Olympia Cafe, Kalk Bay: Restaurant Review


Olympia Cafe
134 Main Road, Kalk Bay
Cape Town

Category: Casual
Fare: Bakery, Deli, Seafood, Italian
Price range: Medium-to-High
Open for: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Coffee
Under review: Breakfast
SA Blog recommends? Enthusiastically!

Snippet
In Your Correspondent’s opinion, Olympia is Cape Town’s best restaurant, morning, noon and night. It puts on no airs – a cafe it calls itself, and a cafe it is, in decor and ambience – and its food betters that of any restaurant in the city which does.

(See full review below.)

This meal cost: R70 per person
Including tip? Yes
Including wine? N/A
Food score (out of 10): 7.5
(An exceptional score for breakfast.)
Service score (out of 10): 7
Reservations? No

Contact Information
Tel: +27 (0) 21 788 6396, Fax: +27 (0) 21 788 9864
Email: olympia@my.co.za
Also reviewed in: Rossouw’s Restaurants

Review
The charm of Olympia Cafe is natural, not contrived. A torrent of cars and trucks on Kalk Bay’s busy Main Road roar by its front windows, but you somehow don’t see them. Instead, your gaze is lifted over the traffic to the serene view of the harbor in the middle distance, and the blue waters of False Bay beyond.

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In Your Correspondent’s opinion, Olympia is Cape Town’s best restaurant, morning, noon and night. It puts on no airs – a cafe it calls itself, and a cafe it is, in decor and ambience – and its food betters that of any restaurant in the city which does. Olympia will feature in this blog many times over the coming years.

On this outing, the occasion was Sean Keener’s final morning in South Africa – he was due to catch the midnight plane to Amsterdam – and it demanded something special.

Coffee was our first priority: cappuccino for Sean, mocha for Court and normal filter for me, a complex order in many local cafes, but a cinch for Olympia, which sets high coffee-serving and -making standards. It duly met them.

We sampled from the morning’s bake – displayed on baker’s racks right next to our table – while deciding which hot dishes to order. Sean chewed on a cinnamon twist, Court a hazelnut danish, and I a chocholate croissant. All were marvellous. Olympia makes inimitable breads and pastries, and one can pop in for a quick coffee and croissant any time of day (if there’s seating – otherwise, take it away and sip ‘n dunk by the harborside).

We settled on our order and then posed for a picture. As is plainly evident, caffeine and setting worked their magic well.

kiwi-south-africa

Court’s breakfast arrived: a basil, camembert and roasted-veggie omelette the size, shape and color of a half-moon resting on the horizon. The waitress informed us that the other two plates would arrive shortly – Olympia prefers to serve food as soon as it’s ready, rather than let it harden under warming lamps while the other dishes catch up. This is wise, and it was pleasantly surprising to receive an explanation, where servers in other establishments would have let us play a guessing game.

About two minutes later, she was back at the table with my and Sean’s scrambled eggs: he ordered the full portion, with Canadian bacon and local sausage, and I had a half-portion with sausage only, along with a serving of fresh black- and blue- berries that filled a large glass goblet to the brim. (Note: Olympia handled my custom order perfectly. My, but that’s rare in local restaurants.)

Silence fell over the table – we were momentarily the eye of Olympia’s storm. All the dishes were excellent, the eggs fluffy and moist, the bacon and sausage smoky, spicy and easy on the molars, and the berries little juicy bomblets. Scores of .75 (out of one) all ’round, for a grand total of 2.25/3, which converts to 7.5/10.

Court took a loaf of fresh bread away for lunch – not that we would actually eat lunch that day, it was more of a late-afternoon snack – and Your Correspondent’s mission to put delicious breakfast morsels into the mouths of his deserving colleagues was accomplished at last. Took longer than I thought!


4 thoughts on “Olympia Cafe, Kalk Bay: Restaurant Review

  • Carl Parkes

    Olympia Cafe sounds like a great place. I’ve been thinking about heading over to South Africa and the remainder of the continent for several years, but am confused by all the guidebooks out there. Do you have any favorites? Do I really need a guidebook, or could I just wing it?

  • Ben

    Carl, it never hurts to have a guidebook – you’ll always be able to rely on trusty ol’ SouthAfricaBlog, of course – but in SA you can also just wing it. I don’t have a favorite guide, but on Amazon the Insight and Lonely Planet brands are highly-rated.

  • LooLoo

    Great photograph. The menu is marvelous. Excellent photograph and reporting!!Thank you. Thank you!! Courtney is beautiful. The meal sounds wonderful. Wish I was there. Will definetly visit the restaurant when I come to Cpetown In August. Thank you again. Your column and daily news are outstanding. Keep it up!!!

  • Howard

    We are lucky enough to live a few miles from Kalk Bay and make a point every couple of weeks (more sometimes)of eating there. The menu is always great and the food fresh and well cooked. The service is great and as a local you get to jump the queue sometimes!!! Just as when I am in London I have to visit the The Glasshouse at Kew the first place to visit in Cape Town is The Olympia Cafe. Completely diferent places but the common factor is good food and ambience (even if the latter is very different)

    Howard

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