I am a lucky fish when it comes to staying in Cape Town. I have family and friends with attics, couches, and guest rooms that always have my name on it. Great stuff because quite frankly I don’t care for many hotels in Cape Town. After years in the production industry and working out of hotels a good amount of time, I think I am just over it. Some are just dingy, others have terrible service and while some aren’t bad, they are still just as charming as a mall with an all-you-can-eat buffet.
I remember an all-suites hotel that invited us for an overnight stay after our production season was over. It was meant as a thank you and so I did not only find a card in the room congratulating me on my wedding but also half an avocado in the fridge. It was odd to say the best.
What all hotels in Cape Town seem to have in common is that the coffee is usually crap (a sacrilege in Cape Town as you can get really good coffee here), the service crappier, and the internet the crappiest. The term 5-stars is definitely to be understood with a big pinch of salt.
The only guesthouse I really love is tiny aka always booked so when people ask me where to stay in Cape Town I am a bit at a loss. So when a friend of mine came for a visit, I made it my mission to find something that wasn’t a relative’s couch and had no avos in the fridge. I wanted to have some privacy and to finally be able to recommend a hotel when people asked me for suggestions.
I was immediately set on the area of Kloof Street, an extension of infamous Long Street in the city center. Here you will find the most charming houses, cool bars, and latest restaurants. I didn’t have to search long before I stumbled across the Cape Cadogan and their apartment hotel More Quarters.
While Kloof Street itself cannot be called pretty, all of More Quarters apartments are tucked into little side alleys and roads that are incredibly cute and will make you feel like a European holiday, cobblestones included.
The studios themselves are spacious and airy and while our bathroom could have used a bit of maintenance the bed definitely made the list. The living area was outfitted with a lounge set and a little kitchen – perfect for those who stay here longer or are traveling with kids. More Quarters will even stock the fridge with some essentials including milk, wine and bubbly though I recommend heading down the road to the Lifestyle on Kloof. Here you will find Wine Concepts, an amazingly well-stocked wine shop (ask for the Saltare MCC tasting like champagne for ZAR 250!).
More Quarters is the perfect base for explorations in Cape Town – you are as central as it gets and can easily grab a taxi or the MyCiti bus from here. If you drive your own car, parking might be tricky but the front desk is always happy to help and sort a spot for you if you can’t get lucky.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry – Kloof Street Restaurants
In the evenings we left our car to admire the cobblestones and explored the area on foot instead. Kloof Street and its surroundings have so much to offer that you will have some tough food choices to make without ever leaving the zip code. Here are some of my favorites to quench each kind of hunger:
Asoka is so close to More Quarters I think they even share some walls. While it is mainly known as a bar/lounge, they also offer an extensive tapas menu. Seating is plush and the light is dim, Asoka is definitely still a more bar than restaurant. But ask for a table in the separate dining room if you are not ready for dancing yet and you will be pleasantly surprised by the menu. The dishes are made for sharing and plentiful, the cuisine is modern and local, and the extensive cocktail menu just makes it a well rounded evening. You will be lucky that your bed is already waiting for you next door!
68 Kloof Street, www.asoka.za.com
Kyoto Garden Sushi
Kyoto Garden will forever be one of my absolute favorite places in Cape Town. I have not ever had a disappointing meal here. The ambiance is as zen as the menu – Japanese cuisine at its best with some of the freshest seafood and sushi.
If you want to indulge in abalone, toro, sea urchin & Co this is the place to be. Definitely, order a side of mixed mushrooms and the cold noodle soup – both dishes were absolute revelations and I am drooling even thinking about them.
11 Kloof Nek Road, www.kyotogardensushict.com
To be honest, Hallelujah is a bit a hit or a miss but I wanted to include it because I love the concept so much and any place that is sporting pink flamingo wallpaper and blue origami elephants deserves a mention. They offer Asian-inspired tapas and some innovative cocktails, served with the right amount of cute kitsch and a great chimichurri. Come early as seats are limited.
111 Kloof Nek Road, www.hallelujahhallelujah.co.za
El Burro Taqueria
The little corner of Kloof Nek Road and New Church Street has a high density of really cool restaurants and bars and now with Taqueria having a liquor license its glory is complete. While I personally don’t think that El Burro is the best Mexican in town (that honor goes to San Julien in case you wonder!) I do think they are doing something right in terms of branding, great food, and the friendliest staff.
Little Taqueria has followed suit and firmly established its place in the golden triangle for hipster hangouts. Great tacos, great ceviche, and now great margaritas as well. Happy donkey days!
1 New Church Street & Kloof Nek Road, www.elburro.co.za
Thali is Liam Tomlin’s latest venture and I am gagging to go. If you are in town please go for me, will you? Honestly, if his Chefs Warehouse is anything to go by this one is going to be a good one too. Plus it serves Indian tapas, something I am really keen on after my recent food experience Delhi and Kerala.
3 Park Road, www.thalitapas.co.za
The Deckhouse – Crab Shack & BBQ
The Deckhouse promises what the name offers – seafood and barbecue galore. While the food is not something to rave about they have a great deck, a rare thing for a Kloof Street restaurant. Perfect to sit outside with a killer view when the wind is not howling (aka almost never, but I appreciate the sentiment).
I also appreciate that they make sure all fish is green on the SASSI list which meant that crayfish was off the menu when I was there, something I really applauded as much as I like crayfish.
108 Kloof Street http://thedeckhouse.co.za
Morning Glory aka breakfast
Just because you have a kitchen doesn’t mean you have to spend time in it – More Quarters offers some amazing breakfast options and all you have to do is to load up your plate and chew. My friend and I were especially enticed by their gluten free options – who knew what quinoa was good for?!
If you are in town for a bit longer, here are some of my other favorite breakfast options in the area:
It is a short but steep walk to Tamboerskwinkel from More Quarters but well worth the effort. Ignore the Melissa and other places on the way because they don’t have the best deconstructed chicken pie in town. For breakfast, they offer a great selection of eggs, sandwiches and of course, great coffee – a little wooden hipster heaven of all things yummy and organic. Hang out, work, chat to people and you may just feel enticed to stay for a lunch just to have that chicken pie.
3 De Lorentz Street & Kloof Street
Manna Epicure may seem a little bit too prim and proper for my liking but they serve a mean burger, the best non-alcoholic drink (tea, appletizer, and berries) and my favorite breakfast in town: poached eggs, salmon, avo, and their homemade coconut bread which is worth every single carbohydrate calorie it comes with.
151 Kloof Street, www.mannaepicure.com
While not directly on Kloof but close enough, head to Jason on Bree Street for a breakfast to go, a porcini dusted loaf or the country’s one and only doughssants. A Cape Town institution it is the place to see and be seen but the coffee and bread options do speak for themselves. Mind you, gluten and bacon are worshiped at Jason so if that does offend you or your stomach, it may not be the place for you.
Doughssants are only being sold on Saturdays and just like their famous original in New York you better come early.
185 Bree Street, www.jasonbakery.com