for a dangerously tasty lunch. Wash it all down with a glass of vino or two, selected from some of South Africa’s best vineyards.

213 Bree St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000

Kloof Street House
Photograph: Claire Gunn

17. Kloof Street House

Kloof Street House is a well-loved Cape Town classic. Come here for weekend brunch, summer dinners, or late-night cocktails — Kloof Street is fantastic at any hour. Whether you land a table in the lush garden lit by twinkling fairy lights or slide into a seat in one of the eclectic rooms of the grand Victorian house decked out with chandeliers and fireplaces, you’re sure to be enchanted. The menu is as delightful as the décor, featuring seafood platters, steaks, creamy gnocchi, and herby salads, to name a few, and an impressive selection of South African wines to match. 

30 Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town, 8005

South China Dim Sum Bar
Photograph: South China Dim Sum Bar

18. South China Dim Sum Bar

Celebrated as much for its authenticity as its buzzy atmosphere, South China Dim Sum Bar dishes up an ever-changing menu of Asian streetfod favourites, from potstickers and wontons to pillowy bao, alongside a few heartier favourites such as spicy prawn laksa. Its Long Street location makes it ideal pre- (or post-) drinking food, but order plenty as the portions can be on the slight side.

289 Long St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000


Pizza Shed
Photograph: Pizza Shed

19. Pizza Shed

Pizza Shed is the perfect place to satisfy that pizza craving. Located along the dangerously delicious stretch of eateries on Bree Street (with another branch in Observatory) Pizza Shed serves up a slim menu of wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas that master the perfect crust: a crispy exterior with a pillowy-soft interior. Sometimes simple is best and you certainly can’t go wrong with the Margherita. If you want to spice it up, try the Diavola topped with spicy sausage and kalamata olives.

231 Bree St, Cape Town

242 Lower Main Rd, Observatory

20. Marco’s African Place

A landmark of Cape Town’s dining scene, Marco’s African Place has been serving up a mix of pan-African and Mediterranean dishes since the late ‘90s. Adventurous diners might be tempted to sample local game like springbok, crocodile, kudu, or ostrich. If you’d rather play it safe, stick with pumpkin soup, veggie pastas, and local fish dishes. This lively Bo-Kaap favourite doesn’t just serve up delicious African cuisine – head here for live music, marimba bands and dance performances. 

15 Rose St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, 8001

Addis in Cape
Photograph: Addis in Cape

21. Addis in Cape

Experience ancient Ethiopian traditions at Addis in Cape, the best spot in town to dig into East African shiro (a type of stew) and other saucy dishes atop traditional injera (a sour flatbread). Coffee fans will enjoy the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, where coffee is served from a traditional jebena alongside burning Frankincense. Addis frequently hosts live music events as well, so you can enjoy your meal to the soulful strums of Afro-Jazz.  

168 Loop St, CBD, Cape Town, 8001

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