Out of all the areas in Cape Town, the Northern Suburbs often gets a bad rep. I’ve heard many people ‘in the know’ say it offers adequate (at best) food and sub-par to slow service…
But, since I moved here two years ago, I have made it my personal mission to disprove this theory as far as possible. Why? Well, mostly because I want to show that, here in the Northern Suburbs – there are, in fact, some real foodie gems!
With this in mind, I’ve put together a shortlist of top eateries, which cover everything from cheap eats to sophisticated dining and family-friendly eateries. And you can rest assured that the hospitality, food and atmosphere at these places is as good as any I’ve encountered elsewhere in the Mother City.
Here, in no particular order, is my pick of the Best Northern Suburbs Food Gems (so far):
Arugula Bistro and Bread: Sophisticated Dining for Couples or Families
The classy Arugula has recently changed hands (Neil Swart and Anouchka Horn now run the exciting, fine dining restaurant, Belly of the Beast in town) – but, at its heart, it remains the same excellent establishment it always has been.
I have been there twice in two years and both times, my experience was a thoroughly good one. Food, service and atmosphere are top class.
The menu offers a wonderful assortment of cuisines – think battered fish tacos, smoked jalapeno burgers, deboned lamb rib and my personal favourites, homemade basil pesto fettuccini and pulled pork spring rolls. (Their desserts are also some of the best you’ll find anywhere – so save space for those!) Pricing is competitive, without feeling unreasonable.
Arugula Bistro and Bread is stylish, yet oddly homely and offers superb views. Inside, it is cosy and modern, with expansive views out across the suburbs.
While it is a family-friendly eatery, it is predominantly couples, friends and older families you see here. Overall, this is also one of my favourite eateries for a romantic dinner date.
Tip: It’s well-positioned at Welgemoed Forum to attract Welgemoed and Northern Suburbs proper residents. But if you’re looking for a lovely breakfast, lunch or dinner, Arugula is worth the drive from the city centre too.
Contact: +27 (021) 913 6906, email@example.com
Also appears on: Restaurant Review: Arugula Bistro & Bread
Little Lighthouse Fisheries: Local Hidden Gem
Situated within Kenridge Centre, Little Lighthouse is a local favourite in tranquil Kenridge and its surrounds. This hole-in-the-wall takeaway spot offers speedy service, delicious, fresh food and, best of all, great value-for-money.
Their fish and chips, sushi, calamari and chili poppers are all especially popular. In addition to their Main-, Family- or Kiddies- Meals, they also offer some great Combos, Sides and Burgers and Wraps (the Calamari Burger and Chips is great!).
You can also enjoy the more commonplace hake/snoek and ‘slap‘ chips – or spice things up and try the yummy angel fish, cooked cajun-style and served with veg.
Little Lighthouse may be small – but it makes a big impression. What’s more, by general fishery standards, it is nice and clean to boot. And I love that the food comes in generous portions… This is something I hope they never change because it definitely keeps you coming back for more!
I really like this little eatery and support them, at the very least, every two to three months. They are consistently good and I have never had a bad takeaway meal here. Plus, I love that they are open from 11:00 am till 20:00 pm, Mondays to Saturdays!
Tip: For drinks or desserts, pop into Pick n Pay Kenridge while your food is being prepped. On average, orders normally take 10-15 minutes maximum.
Contact: +27 (021) 914 0771, firstname.lastname@example.org
Devil’s Peak De Oude: The Ultimate Social Eatery
Devil’s Peak De Oude is a wonderful addition to the Northern Suburbs. Whether you wish to picnic with your loved ones, share a round of their beer(s) with your mates or dine with your romantic partner, they have you sorted.
This casual-meets-chic restaurant offers great beers (as well as cocktails and wine), delicious food (everything from wood-fired pizza to meaty burgers) and some fun social events.
Better still, they are ideal for all ages and offer plenty of outdoor space and freedom for the little ones to enjoy.
The atmosphere at De Oude is cosy, relaxing and welcoming every time – what more could you want?
Tip: Wind down the weekend (or week) at Devil’s Peak De Oude… Every Sunday, you can soak up the atmosphere with a braai or family lunch, as live music acts perform.
Contact: +27 (021) 200 5802, email@example.com
Also appears on: Eateries to Visit in 2018
Important update: Please note Devil’s Peak De Oude has since changed ownership and is now known as De Oude Social Club. Contact info and other details have changed – however, my review is based on the old establishment, formerly run by Devil’s Peak Brewery. And while I am sure it is still just as lovely – I have yet to visit since the rebrand. And thus cannot comment on the new developments.
Yoco Eatery: Perfect Meet-up Spot
Ever since I relocated from the Southern Suburbs, I have been eager to visit Yoco Eatery. And almost two years later, I finally did just that!
In that time, this eatery has changed hands at least once that I know of – but one thing remains a firm fixture here: a cheerful, quaint eatery, with satisfyingly wholesome food offerings.
Yoco Eatery offers both indoor and outdoor seating – but, if the weather is fair, the porch and garden seating cannot be bested. It is tranquil, quirky (there are lots of points of interest around) and soothing.
The food is delicious and fresh and they also offer an excellent drinks menu.
On the day of my visit, I opted for the Chocolate Cookie milkshake (so good!) and Italian Salami sandwich. Overall, everything about my meal was blissful.
Yoco Eatery offers a beautiful setting, great food and drinks and good service. Best of all, it is the ideal place to go to enjoy some ‘met time’, treat a loved one or catch-up with friends new and old.
This eatery is, in many respects, a hidden food oasis in the bustling heart of Durbanville – and I love that about it!
Special mention: Be sure to explore the excellent Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, which Yoco Eatery shares its premises with. It is a passionate and interesting gallery experience from start to finish and a hidden gem in its own right! (I will be sharing a review on them soon.)
Contact: +27 (021) 975 6322, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hussar Grill Willowbridge: Romantic/Family Dinner Winner
Hussar Grill Willowbridge is one of the first places I enjoyed for date night in the Northern Suburbs and honestly, it’s also one of the most memorable experiences too. It, like its fellow Hussar Grill branches, makes for impressive dining.
With branches dotted across the country, Hussar Grill’s reputation always precedes it. This is a restaurant establishment famed for its quality offerings, good service and perhaps most of all, impeccable steaks. I’m not much of a steak girl in general – but I can safely say that they do offer excellent food.
Pricing is competitive to pricey – but it’s worth it. Especially if you want to spoil your family or treat a loved one to a special night out.
What I really love about the Willowbridge branch is its sense of occasion. And yet, at the same time, it feels soothing and unhurried. Time slows as good conversation (and drinks) flow. Another hugely appealing part of this branch is its delightful views of the outside, hill-topping houses and greenery of Elsiekraal River. So, if you can, definitely try secure a window seat.
You can expect to sometimes wait a while for your food but this is only because they are very busy (read: popular) and not necessarily because service is slow. Given this, I suggest ordering a starter with your drinks, just to tide you over till the mains arrive. (And trust me, you will be full after the main course – because they don’t do small portions.)
Overall, you can expect a romantic, cosy restaurant experience, complemented by professional, slick service and high quality food and drinks… All in all, Hussar Grill Willowbridge is a resounding winner.
Tip: While walk-ins are welcome, I would recommend making a reservation to avoid disappointment, especially in the evenings.
Contact: +27 (021) 914 0757, email@example.com
RocoMamas Durbanville: Gourmet Fast Food Feasts
Open from 10:00 am to 22:00 pm daily (except on Sundays, when they close at 21:00 pm) at Durbanville’s well-positioned Palm Grove Centre, RocoMamas Durbanville is one of those food finds you remember for two reasons: 1) kick-ass food and drinks and 2) dining fun from start to finish!
Here, things work a little differently than at your average fast food eatery. First of all, you get a kind of build-your-meal-yourself menu, which you tick off – and secondly, the food is definitely larger-than-life. (I mean, just look at the size of those burgers!) Simply put: expect to feast like a fast food king/queen.
For the portion size and quality (of both their food and drinks), RocoMamas is not unreasonably priced by any means. But they are more expensive than their fellow takeaway competitors… Which, given that they are far more like a ‘normal’ restaurant, seems perfectly justifiable to me.
Although RocoMamas as a franchise is undoubtedly famed for their different dining/menu approach and robust meals – this particular branch also provides a good atmosphere (you can sit inside or outside under the covered porch area) and really friendly service.
I think above everything, that is what stays with you when it comes to RocoMamas Durbanville – and it really has you craving more. (Although their feast-worthy burgers and monster G-shakes are certainly a major drawcard, too.)
Tip: In addition to its standard menu, RocoMamas Durbanville also offers a Halaal option.
Contact: +27 (021) 975 5457, firstname.lastname@example.org
Koffi Terapi: My Best Cake and Cafe in Durbanville
Koffi Terapi has been steadily and consistently wowing locals for a while now. But in the past year or two, it has been sweeping in the food accolades and recognition on an even larger scale… and I couldn’t be happier for them!
Especially since my first (and so far only) experience of Koffi Terapi was a wholly delightful one.
The service was excellent, the coffee and cakes (oh, the cakes!) were to die for – and the setting was charming and peaceful, despite overlooking a road.
I also love their cheerful theme (bright orange colouring, for a start) and characteristic hanging chairs, which further highlight this as a fun, little coffee shop.
They have a lovely menu consisting of both delicious food and drinks – but you cannot leave until you have had a slice of cake!
One thing that really stands out about Koffi Terapi is that everything here is done with passion and love… Their slogan is “where clients become friends” – and quite frankly, that sums it up perfectly. After just one visit, Koffi Terapi feels like your second (foodie) home.
Tip: Koffi Terapi offers garden-, porch- and indoor-seating. Whichever you decide on, expect a tranquil, enjoyable setting.
Contact: +27 (021) 975 6011, email@example.com
Baconville Willowbridge: Drool-worthy Bites and a Cool Vibe
Another food gem at Willowbridge Shopping Centre is the drool-worthy Baconville. This cosy, yet hip eatery is perfect for those quick work lunches or casual weekend treats.
As the first restaurant in the Northern Suburbs with a dedicated bacon menu, this bacon emporium does indeed live up to its name. And the result, as one would hope, is absolutely delicious.
Their portions and pricing are quite fair and no matter whether it is their food or drinks, quality comes first.
I also really appreciate the fact that they use only the finest bacon, supplied by meat master himself, Richard Bosman. This bacon, in turn, has been pasture-reared and air-dried, giving a good nod to a more organic approach.
Tantalising food options include the following stand-out dishes: The BLT, Miami Vice (duck and cheese croquettes) and the Harvey Specter, which is as slick as its handsome Suits namesake.
Baconville offers good service, great food and a lovely atmosphere. They are ideal for gourmet breakfasts, tasty lunches or even early weekday suppers.
Tip: They are open from 07:00 am till 19:00 pm during the week. They are also open on weekends and usually on public holidays too. (Please call ahead to confirm this.)
Contact: +27 (082) 371 1986, firstname.lastname@example.org
1987 Eatery at Hertex: Sophisticated Hangout for Coffee Addicts and Health Food Fans
1987 Eatery at Hertex might be one of my more recent (almost chance) discoveries – but it’s arguably one of my favourite to date. I will be frank about it: I absolutely adore this stunning eatery.
In terms of decor, atmosphere and food and beverages in cafes – they honestly can’t be rivalled. Because everything about 1987 Eatery Bellville oozes quality and class.
The coffee is divine (and you can buy a take-home bag for yourself!), food is varied and incredible and for what they offer, pricing is reasonable too. It might be more expensive than your average cafe/eatery – but quite frankly, this is not your average cafe or eatery.
Service, courtesy of a close-knit team, is pleasant and welcoming every time; something which only adds to the experience! (Another great thing is that they often run great specials.)
Honestly, there is nothing I can fault about this cosy, creative spot. And I can safely (and proudly) label it as my new locale. Not just because it’s delightfully close to where I live – but because it is worthy of such a time-honoured title.
Tip: 1987 Eatery also has a Gardens branch in town, so be sure to pay it a visit too.
Contact: +27 (021) 914 0851, email@example.com
Also appears on: My New Favourite Locale: 1987 Eatery at Hertex Bellville
Diemersdal Farm Eatery: Quality Dining for Wine Lovers and Well-Heeled Travellers
Ah, Diemersdal Farm Eatery… now this is a glorious spot. They are one of Durbanville Wine Valley’s most highly rated wine farm restaurants – and rightly so.
Blessed with a charming lawn setting and quirky, yet cosy indoor seating, Diemersdal Farm Eatery offers a taste of former old Cape glory. This is set off nicely by a touch of modernity and creative edge.
At this eatery, chef Martin de Kock blends together his classical French training with Provencal, Spanish and Asian influences. Diemersdal Farm Eatery offers both a great lunch and dinner menu and they are famed for their Sunday lunches.
But it was their Mini Cheese Board, which stole my heart. Not only was this utterly mouthwatering – but it was beautifully presented too!
Pricing leans towards the more expensive side but this is only to be expected given this eatery’s quality and its award-winning home. Plus, everything from the food to the service is top notch so you are paying for ultimate quality.
Diemersdal Farm Eatery certainly enchanted me; I fell in love with its setting and interiors almost as much as its incredible food and drink options!
Tip: When you visit Diemersdal, book in advance, as they are hugely popular.
Contact: +27 (021) 976 3361, firstname.lastname@example.org
Also appears on: Durbanville Wine Valley’s Best Estate Picks
Suburb/area: Durbanville Wine Valley
Boston Coffee: Gourmet Sandwiches and a Friendly Vibe
Boston Coffee is a true favourite among locals. In fact, I have had several people rave about it to me – and most recently received a strong recommendation to visit them for a anonymous review… Which is precisely what I did. 🙂
I am pleased to report that yes, Boston Coffee is indeed a local gem – and a truly vibey spot to boot. Here, you find a mix of quirky, interesting decor (think: bold wall art and an impressive blackboard menu), extremely friendly staff (it must be the coffee!) and great menu. This features coffee, milkshakes, sourdough sandwiches, pastries, all-day breakfasts and more.
Their great, freshly roasted coffee is proudly handcrafted and brewed in Boston, Bellville. And, best of all, the coffee beans are for sale in-store, along with other Boston Coffee merchandise, such as caps and t-shirts.
Boston Coffee has one of the most extensive coffee menu I have ever seen. It even features Turkish coffee and my personal favourite, Affogato! The front of store even looks like a crazy coffee laboratory with all that brewing/coffee equipment!
The coffee shop’s decor is earthy and busy, with plenty to take in while you enjoy your coffee or meal. Guests can enjoy sitting inside, outside or even at the back in a closed off, porch-like area.
For my first visit, I decided to opt for one of their sandwiches (they have a tempting selection so it’s hard to pick) and a delicious Boston Mocha.
My drink was sweet enough to not require any added sugar and features a dash of hot chocolate. It was definitely yummy. My toasted sandwich, meanwhile, was equally great; I ordered the Mushroom, Feta, Cheddar Bacon one. (It’s made with rosemary, pan-fried mushrooms… so good!)
For what you get, their food, especially the sandwiches, and drinks are well-priced. Plus, I love that the sandwiches are all served on beautiful sourdough bread (my favourite), with their specialty sweet mustard sauce added.
Boston Coffee is a lovely, bustling stop and definitely draws in the locals, with many regulars seated there daily… I think I can see why too.
Tip: When you visit, remember to order up front – your orders will then be brought to your table and you can pay upfront or afterwards.
Note: Boston Coffee is closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Contact: +27 (076) 153 9450
Miss Moneypenny: A Royal Cake and Coffee Affair
I first drove by Miss Moneypenny in February and immediately, its bright pink exterior caught my attention. A little online research thereafter revealed a new coffee and curiosities shop. Even then, this coffee shop was reaping in the glowing reviews. And as they have coffee and cake… It was a given I would visit.
Miss Moneypenny is a tiny but wonderfully cosy coffee shop, which sells a few lovely, vintage pieces. It has indoor-, window- or street-side-seating. The latter two overlook the sleepy Boston suburbs beyond.
Run by an enthusiastic owner and her small, friendly team, Miss Moneypenny is a place of real passion. And, not only does every inch of this space breathe quirky charm… but it feels old-school in the best possible way!( Did I mention they have zebra-covered red wallpaper? So fun!)
Cakes and coffee are definitely their specialty offerings – and they do both exceptionally well. I tried a Cappuccino and Orange Cake and both were delicious. Cakes change up daily, offering all sorts of exciting flavours.
My cappuccino came in a large cup so it is excellent value. As for my cake, it was exceptionally well-balanced in terms of icing-to-sponge ratio.
I normally opt for chocolate or cheesecake but this cake slice really impressed me. Honestly, it’s one of the freshest, most mouthwatering sponges I have ever had. Their baker, Lydia de Villiers, is clearly masterful.
The small, but good menu consists mainly of drinks and sweet treats – but they offer a few other goodies too. And they sell tasty-looking Sourdough bread in-store. (This baked daily by Die Backstube Bakery.)
I also adore the fact that all their takeaway packaging is one hundred percent biodegradable, even the lids… Well done, team!
Overall, Miss Moneypenny has a wonderfully relaxing, homely vibe to it. And I love the quaintness of this charming little coffee shop… It is great value-for-money and oh-so-adorable. This cosy spot is well-worth a visit, especially for Bellville locals!
Tip: Miss Moneypenny is available for private function bookings.
Note: From 27 April 2019, they will be opening every last Saturday of the month. They are, however, closed on public holidays and Sundays.
Contact: +27 (084) 668 1352, email@example.com
Important update: Please note that sadly, after 31 August 2019, this charming eatery will be closing its doors.
The Daily Coffee Cafe Willowbridge: Caffeine is Loading…
Conveniently located next to Checkers Willowbridge, this delightful, new coffee shop feels like a winner.
As they only opened on 3 June 2019, at the time of our visit, they were very much still brand spanking new. But given how busy they were – and buzzing with a good energy too – and how great everything seems to looks and taste… it feels like there are no teething pains here!
Honestly, the New-York-meets-Karoo decor theme (which this South African franchise group is known for) feels both decidedly homely and fun.
And not only does the place look great but it has a warm ambience and a wonderfully varied menu.
After only being seated a few moments, my friends and I had already decided: this would become our new lunchtime hangout.
The larger-than-life menus seem to give a nod to the Big Apple vibe with their creativeness (as do elements of the decor). But more tellingly, The Daily Coffee Cafe offers a selection of food and drinks to suit everyone.
Vegetarians are certainly catered for, given that there are quite a few noticably vegetarian-friendly menu items, including almond milk.
To me, the food feels a bit on the pricey side… But, saying that, I will point out that it seems quite multi-layered in terms of flavour and ingredients. And it certainly looks generously portioned.
Food options include a wide range of breakfasts, cakes and sweet treats, kiddies’ meals (it is definitely child-friendly), wraps, burgers and more.
Drinks (hot and cold) are well-priced and sized. They also have a nice selection, which is far broader than most cafes. Their Tin Can Coffee (served with condense milk… yum!) and creamy, espresso-based Con Panna are really good options… And both equally tempting to look at!
I love coffee shops, which not only look and feel the part – but, in a sense, they ‘taste’ it too. And yes, the coffee here (based on this first visit) is excellent… Consisting of quality blends, with full bodied aromas. Plus, it is oh-so-good in terms of taste and presentation too!
Overall, service seems prompt and friendly, without being overbearing. You are served quickly enough (even during peak lunch hours) and then pleasantly left to enjoy your orders in peace.
So, if you are looking for a promising locale and charming cafe for a lunch break, coffee date or simply a cosy catchup, head to The Daily Cafe Willowbridge… I know I will!
Tip: The Daily Cafe is open daily. And, as it closes at 18:00pm on weekdays, it is perfect for a post-work coffee fix or meal!
Contact: +27 (083) 305 9684, firstname.lastname@example.org
Soet Society Café: Luxurious Social Spot
Dreamed up by Leigh Leonard and Zillah Brits in 2010, Soet Society Café is one of the most popular spots in central Durbanville. It forms part of the ladies’ concept store emporium, Soet Emporium. Housed under which you can find eight uniquely varied shops. (Everything from The Winelands Art Gallery to The Hair Loft and more.)
On a Saturday especially, this posh café heaves with customers, as a constant stream arrive at the door.
The café is sumptously decorated. It definitely has the feel of a luxury parlor, with its plush chairs, oversized velvet cushions and trailling foliage.
Although Soet offers a range of different breakfasts, lunches and hot/cold beverages… there is no denying that this cafe-meets-bakery is most famed for their cakes. Soet Cakes sell designer cakes for every special occasion. Be it a weekend treat, birthday or wedding.
In particular, their cake platters make for a sinfully good choice.
For R79 (almost a steal in comparison to most cake spots), you can enjoy four different slices of cake. These can be selected from whatever is available on the day. Cakes change daily and the flavours, designs and toppings are varied and fascinating.
I had a hard time choosing on my first visit. But eventually opted for the Hummingbird, Carrot cake log, Bar One and Rainbow cake.
The cakes were all gorgeous and fresh. The platter is an excellent concept and is ideally suited for sharing because it is very filling! (Otherwise, if you order it on your own, expect to leave with takeaway cake!)
I loved the Hummingbird most but Carrot Cake Log is one of the best I have had. The Rainbow Cake, meanwhile, was unusually nice, with good flavours. The Bar One, oddly my least favourite, is rich but smooth and lovely.
Still, for me, the standouts were definitely Hummingbird and the Carrot Cake Log.
I certainly feel that Soet is a standout for its cakes, location and opulent interiors. The interior designs add a sense of occasion to even the simplest of coffee runs.
But to me, Zillah herself adds the most wonderful, welcoming presence of all. And she is an absolute pleasure to deal with.
Overall, Soet Society Café is cosy and vibey, with decent, strong coffee (Bootleggers) and a varied menu. Some meal options feel slightly pricey. But Soet offers plenty of selection in terms of food and drinks. Plus, vegetarians and vegans are also catered to.
Soet, as its name implies, is very much a social society spot to go with friends or family. So it is ideally suited to spoiling those you love in a classy surrounding.
Tip: To order Soet Cakes, why not use their online catering and ordering service? Or try their newest concept eatery, Soet on the Go. (It’s situated over at Village Square.)
Contact: +27 (021) 975 5294, email@example.com
Finally, I must concede that yes, it is not just sunshine and roses at every eatery in the Northern Suburbs. Because I, too, have personally experienced the poor or slow service people complain about at a few other places, even if, generally, the food is great as a whole.
But in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, there are some fine eateries, cosy coffee shops and arguably some of the best wine farm restaurants anywhere in the Cape Winelands too. Especially if you know where to look and choose to explore with an open mind.
Also, I will be adding to this list as I eat my way through Welgemoed, Bellville, Durbanville and beyond – meaning this will be an ever-expanding list. So, if you see a big eatery or restaurant missing from this list – chances are I just haven’t visited it yet!
Which Northern Suburbs restaurant or cafe should I visit next? If you have a suggestion, please let me know in the Comments section!
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.