5 must-try restaurants in Cape Town’s inner city
One of the benefits of living in Cape Town’s bustling CBD is quick and easy access to its world-class restaurant culture. And while they may not be able to welcome patrons back just yet, these five establishments – some in the heart of the CBD and others on its fringes – are worth calling for a reservation when lockdown levels allow.
Chefs Warehouse and Canteen, the creation of internationally acclaimed chef Liam Tomlin, has been serving up fine-dining quality global tapas at 92 Bree Street since 2014. Its Tapas for Two, “a set menu of small plates for sharing in three courses” (R800), features culinary delights like Seared Tuna with Ponzu Dressing, Crème Fraiche and Citrus Segments, Deep Fried Squid with Coconut Broth and Charred Pineapple, Beef Shortrib with Potato Gnocchi and Parmesan Cream – all prepared by Head Chef Nanda Cardoso, who creates “beautiful dishes that showcase local ingredients and the original Chefs Warehouse way of cooking and eating.” Keep an eye on their Facebook page to find out when they reopen.
If you’re looking for a different eating experience, then La Tête, also on Bree Street is definitely worth an outing. The restaurant has “a focus on produce and traceability” and is based on the nose to tail philosophy which embraces eating the entire animal. Chef Giles Edwards, who opened La Tête with his brother James, worked in London under Fergus Henderson who introduced this culinary concept and has written several books on the subject. The menu at La Tête changes daily, depending on availability of produce, and includes dishes like Chicken Liver Parfait, Mussels, Leeks and Bacon and Grilled Green Beans, Goats Cheese and Mint.
Leo’s Wine Bar
Leo’s, at no. 120 Bree Street, masquerades as a bagel shop by day – or is it a bagel shop that moonlights as a wine shop? Either way, it’s the perfect spot to pop past en route to or after dinner to enjoy “exceptional wines that aren’t always easy to find.” While the venue is small inside (perfect for cold wintry nights post-lockdown), in summer, patrons spill out into the cosy outdoor area where they can enjoy the city by night while enjoying a glass of one of “South Africa’s most interesting wines”. An evening at Leo’s is best summed up by the closing line on its website: “Basically, you’re welcome. We love wine and we’d love you to come and enjoy some with us.”
Maria’s Greek Café
Located just beyond the CBD at 31 Barnet Street, Gardens, Maria’s has been serving Mediterranean delicacies since 1955 – and it’s not hard to see why it’s become a Cape Town institution. From the delicious food to the relaxed atmosphere – book a seat under the fairy-light filled trees during the summer months and you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to a taverna on a tiny Greek island – Maria’s is a crowd-pleaser. The extensive menu includes an array of meze, the signature dish, Lamb Maria’s, which is slow roasted with artichokes in a creamy ouzo sauce, moussaka, pitas and to round off the perfect meal, baklava. Be sure to make a booking (it’s incredibly popular) as soon as it reopens.
If you haven’t tried a bao before, you’re definitely missing out. These light, soft steamed buns are a real treat and at Bao Down, an incredible little eatery in Oranjezicht, they come filled with a spread of tempting fillings from Korean fried chicken and pork belly to Thai red curry mussels and aubergine. Bao Down is offering take-aways during the lockdown period – orders can be placed from 11am Tuesday to Saturday for same-day delivery via SMS or WhatsApp on 066 022 1165 and collected between 4pm and 8pm. Browse their delicious menu here.
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