Something has happened in Cape Town. No, not the gourmet food market insurgency. Nope, not the boutique coffee roastery uprising either. Something else – the burger joint revolution. It was not long ago that Royale Eatery had cornered the market in connoisseur burgers, now there is a burger joint with a hipster and a fixie on almost every Cape Town street corner.
I’ve narrowed the list of revolutionaries down to nine great burger spots:
1. Royale Eatery
You have to give homage to the original Cape Town burger joint. Royale has managed to stay trendy and, while it might not be the top of the food chain anymore, it still serves a damn good burger and legendary milkshakes. The sweet potato fries are still my favourite, especially when served with the Hawaiian Miss Piggy burger. Another plus is the wide range of vegetarian burgers so everyone can join in.
Pay: Burgers go for R58 to R90 (from basic Royale to a Fat Bastard of double patty, double cheese and double bacon!)
Go: 273 Long Street, CBD, tel 021-422-4536
2. Hudsons – The Burger Joint
Possibly the most popular of the new wave restaurants, Hudsons is the self-proclaimed burger joint with a huge selection of burgers. Choose from chicken, beef, lamb, ostrich or vegetarian patties with myriad toppings. Order the West Village Sliders for three mini burgers – great for when you can’t make up your mind. Hudsons’s sweet potato crisps are my recommended side. Choose from one of three Cape Town restaurants to get your fix.
Pay: Burgers range from R40 to R77, but sides must be ordered separately from R12 each
Go: Cnr Portswood and Somerset Road, Green Point, tel 021-433-1496
69 Kloof Street, Gardens, tel 021-426-5974
Shop 1A, 25 Protea Road, Claremont, tel 021-674-5152
Sure, Greens isn’t your typical burger place because they have so much more on the menu (which is also really good I might add), but the Wednesday burger special can’t go without a mention. At the Park Road branch in Gardens, get a 200g patty, served medium rare with fries and crispy onion rings for R20. Yes, only 20 bucks! Take a seat at one of their other two branches and you might pay more, but you won’t be disappointed in their range of hunger-busting burgers.
Pay: Burgers are usually priced from R62 to R81
Go: Shop 7, High Constantia, Main Road, tel 021-794-7843
Shop 8, Plattekloof Village Centre, cnr Plattekloof and Baronetcy Road, tel 021-558-0855
5–9 Park Road, Gardens, tel 021-422-415
4. Dog’s Bollocks
Set in the owner’s driveway and serving only 30 burgers a night, this has become the ultimate in trendy Cape Town – the ‘secret place’ everyone has heard about. But the burgers sure are juicy and delicious. Take a seat on the garden furniture (no napkins or cutlery), grab some wine (again, no glasses) and chow down some homemade goodness. (For more information on the Dog’s Bollocks, read Ming Cheau Lin’s blog.
Pay: Burgers sell for between R50 and R55
Go: 6 Roodehek Road, Gardens, cell 083-440-7843
5. Sticky Fingers
This may not be the classiest burger joint, but it has a good vibe, a very decent burger and it’s incredibly reasonable. For R39 you get their standard cheeseburger (with a 180g patty) with a helping of fries (which are yummy and crispy thin). It’s a low-key dive in Obs and you’ll struggle to get more than four people in one of their booths, but there are toppings you might only expect to see on gourmet menus. They are also renowned for ribs so you can choose the best way to get your hands dirty.
Pay: Burgers go for R39 to R80
Go: 92–96 Station Road, Observatory, tel 076-800-5272
6. Beefcakes Burger Bar
The 1950s style décor of flamingos and turquoise walls may be what first sold me on Beefcakes, but the great burgers combined with whacky entertainment has made it a firm Mother City favourite. You’re bound to make new friends, as most visitors become regulars. There’s something for everyone one the menu and with Bitchy Bingo on Tuesdays and Drag Variety Show nights on Tuesday and Wednesday, there’s always good fun to be had here.
Pay: Burgers from R50 (for Baby Cakes mini-burgers) to R100 (for the Hunk of Meat fillet burger)
Go: Sovereign Quay, 40 Somerset Road, Green Point, tel 021-425-9019
7. Saints Burger Joint
The legend on the logo says it all: “Burgers, beer, rock n roll”. But don’t think you’re in for a grungy bar meal, no no, Saints has a great, stylish atmosphere and really good burgers. You can build your own burger from a range of toppings or choose from the menu – we recommend the Smoke on the Water pork and chorizo burger. If you’re feeling particularly famished you could try your hand at the crazy one-kilogram burger challenge. Finish it plus two sides, two sauces and a mug of beer in 30 minutes and the meal is free! There is also a great craft beer selection to choose from, including Camelthorn and Triggerfish varieties.
Pay: Burgers range from R75 to R169 (it’s topped by a crayfish tail!)
Go: 84 Kloof Street, Gardens, tel 021-424-0030
While most of us know &Union for craft beer, its restaurant/bar on Bree street does have great food. While the menu is massive, the Bree Street burger is something to write home about. A classic cheese, bacon and pickle burger, the big tasty patty is the ideal accompaniment to a tall, cold draught (yes, even in winter). Catch live music here on Wednesday nights.
Pay: Bree Street Burger R50.
Go: 110 Bree Street, CBD, tel 021-422-2770
9. Loading Bay
Combining a bistro, café and clothing store, Loading Bay is only open one special night of the week – Thursday night is Burger Night. Their everyday menu is filled with comfort food and good hearty meals and the burger is no different. Get a succulent beef or vegetarian burger served with truffle fries. Truffle! An for dessert you can have an evil Lindt chocolate Sinnful milkshake.
Pay: Thursday night burger R75
Go: 30 Hudson Street, CBD, tel 021-425-6320
Why not ‘make it a meal’ and add some adventure to your Cape Town burger experience and check out how to have the perfect Cape Town weekend.
Which burger places have I missed out? Do you have any gourmet Cape Town burger restaurants to add to this list?