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10 Cape Town Winter Dishes You Have to Try
Ward off the winter chill with our pick of hearty meals from some of the Mother City’s cosiest eateries
Last Updated: 22 August 2017
Reading a book in bed, cuddling with your loved one or simply listening to the pitter-patter of the rain outside has its charms, but at the end of the day, keeping a full belly is one of the best ways to survive the colder season. So in an effort to help you stay properly insulated and properly smiling, we’ve compiled an overview of the best winter dishes from Cape Town restaurants.
BEST WINTER DISHES FROM CAPE TOWN RESTAURANTS
Pork Belly with Biltong Risotto at Dornier’s Bodega
Ward off the icy chill this winter with a to-die-for slow-roasted offering at Dornier Bodega in Stellenbosch. This May-to-September the restaurant is gearing its menu towards winter warmers, and if we had to choose one – it’s not easy, we promise – it’d be the pork belly with biltong risotto. It’s not only this rocking roast that’ll hit the sweet spot though; the eatery is located on the picturesque Dornier wine farm, which means mountain vistas, rolling greens, vineyard views and stellar wines are all part of the package. And to complement the homey atmosphere and no-frills-no-fuss attitude of the place, there are two fireplaces to cosy up to. In short, it’s good food, good vibes and good drink. Quick tip: enquire about the Thursday special – diners get a dessert for FREE with the purchase of a starter and a main!
Bill: The eatery focuses mainly on two- or three-course selections; two courses will set you back R175 and three courses cost R230.
Opening times: Wednesday – Sunday: 11:30pm – 4pm
Dornier Wine Estate | Blaauwklippen Road | Stellenbosch | +27 (0) 21 880 0557
Tajine at Rick’s Café Americain
Step into this Casablanca-themed restaurant and treat yourself to some of the most authentic Moroccan-inspired food in the city. Rick’s Café Americain is the perfect place for wintertime dining. With three fireplaces and passionate staff dedicated to ensuring your comfort and happiness, you won’t want to spend chilly days or cold nights anywhere else. We recommend the lamb knuckle tajine. It packs a punch with its subtle infusion of spices. The tender meat is served with a delicious mix of apricots, almonds and walnuts, and a medley of roasted veggies and couscous. A delicious vegetarian option is available too. The lentil and aubergine tajine comes with baked lentils with tomatoes, mozzarella and ricotta cheese and couscous. Pair your tajine with a full bodied wine or ale – Rick’s offers 140 different wines and a selection of 60 beers. If that doesn’t put a smile on your dial, the smooth lounge music that wafts through the beautiful restaurant, the bold and bright finishes (with elements reminiscent of the classic movie Casablanca) and the warm, cosy ambience surely will. Adventurous diners can also try the smoked crocodile dish for R105
Bill: Prices are moderate. The Lamb Tajine “Royale” rings in at R195. The Lentil and Aubergine Tajine is R98.
Opening times: Monday - Saturday: 12pm - late
2 Park Road | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 1100
Rock and Roast Sundays at Beerhouse
There’s nothing like a hearty Sunday roast to warm the heart and fill the tum.
But if the days of mommy’s bangers and mash are far behind you, we’ve got a pretty kiff alternative. Every Sunday, Beerhouse, the über funky beer hall on Long Street, serves up choice cuts of meat with all the well-loved trimmings. The main dish and sides vary from week to week, but here’s a taste of what’s been on the cards: eisbein with creamy cabbage as well as beef with oh-so-good Yorkshire pudding and some cheeky cheesy leeks. Okay, okay we’ll stop. To make the whole affair even better, each Sunday promises some live music sure to melt any frozen heart. And let’s be real; there’s no better way to enjoy such a feast than with a golden frosty, right? With a selection of ales, stouts and lagers from 13 different countries and a staff well trained in the art of beer whispering, there’s not much that can go wrong here.
Bill: For just R85, you’ll get a serving of the daily roast, sides and live music.
Opening times: The lunch offering is served every Sunday from 12pm onwards. The live music kicks off at 5pm.
223 Long Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 3370
Chicken and Waffles at Lefty’s
Dude food, drunk food – call it what you will. All we know is that Lefty’s dive bar does it best. Although the East City haunt’s blackboard menu changes fairly often, there are two staple dishes guaranteed to win you over this winter. First up: the Baby Back Ribs. They’re so tender, succulent and flavoursome we wouldn’t be surprised if there was some divine intervention at play. Then there’s the Kentucky Chicken and Waffles, which comes topped with bacon and drizzled with maple syrup. This heavenly combo is the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavours – one bite and you’ll never look back. And with its casual, seedy-but-chic atmosphere, the bar welcomes anyone from shirt-wearing office types to tatted-up art students. All in all, we give Lefty’s an 11 out of 10.
Bill: The menu is extremely well-priced; nothing will set you back more than R65.
Opening times: Monday: 4pm – late; Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – late.
105 Harrington Street | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 461 0407
Beef Short Rib at Aubergine Restaurant
How about quelling the cold with a romantic evening for two and a hearty braised dish at the always charming Aubergine Restaurant? During the chilly season the iconic eatery is serving up spectacular beef short ribs topped off with root vegetables, potato puree and zesty gremolata as part of its more affordable Winter Bistro Menu. And as for mood, we’ll leave you with this thought: Aubergine Restaurant effortlessly marries the sophistication of fine dining with homespun charm – imagine a cosy hearth, modern décor, antique yellowwood tables, blackwood floors and warm lighting.
Bill: Expect top-end prices for a top-end dining experience; it’s R235p/p for two courses and R315p/p for three courses.
Opening times: Monday - Saturday: 6pm – 10pm.
39 Barnet Street | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 465 4909
Springbok Hotpot at Wild Fig
Let’s set the scene, shall we? There’s a faint hiss and pop coming from the fireplace, the lights are dimmed to golden perfection, and the smell of a juicy roast wafts from the kitchen to your table. The location? The Wild Fig. Dish of the moment? Springbok Hotpot – a hearty main that pairs tender springbok cubes braised in robust red wine with thyme and rosemary, with a side of creamy Pecorino and rosemary polenta. This rich, heart-warming meal is ideal for any cold winter’s day and is charmingly served in a miniature ‘potjie’ pot. To top it off, guests can soak up the welcoming, country-rustic atmosphere or sip on one of the Wild Fig’s privately labelled red wines. Glühwein is on the cards too. Start or end the evening with a malt whisky or a choice vintage at the adjacent bar, which is set in an 18th-century thatched dairy barn that’s been named Annie’s Arms and appointed a national monument.
Bill: The Springbok Hotpot goes for R145
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 10:30pm; Sunday and public holidays: 12pm – 9pm.
Valkenberg Estate | Liesbeek Avenue | Observatory | +27 (0) 21 448 0507
Macaroni and Cheese at Peter’s House
Nothing says comfort quite like some good ol’ mac and cheese. That’s why we recommend hitting up this Tamboerskloof nook for a yummy bowl of golden goodness. Every Monday from 6pm guests can grab a steaming, creamy serving of the old favourite for just R30! The restaurant, which takes its design inspiration from Beatrix Potter’s famous The Tale of Peter Rabbit, offers a cosy respite for wintertime patrons, much in the way a burrow serves a lovely bunny. If you’re keen to take advantage of mac and cheese night, book early; the intimate eatery fills up fast.
Bill: The menu is extremely well-priced. The Monday mac and cheese special goes for R30p/p.
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 11am – late; Saturday: 9am – late; Sunday: 9am – 2pm.
14 Kloof Nek Road | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 3451
Curry Buffet at Mezbaan
Picture this: there’s a steaming bowl of aromatic butter chicken in front of you. A mound of fluffy basmati rice, flavoured with cumin seeds and caramelised brown onion, sits next to it. You tear off a corner of hot garlic naan, dip it into the succulent, spice-scented curry and draw it lovingly towards your lips… Now go and make this daydream a reality! Every Thursday the Hilton Cape Town City Centre’s Mezbaan restaurant serves up a curry buffet that’s guaranteed to rid you of those winter blues and fend off the onset of sniffs and snuffles. There’s even a braised lamb breyani that comes enclosed in a naan bread – imagine the billows of hot steam as you slice into it… Need we say more? Thought not.
Bill: The all-you-can-eat offering goes for R151p/p and includes soft drinks (no alcohol is served in the opulent Indian eatery).
Opening times: Thursday: 6:30pm -10:30pm.
Hilton Cape Town City Centre | 126 Buitengracht Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 481 3700
Boerie Roll at Gourmet Boerie
The weather may be putting a damper on your braai plans, but there’s no reason to miss out on a hearty helping of grilled goodness. Whether you’re a traditional wors and onions kinda person or a toppings fanatic, Gourmet Bourie on Kloof Street will sort you out. The proudly South African eatery specialises in the farm-style sausage and even goes so far as to put a fancy spin on the traditional banger. For some decadent dining, try the Gorgonzola Deluxe Boerie, which comes topped with poached pear, caramelised pecan nuts and rocket. Or for a touch of heat, opt for the Mexican Boerie, which comes piled high with tomato salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapeno chilli, coriander and cos lettuce. The best part? Besides the heady selection of lamb, ostrich, beef and chicken boerie, there are even yummy, crunchy veggie balls for the non meat-eaters.
Bill: The most you’ll pay for a boerie (including a side of fries) is R65
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 10:30pm; Sunday: 12pm – 3pm.
8 Kloof Street | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 424 4208
Springbok Hotpot at Wild Fig
Let’s set the scene shall we? There’s a faint hiss and pop coming from the fireplace, the lights are dimmed to golden perfection and the smell of a juicy roast wafts from the kitchen to your table. Location? The Wild Fig. Dish of the moment? Springbok Hotpot, a hearty main that pairs tender springbok cubes braised in robust red wine with thyme and rosemary and a side of creamy Pecorino and rosemary polenta. This rich, heart-warming meal is ideal for any cold winter day and is charmingly served in a miniature potjie pot. To top it off, guests can soak up the welcoming, country-rustic atmosphere or sip from one of the Wild Fig’s privately labelled red wines. Glühwein is on the cards too. Start or end the evening with a malt whisky or a choice vintage at the adjacent bar, which is set in an 18th-century thatched dairy barn that’s been named Annie’s Arms and appointed a national monument.
Bill: The Springbok Hotpot goes for R125.
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 3:30pm & 6:30pm – 10:30pm; Sunday: 12pm – 3:30pm.
Valkenberg Estate | Liesbeek Avenue | Mowbray | +27 (0) 21 448 0507
Prawn Dahl at Azure Restaurant
Executive Chef Christo Pretorius’s signature dish is the very definition of a taste explosion: think prawns cooked in fragrant spices, flavoured with celeriac, apple puree, compressed cucumber, cumin yoghurt, verjus gel and apple chutney. And what better way to complement this sweet and spicy affair than with an unparalleled view of the Atlantic Ocean? Guests to the restaurant, which is located in the The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, can also benefit from the warming hearths, and those looking to watch the sunset from the terrace will be provided with blankets. Not to mention, Azure has the cosy Leopard Bar, which is an ideal spot to sip on a steamy cup of glühwein or nurse a rich red wine after work.
Bill: The Prawn Dahl rings in at R110.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 12:30pm - 3:30pm & 6pm - 10:30pm.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa | Victoria Road | Camps Bay | + 27 (0) 21 437 9029
Amsterdamse Biefstuk at Dutch Haven Bistro
If winter is the time to put salads and other leafy greens on the backburner, then Dutch Haven Bistro in Durbanville is on the right track. The family-friendly restaurant has a delectable Dutch-inspired menu that’s crammed with hot and hearty options. We suggest kicking off the comfort food feast with the ‘Bit of Everything Platter’, a divine spread of bitterballen (a deep-fried ragout-based snack), kroketten (croquettes), frikandel (deep fried sausage) and chicken strips with traditional dipping sauces. Then move on to the Amsterdamse Biefstuk, a fillet served in a gravy on fresh bread. Wash that down with a Dutch Grolsch beer, and you’re more than likely to be feeling toasty inside and out.
Bill: The menu is well-priced. The Bit of Everything Platter costs R89 and the Amsterdamse Biefstuk costs R89.
Opening times: Monday – Thursday: 8am – 5pm; Friday: 8am – 8:30pm; Saturday: 8:30am – 3pm.
High Street Shopping Centre | Bella Rose Street | Durbanville-Bellville | +27 (0) 21 914 6120
By Georgina Selander
Looking for some wallet-friendly warming meals? Take a look at our overview of Cape Town Winter Specials and Warming Menus.
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