Cape Town has a huge and diverse food scene with new restaurants popping up every single day. What is hot today, it may not be tomorrow. However, to enjoy a restaurant it doesn’t have to top the charts. All you need is ambiance, cosiness and delicious dishes. Check out these five affordable restaurants in Cape Town that I all visited and tested myself. They may be small, but they are full of atmosphere, affordable and a gift to your taste buds.

1. Asoka

In this intimate restaurant & lounge bar they serve Asian fusion tapas, combining the best of the various oriental cuisines. These small-plate dishes, designed for sharing, are absolutely delicious. Especially the tuna tacos, teriyaki duck, curry butter chicken and shrimp tempura are masterpieces. And it’s so beautifully decorated – they definitely understand the art of plating. The interior is characterized by warm oriental colours and accessories, cosy lounge corners and a striking old olive tree. Add live music, a dance floor and a cocktail bar, and you have all the ingredients for a great evening. As Asoka’s chef states: “We do not offer meals, but an experience.” At Asoka they know how to entice your senses. And don’t forget to make a reservation a few days in advance at this lovely place in Cape Town city centre (Kloof Street), since most evenings are fully booked.


2. Dunes (Hout Bay)

Want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life? Glass of wine in your hand while you’re digging your feet into the warm sand? If you fancy a relaxed beach atmosphere, good food and a heavenly view, Dunes is the right place for you. This nice restaurant & bar is situated in a prime location on the beach with Chapman’s Peak in the background. The interior design has a real beach look with white painted furniture and an aquamarine roof. A wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, where little ones can enjoy themselves in the playground or on the beach. The menu does not consist of culinary delights, but tasty and affordable dishes. From calamari and mussels to steak, burgers and pizzas with a crunchy crust. But nothing beats the view of restaurant Dunes and the awesome sunset behind the mountains.

3. Starlings Café

It’s a bit of a search before you find this charming little restaurant in the Southern District of Claremont. Tucked behind a hedge on Belvedere Road, this Victorian dining spot pops up. The lovely relaxed atmosphere, the friendly staff and the yummy dishes make the search worthwhile. You can relax in the cosy dining garden in the summer and dream away at the crackling fire during winter time. Starlings Cafe is a popular breakfast and lunch spot. A fresh orange juice with pineapple, along with toast, eggs, pesto, avocado and sun-dried tomatoes, is not a bad start to the day. And the barista knows how to serve a delicious coffee creation every time. The menu at Starlings is varied, from chicken sandwich and salmon quiche to caesar salad, curry, risotto and burgers. Everything made from fresh local organic ingredients. You may have to wait for a table, as a lot of people love this hidden gem.

4. True Italic

This rustic restaurant in Cape Town’s city centre brings a touch of Italian to Africa. True Italic honours its name by serving pure authentic Italian food with homemade pasta and fresh ingredients. The menu changes daily and features delicious combos. The creamy gorgonzola with gnocchi, pumpkin ravioli, lamb tagliatelle and the vegetarian Parmigiana di Melanzane are culinary sensations. Of course served with matching wines, as you would expect from a Italian. Don’t forget to order an affogato (Italian coffee) as dessert … so tasty. The design of True Italic is rugged, rustic and minimalistic with wooden tables, old brick walls and candles in empty wine bottles. Small, simple and pure, without la-di-da. And recommended by many Italians.

5. Oblivion

In the quiet suburb of Claremont, at the foot of Table Mountain, you will find this nice restaurant & wine bar. From the moment you enter Oblivion you feel a warm cosy atmosphere. The roof terrace is the perfect place to settle down on sunny days for a cold wine or tropical cocktail. Or during the winter months at the indoor fireplace, while you enjoy a craft beer and a plate of nachos. The restaurant is open from morning until late evening. On the menu you can find plenty of tapas, pizzas and burgers to choose from, but also different options on the menu for veggie and fish lovers. I’m craving a pizza Provence and the Oblivion burger with feta, bacon and avocado. What is also tasty: the view from the roof terrace over the Table Mountain.

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