As we’ve said before, you’ll not really find us at intimidating fancy schmancy restaurants. We’d much prefer to find casual dining spots where the bill won’t make you gulp a little harder. Places where it’s acceptable to wear jeans and trainers (and the rest of course) and the menu reads like you’re in the real world where real ingredients and descriptions exist. Which is pretty much why we fell hard for Cape Town. It takes food seriously. Yet not so seriously that you’ll spend most of your budget on one meal. You probably could if that’s your inclination. But there’s an abundance of options around so you don’t have to. Here’s our top spots for affordable food in Capetown.
Trust us, leaving Cape Town’s food scene is hard to do (particularly when you see the bill and compare it to Qatar).
107 Bree Street
Hani had a sulk when we stepped into this place after a rather unsuccessful attempt at getting a table at a few nearby restaurants. He doesn’t like Spanish food on account of a rather unfortunate bout of food poisoning during a trip to Barcelona. This was LBNH (Life Before Nats and Hani) so I’m rather unsympathetic to his woeful tale and excuses not to like a whole country’s cuisine. I think La Parada has been successful in making him rethink his dismissal of Spanish food. This cool, crowded bar and lounge, was serving up some seriously good looking tapas. The menu looked worth a punt, and it felt reminiscent of going out at home (UK) on a busy weekend though it was only Tuesday. We took this as a good omen.
We ordered the predictable-but-far-from- boring essentials such as patatas bravas, calamari, green salad, seared tuna, beef fillets and homemade bread. And desserts – we even made it to ordering custard tarts and churros. Though I would skip desserts next time and just order lots more spicy patatas bravas and seafood. The calamari was fresh, crisp and sadly not enough for three greedy diners.
Lifestyle, Kloof Street
Walk past this place and you’ll notice its always packed. Especially come breakfast/brunch – capetonians cleary ‘knead’ this in their lives. Once you’ve read the menu you’ll discover why. It’s like someone knows your favourite ingredients and put them masterly together in not one but five different options. We ordered juices first because this seemed like the type of menu you really needed time to mull over. And we were right to do so; even my Dad (who knows what he likes) was torn, and asked for our help to decide.
In the end he opted for soft scrambled eggs with mushrooms and spinach. Hani went for spicy salmon fishcakes with poached eggs and I went for the chicken, bacon, spinach and avocado open sandwich. What really stands out here is the delicious bread. Which, sadly, is hard to come by in Qatar. Portions were of perfectly sized for us – we do have a healthy appetite. And the coffee and juices were good too.
Regent Road, Sea Point
With over 80 stalls devoted to food, clothes and crafts, a bar and live music, you can definitely dedicate a few happy hours here. We visited twice as Sea Point has a nice promenade to either work up an appetite or walk off all that food. We tried fajitas, fish and chips, some beef stir fry with rice noodles (very good) and a healthy bean and sweet potato burger. We’d recommend the fish and chips from WTF (What the Fish) the massive burritos from the Mexican stall (sorry we can’t recall the name, yet believe it’s the only one here) and the Chinese. All well priced, well presented and delicious. We even managed to see some live music, which was an ace surprise.
V&A Waterfront food market
Our first full day in Cape Town saw the heavens open as we made our way to V&A waterfront. Yet it proved good timing as we’d managed to walk off breakfast and were ready for something to tide us over until dinner.
Ta- dah! Enter the overwhelming array of food at V&A food market. From healthy juices and poke salad bowls stalls to drool-worthy flatbreads, Tunisian wraps, burgers sushi and more. Dad and I opted for the Knysna Oyster Company selling fresh seafood. Dad devoured a bowl of mussels faster than I could say ‘I’ll take the Spicy Cajun seared tuna steak”, which was easily one of the best meals I had during our holiday. It had exactly the right amount of kick to get my nose cleared, and was served on a simple bed of fresh spinach and chipotle mayonnaise. I washed it down with a glass of chilled rose, which was 5 Rand cheaper as I’d bought it with food (that’s a meal deal I can buy into) and declared that I thought Cape Town was looking like the kind of city I could live in. I still stand by that statement.
50 Orange Street, Gardens
This little gem was only 5 mins (less if we got lucky crossing the main street) away from our Company Gardens apartment. Dark and dimly lit, it provided the perfect cozy escape from the wind which was fierce during our stay.
The food and wine menu looked really interesting. And rather short and sweet. Some seasonal salads, pastas and main courses that used interesting ingredients. We visited twice during our stay. Specifically, to have the Ostrich Burger again, which was one of Hani’s highlights of our holiday. It was rich, tender and moist and its accompanying homemade chips were fat and delicious. I’m not sure I could have eaten it to myself but I did my good deed and helped Hani out on both occasions.
On my first visit I stupidly went for the vegan Thai curry. I am not vegan. And I love Thai food (authentic Thai I might add). So I clearly must have had too much sun, or wine. I think I was avoiding meat as I’d literally pigged out at Jason Bakery earlier that day. The mushroom risotto was very good though. All in all, this restaurant is the type of venue that perfectly suits any occasion. Service was also very professional too. The bill came as a shock. It felt like a very small amount for good food, good wine and great service. But then we travelled from Qatar, so everything feels like a very good deal indeed.
Lifestyle on Kloof, Kloof Street
This health food store (which has lots of lovely local beauty treats inside) also has a café dedicated to healthy food and drinks. Expect turmeric lattes, all-the-greens juices, beetroot detox drinks and more. We went for all three, and I can safely say, it’s just the wine hangover cure you need to get you back on the road to holiday discovery. Our nosey nature also spied some delicious looking breakfasts on our neighbour’s table – unfortunately, we didn’t have time to head back here to see if it tasted as good as it looked. If you’re seeking refreshment with your shopping – Woolworths food store is also within the Lifestyle mall – then this is a very good option.
Wish we had more time in Capetown so we could grab some more of the delicious affordable food in Capetown.