We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but here in Cape Town, health-conscious locals seem to take their morning eats very seriously, turning the humble three egg omelet into a gourmet culinary art form. Moving from New York City, where I subsisted only a daily greasy egg-and-cheese bagel for years, the fresh, organic produce and inventive breakfast treats being served up in virtually every café came as a refreshing change of pace. You can also pretty much always count on restaurants to have quirky décor, a congenial waitstaff, and some of the best artisanal coffee I’ve had anywhere in the world. Below are five of my favorite breakfast haunts, any of which can guarantee a sunny start to your day. Just keep in mind, time moves slowly in Cape Town—so don’t be surprised if you find your breakfast hour turning into a leisurely lunch!
Art, food, and fashion collide at this fun eatery on Cape Town's burgeoning Bree Street. The surfer-themed shop (don't miss the wooden bar shaped like a cresting wave) serves a quality menu of Benedicts, croissants, oatmeal, and omelets, amid a range of Australian surfer labels and original art for sale.
Chef Vanessa Marx has been amassing accolades galore in Cape Town, and a visit to her CBD brasserie makes it clear that she's earned them all. Stop by for breakfast and order the Turkish eggs daubed liberally in chili oil, or opt for the French toast with house-made cinnamon, raisin, and walnut bread.
Queen of Tarts
The bohemian Observatory district has a clutch of underrated eateries that cater to the nearby University of Cape Town set. Tucked away on a side street, you'll find the shabby-chic Queen of Tarts, with its checkerboard floor and shelves laden with mismatched dishes. Order the French toast with pan-fried tomatoes, Camembert, and balsamic reduction, and follow it up with one of the shop’s namesake tarts.
This chic white-on-white spot located in the shadow of Table Mountain evokes the beach home of a sophisticated friend, and its breakfast clientele is no less stylish. Every weekend, they descend on Kloof Street for all-day meals of French toast croissants, homemade waffles, and salmon, eggs, and avocado on coconut bread.