10 top restaurants selling art

Visit some of Cape Town’s best restaurants for a visual feast

Since the days of Picasso painting for his meal at La Colombe d'Or in the hills of Provence, there has always been a connection between artistry and food. And when it comes to eating out (a favourite pastime for Capetonians), patrons often want more than just an innovative kitchen and good ambiance. An increasing amount of restaurants are adding a touch of creativity to the dining experience by adorning their walls with works of art.

From traditional African sculptures to fine art photography, we’ve picked a few of the best spots to visit; where unknown art meets a hungry audience.

River Cafe @ Lourensford
Nibble on Healey’s mature cheddar while browsing some of Frans Groenewald’s comical works displayed on the walls of River Garden Café and Deli. Of course, aside from the restaurant, guests can pay the Lourensford Estate a visit for their regular art and wine pairing exhibitions (be sure to call to confirm dates and times). Some featured works include talent from Gavin Collins, Marié Vermeulen-Breedt, and Portchie.
Best for: African art.
Top tip: kids can make their own works of art on the restaurant’s wall-sized blackboard.
Lourensford Wine Estate | Lourensford Road | Somerset West | +27(0)21 847 2333     

Le Quartier Français
Thanks to culinary genius, Margot Janse, this plush establishment has already brought new levels of excellence to the haute cuisine environment of Franschhoek. Now adding to its list of accomplishments with the IS Art Gallery which opened in May 2010, Le Quartier brings locals leading and upcoming works of art from around South Africa. “The art we feature is very contemporary- what’s happening now. All pieces are modern and represent South African culture,” says Ilse Schermers, curator of the gallery. Pieces include everything from paintings by Shany van den Berg and sculptures by Rosouw van de Walt to Wiebke con Bismarck’s ceramic works and Sarah Walters pottery.
Best for: contemporary South African Art.
Top tip: sip on local wines and enjoy a complimentary movie in the hotel’s boutique theatre.
16 Huguenot Road | Franschhoek | Western Cape |+27(0)21 876 8442    

The Grand (Granger Bay)
The Grand Café and Beach is one of Cape Town’s most popular and idyllic lunch spots located just a bucket and spade’s throw away from the white beaches of Granger Bay. But what one might not know is that just a few steps from the café is its fine extension: The Grand Gallery Boadicea. Named after the famous warrior queen of the Britons, the eclectic art gallery boasts everything from artwork and furniture to décor and clothing. Recent art exhibits have featured works from artists such as South African bronze sculptor, Xhanti Mphakama and signature African wildlife pieces by Daryl Nero.
Best for: South African crafts.
Top tip: don’t leave without trying the salmon tagliata.
Off Beach Road | Granger Bay | Cape Town | +27(0)21 425 0551      

Skinny Legs
This luxury café makes for interesting meal times; in collaboration with artist Joao Ferreira, owners Jesse and Jamie Frieberg have combined fine art with simple food at the novel Skinny Legs and All Café. Guests can choose from a selection of light meals and baked goods while checking out art pieces by Joao Ferreira’s private collection on the walls.Other artist’s works which can also be expected include Bridget Baker, Anthony Scullion and the late Mark Hipper. “We have drawn on a majority of pieces from Joao Ferreira’s personal collection which we feel serves the space well. We’re also hoping to hang sculptures by Doreen Southwood within the next month or so.” says co-owner Jesse Frieberg.
Best for: contemporary South African art.
Top tip: start your morning off with Deluxe’s Fast Eddie Espresso blend.
70 Loop Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27(0)21 423 5403      

Yours Truly
Yours Truly is unquestionably one of the best spots around town for a coffee date. But aside from gourmet sandwiches and a great cup o’ Joe, regulars as well as newcomers can also expect a selection of artwork. Carefully hung up on the old, apple crate walls of the shop are illustrations by local artists such as Justin Southey and Bruce Mackay. Exhibitions change every month, so if you’re unsure of what’s what, ask owner Daniel Holland who’s always more than happy to help his ever-growing queue of customers.
Best for:
revolution art.
Top tip:
you can build your own sarmie if the ready-made selection is not to your liking.
175 Long Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27(0)21 422 3788     


Bread @ The Bromwell
The Bromwell, a boutique mall originally built as a hotel in the 1920s, houses one of the best - if not, only – restaurant-cum-art gallery spots in Woodstock. After enjoying a light breakfast or gourmet lunch at the café, it might be worth taking a peek upstairs at the art deco gallery. All limited edition paintings and sculptures on display are unique and specially designed by unknown artists for the Bromwell Mall.
Best for: limited edition paintings.
Top tip:
pick up the best almond croissants for miles around.
The Bromwell | 250 Albert Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27(0)21 447 4730      

Lola’s
This exquisite little bistro is somewhat of an iconic landmark on busy Long Street. After re-opening its doors in early 2011, Lola’s is offering guests more than their constantly changing blackboard menu; patrons can also browse a variety of artworks. “We focus on contemporary local artists, mostly from the illustration discipline. What makes illustration exciting is that it mixes traditional painting and drawing techniques with digital media,” says Dani Loureiro who, along with local artist Jade Klara, curate the art at both Lola’s and famous burger joint, Royale Eatery. Current exhibitions at Lola’s include illustrations by Jean De Wet, Emma Cook and Cassandra Johnson.
Best for: contemporary art.
Top tip: try the crème caramel with burnt honey sauce.
228 Long Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27(0)21 423 0885      

Casa Labia
The modern gallery at Casa Labia focuses on relatively unknown, quality artists. Art lovers can expect one main group show once a year called the Casa Labia in Bloom, curated by Margie Murgatroyd. “At the moment we have a very exciting exhibition of Nigerian Textiles from the collection of Judith Appio and works of art by Polly Alakija, called Akojo to Lewa – it’s a beautiful collection,” says owner Antonia Labia Hardres-Williams. Other recent exhibitions showcased works by Lindile Magunye and Gerald Tabata in a joint show.
Best for:  contemporary art
Top tip:
pair your meal with Casa Labia House Wines from De Grendel Estate.
192 Main Road | Muizenberg | Cape Town | +27(0)21-788 6068    

Pepper Tree Restaurant and Art Gallery
Located in the historic town of Philadelphia just off of the N7, patrons can tuck into home-baked cakes and freshly brewed coffee, wrapping up the day with a quick tour of the Pepper Tree Art Gallery. Works of art are uniquely crafted by local artists such as Leonie E. Brown (who also offers art classes to fellow creatives), Steffi and Mel Reynolds.
Best for: South African Art: Paintings.
Top tip: purchase a jar or two of honey from the local bee keeper.
36 Louw Street | Philadelphia | Cape Town | +27(0)21 972 1916  

Hemelhuijs
Most people would remember Jacques Erasmus from his Manna Epicure days. His latest venture, Hemelhuijs, meaning “heaven house” in Dutch, is every art lovers’ paradise. Patrons may find their eyes roaming continuously around the restaurant at the eclectic mix of furniture and design pieces handpicked by the owner himself. Think antique frames crookedly hanging from the walls which all showcase Jacques Erasmus originals.
Best for: contemporary art.
Top tip: the apricot and marzipan chicken is a must-try.
71 Waterkant Street | City Bowl | Cape Town | +27(0)21 418 2042   

By Taryn Jacobs 

For more art galleries in Cape Town and Surrounds, visit Art Galleries Cape Town

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