While it is true that Johannesburg and Durban boast some amazing restaurants and cafés, Cape Town is undeniably the foodie destination of South Africa. Winelands aside, there are a plethora of hidden gems with a variety of cuisines on offer for you to enjoy.
Hardly a “hidden gem”, but absolutely a local favourite, Jason Bakery is the go-to place for sublime pastries. Choose from an array of next-level toppings for your homemade sourdough bread or croissants, such as bacon, salmon and avo, chorizo and more. If your palate is up for something more savoury than sweet, opt for “The Bomb”—the winning combination of a croissant with bacon, emmental cheese and a poached egg. In the mood for something a little sweeter? The “Challah French Toast” is for you: honey roasted apple and vanilla-infused mascarpone crème atop golden french toast. With multiple other breakfast and lunch options, not to mention sandwiches, salads, fresh bread to go, pastries and sweets, you will be spoilt for choice at one of South Africa’s best bakeries.
Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room
Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room offers classic comfort food such a burgers and fried chicken, but with a bistro twist and noticeable quality. Their buns, white bread and flourless nut & seed loaves are baked on the premises, while their sourdough, croissants and 100% rye are from Woodstock Bakery. The buns speak for themselves, and so we don’t recommend going the Banting route if you order a burger here - go the whole ten yards and enjoy the best burger bun there is and by default, possibly the best burger you’ll ever have. 210g of Oak Valley grass-fed beef with Underburger Cheese and fries or a side salad, this burger is sublime. It also comes in a 100g “Clarke’s Baby Burger” size if you’re intimidated by the 210g “Big Guy”.
If you’re feeling fancy, the words “Welcome to the world of the Fifteen Rand Oyster” will certainly get you excited. They have West Coast oysters ordered in fresh each day, which are served at R15 each and garnished with “mignonette” - chopped shallots and red wine vinegar. If you’re around in the cooler months, there’s the classic “Soup & a Grilled Cheese Sandwich”, and if that doesn’t scream comfort food or give you an idea of the service and hospitality you’re bound to encounter, nothing will.
Sharing is caring, and that’s exactly what the folks at Fork are all about. Tucked away on Long Street, this was one of the first tapas bars in Cape Town, and their dishes are designed with sharing and simplicity in mind. In fact, most of their dishes come in servings of even numbers and only need a fork to be eaten with. The bite-size portions mean that you get to try a little bit of everything, and if you go with friends the chances are you could easily make your way through the many different sections of the menu. The restaurant is very relaxed, and offers a warm ambience, which is especially enjoyable in winter, but not uncomfortable in summer. The staff are incredibly helpful too, and know the menu quite well. They’re more than happy to make suggestions (if you’re overwhelmed by the great selection) and are clued up on wonderful wine-pairings too.
These are just a handful of the amazing spots tucked away in the Cape Town CBD. Whether it’s pastries you’re after, some classic American-style comfort food, delightful tapas or an array of other cuisines, you’re sure to find a restaurant or café that will leave you with your cravings satisfied. Take time to explore the city and before you know it, you’ll have a list of your own hidden gems to be sharing with friends and family every time someone plans a trip to Cape Town.
So go ahead and book your holiday to Cape Town today!