Budget restaurants in Cape Town

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.

Budget restaurants in Cape Town

Our pick of the Mother City’s finest cheap eateries for the prudent and penny-wise

Last Update 15 March 2017

While Cape Town certainly flaunts its fair share of fine dining establishments and claims a whole host of cheap chain restaurants too (think McDonald’s, Steers, Simply Asia and many more), it’s somewhat less easy to find eateries that fall within an attractive middle ground, a space comprised of affordable sit-down places to eat with top-notch offerings and an inviting ambience.

Enter our guide to first-rate budget-friendly bistros, cafés and kitchens in Cape Town and surrounds. We’ve scoured the streets of the Southern Suburbs, the sidewalks of the city centre, the nooks and crannies of Winelands towns and the prettiest perches on the Atlantic Seaboard to bring you our pick of inexpensive restaurants where you can find a filling, freshly made meal for less than R60 or R70 per person (R75 at a push). From health-conscious snack bars and vibey Cuban haunts to fish ‘n chips canteens, the economical inclusions below all treat guests to a decent lunch or dinner and return-worthy experience without constraining the cash flow.


Java Bistro
As it’s nestled in the heart of student town in Stellenbosch, it comes as no big surprise that this warm and welcoming neighbourhood eatery tailors its prices for those with a little less to spend. Though with a trendy interior, inviting umbrella-covered sidewalk seating, generous portions and relaxed but quality service, Java Café is not only popular amongst penniless university learners; it’s an equally ideal spot for an affordable business-related lunch, afternoon snack with friends or inexpensive dinner date. The menu is diverse, with well-liked options such as the Farmyard Special, a gourmet sandwich consisting of a grilled chicken, fried bacon and cheese for just R72; the Honey Coated Sesame Seed Chicken Wrap which is made up of chicken strips marinated in honey and whole grain mustard, feta, avocado pulp and balsamic glaze for R75; and the Smokey Joe, which comprises of smoked chicken,brie cheese, caramelised onions for R72. On top of that, the eatery has regular burger and pizza specials throughout each week to add to its already enticing appeal (check their Facebook page for details). Those looking to match their meal with a tipple or two will also find reasonably priced drinks at the restaurant’s chic bar – simply another highlight that makes this laidback café an urban Winelands gem.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 8am – 10pm; Sunday: 9am – 10pm

Corner of Andringa and Church streets | Stellenbosch | +27 (0) 21 887 6261

With two small, cosy branches in Cape Town, one in Gardens and one in the Southern Suburbs’ edgy Observatory, Narona is the go-to spot for skint Mother City dwellers seeking affordable yet quality fare. The local hangout’s menu includes a diverse array of mouth-watering dishes, including a myriad of vegetarian and meaty pizzas, for which they’re now renowned. In addition to these generously topped pies, which average around R70, the cheap restaurants also dish up large beef and chicken burgers for between R45 and R58 – the Cheese and Bacon Burger goes for a minimal R58, for instance – tramezzini for between R52 and R65 and tagliatelle or penne pasta for between R60 and R80 (the seafood pasta, a costly option at most eateries, rings in at an almost unheard of R80). Both branches feature an alfresco patio, so on balmy summer days, diners can enjoy their low-cost lunches or dinners in a vibey open-air environment.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday:10am – 10pm

136 Buitenkant Street | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 465 8111
39 Trill Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 447 2206

Eastern Food Bazaar
An exotic food court-style eatery reminiscent of a vibrant Middle Eastern souk, this famed CBD spot is one restaurant at which guests can enjoy a hearty helping of cuisine while still keeping bank balances intact. The always-busy establishment specialises in authentic Eastern and Oriental fare across the spectrum (Chinese, Indian, Arabic, Turkish) and unbelievably low prices – patrons will never pay more than R60 (even R50) for a filling plate of grub, sides and a drink included. With a laidback canteen-like vibe, the eatery is lined with counters featuring the different genres of spiced cuisine, and visitors can order their pick of kebabs, shawarmas, curry, biryani, bunny chow and much more directly from the chefs that man the respective stands. As a popular hangout that’s always buzzing, this vibey bazaar offers more than just great value for money; it promises a unique and alluring Cape Town experience.
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 9am – 10pm; Friday – Saturday: 9am – 10:30pm

96 Longmarket Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 461 2458

Perched right on the water’s edge at Kalk Bay’s small working harbour, the casual Kalky’s is well loved by locals and tourists alike for its reliable offering of cheap seafood and a classically Capetonian experience. As easy-going as they come, the canteen-like eatery serves up freshly caught fish and chips for R55, calamari and chips for R70 and an assortment of platters and family meals for very reasonable prices when shared. The menu boasts a few more costly options too, like crayfish and prawns, and all inclusions come fresh from the ocean that rises and falls but metres away from its rough-and-ready doorstep. While many may frequent Kalky’s for a quick, no-fuss, no-frills takeaway, the bistro does also offering informal seating both inside and out; though, on warmer days, it’s certainly advisable to find a perch outside on the sun-drenched, seal-dotted harbour’s edge.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10am – 8pm


A post shared by @chefcal on Mar 12, 2017 at 5:24am PDT

Kalk Bay Harbour | Main Road | Kalk Bay | +27 (0) 21 788 1726

Food Lover’s Market
With over 15 sleek stores in the greater Cape Town area, some as far as Hermanus and Somerset West, Fruit & Veg City’s Food Lover’s Market is a one-stop shop for money-conscious Mother City dwellers seeking a quick quality takeaway. Most of the shops take the form of large food emporiums – tastefully decorated ones at that – where visitors can help themselves to an endless assortment of hot and cold dishes from various sections, including grill, pizza, pasta, sushi and salad bars. As the eateries work on a reasonable pay-by-weight system, diners can more or less control the final cost of their meals, and walk away with a satisfying portion for a very economical amount. Some of the outlets do also offer inside seating for those eager to linger a little longer, and the Claremont branch, arguably one of the largest, boasts a full à la carte restaurant upstairs too.
Opening Hours: operating hours vary from store to store, but most are open from Monday to Sunday from early in the morning until 6pm or 7pm in the evening.

Head Office: +27 (0) 87 740 9600

Looking exclusively for an affordable seafood eatery? Take a peek at our pick of Cape Town’s top low-budget sushi restaurants. Take a look at our R30 and under overview for budget lunches in the city


Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City!

Cape Town Events Calendar
March 2018
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Cape Town Helicopters Generic 2Fly Fridays: Get on Board With The Most ...

Want that extra-special experience to round off the week? These are the city’s most affordable helicopter flights – plus, get an exclusive 10% off your booking right here

Kiff Kombi - Durbanville - 2Experience Cape Town's Most Spirited ...

All aboard, gin lovers! Here’s what to expect on a tour of Cape Town’s quaintest, most unique and secret gin distilleries and drink spots with Kiff Kombi Tours

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark mini-golf adventure

Bazique Fest Enter a Realm of Eccentric ...

From astounding art to international music acts, this three-day party brings a euphoric global festival atmosphere to the Cape

Tacos and Tequila - 4All the Tacos and Tequila You can Take

This Mexican-themed event hosted on the rooftop of Daylight Studios will have DJs on the decks

Roast and Co 22-for-1 Drink Specials at Roast & Co

Every day “on your way” at Roast & Co. – enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials and discover the coolest mugs

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative walking tours

Gin Making at 12 Apostles 9 Feb - 16 March - 1Learn to Make your Own Gin at 12 ...

Become a gin mixologist at this Gin Making Experience on Friday nights

Shimmy Beach ClubBeach House Sundays at Shimmy Beach Club

Sun, sand, sea and glitz – the weekend isn’t over until you’re relaxing at Shimmy Beach Club

African Soul Surfer BackpackersYoga and Surf Specials with African ...

Ride the wave of surf and yoga camps with African Soul Surfer!

Galileo - BlaauwklippenA Weekend Spent with The Galileo Open ...

Start your weekend with a little inner-city or wineland movie screening

Aces 'n' SpadesFriday Night Live at Aces ‘n’ ...

They will rock you

Food Truck Friday - 1Food Truck Friday at Jack Black’s ...

Relax this Friday with a Jack Black beer and some scrumptious food

Pierneef food and wine pairing 3Food and Wine Pairing at La Motte

Discover a match made in the divine tasting room of this Franschhoek estate

ajaxABSA PSL: Ajax Cape Town vs Supersport ...

Get your front row tickets to catch the Urban Warriors in action

best winter dishes ricks cafe americainRick’s Café Américain’s Weekly ...

Pop over to the charming Casablanca-themed restaurant for a hearty meal that won’t break the bank

African Soul Surfer BackpackersSurf Lessons with African Soul Surfer

Learn to surf with the kiffest surf school in Cape Town!

Primal Eatery The Primal Hour at Primal Eatery

Get the best wine, pairings, and cocktails at the Primal Hour

HQ-web-ready-259.jpgFriday Night DJ and Dancing at HQ ...

#AfterDark with DJ Rene: start the weekend with a steak dinner, stylish cocktails and suave tunes by The Frenchman

Workshop - 5Short Courses at the Cape Town ...

Mix, mingle and learn at this year’s Jazz Festival

The Fugard Thetare West Side Story 1The Fugard Theatre Presents West Side ...

Many theatre buffs reckon West Side Story is the greatest musical ever written. Judge for yourself when The Fugard Theatre’s production of it returns to Cape Town

Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay Cape TownFriday Night at The Bay Harbour Market

Ring in the weekend with live music, craft beer, hearty fare and happy shopping in Hout Bay

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.