Cape Town Food: Where and What to Eat

By no means do I have the palate of a food critic, but I do enjoy sharing the places that made my heart and belly full! Plus, I love to revisit those drool-worthy menu descriptions (anyone else???). Cape Town is a beautiful city with a growing food scene, and I am lucky to have tasted a small piece of the pie. The food (and WINE) in Cape Town was really affordable compared to Seattle or London, so we definitely treated ourselves!

The Commissary

No reservation required, AMEN! The Commissary opened in November of last year by chef Wesley Randles and Simon Widdison under the mentorship of chef Luke Dale-Roberts (Test Kitchen, The Pot Luck Club, and Shortmarket Club). You enter through a graffiti covered stairwell. Atop your short climb sits an intimate and casual setting. We ate at the counter, which I suggest for a party of two. The service was amazing and our food came out quickly. The well-priced menu allowed us to nearly order one of everything. After dinner, we popped into the bar next door (The House of Machines) for good cocktails and live music.

What We Ate:

  • Nahm jim oysters – These were so good that after we finished all of our food, we ordered another round. They had a topping that tasted similar to pico de gallo.
  • Tuna Tataki
  • Lobster Roll
  • Cheese and Jam Sandwich – This was pretty clever. What do you think when you read “Cheese and Jam sandwich?” I expected some sort of grilled cheese with tomato or bacon jam. But no – it was a giant heaping pile of salty cheese with a petite jam sandwich on the side.
  • Bhaji Bao
  • Korean Fried Chicken Wings – Delicious, but messy.
  • Nice cream, chocolate sauce, and cocoa buckini – This was the only thing I was lukewarm on.

The Potluck Club

The service was PHENOMENAL. Prepare to present a major tip because these people deserve it. The small shared-plates menu is broken up into 5 basic tastes: sour, salty, bitter, sweet, and umami. The restaurant has an amazing view – great for a sunset dinner. The food did not disappoint and neither did the cocktails!

What We Ate:

  • Pot Luck Club fish tacos: fresh ceviche, black bean puree, avocado, and sour cream – super interesting (and cute!) presentation
  • Pot Luck Club peri peri chicken, charred pepper and kale salad, almonds, and feta
  • Truffle and asparagus tart fine, porcini hollandaise, and poached quail eggs
  • Chickpea, goat cheese, and parmesan fries with aioli and tomato ketchup
  • Springbok, parmesan Caesar dressing, pine nuts and capers
  • Smoked beef fillet with black pepper and truffle café au lait
  • Hazelnut and apple tart, salted caramel, and smoked cinnamon ice cream

Chefs Warehouse and Canteen

No reservations required at this Liam Tomlin restaurant! We didn’t have any trouble getting a seat. If you have to wait – you can grab a drink at their bar next door. Note that they are not open on the Saturday or Sunday. We had the tapas for 2, which arrived quickly on a lazy susan. The service was friendly and the food was delicious. I didn’t have any complaints.

What We Ate:

  • Oysters Vietnamese
  • Seared yellowtail with yuzu pearls, coriander oil, and avocado puree
  • Miso charred salmon with soba noodles, mentsuyu dressing and miso mayo
  • Deep-fried squid with hot sauce, sweetcorn salsa, and garlic emulsion – I mean, can you go wrong with fried food and hot sauce??? The answer: no.
  • Onion risotto with beer battered onion rings – Tyler was obsessed with this risotto. It definitely had major comfort food vibes.
  • Tandoori carrot with vadouvan butter, paneer, and naan bread
  • Pan-fried hake with citrus and fennel escabeche, citrus segments, and crème fraiche
  • Lamb loin with caponata, parmesan, ricotta, and aubergine puree
  • Beef skirt steak taco with smoked jalapeño emulsion, pickled cabbage, and black pepper and chili dressing

La Mouette

We sat outside in the lovely Sea Point courtyard. Weather permitting – I would definitely suggest this. The ambience and service were incredible. It was a great spot for a date night! The food was good, but not quite as memorable as the setting. I remember the food more for the presentation than the taste. We had the 5-course Summer tasting menu, which was very well priced. It was about $38 USD per person.

What We Ate:

Course 1:

  • Truffle and cheese croquettes with parmesan aioli (can’t go wrong here)
  • Crispy courgette flower, romesco, almonds, and house made ricotta
  • Tuna rye crisp taco, ajo blanco, chilli and coriander

Course 2:

  • Burrata and a roasted tomato salad

Course 3:

  • Salt and pepper squid
  • Piquillo pepers, white bean puree, and pickled radish

Course 4:

  • Beef fillet (I thought this was over cooked)

Course 5:

  • Eton mess – compressed strawberries, vanilla cream, granita, mint oil, and meringue

Kloof Street House

The restaurant has an eclectic style and was buzzing the night we ate there. The garden was packed with diners, so we ate inside. Both the food and service were great. Stop in on a Sunday for some live jazz!

What We Ate:

  • Burrata caprese salad
  • Beef Fillet (my order) with smoked marrow bone butter and rustic cut fries
  • Grass fed beef burger (Tyler’s order) with grilled mushrooms, onion marmalade, rocket, camembert, and aioli

Jason Bakery

Before heading to the V&A Waterfront for our Robben Island tour, we grabbed some pastries to-go from the Jason Bakery walk-up window on Bree Street. Their croissants were TO DIE FOR. The perfect texture! My only regret is not going to the Green Point location on a morning where we had more time for brunch. According to this review from CN Traveler, they have a mouth-watering assortment of sweet and savory treats.

What We Ate:

  • Almond croissant
  • Pain au chocolate
  • Ice latte

Kleinsky’s Delicatessen, Sea Point

Our experience at Kleinsky’s was fine – nothing too special. It’s casual and the service is quick. There was one little hiccup – we order the rugelach, but it never came out. We were full after we ate the rest of our food, so we just ignored it and made sure it wasn’t on our check.

What We Ate:

  • Challah French Toast – Not nearly as good as the one I had in NYC
  • Pastrami Bagel
  • Potato Latkes

Manna Epicure

This bright and inviting space sits on Kloof Street. It has a lovely, covered patio – great for enjoying a cup of coffee and getting some fresh air. Unfortunately, the food had something to be desired. Our waffles were thin and tough to cut. Not exactly what I was hoping for. Evidently, we missed the star of this restaurant – the coconut bread. So maybe it was just poor ordering on our part.

What We Ate:

  • Waffle with golden syrup, whipped cream, topped with bacon and caramelized banana

Mariam’s Kitchen

The Gatsby is a sandwich we learned about on an episode of “Somebody Feed Phil.” It is a giant, long, mess of a meal that looks like it should only be consumed at 2 in the morning after one too many drinks. We read that Mariam’s Kitchen was the spot to try one of these bad boys. We got the masala steak Gatsby with peri chips/fries (they come on the sandwich fyi). We tried to order a half size, but they accidentally rang us up for a full one. Unless you’re trying to feed a family of 6 or a frat house, ORDER A HALF SIZE. It will still be too much. Pro tip: Don’t go on a Friday afternoon. We tried and learned that they were closed for prayer.

What We Ate:

  • Masala Steak Gatsby with peri chips

Hope you’re hungry! If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town, you better bring your appetite!





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