The Four Best Sandwiches in Cape Town`s East City

The East City is quickly shaping-up into Cape Town’s only real-food hotspot. No bullshit small plates or whatever pretentious tapas name you want to give it. Here you can still find a real meal. Locals first, tourists second.

Sorry tourists, we love you, but your lucrative pockets seduce the crap out of our city eateries. And if you’re in the restaurant moneymaking business, what better way to suck cash out of patrons than selling food one bite at a time.

Ok, tapas rant over!

Here’s our favourite four sandwiches from the East City.

Reuben Sandwich – New York Bagels

reubensandwich The Four Best Sandwiches in Cape Town`s East City

Sea Point’s loss is the Fringe’s gain. Since New York Bagels moved from the Atlantic seaboard to a hole-in-the-wall in Harrington Street, things went from yum to goddamn delicious.  Layers of beef and melted cheese between two perfect slices of buttered grilled rye, this is without a doubt the best Reuben in town. It’s also enough to share, if you’re into that.

Recommended Drink: Coffee


The origin of the Reuben sandwich is rather blurry. If you ask anyone from Omaha, Nebraska, they will claim it as their own, recalling local Reuben Kulakofsky whipping it up for the first time in 1920 during a poker night at the Blackstone Hotel. If you’re in the Big Apple the credit will squarely go to Arnold Reuben, owner of the famed Reuben’s Delicatessen, who apparently create it in 1914 and aptly named it the Reuben Special. Either way, it made its way to Cape Town and we are forever thankful.

Philly Cheese Steak  – The Dogs Bollocks

phillysteak The Four Best Sandwiches in Cape Town`s East City

Nigel and the girls are still flipping great burgers in the evening at The Dog’s Bollocks, but if you happen to pop in during daytime, the Philly Steak is the way to go. Along with the best blues on the wireless, the Cheese Steak is a creamy delight. Chunks of beef steak drowst in melted cheese, stuffed in a long hoagie roll. What more can you ask for?

Recommended Drink: The wine of the day.


The Olivieri brothers from Philadelphia are often credited with inventing the sandwich in the early 1930s. Pat and Harry Olivieri originally owned a hot dog stand, and on one occasion, decided to make a new sandwich using chopped beef and grilled onions. While Pat was eating the sandwich, a cab driver stopped by and was interested in it, so he requested one for himself. After eating it, the cab driver suggested that Olivieri quit making hot dogs and instead focus on the new sandwich.

Smoked Brisket Sandwich – Lefty’s

brisketleftys The Four Best Sandwiches in Cape Town`s East City

Lefty’s prices might have sky-rocketed, but the food remains as good as the first day they opened. Keeping things slow and low ensure the best smokey flavourful brisket this side of the tracks. Drop a few Jalapeño in the mix and you end up with one hot tasty sandwich.

Recommended Drink: Oyster Shot


In recent years the brisket, always seen as a less desirable cut, has gain popularity thanks to the economic downturn. Daring restaurateurs were willing to gamble on these odd ends, looking to make something out of nothing, but as demand turned into a hipster commodity, so did the price. Today we sit with the oxymoron that is fine-dine nose-to-tail restaurants, where you can munch on a pig ear while the sommelier recommends the best Burgundy in the house.

The Gatsby – The Raptor Room

fullgatsby The Four Best Sandwiches in Cape Town`s East City

It’s a delicious monster! Pay a visit to the Raptor Room in Roeland Street and transport yourself back to a historic time where portions can still knock your hungry ass out. The Gats-tby kidding me sandwich is a modern take on a Cape Town classic, The Gatsby Sandwich. Replace the traditional salami with pulled pork and spicy cauliflower atchar and the transformation is completed. Chips are served on the side, for those lesser Gatsby purists.

Recommended Drink: Lola Float


Known as the glutton cousin of the chip roll, the Gatsby’s origin is as unclear as its ingredients, but today it’s wildly accepted that Rashaad Pandy,  a fish shop owner from Athlone created the sandwich in the mid 70s. The name of the meal, however, is believed to be inspired by the famous novel, The Great Gatsby, due to its association with ‘excess’.

Yes, it’s all class, straight to your ass.