Celebrate Love At These Cape Town Restaurants That Are Older Than Your Relationship


Cape Town is a city filled with nostalgia. Despite all the demographic changes, high-rise buildings, and fluctuating social scene, a few things always tend to stay the same, like these age-old food institutions that have stood the test of time.

The selection comprises of restaurants situated in the CBD area.

Perseverance Tavern – 1808

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Perseverance Tavern in Buitenkant street is the city’s oldest pub by far, dating back to 1808.  Many notable dignitaries became ‘Persies’ regulars, including Cecil John Rhodes. The pub has the Cape’s earliest electric street lamps and historic portraits of The Mother City on its walls. Persies only received its official wine and malt license in 1836, but this does not take away their title of oldest joint in Cape Town, if not South Africa.

Fireman’s Arms – 1864

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Fireman’s Arms joined the Cape Town pub scene in 1864. It’s the second oldest pub in town. When it first started serving pints and spirits to weary sailors and thirsty locals, it was known as the Somerset Arms. It’s an old-school pub with quite a bit of room and a great happy hour.  The pub offers high definition viewing and big screen events, making it a great place  to watch sports.

Maria’s – 1955

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The original owner of the place might have disappeared overnight in 1981, but the spirit of Greek hospitality still exists at Maria’s on Dunkley Square. The restaurant has deep roots that embrace the unique Mediterranean cuisine and culture native to the Romano family, who bought the restaurant over 20 years ago.

Nelson’s Eye – 1963

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There’s no way that anyone can choose to deliberately ignore this age-old institution. A local favourite since the early 1960s, Nelson’s Eye is a steakhouse with South African specialities such as ostrich, springbok and bobotie as well as aged beef on an open grill, burgers and seafood.

Bacini’s Pizzeria – 1994

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Bacini’s was one of the first restaurants to offer Pasta’s & Pizza baked in a traditional “village style” Clay Brick oven. It’s been a cult-favourite pizza joint in Cape Town since 1994. The authentic ingredients, day-to-day consistency, and innovative crust, all contributed to make Bacini’s the crux upon which all pizzadom currently stands in Cape Town.

Miller’s Thumb – 1995

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Established in 1995, this place is probably one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets. For some of the freshest and highest-quality seafood in Cape Town, Miller’s Thumb is the place the go. Located in Kloofnek road, this renowned seafood joint has been serving the community for over 23 years.

Mama Africa –  1995

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This Long street institution was established in 1995 as a celebration of South Africa’s new democracy and of the vibrant diversity and hospitality of the African continent.  Mama Africa has built up a reputation for the exotic meats it serves up, with a selection that includes the likes of crocodile, kudu, and warthog. At 8 every evening a live Marimba band takes to the stage and rocks the house with a variety of rhythms til late in the night.

Aubergine – 1996

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Aubergine opened its doors in September of 1996 to an enthusiastic, sellout crowd of foodies, friends and followers of chef Harald Bresselschmidt. The reputation of Aubergine has spread far and wide as a sophisticated landmark for fine cuisine and wine of the Cape. Whether you seeking quality food from fresh ingredients or fine wine, this place has it all!

Saigon – 1997

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With magnificent views of Table Mountain and the cityscape, the atmosphere at Saigon on Kloof street is very tempting for a romantic date. The menu is huge, making sure anyone who comes here can find something delicious to eat. This is also one of those restaurant where one should book in advance as it is always busy.

Marco’s African Place – 1997

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Marco, chef and owner of Marco’s African Place, became the first black restaurateur in Cape Town when he opened his first restaurant  in 1989. This popular tourist venue was established in 1997. With a mix of traditional and Mediterranean food and live entertainment, Marco’s has become a landmark in Cape Town’s culinary landscape.

Savoy Cabbage – 1998

Savoy Cabbage Celebrate Love At These Cape Town Restaurants That Are Older Than Your Relationship

Savoy Cabbage has been a Cape Town mainstay for 20 years. As one of the oldest fine dining establishments on the city’s ever-changing restaurant scene, Savoy Cabbage has been winning over clientele and critics alike with their unique approach to fine dining while using local and seasonal foods.

Do you have an favourite old Cape Town? If so, let us know and we will add it to the list.