The restaurant scene in South Africa’s Cape Town is truly amazing and new dining establishments seem to pop up every week here in the Mother City. As for the quality of the cuisine, let’s just say that the city was voted by Condé Nast Traveler‘s Best Food Cities in the World as number one. From lesser-known eateries to specialty food joints, the options for having a good meal in the Mother City are endless. To help you choose where to go, we’ve put together a list of 15 best new restaurants in Cape Town in 2018.
1 The Poké Bar
If you are searching for tasty Poke bowls in Cape Town, the Poke Bar is the obvious choice. Run by Andrew Flanagan who fell in love with poke while surfing in Indonesia, this place used to be a mobile delivery service before they opened up their brand new place on the popular Loop Street. For those who not know, poke is a raw-fish salad which is made of ahi tuna, sushi rice, and slices of fresh vegetables. One of the signature bowls is the delicious Windward which consists of edamame, pickled ginger, tuna, avocado, wasabi dressing, and shredded nuri. Besides tuna, they also serve poke with prawn, salmon, chicken, and tofu here at the Poke Bar.
2 Janse and Co
Chef Arno van Rensburg who used to run the popular Franschhoek’s Kitchen at Maison and Liezl Odendaal from the Ellerman House decided to open up a new restaurant on Kloof Street. There are three to seven courses to choose from here at Janse and Co and the menu consists of pared-down dishes like trout with plum, grape and verjuice and chicken terrine with smoked milk. The menu changes on a regular basis and there are usually around 20 dishes available including desserts. Besides tasty food, this Kloof Street joint also has a nice selection of wines and beers.
3 Jessy’s Waffles
Judging by the line in front of this place, Capetonians seem to be quite into waffles. This lovely dessert bar offers a menu that is focused on the sweet stuff and they exclusively serve gluten-free and vegan waffles. There are a couple of savory options on the menu like waffles with paprika. Coffee specials and smoothie bowls are also worth ordering here at Jessy’s Waffles.
4 Lekker Vegan
There are many great new restaurants in Cape Town and Lekker Vegan is one of them. The owner, James Knaap who used to work at Amsterdam’s Vegan Junk Food Bar decided to open up a place of his own here in the Mother City and to share his version of vegan cuisine. Instead of raw veggies and salads, Lekker Vegan offers vegan gourmet junk food including an extensive list of burgers with patties prepared from soy and wheat. The interior of this eatery is modern and funky with suspended wooden counters and the packaging of the food is environmentally friendly.
5 Swan Café
Travelers who are looking for a French joint with a Parisian charm in Cape Town should definitely check out the fabulous Swan Café. The menu focuses on crêpes and there are plenty of options to choose from including cinnamon sugar, red wine-poached pears, and homemade caramel. One of the most popular dishes is the chicken-and-mushroom crêpe with bechamel and truffle oil. Besides a nice selection of crêpes, Swan Café also offers artisan coffee and tea.
6 The Hot Skillet
Located on the popular Bree Street in Cape Town, the Hot Skillet is a new restaurant opened by Gomotsegang Modiselle and Oginga Siwundla who you may know from the My Kitchen Rules cooking show. Their Hot Skillet restaurant is situated in the Youngblood Gallery and offers a small menu with breakfast classics like a toasted sandwich, banger and egg, sandwich, and cornflake-crusted cinnamon French toast. Their lunch options are also great and include dishes like beef burgers, grilled chicken and slaw, and line fish with pan salad.
7 Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen
The great thing about new cocktail bars in Cape Town is that they also offer an excellent food menu. Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen is one of these places. Inspired by vineyards and fynbos in Cape Town, this experimental cocktail kitchen and bar offers a variety of interesting cocktails such as Sia’s Dream and Boerie Roll. Besides serving experimental cocktails, they also have a nice selection of bar snacks. The pulled beef sandwich is delicious and the brandy-flambéed steak practically melts in your mouth.
8 Today & Tomorrow
Today & Tomorrow is situated in a space on Kloof Street where Mitico Restaurant used to be. This bustling hotspot is a part of the Yours Truly group and boasts an unpretentious menu that includes everything from pizza and pasta to eggs benedict, breads of salad, fried chicken, and even smoothie bowls. The house burger here is delicious and comes in a toasted brioche bun with mayo, garlic, and a side that you can choose. If there is some space left for the sweet stuff, make sure to try their chocolate brownie or cheesecake.
9 The Ceviche Bar
Situated above a coffee bar, The Ceviche Bar is one of the newest seafood restaurants in Cape Town. It is inspired by American and Asian cuisine and offers a creative menu with signature dishes like lime-cured kingklip with sweet potato, mango, red chilli, and coriander and salmon tiradito that comes with julienne cucumber, spring onions, lime, soya sauce, and sesame seeds. Try the locally sourced scallops and oysters or check out their vegan options on the menu.
10 The Top of The Ritz
The newly-refurbished Ritz Hotel has finally opened its doors here in Cape Town and more importantly, the on-site Top of The Ritz restaurant is here to take you to an extraordinary gastronomic journey. Chef Aidan Cook is the person behind the seven-course menu that focuses on local flavors. There is also talk that only fish on the SASSI Green list will be offered at this fine dining establishment.
11 Skinny Legs Luxury Café
Located in the district of De Waterkant, Skinny Legs Luxury Café boasts a rather inviting interior with moody lighting, fresh plants, and rustic stone walls. Whether you are looking for that morning coffee fix or you wish to have a lazy Sunday brunch, Skinny Legs Luxury Café is perfect for any occasion. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside on the cobblestone street and enjoy breakfast specialties like avo toast, raw muesli, or homemade granola. A nice selection of pasta and salads is available on the lunch menu.
12 Bao Down Restaurant
Bao Down is a small restaurant that offers a fusion of Asian and American cuisine. With only 28 seats available, this place is usually crowded with both tourists and locals. On the menu, expect to find dishes like oysters with lime dressing and pickled jalapeno, spicy chicken wings, and beef briskets. Graham Oldfield who used to work at the Chefs Warehouse is in charge of the cooking, while Philipa his wife decorated the space with exotic bird prints and antique mirrors.
13 Ragamuffin Curry
Run by Thinus Ras, Ragamuffin Curry is located in the Kenilworth area and focuses on curry dishes like butter chicken and chicken tikka masala from Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal recipes. Opened in December 2017, this 20-seater restaurant boasts an open-plan kitchen and offers a number of home cooked dishes including Indian fried-chicken wrap, beef curry, and desserts like chai-spiced malva pudding with ice cream and burnt marshmallow.
14 CASA Restaurant & Cabana
One more dining establishment at the Ritz Hotel made it on our list of the best 15 restaurants in Cape Town in 2018. Welcome to CASA Restaurant & Cabana, a lovely restaurant that offers a breakfast buffet, brasserie classics, and an a la carte menu for lunch and dinner. Try the rock shrimp tempura or order a portion of Peri Peri chicken. The restaurant also houses a lovely poolside Champagne Bar where you can hang out after the meal.
15 Chinchilla Rooftop Café and Bar
The last but not the least important place on our list is the Chinchilla Rooftop Café and Bar in Camps Bay. This place offers amazing beach views, as well as a nice menu that includes everything from salads and sandwiches to seafood, pasta, and meat dishes. In case you get thirsty, they have an extensive cocktail menu.