After I wrote my last post about coffee culture in Cape Town, I realized I should have pointed out that visiting a Vida e Cafè in Cape Town is akin to visiting a Starbucks in America. It's perfect for a quick espresso on the way to work but doesn't give you a real sense of the neighborhood like a local cafe does. Judging Cape Town cafes based on the quality of their coffee and the ambiance, here's where this American orders her americanos:
- 36 Buitenkant Street
I love the steampunk vibes of this cafe and their coffee is close to perfect - no need for sugar or milk.
- 28 Hudson Street
Origin is another favorite, and also quite close to what I'd consider perfect. Their cafe is small and usually quite busy, so food service can be a bit slow. The Nigiro tea room in the back is a nice escape from the crowd (but I'll save tea in Cape Town for a separate post)
- 58 Wale Street
A fair trade coffee shop roasting African beans in small batches. They have a lighter, more airy decor than the other cafes listed here, and they also sell some gadgets like presses. It's worth a visit if you're planning on brewing at home.
- 175 Long Street
A cozy interior and a rich cup of joe. This cafe that is always buzzing with activity and is a great place for people/tourist watching on Long Street.
And, here are some of my favorite chain cafes, with more than one location in the Western Cape:
The smell of baking bread always lures me into this restaurant/cafe. With menu items like brioche french toast, breakfast pizza, and bircher muesli, this cafe is always my default for weekend brunch. Try the almond croissant - the filling is just the right amount of sweet to offset the bitterness of their coffee.
When I say 'iced latte', they always know what I mean, and I appreciate that. The tiny Cavendish shop has a small number of seats, but access to Exclusive Books' magazine rack makes it worth lingering longer.
Mugg and Bean is a sit-down restaurant and is usually located within shopping malls. I'm a fan of their bottomless filter coffee refills, and their oversized, just-out-of-the-oven warm muffins served with a bit of cheddar cheese and jam are out of this world.