Winter is the season Capetonians like to pretend doesn’t happen. That or they simply forget that it can get really cold on the southernmost tip of the African continent.
Point in case: most popular coffee hangouts adopt pavement culture as the crux of their allure. Great for summer. But there is only so much ‘central heating’ a cup of coffee held between the palms of your hands can do for you.
So where do you go in Cape Town when only a fireplace, or a seriously well-heated interior, will do without losing any of the A-M-B-I-E-N-C-E?
Photograph: Cafe Paradiso in Kloof Street, Gardens
Our recommended 10 cozy coffee spots with fireplaces in Cape Town …
Part of the Madame Zingara family, this is one of the local haunts on Kloof Street, and rightly so, for the range of Mediterranean food, the special blend of waiters and the magic of the place makes for a perfect meal. Whilst the large outside courtyard is the essence of the place’s charm during summer, the fireplace converts it into a snug and cosy indoor venue during winter.
Address: 110 Kloof Street, Gardens; contact: 021 423 8653
CAFÉ ROUX, NOORDHOEK VILLAGE
Only Noordhoek can get this particular blend of family and food just right. Set in the farm village the restaurant seems totally focused on spilling out of doors in to the kiddie play area, until you learn that during winter there is an indoor fireplace next to which one can enjoy an excellent coffee and fluffy omelette. You’ll need to book, though. When Chapman’s Peak is open the restaurant fills up fast.
Address: 270 Chapmans Peak Drive; contact: 021 789 2538
This Hout Bay eatery is housed in an old 120-year old farmhouse, complete with wooden floors, exotic chandeliers and a fireplace. Whilst summers see tables spill out onto the paving, winters tend to gravitate towards hot chocolate spiced with chilli and cinnamon and a table as close to the fireplace as possible. Not only is their ambience hard to beat, their cappuccinos renowned, and their policy both child and animal friendly, but their fresh breads and hollandaise sauce keep locals coming back for more.
Address: 8 Beach Crescent; contact: 021 790 5324
JONKERSHUIS, GROOT CONSTANTIA
This is a popular wedding reception venue (no surprise given the views, the oaks and the historic manor house), and you won’t always manage to find a seat unless you’ve booked ahead, but their tables close to the fireplace on a blustery winter’s day are worth their weight in gold, particularly if you succumb to their breakfast scones and coffee.
Address: Groot Constantia Road; contact: 021 794 6255
Photograph: Manna Epicure in Kloof Street, Cape Town
Perched on the hill of Kloof Street, this perfectly placed spot has a delightful interior made magic with features like teapots that come out of the wall. It’s small but the locals enjoy the food that they swear has some of the best flavours – and they should know. Their fireplace is put to good use as soon as it’s cold enough, but it is the breads that are the star of the show, even if the service can be a little irregular during the popular breakfast / lunch run.
Address: 151 Kloof Street; contact: 021 426 2413
ORGANIC AT HEART
This Plumstead eatery, tucked away with it’s entrance off Gabriel Road, is the haunt of those after fresh, seasonal organic food in which the environment is not spared in the production thereof. The fare is also delicious, and mostly vegetarian (although it serves meat based meals as well). During summer tables spill outside the back of the home where trees and a pond serve as a children’s play area. The indoor fireplace means the southern suburbs lunch set can brave the weather and enjoy their coffee fireside.
Address: 23 Constantia Road, Plumstead; contact: 021 797 0180
RHODES MEMORIAL RESTAURANT
Rhodes Mem is a standard tea time venue amongst the locals, who continue to head there despite the slightly elevated prices and tourist factor. It must be the views. Or the location. Or the fact that it’s a perfect pre or post hike venue. Bonus factors are, without doubt, the new children’s play area and the fireplace for blustery days.
Address: follow signs from Rhodes Drive; contact: 021 687 0000
Photograph: Starlings Cafe in Belvedere Road, Claremont
Starlings needs no introduction to the breakfast, lunch and coffee set of the southern suburbs. Based virtually on the border between Claremont and Rondebosch, the café is usually in full swing by lunch time and a booking is almost essential on a cold day. The pretty suburban house from which it operates comes with a fireplace, giving the venue as much appeal in winter as in summer, despite not being able to spill out into the garden out back.
Address: 94 Belvedere Road, Claremont; contact: 021 671 6875
THE ANNEX, KALK BAY
Just down an alley way from Kalk Bay Books, this low-key local is a great spot in which to enjoy a cup of coffee near the cosy fireplace. The key is the simplicity of the menu, the great coffee and the Belgian chocolate cake!
Address: 124 Main Road, Kalk Bay; contact: 021 788 2453
THE POWER AND THE GLORY
No, it isn’t the novel by Graham Greene, rather it’s an eatery where all the locals hang out. This really unpretentious spot (someone on TripAdvisor described it as Amsterdam meets Africa) buzzes with the city’s creatives. And if they’re here, then the coffee must be seriously good. So, we’ll forgive them for not having a fireplace and using the odd gas or electric heater instead. Who cares, as long as it’s warm and the Nutella Nut pie remains on the menu…
Address: 13b Kloofnek Road, Tamboerskloof; contact: 021 422 2108
Photograph: The Annex in Kalk Bay