50 Best Affordable Restaurants in Cape Town

A vibrant, affordable and sophisticated image of restaurants in Cape Town

Cape Town, a melting pot of cultures, is known for its exceptional culinary scene. While it houses many high-end eateries, the city also offers a plethora of affordable dining options that don’t compromise on quality or flavor. Here’s a guide to five of the best budget-friendly restaurants in Cape Town, perfect for foodies looking to indulge without spending a fortune.

1. Eastern Food Bazaar

  • Cuisine: Asian and Middle Eastern
  • Description: The Eastern Food Bazaar is a culinary journey through the East, set in a bustling, market-like atmosphere. It offers an array of dishes from Indian curries and biryanis to Turkish kebabs and Chinese noodles. Known for its generous portions and low prices, this eatery is a haven for those who crave diverse flavors.
  • Specialties: Don’t miss their Chicken Tikka Masala or Shawarmas, both favorites among regulars.

2. Arnold’s on Kloof

  • Cuisine: International with a South African twist
  • Description: Located on the popular Kloof Street, Arnold’s has a reputation for its relaxed vibe and great value for money. It offers a mix of international dishes with a distinct South African flavor, such as game meats and local favorites.
  • Specialties: Their breakfast deals are a hit, and the game meat options offer a unique taste experience.

3. The Dogs Bollocks at Yard

  • Cuisine: American (Burgers)
  • Description: Known for its quirky ambiance and exceptional burgers, The Dogs Bollocks at Yard is tucked away in a garage-like setting. It’s the perfect spot for a casual evening with friends, offering a selection of mouth-watering, sizeable burgers.
  • Specialties: The burgers are the stars here; try any of their signature options for a satisfying meal.

4. Masala Dosa

  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Description: A gem for Indian cuisine enthusiasts, Masala Dosa specializes in South Indian street food. The restaurant is small but charming, offering a focused menu that delivers on taste and authenticity.
  • Specialties: Their Dosa, a type of South Indian pancake filled with savory fillings, is a must-try.

5. Goldies Deli

  • Cuisine: Deli-style
  • Description: Goldies Deli is a cozy spot known for its homely feel and hearty meals. Serving a variety of sandwiches, salads, and breakfast items, it’s a great choice for a filling meal at any time of the day.
  • Specialties: The deli sandwiches are particularly popular, made with fresh, quality ingredients.

6. Carlyle’s on Derry

  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Description: Carlyle’s, situated in Vredehoek, is a neighborhood favorite known for its welcoming atmosphere and delicious Italian fare. The restaurant boasts a menu filled with classic pasta dishes, hearty pizzas, and more, all served in generous portions.
  • Specialties: Their pastas and pizzas are must-tries, with fresh ingredients and authentic flavors.

7. Giovanni’s Deliworld

  • Cuisine: Italian Deli
  • Description: Giovanni’s Deliworld in Green Point is more than just a restaurant; it’s a culinary experience. This Italian deli offers a wide selection of ready-to-eat meals, cheeses, and other delicacies, perfect for a quick and delightful meal.
  • Specialties: Their antipasto selections and freshly made sandwiches are not to be missed.

8. The Kitchen

  • Cuisine: Contemporary/Various
  • Description: Known for its “Love Sandwiches,” The Kitchen in Woodstock is a charming spot offering a variety of sandwiches, salads, and sweet treats. It’s a perfect place for a casual lunch with its homey feel and delicious, wholesome food.
  • Specialties: The sandwiches here, especially the “Love Sandwiches,” are a crowd favorite.

9. Obz Café

  • Cuisine: Café-style/Various
  • Description: Located in the bohemian suburb of Observatory, Obz Café is a vibrant and artsy spot offering an eclectic menu. From breakfast to dinner, their dishes are affordable and satisfying, in a setting that’s always buzzing with energy.
  • Specialties: Their breakfast menu is particularly popular, offering a great start to the day.

10. Kalky’s Fish and Chips

  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Description: Kalky’s, located in the Kalk Bay Harbour, is an institution in Cape Town for fish and chips. This no-frills eatery offers some of the freshest seafood in town, served in a laid-back, harbor-side setting.
  • Specialties: The fish and chips here are a must-try, known for their freshness and flavor.

11. El Burro Taqueria

  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Description: Situated in the lively neighborhood of Tamboerskloof, El Burro Taqueria is a vibrant spot known for authentic Mexican cuisine. With a focus on fresh ingredients and traditional recipes, this eatery offers a variety of tacos and other Mexican favorites.
  • Specialties: Be sure to try their range of tacos, each packed with flavor and color.

12. Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room

  • Cuisine: American / Diner
  • Description: Located on bustling Bree Street, Clarke’s offers a trendy yet relaxed atmosphere. Known for its hearty American-style dishes, this is the perfect spot for a fulfilling brunch or a casual dinner.
  • Specialties: Their burgers and all-day breakfast items are particularly popular among locals and visitors alike.

13. Royale Eatery

  • Cuisine: Gourmet Burgers
  • Description: Nestled on Long Street, Royale Eatery is a burger lover’s haven. With an extensive selection of gourmet burgers, this restaurant promises a satisfying and delicious experience in a funky and artistic setting.
  • Specialties: Try any of their creative burger options, accompanied by a side of their famed sweet potato fries.

14. South China Dim Sum Bar

  • Cuisine: Asian / Dim Sum
  • Description: This quaint eatery, located in Long Street, offers a cozy and intimate atmosphere. Specializing in dim sum, South China Dim Sum Bar is a hit for those seeking a taste of Asian cuisine made with care and finesse.
  • Specialties: The menu features a variety of dim sum options; each dish is a treat for the senses.

15. Café Mojito

  • Cuisine: Cuban
  • Description: Café Mojito, set in the vibrant area of Long Street, stands out with its Cuban-inspired ambiance. This spot is not just about great food; it’s about enjoying the lively atmosphere and perhaps one of their signature mojitos.
  • Specialties: Tapas and cocktails are the highlights here, perfect for a casual evening out.

16. The Sidewalk Café

  • Cuisine: Café / International
  • Description: This charming café in Vredehoek offers a picturesque view of Table Mountain. With its cozy ambiance, The Sidewalk Café is perfect for a relaxed meal, serving a variety of dishes that cater to all tastes.
  • Specialties: The menu includes everything from hearty breakfasts to delicious light lunches and dinners.

17. Mzoli’s Place

  • Cuisine: South African Braai (Barbecue)
  • Description: Located in Gugulethu, Mzoli’s Place offers an authentic South African braai experience. This bustling spot is as much about the vibrant atmosphere as it is about the food, drawing both locals and tourists.
  • Specialties: Enjoy perfectly grilled meats, a staple of South African cuisine, in a lively setting.

18. Food Lover’s Market

  • Cuisine: Various / International
  • Description: While not a traditional restaurant, the Food Lover’s Market offers an array of affordable dining options. Located in various parts of Cape Town, these markets feature fresh produce and a variety of food stalls.
  • Specialties: From sushi to sandwiches, salads, and hot meals, the choices cater to a wide range of preferences.

19. Rick’s Café Américain

  • Cuisine: Moroccan / Mediterranean
  • Description: Inspired by the movie “Casablanca,” this restaurant and bar in Gardens offers a warm and inviting atmosphere. The menu features Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes, making it a great spot for an exotic yet affordable meal.
  • Specialties: The tagines and mezze platters are highly recommended, alongside their creative cocktails.

20. Panarottis Pizza Pasta

  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Description: For those craving Italian, Panarottis offers a family-friendly environment with a focus on pizzas and pasta. With several locations in Cape Town, it’s a reliable choice for good food at reasonable prices.
  • Specialties: Their generous pizzas and range of pasta dishes are both delicious and affordable.

21. Lefty’s Dive Bar

  • Cuisine: American/Southern Comfort
  • Description: Lefty’s Dive Bar, located in the City Bowl area, is known for its laid-back atmosphere and hearty comfort food. This spot is ideal for a casual night out with friends.
  • Specialties: Try their famous ribs and chicken waffles, a perfect blend of sweet and savory.

22. Honest Chocolate Café

  • Cuisine: Café/Artisan Chocolate
  • Description: Nestled in the heart of the city, this café is a haven for chocolate lovers. Honest Chocolate Café uses organic, ethically sourced chocolate in all its creations.
  • Specialties: Don’t miss their range of artisan chocolates and the indulgent chocolate drinks.

23. Motherland Coffee Company

  • Cuisine: Café
  • Description: More than just a coffee shop, Motherland Coffee Company offers a range of affordable light meals and snacks in a trendy, inviting setting.
  • Specialties: Enjoy their expertly brewed coffee with one of their freshly made sandwiches or pastries.

24. Thali

  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Description: Thali in Gardens brings a modern twist to traditional Indian cuisine. The restaurant offers an array of beautifully presented dishes in a contemporary and stylish setting.
  • Specialties: Opt for their ‘Thali’ platter, which allows you to sample a variety of dishes.

25. Tigers Milk

  • Cuisine: Pub Grub/American
  • Description: With several locations across Cape Town, Tigers Milk is known for its upbeat vibe and menu that caters to all tastes. It’s a great place for a relaxed meal in a lively atmosphere.
  • Specialties: Their burgers and pizzas are popular choices, along with a selection of craft beers.

26. Jerry’s Burger Bar

  • Cuisine: American/Burgers
  • Description: Jerry’s Burger Bar, with several locations across Cape Town, is a favorite for burger enthusiasts. Known for its creative takes on the American classic, the restaurant offers a casual and friendly atmosphere.
  • Specialties: Their selection of gourmet burgers, each with its unique twist, is a must-try.

27. The Poké Co.

  • Cuisine: Hawaiian/Health Food
  • Description: For a healthy and refreshing option, The Poké Co. serves up delicious Poké bowls. This eatery combines fresh ingredients and bold flavors to create satisfying and nutritious meals.
  • Specialties: Customize your own Poké bowl with a variety of fresh ingredients and toppings.

28. The Blue Café

  • Cuisine: Café/Bistro
  • Description: Nestled in the charming neighborhood of Tamboerskloof, The Blue Café is a quaint deli and bistro offering a range of homemade meals and baked goods in a cozy setting.
  • Specialties: Their fresh pastries and hearty sandwiches are perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch.

29. V&A Food Market

  • Cuisine: Various/International
  • Description: Located at the V&A Waterfront, this vibrant food market features a collection of food stalls serving a variety of cuisines, from local South African dishes to international flavors.
  • Specialties: Explore a wide range of options including seafood, artisanal burgers, African cuisine, and more.

30. Mariam’s Kitchen

  • Cuisine: South African/Malay
  • Description: Mariam’s Kitchen, located in the city center, is a popular spot for traditional Cape Malay cuisine. This eatery is known for its flavorful and comforting dishes served in a no-frills setting.
  • Specialties: The Gatsby, a local sandwich packed with fillings like masala steak, is a highlight.

31. Plant Café

  • Cuisine: Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Description: Plant Café in the city center is a haven for vegan and vegetarian food lovers. Known for its ethical and healthy approach, it serves a variety of dishes made from fresh, plant-based ingredients.
  • Specialties: Try their innovative vegan burgers and smoothie bowls for a nutritious yet flavorful meal.

32. Biesmiellah

  • Cuisine: Cape Malay
  • Description: Located in the historic Bo-Kaap area, Biesmiellah is an institution for traditional Cape Malay cuisine. The restaurant offers a homely atmosphere and dishes rich in spices and flavors.
  • Specialties: Their curries and traditional Cape Malay dishes, like Bobotie, are highly recommended.

33. The Fat Cactus

  • Cuisine: Mexican/Tex-Mex
  • Description: The Fat Cactus provides a laid-back setting for enjoying Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites. With a few branches in Cape Town, it’s a popular spot for casual dining with friends.
  • Specialties: Their nachos, fajitas, and margaritas are crowd-pleasers.

34. Eastern Bazaar

  • Cuisine: Indian/Middle Eastern
  • Description: For an affordable feast of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, Eastern Bazaar in the city center is a top choice. The eatery’s bustling atmosphere and variety of dishes make it a favorite among locals.
  • Specialties: Don’t miss their biryanis, kebabs, and range of vegetarian options.

35. Kloof Street House

  • Cuisine: Contemporary/International
  • Description: Set in a Victorian house on Kloof Street, this restaurant offers a magical dining experience with its eclectic décor and garden setting. Kloof Street House serves a range of contemporary dishes in a cozy, intimate environment.
  • Specialties: Their menu changes seasonally, but look out for their inventive starters and mains that blend local and international flavors.

36. Tiger’s Milk

  • Cuisine: American/Grill
  • Description: Tiger’s Milk, with various locations in Cape Town, is known for its lively atmosphere and hearty meals. A favorite among both locals and tourists, it’s perfect for a casual dining experience.
  • Specialties: Their menu includes a range of burgers, pizzas, and grills, great for a filling and enjoyable meal.

37. Addis in Cape

  • Cuisine: Ethiopian
  • Description: Located in the heart of Cape Town, Addis in Cape offers an authentic Ethiopian dining experience. Known for its unique communal dining setup and traditional Ethiopian dishes, it’s a culinary adventure.
  • Specialties: Be sure to try their traditional Ethiopian platters, perfect for sharing and sampling a variety of flavors.

38. Café Paradiso

  • Cuisine: Mediterranean/Café
  • Description: Café Paradiso, situated in the charming suburb of Gardens, is a delightful café offering a warm, homey atmosphere. It’s known for its Mediterranean-inspired dishes and picturesque garden setting.
  • Specialties: Their pastas, salads, and freshly baked bread are standout choices.

39. Charly’s Bakery

  • Cuisine: Bakery/Café
  • Description: Famous for its whimsical and creative cakes, Charly’s Bakery is a colorful and quirky spot. Located close to the District Six area, it’s a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth.
  • Specialties: Indulge in their variety of cupcakes, cakes, and other sweet treats, each a work of art.

40. Noon Gun Tea Room & Restaurant

  • Cuisine: Cape Malay/Traditional
  • Description: Perched on the slopes of Signal Hill, Noon Gun Tea Room & Restaurant offers stunning views along with delicious traditional Cape Malay cuisine. It’s a great spot to experience the local flavors in a relaxed setting.
  • Specialties: Their traditional Cape Malay curries and rotis are highly recommended.

41. Jason Bakery

  • Cuisine: Bakery/Café
  • Description: Jason Bakery, located on Bree Street, is famed for its artisanal breads and pastries. It’s a hotspot for breakfast and brunch, offering a selection of baked goods and creative sandwiches.
  • Specialties: The fresh pastries and artisanal bread are must-tries, along with their inventive doughssants (doughnut-croissant hybrid).

42. The Hungry Herbivore

  • Cuisine: Vegan
  • Description: The Hungry Herbivore in the city center is a haven for those seeking plant-based cuisine. This vegan restaurant prides itself on offering delicious and wholesome meals that appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike.
  • Specialties: Their vegan burgers and pizzas are popular, showcasing how flavorful plant-based eating can be.

43. Osteria Tarantino

  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Description: Nestled in De Waterkant, Osteria Tarantino is a charming, unpretentious Italian eatery. It’s known for its authentic Italian dishes, friendly service, and cozy ambiance.
  • Specialties: The homemade pasta dishes stand out, prepared with traditional Italian recipes and fresh ingredients.

44. The Test Kitchen Fledgelings

  • Cuisine: Various/Experimental
  • Description: As the more affordable sister restaurant to the famous Test Kitchen, The Test Kitchen Fledgelings offers a unique dining experience where up-and-coming chefs experiment with new dishes and concepts.
  • Specialties: The menu is constantly evolving, but expect innovative and thoughtfully prepared dishes.

45. The Strangers Club

  • Cuisine: Café/Health-focused
  • Description: Located in Green Point, The Strangers Club is part café, part concept store, offering a menu focused on healthy, seasonal ingredients. The space is stylish and welcoming, perfect for a leisurely meal.
  • Specialties: The menu features a variety of health-conscious dishes, including fresh salads, bowls, and smoothies.

46. Raptor Room

  • Cuisine: American-Inspired Café
  • Description: Located in the East City precinct, Raptor Room is a quirky and vibrant café known for its funky décor and American-inspired menu with a local twist.
  • Specialties: Notable for its all-day breakfast and brunch options, including delicious egg dishes and creative pancakes.

47. Harbour House

  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Description: Situated in Kalk Bay with stunning views of the harbor, Harbour House offers a fine dining experience at more affordable prices, especially known for its fresh seafood and elegant atmosphere.
  • Specialties: Enjoy their selection of fresh fish, sushi, and shellfish, perfectly paired with local wines.

48. Hoghouse Brewing Company

  • Cuisine: BBQ/Smokehouse
  • Description: Based in Ndabeni, Hoghouse Brewing Company is a favorite for its artisanal beers and smoked meats. This spot combines a laid-back brewery atmosphere with a serious approach to barbecuing.
  • Specialties: Their slow-cooked BBQ meats, particularly the pork ribs and brisket, are a must-try.

49. The Pot Luck Club

  • Cuisine: Contemporary Fusion
  • Description: Located in the trendy Woodstock area, The Pot Luck Club is a sister restaurant to the renowned Test Kitchen and offers a more accessible but equally innovative dining experience.
  • Specialties: The menu features a range of small plates designed for sharing, showcasing global flavors and creative culinary techniques.

50. Four & Twenty Café and Pantry

  • Cuisine: Café/Bakery
  • Description: Nestled in the charming suburb of Chelsea Village, Wynberg, Four & Twenty Café and Pantry is a delightful café and bakery known for its warm ambiance and beautifully presented dishes.
  • Specialties: Their baked goods are exceptional, as are their breakfast and lunch menus, featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients.

These 50 eateries in Cape Town are proof that great food can come at affordable prices. From the American-inspired Raptor Room to the elegant Harbour House, and the innovative Pot Luck Club, each restaurant offers a unique dining experience that highlights the rich culinary diversity of the city. Cape Town continues to be a destination where food lovers can indulge in a variety of cuisines without overspending.

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