Go for breakfast in Cape Town
by Travel Writer Sasha Arms
There's nothing like a good breakfast to set you up for a day cavorting around Cape Town. It's not just tourists you'll find breakfasting in the city though – with its emerging café culture, going out for breakfast is something that Capetonians are loving more and more. From brilliant budget options to the full works in classier establishments, Cape Town has something for everyone when it comes to breakfast.
One of the best breakfast options on the budget end of the spectrum is Café Sofia. It's actually a tapas bar that serves up delicious Mediterranean cuisine with sangria for lunch and dinner, and evenings often continue there as the sangria keeps flowing into the night. However, open from 8am every day, it's also becoming increasingly popular for breakfast. The 'Sofia Special' explains the phenomenon – you get two eggs cooked to your specifications, three rashers of bacon, two slices of toast and tea or coffee, all for just 20 Rand. Now that's a bargain! Café Sofia is a chain, but doesn't really feel like one with its terracotta walls and Med-style welcome. There are Café Sofia branches across the city, including in Sea Point, Gardens and Rondebosch.
What might surprise breakfast-hungry Cape visitors even more is that there are even cheaper options than Café Sofia's 'Sofia Special'. Kloof Street in Gardens has a number of breakfast eateries desperately trying to out-do each other for a bargain breakfast. At 60 Kloof Street is Arnold's, with its famous 'Mike's Breakfast', which costs just 16 Rand, or 8 Rand if you get there before 7am. If you really enjoy a bargain, you could always get up early for breakfast before a day of sightseeing.
There are a number of popular and quirky eateries on Kloof Street that also serve breakfast, although you'll be hard-pushed to find a cheaper price than Arnold's. Manna Epicure at 151 Kloof Street is a whitewashed building that seems sensible enough until you see small touches like teapots protruding from the walls. They have a range of small to very large breakfasts and are open from 9am. Melissa's at 94 Kloof Street is another Capetonian favourite chain. Open from 7am, it's a buzzy little place with lots of breakfast options. They also have a buffet table that you pay for per kilo and shelves heaving with Mediterranean goodies that you can buy to take home with you.
More indulgent Kloof Street breakfast options include Café Gainsbourg on 64 Kloof Street. It's open from 7.30am and is more upmarket than some of the other cafés in the area. It's a bit shadowy inside with a bachelor-pad art deco feel. The service is laid back and breakfasts include wedges of toast with homely toppings and some French favourites. Greens on Park at 5 Park Road is open from 8am and overlooks Kloof Street from the terrace. The breakfast menu is huge. It's also popular for its pizzas, so come back later in the day if you want to try one.
For other bargain breakfasts, head to Tamboerskloof. You'll find Beleza on the corner of Kloof Nek and Burnside Road, which serves a 'Burrito breakfast' for 12 Rand, while Rafiki's Bar is popular for food and drink throughout the day with travellers.
Cafés and bakeries
One much talked about café in the city centre is Birds Café on 127 Bree Street. Set to a backdrop of an impressive old Dutch building and a constant soundtrack of bird noises, you sit on upturned milk bottle crates and eat your food off imperfective home-made crockery. You have to see it to believe it. The Namibian owners serve large portions of solid, earthy food every day from 7am.
Nzolo Brand Café is a good option for a bit more African inspiration to the food. It's on the artsy Church Street (number 48) and serves African style coffee alongside breakfasts that have small African touches.
Lots of people recommend Miss K Food Café over on Main Road in Green Point. It's definitely original and serves stodgy Latin-style breakfasts with beans and cornbread.
De Waterkant has a couple of popular options too. Ngiro Tea at 28 Hudson Street is open from 7am every day, and as its name suggests, is renowned for different teas. After tea and breakfast you can choose from scores of tea varieties if you want to take some home too. La Petite Tarte on De Waterkant Street really feels like an authentic café in Paris. It's has some typically French breakfasts and is also famous for its tea – they blend different tea leaves together to some up with new flavours.
A handful of Cape Town restaurants also open in the morning to serve up some breakfast. 95 Keerom, unsurprisingly located at 95 Keerom Street in the city centre, is more famous for its expensive and upmarket Italian food in the evening, but opens at 7am with a breakfast menu. A wine bar might not be a traditional place to take breakfast, but Caveau Wine Bar and Deli at 92 Bree Street also opens at 7am and has a great terrace and courtyard – both excellent spots to have your first meal of the day.
For an African option, head to Nyoni's Kraal at 98 Long Street, which opens at 8am, although it's much more famous for its African dinners of Malay curry, amangina (chickens' feet) and smileys (sheep heads).
Doppio Zero is an Italian franchise, known for having its own bakery in every restaurant. Fresh baked products are served from 7am.
Away from the city centre, try Bizerca Bistro at 15 Anton Anreith Arcade in Foreshore. It's a French restaurant whose menu changes every six weeks or so and opens at 7am every day.
Harveys at the Mansions at Winchester Mansions on 221 Beach Road in Sea Point is the place to go for an upmarket breakfast. Open from 7am, it's all about money and manners.
If you're looking for a posh breakfast, you're most likely to find it in one of the classier hotels. Grand Daddy's Hotel on 38 Long Street is home to the Showroom Café. The café is open from 6.30am and has a showy menu created by a top chef.
1800 degrees in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel and Residence on 47 Main Road in Green Point is another upmarket option, open from 6.30am.
Azure in the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa on Victoria Road in Camps Bay serves one of the best breakfasts in the moneyed Cape hangout, and opens at 7am.
Back at the V&A Waterfront, Gordon Ramsey's Maze in the One&only hotel is open for breakfast from 6.30am.
Sasha Arms is a freelance writer, editor and web communications strategist. She has travelled extensively, particularly across South Africa, Europe and the Americas and has contributed to a number of notable publications, including the Lonely Planet Bluelist. Read more about Sasha Arms