Cape Town: Top restaurants and wine bars

South Africa’s ‘Mother City’ offers incredible views, restaurants and bars, plus wine regions on its doorstep. Decanter contributors, plus Gary Jordan of Jordan Wine Estates recommend their top places to try...

Cape Town restaurants and wine bars

96 Winery Road

You’d expect a restaurant co-founded by local winemaking celebrity Ken Forrester to have a decent wine list, and this place delivers in spades. Vegetarians look away now, but it should be a house rule that at least someone in your party orders a steak. Relax at an outside table with a glass of wine for long enough and you might also see other winemakers dropping by for a bite. This is the perfect place to unwind after a hard morning of tasting. The Somerset West location is also a 30- to 40-minute taxi ride from Cape Town. http://96wineryroad.co.za Recommended by Chris Mercer. 

The Butcher Shop and Grill

The place to go for the best mature 21 – to 40-day aged local beef and lamb, as well as other cuts from all around the world. There’s a great selection of wines too, which you’d expect from their not one, but two cellars! The bottom floor has a great selection of latest-release wines, whilst the top floor has an unbelievable selection of rarer library vintages, including the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction bottlings. www.thebutchershop.co.za Recommendations by Gary Jordan and Vahan Agulian.

Cape Town restaurants

Butcher Shop & Grill. Credit: www.thebutchershop.co.za


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Burrata

There will be something familiar about the Old Biscuit Mill in the up-and-coming Woodstock area to anyone who has visited other hipster enclaves springing up in cities across the world. But don’t let that put you off: Burrata sits right in the middle of the action and offers mainly Italian-inspired fare. Look no further than the excellent wood-fired pizzas and the very impressive selection of South African wines – albeit only a handful are offered by the glass. You could also try the Woodstock Brewery down the road for a beer afterwards. We’d advise getting a taxi, unless you’re staying very local. http://burrata.co.za/ Recommended by Chris Mercer. 

Cause Effect

If you’re looking to carry on the night after some dinner, then head to Cause Effect cocktail bar on Park Road, just off Kloof Street. Place yourselves at the bar and choose from a great selection of seasonal, experimental cocktails. They’re served with the sort of imagination that Salvador Dali would be proud of and excellently made by the bar’s crack team of bartenders. https://www.facebook.com/CauseEffectBar/ Recommended by Chris Mercer.  

Chalk & Cork

Owned and run by a husband and wife with Michelin-star wine and management backgrounds. Light, fresh wines and tapas changing by the seasons, and at very reasonable prices. www.chalkandcork.co.za Recommended by Gary Jordan


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Chefs Warehouse & Canteen

Liam Tomlin changes his tapas menu weekly. You have to get there early to grab a spot though, as no bookings are taken. Enjoy great food, interesting craft beers and carefully selected estate wines. The Chefs Warehouse shop has one of the best collections of interesting recipe books you could ask for – including three by Tomlin himself. www.chefswarehouse.co.za Recommended by Gary Jordan

Den Anker

At the heart of the V&A Waterfront, offering postcard views, enjoy great local seafood in a Belgian style. Cape wines are on offer by the glass and bottle, but the beer tastings and pairings from the Belgian Beer Company are exceptional. www.denanker.co.za Recommended by Gary Jordan

First Thursdays

The first Thursday each month is a free cultural experience where all the galleries and a number of boutiques in the city stay open late. Food trucks line the streets and restaurants and bars offer something different to their normal menu. www.first-thursdays.co.za Recommended by Gary Jordan

Jerry’s Burger Bar

Sometimes a great burger just hits the right spot, and Jerry’s has got a good thing going on in Cape Town. There are several branches, but the bar on Park Road, Kloof, is a good spot to work your way through the menu and enjoy the afternoon sun as you sip one or three of the many local wines and craft beers on the menu. A majority of the wines are available by the glass. http://www.jerrysburgerbar.co.za/Recommended by Chris Mercer. 

Kloof Street Townhouse

On the infamous Kloof Street, this Victorian-era townhouse is famous for its eclectic design, straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Have a drink at the bar, enjoying unique cocktail combinations, dine in the townhouse, sampling a range of meat and seafood options, or when it’s sunny outside, lunch in their live music garden. www.kloofstreethouse.co.za Recommended by Vahan Agulian

Cape Town restaurants

Dishes at Publik wine bar. Credit: publik.co.za/wine-bar/

Publik Wine Bar

The wine list changes daily, showcasing new and interesting wines from South Africa, all served by the glass. www.publik.co.za/publik-bar Recommended by Gary Jordan

Salsify at the Roundhouse

The new restaurant by Luke Dale-Roberts, founder and owner of the Test Kitchen (ranked 22nd in 2016’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards) is one amazing experience for the senses, using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Fine dining and fine wine, bookings advised! http://salsify.co.za Recommended by Vahan Agulian

Truth Coffee Roasting

If you need a caffeine hit to start your day, head to this steampunk inspired venue, named by the UK’s Telegraph as the best coffee shop in the world. The beans are hand roasted in a steel drum, and you can even attend barista school to hone your skills. www.truthcoffee.com Recommended by Gary Jordan

Tuning the Vine

One Wednesday a month, Tuning the Vine takes to the hippest streets in Cape Town for #InnerCityWineRoute, linking some of the city’s most exciting venues through a ‘wine adventure’. There are sommelier guided tasting tours, food and wine pairings, cellar talks, live music, wineinspired ‘tattoos’ and more. www.tuningthevine.co.za Recommended by Gary Jordan

And finally…

Sundowners on top of Lion’s Head

Not a restaurant or a wine bar, but a moderate hike to the peak (669m above sea level) gives you a 360° view from Camps Bay to the 12 Apostles, up the West Coast, all the way around to Stellenbosch and into the centre of Cape Town. Hiking shoes and BYO wine necessary for one of South Africa’s best sunset drinking spots. Recommended by Gary Jordan. 

Recommendations by Gary Jordan of Jordan Wine Estates, Chris Mercer and Vahan Agulian.


Also see:

Cape Town weekend road trip

Decanter travel guide: Stellenbosch

Top South African red wines to try

Top South African white wines to try