Pongracz flows at the Skybar, upstairs from The Piano Bar
Top Romantic Restaurants in Cape Town
Our pick of dreamy Mother City dining spots for lovebirds
Last Updated: 19 March 2019
Whether you’re dining out on a first date or in celebration of a wedding anniversary, you’re likely going to be on the lookout for a rather special spot. The last thing any starry-eyed pair wants is an eatery with no ambience, lacklustre décor and run-of-the-mill food. Rather, couples are looking for a venue that warms the heart and enhances the bond with an atmosphere that’s intimate and an offering that’s truly memorable.
The dining venues below fall into this category – for different reasons, these romantic restaurants in Cape Town all promise a fairy-tale lovers’ eating experience. You’ll note that many of the inclusions are more upmarket options (unfortunately romance often comes at a high price), but we’ve tried to feature a few more affordable gems too. Either way, these top hotspots are as ideal for an ordinary date as they are for marriage proposals and other very special occasions.
WINELANDS BISTRO UNDER THE OAKS
Favoured by top Franschhoek chefs, for being open on Mondays and their remarkable farm-to-table food, La Paris Bistro is an experience. Farm-fresh ingredients sourced locally and used to create meals that are traditional SA with a modern twist. It’s situated on one of the most spectacular wedding and function venues in Franschhoek.
Romance factor: Come and experience the vibe on the deck, under the oaks at Friday live music nights at La Paris Bistro in Franschhoek.
R301, Wemmershoek Road, Franschhoek | +27 (21) 8670171 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Romance factor: This trendy De Waterkant restaurant is the perfect place to treat your lover to the aphrodisiacal joys of fresh oysters, and the restaurant also does its best to treat lovebirds who are celebrating a special occasion. Read more about Beluga.
Style of food: The Beluga menu has expanded to include not just sushi (there are daily specials between 12pm and 6pm) but also anything from calamari to curry, all made with attention to detail. For a dreamy end to an amorous meal, we recommend a dessert cocktail, like the white chocolate martini.
Price: Slightly on the pricier side
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 12pm – 10pm
Romance factor: This restaurant is ideal for a stylish evening out with your loved one. Pigalle offers guests with live entertainment from the dance floor. Every detail speaks of professionalism and the atmosphere is filled with friendliness.
Style of food: Pigalle is renowned for fresh seafood and Chalmar steaks. The menu has a range of classic dishes with subtle Portuguese flair. This diner offers a slectio of champagne, local bubbly and South African wines, to wash down the delicious food.
Price: A bit more expensive than the average restaurant.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 12pm - 7pm
57A Somerset Road | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 421 4343
Romance factor: This authentic Italian restaurant on Bree Street will warm the hearts of any pair looking for a relaxed romantic meal amidst a rustic setting. The unfussy osteria is home to rough, bare brick walls, candlelight in the evenings and an owner that not only speaks the language of love but also cooks dishes worth falling head over heels for.
Style of food: Real Italian food handmade the way mamas prepare it in the back alleys of Bologna and Tuscany. The lunch offering is permanent, but the dinner menu is ever-changing and lovebirds can share dishes like spinach and ricotta gnocchi or risotto with porcini mushrooms and Sicilian sausage.
Price: A little more expensive than most other Italian eateries, but still a relatively affordable meal.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm; Saturday: 6:30pm – 10:30pm
15 Bree Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 418 7655
Four & Twenty Café & Pantry
Romance factor: The idea for this delightful Wynberg-based patisserie was born in Paris, so needless to say, the young owners have imbued their little spot with the amorous charm associated with the French capital. The space is dotted with delicate roses and painted with splashes of pink; black-and-white silent movies screen on one wall; and a cosy window seat and quiet back courtyard make for perfect little retreats for lovebirds.
Style of food: Four & Twenty is a breakfast and lunch spot, so it’s ideal for those who want a romantic meal that isn’t an expensive dinner. The fare is a mix of favourite classics and innovative creations, and the pastries are particularly dreamy – think treats like a dark chocolate and raspberry cupcake or a heart-shaped lemon and ricotta cake with almond shavings.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 8am – 5pm (hot kitchen closes at 3.30pm); Sunday: 9am – 4pm (hot kitchen closes at 2:30pm)
23 Wolfe Street | Chelsea Village | Wynberg | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 762 0975
De Grendel Restaurant
Romance factor: Based out amidst the serenity and scenic beauty of the Durbanville Winelands (20 minutes from Cape Town), the upmarket restaurant at the historic, family-owned De Grendel wine farm offers an intimate and elegant dining experience that’s elevated well above the norm. Though, the most poetic part of a meal at this contemporary eatery has to be the fact that diners get to enjoy one of the most spectacular sunsets in the Mother City. Wrap-around glass windows yield a dramatic view of Table Mountain in the distance and, according to many, it’s just heavenly to watch the skies surrounding the Cape’s iconic peak turn shades of pink and orange come dusk.
Style of food: The De Grendel Restaurant specialises in seasonal modern South African cuisine that borders are fine dining in its gourmet execution but is still accessible and filling. Though the restaurant does offer lunch, dinner is more suitable for a romantic meal and visitors can opt for two or three courses or can indulge in the five-course tasting menu (call ahead to book this).
Price: Save a little for this one – prices are quite high.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 12pm – 3:30pm, 6:30pm – 9:30pm; Sunday: 11:30am – 2:30pm
De Grendel Wine Farm | Plattekloof Road | Durbanville | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 558 7035
Romance factor: From its discreet perch in a quiet Gardens neighbourhood, Aubergine restaurant has been turning out unforgettable eating experiences since it first opened its doors in 1996. With its timeless elegance and impressive art and wine collection, the fine dining icon is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a romantic dinner with a sense of occasion and an air of decorum. The ambience is refined and lends itself to quiet and intimate conversation, and the gastronomic philosophy, which hinges on food and wine pairing, is a tangible reminder of the power of a good coupling.
Style of food: Expect fine dining fare conjured up by famed chef Harald Bresselschmidt and his trusty team. The kitchen maestro weaves South African ingredients together with Western and Eastern influences with considerable finesse, and guests are encouraged to let their ‘food and their wine talk to each other’. Meaning, there’s a firm emphasis placed on pairing – there’s even menus devoted to suggesting carefully thought out three-, four- or five-course matches. Those who’d prefer to select their own bottle of wine can choose from the restaurant’s esteemed offering, which features mainly smaller producers and eclipses the 500-bottle mark.
Price: Exquisite food, wine and ambience come at a price. Menus start at R465p/p (without wine) and run up to R950p/p (with wine).
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 6pm – 10pm
39 Barnet Street | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 465 000
Haute Cabrière Restaurant
Romance factor: Tucked into a mountain up on the slopes that rim the Franschhoek valley, the restaurant at Haute Cabrièreboasts dreamy views of the area’s vine-dotted landscape from its outside terrace and harnesses a magical charm within. The interior is closed in by cathedral-like arched ceilings that lend it a medieval air, and candlelight and soft music in the evenings wrap the space with warmth and elegance. Because the eatery only takes 30 or 40 guests for dinner, a meal here is always an intimate affair, but if you’re looking for a truly unique lovers’ dining experience, we recommend you request the table that overlooks the downstairs wine cellar.
Style of food: Haute Cabrière’s restaurant falls in the fine dining category, so guests can expect dishes to be creative works of art. The gifted chef adopts a farm-to-fork approach and many of the ingredients are grown organically on the property. The dishes are also specifically designed to pair perfectly with the estate’s wines and bubblies, and six-course Vintage Tasting Menu emphasises the marriage between food and vino.
Price: Prices are on the upper end of the spectrum but are in line with what you’d expect from other fine dining restaurants in the affluent Franschhoek area.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday:12pm – 3pm (lunch), 3pm – 6:30pm (tapas and sundowners), 7pm – 9pm (dinner); Sunday: 12pm – 3pm (note: during winter, the restaurant is only open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays)
Haute Cabrière Wine Farm | Lambrechts Road | Franschhoek | +27 (0)21 876 3688
Romance factor: It’s this contemporary restaurant’s stunning location that makes it one of the most fairy-tale places to dine in Cape Town. The upscale eatery is based at the luxury Vineyard Hotel in Newlands and looks out on the property’s magnificent landscaped garden. After lunch or before dinner, lovebirds can take a stroll through the leafy avenues of this greenway, where they’ll find benches to sit on next to the Liesbeek River and a lovely little bridge that’s idyllic for marriage proposals. For a dreamy indoor meal, it’s recommended that couples book a window table that yields views of the greenery outside (table 61 is the most private).
Style of food: The fare represents a modern fusion of flavours from all over the globe, with firm favourites being the caramel soy pork belly and the miso yaki kabeljou (kob). Though, the best way to experience the restaurant’s cuisine is to opt for its famed seven-course tasting menu, which finishes off with a particularly romantic array of desserts.
Price: While the à la carte offering is rather costly, the seven-course tasting menu promises good value for money.
Opening hours: Monday: 6:45pm – 9:30pm; Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6:45pm – 9:30pm; Sunday: 11:30am – 2:30pm
Vineyard Hotel | Colinton Road | Newlands | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 657 4545
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