Life in Cape Town can be expensive and truth be told, I can’t bear to spend another small fortune on a basic pizza, burger, breakfast fry-up, or even a beer in this beautiful, yet sometimes madly overpriced city of ours. So what’s a gal on a budget to do? Believe it or not, there are a few gems in the Mother City offering delicious grub and drinks at reasonable and sometimes unbelievably cheap prices. To help you find them I’ve put together a list of truly budget restaurants in Cape Town. And, don’t let the prices or the label fool you; cheap doesn’t always mean student dive and some of these spots are as fabulous as they come. Here is our list 10 Best REAL Cheap Eats Spots in Cape Town!
Sticks McGee Restaurant and Bar
Find them at: Fountain Centre, Corner Main & Belmont Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town
Go if: You love a casual vibe with great grub!
I absolutely loved this casual spot in Rondebosch. If you’re tired of pretentious Cape Town restaurants and just want a good meal at a good price then this is a great place to visit. The decor of the spot is quite basic but it’s cosy and welcoming to diners of all ages. Take a seat inside or grab a table outside under the gazebo in summer. On the menu you will find a wide range of dishes including snacks, pizzas, burgers, grills and more. I love the Lasagne Poppers (R45) and Barbeque Chicken Wings (R45), they’re perfect for sharing and are a great start to any meal. I also love that Sticks McGee offers daily specials for diners looking to save a few bucks. They run a breakfast roll special from Monday – Saturday where you pay just R35 for an origin coffee and a breakfast roll with 1 egg, 2 rashers of bacon, and salad (before 11:00). If you’re thirsty then you’ll also want to take advantage of their 1/2 price craft beer special which offers discount drinks (bottled and on tap) from 17:00 – 19:00 Monday – Saturday!
Sticks McGee is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For more information say Hi to Sticks McGee on Facebook.
Eastern Food Bazaar
Find them at: 96 Longmarket Stret, Cape Town.
Go if: You love curry and don’t mind crowds.
If it’s a meal and a half you want then Eastern Food Bazaar is the place to get it. Every time I visit I am bowled over by the prices and portion sizes at this spot. They serve everything from extra large shwarmas bursting, at the seams with meat and toppings, to generous bunny chows and delicious handmade salads. Grab a vegetable curry of the day for just R30, a Chicken Shwarma with chips & salad for R40, or a 3 chicken samoosas for R10. But be warned, the portion sizes are often massive and you can easily share them with someone else who is just as hungry as you are. The decor at this laid-back spot is fabulously inspired by the East and diners can choose to take their meal away with them or take a seat in the dining hall.
Eastern Food Bazaar is open Monday to Thursday from 11:00 – 22:00 and on Friday & Saturday from 11:00 – 22:30. For more information visit their website here.
Bar-B-Que Steakhouse Restaurant
Find them at: 331 Voortrekker Road, Parow.
Go if: You love pork schnitzel and generous portions.
This place might not look like much from the outside but trust me, it’s worth a visit because the food is *mwah*. Bar-B-Que is famous for their massive portions that taste just as good as they look. Ask the locals and they will tell you that you can’t visit without ordering a famous Bar-B-Que schnitzel – the portions are very generous and are so big you can share it between two, maybe even three people. The ribs are another house speciality and once again the portion sizes are almost too big for any mere mortal to handle. The menu at this steak joint is simple but covers all the comfort food bases – but vegetarians be warned, this definitely a meat lover’s paradise! Expect to pay between R40 and R70 for starters and R80 – R200 for mains.
Bar-B-Que is closed on Mondays and is open from 18:30 – 23:00 Tuesday – Sunday. For more information on Bar-B-Que click here.
Find them at: Corner Regent Road and Church Street, Sea Point.
Go if: You love a morning fry-up at good prices.
This tiny French-inspired spot is a great place to grab a quiet breakfast at any time of the day. The eatery prides themselves on serving excellent coffee and we love that the spot is quiet and peaceful despite being on Sea Point Main Road. Their breakfast menu offers super affordable breakfast options including delights like the simple Eggs and Toast breakfast (2 eggs and toast – R28), Breakfast Wrap (egg, spinach, cherry tomotoes and feta – R45) and the Traditional Breakfast (2 eggs, mushrooms, bacon, a beef sausage, chips, toast and tomato relish – R59).
Click here for more information on Flatteur Cafe.
Find them at: 41 Strand Road, Bellville.
Go if: You love roadhouses … and great burgers and fries.
If you haven’t been to Burger Fair in Belville yet, then you are truly missing out on an exceptional experience. Jack Parow bought Belville’s Burger Fair back into the limelight with his music video for Cooler as Ekke and now hungry customers head to the spot in their droves whenever they feel like a retro burger and milkshake fix. The best thing about visiting Burger Fair has got to be that they still serve your food in an old-school food tray attached to your car window! The portion sizes at this spot are generous and diners can choose from a wide range of burgers, sarmies and shakes such as the Hawaiian Burger and chips (R27.50), Yankee Dog and chips (R28.40), strawberry or banana milkshake (R12.40 for R240ml), and Milo shake (R16 for 240ml).
For more information, visit the Burger Fair Facebook page.
Find them at: 17 Old Stanhope Road, Claremont, Cape Town.
Go if: You love a good all-you-can-eat sushi deal.
If it’s a great all-you-can-eat sushi and Chinese food deal you want then Hamachi, in the southern suburbs is the place to be. For R149 you can eat as much as you like from the sushi belt and a special sushi ‘buffet’ menu which offers a wide selection of sushi favourites as well as some unusual, but delicious, ingredient combinations. The all-you-can-eat special also allows you to try some other goodies from the menu including vegetable spring rolls, Chicken Chow Mein, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Oyster Beef, and Cashew Nut Chicken. I love that the Chinese food options are brought to you as smaller, tasting portions so you can really get your fill in instead of ordering a large meal and not being able to try anything else on the ‘ buffet’. The all-you-can-eat sushi special also includes one portion of sashimi per guest as well as two portions of salmon roses per guest.
Hamachi is open for lunch and dinner. For more information say Hi to the eatery on Facebook.
Kalky’s Fish & Chips
Find them at: Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay.
Go if: You need a fresh seafood fix.
When it comes to good old fashioned slap chips and fried fish it doesn’t get fresher than Kalky’s in Kalk Bay. With huge portions, delicious seafood, and basic seaside shed decor this place is as down-to-earth as it gets. Which is what makes it so darn appealing. At Kalky’s there’s no poncy and pretentious nonsense – simply order your food at the counter and then wait for your number to be called to collect your plate of seafoody goodness. Enjoy a family platter for as little as R155 (1 hake, 1 snoek, calamari, 6 rolls, 2 medium chips, and a 1l cold drink) or enjoy a simple Hake or Snoek and chips for R48. The portions at this seaside eatery are generous and the food always leaves you wanting more.
For more information on Kalky’s visit their Facebook page.
Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant
Find them at: 127 Lower Main Road, Observatory.
Go if: Frozen margaritas are your kryptonite.
Panchos is somewhat of an institution in Cape Town for good reason. They have been serving delicious Mexican grub and dangerous frozen margaritas at excellent prices for years and the spot is the perfect place for a celebration. Servings at Panchos are large and the place is always full, so make sure you book well in advance. I recommend ordering a large portion of chilli poppers, Panchos Salad, and nachos for the table and sharing the whole lot amongst yourselves – there will be plenty of food to go around the bill at the end won’t have you ringing your bank manager for a loan.
Panchos is closed on Mondays and Sundays. The eatery is open from 17:30 – 00:30 Tuesday to Saturday. For more information on Panchos visit Facebook page.
Ashley’s Family Restaurant
Find them at: 123 Voortrekker Road, Goodwood.
Go if: you love a lively atmosphere.
Ashleys is an affordable spot for the whole family to enjoy. The restaurant offers hungry customers a choice of seafood, steaks, burgers, pasta, pizzas, ribs and chicken as well as a delicious carvery buffet on Wednesdays from 18:00 to 2:00 and on Sundays from 11.30 to 15:30. This is the place to go for home-style cooking at great prices. Try the Rack n Surf Combo (500g ribs and calamari) for R125.50 or the Calamari & Prawns Combo (6 prawns and calamari) for R99.90 and you definitely won’t leave hungry! Ashleys is a child-friendly and offers a comprehensive kiddie’s menu for the little ones to enjoy.
Ashley’s is open Monday to Sunday from 11:30 – late. For more information on Ashley’s Family Restaurant visit their website.
Find them at: 136 Buitenkant Street, Gardens.
Go if: pizza is your most favourite meal.
This relaxed and affordable Italian eatery is well-known for its delicious pizzas. Here you can enjoy a meal with family and friends without having to worry about the usual pretentious Cape Town prices. The decor is homey and simple and the food isn’t overly complicated. We recommend the Karoo pizza (bacon, banana, garlic – R77 for a large) or the BAM pizza (bacon, avo, mushroom – R77 for a large). If pizza isn’t your thing then try theCheese & Bacon Burger (R53) or an Alfredo Pasta (ham and mushroom – R69).
Narona is open from 10:00 – 22:00 every Monday to Sunday. For information on Narona visit their website.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.