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. This serves me well, not only because I save money but also because I don’t like many hotels in Cape Town (I am planning a post though to tell you about the ones I do like!). 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.
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 lost. Finally, my ex came for a visit and 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 for him and I and also to be able to recommend a hotel when people asked me for suggestions in the future.
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 some amazing Kloof Street 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 an Uber 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 find 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. There are always new Kloof Street Restaurants popping up but luckily a few old favorites stay put too.
Kloof Street House
Kloof Street House is located at the bottom of the street and set in a beautiful old Victorian house. It has seen a few owners over the past but luckily the last one seems to stick.
People in Cape Town go gaga over Kloof Street House while I think it is a tad bit overhyped. But maybe I am just too old. The waitstaff is incredibly hip and quite aloof at times and the whole place is just very … busy. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I think it wants to be both a bar and a restaurant, a concept that can be slightly overwhelming at times.
The food is an extensive bistro menu with classics like steak tartar, calamari, steak, and risotto – nothing wrong with it but nothing to write home about either. Still, if you want to see what Capetonians consider one of the best Kloof Street restaurants – book a table. Do call before 5 pm though otherwise you will be told off.
30 Kloof Street, www.kloofstreethouse.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 (which is 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, www.thedeckhouse.co.za
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 a Kloof Street 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
Janse & Co
Janse & Co is one of the new fine dining restaurants in Cape Town and wants to play with the international big boys. Dark, sleek, earthy interior and cool yet lovely waiters set the tone. The menu starts at 3-courses and you will need to put down a deposit when making your reservation. I know this is a concept that puts some people off but to be honest, Capetonians are quite flaky at times and I understand the economic impact on a restaurant especially a new one if you book and don’t pitch. So really, I don’t mind the deposit thing one bit.
The menu is made up by ingredients rather than dishes, a concept that is not new in the rest of the culinary world but apparently unheard of in Cape Town. Again, not something I mind as long as there is no celery or octopus on the plate I don’t really care how it is prepared.
While I loved the overall concept the prices are quite steep especially for fine dining in Cape Town and I think Janse will need a few more months to mature and perfect the menu.
75 Kloof Street, www.janseco.com
Restaurants on Kloof Nek Road
While technically not Kloof Street as some smart ass date was trying to tell me the other day, Kloof Nek Road is straight off Kloof Street and offers some amazing options which are too good not to include because of a technicality.
It used to also be home to the infamous Rafiki, a bar beloved by local students and international backpackers. They have been replaced by the Moveable Feast, a new bistro I have yet to try. Below you will find Power & The Glory which is what I believe to be Cape Town’s original hipster bar. If you want a hotdog with your craft beer this is the place.
My favorite Kloof Nek restaurants are these though:
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
El Burro Taqueria
The little corner of Kloof Nek Road and New Church Street has a high density of really cool Cape Town restaurants and bars. Now that Taqueria has their liquor license its glory is complete. While I personally don’t think that El Burro is the best Mexican in town (that honor used to go to San Julien which has unfortunately closed down so I guess El Burro can have it now) 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
Publik has been the hippest wine bar in town run by the hippest people in town for quite a few years. They have now relocated to Kloof Nek Road into a small space formerly occupied by Hallelujah.
This is the place for unusual wine from small and mainly unknown wineries. Some wines you will have to work for (can we talk about this new trend of natural wine?? or the effect of a cartoon smiley* on a wine label?) while others are beautiful, easy drinking and just a little different.
They do have a lot of great options by the glass but you can also stock up for the fridge here. In addition, they offer a few tapas and nibbles including an amazing cheese and charcuterie platter with offerings from a few local favorites.
*A smiley is a very South African dish and is basically a cooked sheep’s head. Can you guess where the name comes from? And to be honest, I didn’t recognize it at first and was excited to see a Midnight Blue Elephant wine…
11D Kloofnek Road, www.publik.co.za
Breakfast Spots & Cafes on Kloof Street
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 ex was 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:
Yours Truly and Today & Tomorrow
Those places are another local favorite and it is easy to see why: nice decor, nice staff, and decent food. I personally liked that the menu isn’t too big, something that tends to confuse me especially when it comes to breakfast.
I still a bit fuzzy on the details of what differentiates the two and I think it might just be a case of – oh we are running out of space, let’s buy the place next door. Yours Truly, however, does turn into an outdoor pizza place and bar at night and considering how scarce cool outdoor restaurants in Cape Town are it is much appreciated even if they put up fairy lights.*
*Which I secretly love but am too cool to admit.
73 Kloof Street, www.yourstrulycafe.co.za
It is a short but steep walk to Tamboerskwinkel from More Quarters but well worth the effort. They used to have the best deconstructed chicken pie in town but unfortunately, the new owners changed the decor and the menu. Which I get that a new owner may want to do that but man, they were known for this chicken pie!
But they still do a great breakfast with a selection of eggs, sandwiches and of course, great coffee – a little wooden hipster heaven of all things yummy and organic. Come back in the evening as Tamboerswinkel frequently offers wine tastings and is overall a great spot for a glass or two.
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 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. As 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
Other Kloof Street Essentials
If you are in the area and need a haircut head to Scar. Scar is (yet another) Cape Town institution when it comes to hair and while I refused to go when I lived here (it seemed overhyped), I am now a convert. I have honestly never loved my hair so much and Carlos who does it is worth every cent.
22 Kloof Street, www.scarhair.co.za
If you are looking for a yoga studio in Cape Town look no further but head to Yogazone. They are one of the first hot yoga studios in Cape Town but also offer unheated classes. They were formerly located in a somewhat dark place on Strand Street but moved last year to the Lifestyle Center on Kloof – a great improvement. You can either buy an individual class, different packages or do a two-week intro for first-time students – perfect for travelers.
1st Floor Lifestyle On Kloof, Kloof Street, www.yogazone.co.za
The Mount Nelson
What is long and pink and right next to the Labia? This is how the cheeky saying goes when referring to the Mount Nelson, one of the grand old 5-star hotels in Cape Town. It is actually pink and quite big and conveniently located next to a lovely old movie theatre called Labia. Haha.
You can access the back of it from Kloof Street and if you want to see a piece of Cape Town history it is worth a wander. Their Planet Bar used to be the talk of the town, however, it has definitely lost some of its charm and grandeur. Still, if you are looking for a place to take your parents for an overpriced drink on Kloof Street, this is the way to go.
76 Orange Street
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