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New restaurants and experiences to discover
New in Feb: Refined dining, wine bars, sea bistro + more
Last updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2024
Cape Town is a social hub, with new places popping up in every corner. This February, visit a bistro with views of False Bay, a natural wine bar with Neapolitan pizza, a “refined dining” restaurant and a new cosy deli and bar. Plus, a very special café and a new deli and bar opening soon.
DOWN A BREE STREET ALLEY
It’s the place that has everyone talking. Babbi is a new cosy deli and bar, with a hidden courtyard. The menu is filled with unique finds like a toasted cheese and atchar sandwich, beetroot, orange, and olive salad, and on Sundays there’s crayfish.
Must-try: Sesame S’more Dough Boy Cookie
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, from 12pm; Sunday, from 2pm
Cost: Sandwiches from R65 and salads from R80
215 Bree Street | City Centre | @babbi.capetown | Image: Babbi
REFINED DINING WITH LOCAL FLAVOURS
It’s Stellenbosch’s new refined dining experience, with sleek decor, contrasting dark colours and wooden furniture. Mertia has a playful and innovative six-course lunch menu and 10-course dinner menu, with some familiar favourites like jam and cheese on toast, and pampoen tart with venison. Courses are paired with rare and fine local wines.
Must-try: MERTIA Sweetie Pie
Hours: Lunch, Thursday - Saturday, 12pm to 3pm; Sunday, 12pm and 2pm; Dinner, Wednesday - Saturday, 5.30pm and 8pm
Cost: Lunch tasting menu R995 per person, dinner tasting menu R1495 per person
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20 Bird Street | Stellenbosch Central
BISTRO WITH A SEA VIEW
Hidden next to Artvark Gallery is a new gem, Canvas Bistro, with a courtyard area nicely shaded by trees, and a covered deck with views of False Bay. Tuck into fresh seafood meals like prawn risotto and mussels in white wine before ending off with homemade cheesecake. There’s First Thursdays events too with live music and complimentary wine tasting.
Must-try: Calamari tubes sauteed with tomato, green olives and garlic
Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 11am to 5pm; Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 11pm, Sunday, 11am to 5pm
48 Main Road | Kalk Bay | Cape Town | @canvaskalkbay | Image: Canvas Bistro
RAISE A GLASS AT THIS WINE BAR
There’s a new natural wine bar at The Old Biscuit Mill, and it has wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas made with a 48-hour slow-proved dough recipe. Pavement Special has a selection of natural wines by South African winemakers like Mother Rock and Lubanzi Wines. There’s also small plates and snack bars that you can pair with your wine.
Must-try: Cacio e Pepe (white) pizza
Hours: Daily (for breakfast and lunch), 8am to 6pm; Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm till late
Cost: Pizzas from R125
The Old Biscuit Mill | 373 Albert Road | Woodstock | @pavement_special | Image: Pavement Special
ONE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S MOST SPECIAL CAFÉS
You’ll find Only Specials Café in Hermanus next to Daans Bakery. With patterned floors and a pretty garden setting, sit indoors or outside where tables are shaded by umbrellas and trees (and eucalyptus leaves are painted on the walls). The café hires special needs individuals as part of their partnership with The Sluyter Foundation, to train intellectually challenged students from Camphill. You’ll find a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups and cakes on the menu.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm
Cost: Croissants from R35
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6 Dirkie Uys | Hermanus
INNOVATIVE DESIGN SHOWROOM
If you’re a geek for furniture and design, you’ll love the new showroom from Pedersen + Lennard. In addition to their popular showroom in Maitland, their second space opens in De Waterkant with a soft launch on February 14, 2024. Visit the showroom (no appointments needed) and pick up some furniture inspiration from kitchen stools to bedroom drawers.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm; Saturday, 10am to 2pm
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24 Napier Street | De Waterkant
COCKTAIL BAR FROM NYC TO THE CBD
Three New Yorkers came to Cape Town to start a cocktail bar called ANTHM. Inspired by its NYC sister establishment ROKC, ANTHM in the CBD specialises in craft cocktails and Japanese small plates. And it’s all in a Japanese “kominka”. Find out more about the CBD’s coolest new cocktail bar.
Must-try: Smokestack Lightin’ (scotch whiskey, amaro, porcini and Yamazakura aroma smoked)
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm till 12am
Cost: Craft cocktails from R150
63 Loop Street | Cape Town | @anthm_cpt | Image: Alessandro Galassi
COFFEE SHOP IN A CHURCH COURTYARD
Pauline’s, a popular coffee shop on Sea Point’s main road, has opened a new location in De Waterkant, in the backyard of Sacred Heart church. The intimate space has high vaulted ceilings, arched windows, wooden benches and an outdoor courtyard, mimicking the feeling of a church. There’s fresh pastries, coffee and breakfasts like spiced chelsea buns, smashed avo toast or a burrata salad.
Must-try: Burrata salad (fresh burrata served with a courgette, almond and mint salad)
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm; Saturday, 8am to 3pm
Cost: Sourdough toasties from R60
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37A Somerset Road | Green Point | Cape Town
MONTREAL-STYLE COFFEE AND BAGELS
Montreal is a new artisanal bagel and coffee shop in Stellenbosch. You can build your own bagels or choose flavours like Nutella, cream cheese, blueberry and the Montreal. Something truly special about this new coffee joint is the CAN IT concept, where coffees are made and freshly-canned in store. Choose between four different sizes, from Mini Monte, Jacaranda, Jozi or Mother City.
Must-try: The Montreal Bagel (Bagel of your choice layered with cream cheese, biltong dust, sliced avocado, jalepeños, danish feta and fresh rocket drizzled with balsamic glaze).
Hours: Monday to Friday, 6am to 5pm; Saturday, 6am to 4pm & Sunday, 6am to 2pm
Cost: Bagels from R40
26 Bird Street | Stellenbosch Central | @montreal_coffee | Image: Montreal Coffee+Bagels
THE OTHER HOLE-IN-THE-WALL EATERY
New to Bree Street, where Nish-Nush used to be, is another hole-in-the-wall burger eatery. Burgers and Brews feels like an old school takeout spot, with a little order window, red tile decor, and a few white tables on the sidewalk. There’s American-style smashburgers, animal fries, milkshakes and beers (and it’s open till midnight). Plus, there are specials every First Thursdays.
Must-try: Animal-style French fries (loaded fries)
Hours: Monday to Saturday; 12am to 12pm
Cost: Smashburger from R95, French fries from R35
110 Bree Street | City Centre | @burgersandbrews.ct | Image: Burgers & Brews
COMING SOON: NOODLE BAR IN STELLENBOSCH
A hidden courtyard just off Plein Street in Stellenbosch will be the home of brand new noodle bar, Slurp. It will open right next to sister restaurant Minari Korean Kitchen, a favourite for Korean corn dogs, gimbap, tteok bokki, and japchae. Expect dishes such as Japanese Ramen and Vietnamese Pho at Slurp.
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Simonsplein Center | Plein Street | Stellenbosch
ARGENTINIAN BAKERY WITH PASTERELAS
Weirdough serves medialunas, an Argentinian pastry that's a mix between a brioche and a croissant, with many layers and a subtle hint of lemon and vanilla. There’s savoury to sweet options, from Nutella and Custard to Mozzarella and Brie. You can sit down at the colourful tables and stools dotted throughout the store or just order a takeaway.
Must-try: The Original Crema Pasterela (custard)
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30am to 3pm; Sundays, 7.30am to 12pm
Cost: Medialunas from R26
Lions Square Shopping Center | Main Street | Somerset West | @weirdough_bakerysa | Image: Weirdough
AMARULA MAGNUMS & VETKOEK
Along the Camps Bay strip you’ll find a beach club with rattan and wood interiors, South African treats and specialty drinks. There’s Apricot snoek and vetkoek. Or for a drink try the Picasso with Gin, lemongrass, citrus, soda and edible paint. This interactive cocktail is plated on a palette with various paints for you to get creative with.
Must-try: Amarula magnum ice-cream
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday; 11am to 1am
Cost: Food from R65, cocktails R105
75 Victoria Road | Camps Bay | @savora_campsbay | Image: Savora
Located in the Tokyo Building, Florentin is a breakfast and brunch spot that offers dishes like shakshuka, turkish eggs and kıyma. With orange walls, round wooden tables and brown leather booths, the menu is structured around a selection of sharing plates and dishes. Pop in and get some work done (with free Wi-Fi) or grab coffee and pastries on the go. (Note: they’ll be open for lunch and dinner soon).
Must-try: Çilbir (Turkish eggs made from poached eggs, herbed garlic yoghurt, chilli butter and dukkah. Served with sourdough or flatbread).
Hours: Daily, 7am to 3pm
Cost: Breakfast from R85
The Tokyo Building | 87 Loop Street | Cape Town | @florentin_cpt | Image: Florentin
TSHISANYAMA DOWN THE GYPSY RABBIT HOLE
Hidden in a courtyard on Bree Street, connect over a braai at Gypsy Rabbit, where tshisanyama is the specialty. Blending South African and South American flavours together, the menu has items like a 24-Hour Short Rib Braised Baked Potato made with Bourbon, minty crème fraîche and onion rings. There's also specials on food and drinks. For a night out, enjoy hubbly.
Must-try: Oepsies (paper-thin lamb bacon, wrapped around a stick)
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 4pm to 12am
Cost: Platters from R300, meats from R120, small plates from R85
110 Bree Street | City Centre | @gypsyrabbitct | Image: Gypsy Rabbit
CRUDO WITH A VIEW
VUE Shortmarket overlooks Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head, with Art Deco-décor and mural paintings. Besides crudo, there's also oyster trios, whole fish, wagyu katsu sando, Peruvian ceviche, anchovy flatbread and Springbok loin.
Must-try: Blood Orange & Scallop Crudo (served with a variety of beetroot, radish, watermelon, jalapeno, red onion, and spring onion, topped with crispy wonton)
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12am to 12pm
Cost: Small plates from R95
108 Shortmarket Street | Cape Town | @vueshortmarket | Image: VUE
HEAD TO HUGO
This social club comes from the brothers behind JARRYDS Brunch & Bistro and Ariel Modern Italian. Hugo has direct views of Lion’s Head with items like the Bubble and Squeak (broccolini, crispy potato, calabrian chilli, poached eggs and hollandaise) and Prawn Linguine Gamberetti (white wine, garlic, chilli, cream, parsley, tomato and lemon).
Must-try: PB & J (peanut butter bulleit bourbon, raspberry jam and lemon) or Salted Caramel Cheesecake (vanilla cream cheese, salted caramel and pretzel crumb)
Hours: Daily; 7.30am to 11am, 12pm to 10pm
Cost: Breakfast from R45, Lunch and dinner from R125, Cocktails from R105
9th Floor | 2 Kings Road | Sea Point | @hugosocialclub | Image: Hugo Social Club
SLICE OF LAKE COMO
Chef and owner Louise Castle bring her classical Italian training to Bellagio. Here you’ll find refreshing items such as tuna carpaccio with caper berries, veal limone and cheese soufflé. The sun-kissed patio is ideal for long lazy summer lunches, and the stylish interior transports you to a trattoria overlooking Lake Como.
Must-try: Freshly baked chocolate, orange or three cheese soufflé, made in-house
Hours: Daily, 10am to 11pm
Cost: Starters from R80
74 Prestwich Street | Green Point | @bellagio_sa | Image: Bellagio
ICE CREAM BAGUETTES, ANYONE?
Pho and Bun Halal Vietnamese Kitchen in Diep River is a new local spot where you can try Vietnamese cuisine (and vegan-friendly options too). With bamboo straw hats hanging from the ceiling and greenery climbing up the walls, try Pho (a Vietnamese specialty, made of rice noodle soup) and Bún Thit Núóngh (vermicelli noodles, grilled meat and salad). There’s also ice cream baguettes and Vietnamese-dripped coffee.
Must-try: Pho, a salty broth, rice noodles, thinly sliced onions, fried shallots, coriander and spring onion
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 9pm
Cost: Starters from R65
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67 Main Road | Diep River | Cape Town
SLUSHIES ‘N SLICES AT PALS
Located on the bustling Kloof Street and right next to Yours Truly, is a little pizza joint named PALS. This new spot has massive pizza slices, boozy and non-alcoholic slushies, soft-serve ice cream, and milkshakes. There are also live vinyl DJs at PALS.
Must-try: An alcoholic slushie with a slice of Mad Villainy pizza
Hours: Sunday to Wednesday, 7am to 12am; Thursday to Saturday, 7am to 1am
Cost: Slushies from R28 and pizza slices from R35
73 Kloof Street | Cape Town | @allyourpals | Image: PALS
SIP COCKTAILS AT A HIDDEN BEACHSIDE SPOT
Overlooking the Camps Bay Strip in the Promenade Shopping Centre, you’ll find The Attic by Bo-Vine, a secretive new cocktail lounge and wine bar. If you’re wanting to pair your drink with a snack, crostinis are also available. Or head downstairs to the Bo-Vine Wine and Grill House. Ring the doorbell and enter into a lounge with cheetah cushioned seats, pink floral carpets and orange couches.
Must-try: Cointreau Orange Sour or Aubergine Bruschetta
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 4pm to 11pm; Friday to Sunday, 1pm to 11pm
85 Victoria Road | Camps Bay | @the_attic_by_bovine | Image: The Attic by Bo-Vine
GET YOUR GAME (AND DRINK) ON
There are tons of bars in Cape Town, but how many of them have an arcade? Barcadia is Cape Town’s first retro bar and arcade, and they’ve got a collection of original arcade game machines, some going back as far as 30 years. Play the classics like Rave Racer, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter while enjoying drinks on tap. At Barcadia, the games are free and there’s no entry fee.
Must-try: No food is served yet but they have a soda gun with various flavours, including lemonade, cola and tonic
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm to 2am
Cost: Sodas from R10
52 Hout Street | Cape Town | @barcadiaza | Image: Barcadia
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Drink whiskey sours at this new retro bar on Kloof Street.
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