Spanning Cape Town’s CBD, Bree Street is lined with a glorious array of eateries, bars, galleries, boutiques, and coffee shops. Here is our personally curated guide of its highlights:
There was a time when Long Street was the go-to thoroughfare in Cape Town, famous for its nightlife, restaurants and quirky shops.
To be fair, those things still exist, but perhaps it is because we have grown up a bit, or simply because times change and we move on. The best address in the CBD is now Bree Street. Starting at the top, let us take a walk down Bree Street, towards the harbour…
On the corner of Bree and Wale Streets, Bocca’s owners Guido and Adnana Brambilla are quite simply delightful and the most gracious of hosts. They bring to the table not only many, many delicious dishes, but charm and humour. A recommended dish is the stracciatella, served in a jar with eggplant confit, roasted cherry tomatoes and pesto.
It is utterly divine with the salty triangles of pizza bread which will bring even the most hardcore of low-carbers to their knees. Follow it up with slow-cooked arrosto – 12 hours in the pizza oven: Angus brisket with red wine and bay leaves, served with salsa verde; or leg of lamb with wild mushrooms, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic. Underneath the meats are two slices of sourdough bread to soak up all the delicious juices.
Your journey will continue to this establishment on the corner of Strand Street – a coffee shop inside a car showroom. Not just any showroom, but one packed with super sexy classics. This place is a favourite hangout for the drag gals from nearby Gate 69 (corner of Hout Street) who call this place their branch office.
A block further down you will find this three-floor culinary concept that celebrates Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The strikingly painted Youngblood Gallery is more or less diagonally across the road, where you can gaze upon interesting artworks, as well as have a meal in the spacious and airy restaurant area.
Preserve your stamina, because you simply must include La Tête – a farm-to-fork, nose-to-tail eatery near the bottom of Bree Street. Here, the animal is treated with respect, the food is honest, and sustainability is uncompromising.
You will find dishes like baked trotters and hen’s egg, black pudding, and lamb sweetbreads with peas and bacon. There are also family-style sharing gems like a spectacularly good chicken-and-leek pie.
Pavement hangouts are part of the Bree Street culture, and this seafood restaurant serves bottomless bubbly every day between noon and 2pm. There are also oyster happy hours between 12pm and 1pm, and 5pm and 6pm daily. It is easy to get caught up here, but keep moving.
An absolute must, it is famous for its outrageous doughssants or cronuts – a croissant-doughnut hybrid, elevated to an art form. Clients queue from early on Saturday mornings to nab one (or more) of these before they sell out. Take away or sit and stay with a coffee while you lick the crème pâtissière and flaky pastry from your fingers, and be assimilated into the uber-cool zeitgeist of Cape Town.
Also worth a visit
For a fab party vibe, include La Parada in your itinerary, and for jazz lovers, do not miss Hank’s Olde Irish in a semi-underground location. Serious foodies will want to experience award-winning chef Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse & Canteen – not only for the sublime tapas platters, but also for the covetable bits and pieces for the kitchen at home.
Words by Bianca Coleman