OK, dear readers. I admit it, I’ve been holding out on you. There are whispers of unbelievably good deals in Cape Town when it comes to restaurants, rumours of meals that cost R20 while every foodie and his neighbour are extolling the virtues of the fancy five course winter specials. I’ve done that – and they are good. But are they the best?
Everyone has secrets. And this is mine: I love junk food. Yip, you heard me, and I’ll go one better (or worse depending on where you’re sitting): I. Love. MacDonalds. I don’t care that their food doesn’t degrade and months later looks the same (according to Huffington Post). I don’t care that everything they produce is made out of potatoes (even their ice-cream apparently.) I love it. And when I was a student it kept me from starvation although, unsurprisingly not I suspect, from malnutrition.
So, for this post, my benchmark was a Macdonalds meal. Approximately R26 for a burger, fries and coke. Can that be beaten? And of course most self-respecting people would answer yes (with a disgusted look on their faces) that a MacDonalds meal could be beaten by a 3 day old pie from Engen that’s been left out of the fridge and has started reproducing. But hey, each to his own.
But the benchmark remains, can MacDonalds be beaten?
My top 3 picks for winter and all of them will satisfy your cravings for a proper meal that really hits the spot.
1) Greens (Park Rd, CBD) – Specials Cape Town
These guys have the special to beat all restaurant specials, for R20 you can order a pizza (about ¾ the size of their regular pizzas) off their regular menu. Or, and I highly recommend the or, a burger (beef or chicken) with fries and two massive delicious onion rings for the stunningly reduced price of only R20. It’s a decent size meal, and hey, if you’re still hungry, you could always order another burger or pizza and the meal will still only total R40.
So how does it measure up to Mikky D’s? Well, no coke, but you’ve got R6 to play with – you could always order water or maybe put in the extra couple of bucks and get a nice glass of wine!
Now for the provisos: It’s only on a Wednesday, only at their Park Rd branch – not Constantia and Claremont has closed, and only if you say the magic word: I’m not sure if there really is a magic word, but they don’t like to talk about the special too much. I suggest you book in advance and double check that the special is on.
2) Hudsons – Specials Cape Town
Their starters, beers and cocktails are half price between 4:30pm and 6:30pm (sharp – literally the computer cuts them off and they can’t place any more orders from just before 6:30. And no, I don’t want to talk about it, it was a very sad experience for me.) But anyway, deal is, you could order a 300ml beer which at half price is around R11 and then for R15 order the chicken strip starter. Now these chicken strips have to be tasted to be believed. SUPER yum with a tangy mayo, super generous portion size and loads of deep fried goodness. The beers are pretty awesome too – Hudsons Pale Ale and Jack Black are my top picks.
This will set you back R26 – it might not constitute a full meal (you could order another starter also at R15 and you’d probably be pretty full). But for me it’s enough food especially with a beer. And heck, it’s a lot more awesome chilling with the hipsters than hanging with the drop-out kids at McD’s.
It’s last on the list of restaurant specials in the hopes that you have lost interest along the way thus making me more of a boring writer than a pleb-foodie. So here goes, my last shred of dignity and my immediate acceptance into the hall of shame. But! WAIT! In my defence, who can resist Spur onion rings? Honestly? Or free Spur sauces – the perfect mix of brown and cream that I am convinced were created to make me happy.
But I get it, Spur mostly sucks, there is absolutely zero street cred to be gained from admitting to have eaten there or liking the food. Spur is ridiculously expensive – there are far nicer restaurants and far better burgers at far better prices. But it all comes down to the onion rings and the sauces.
MacDonalds eat your heart out, on Mondays at Spur there is a special as old as time itself (infact it was in operation when the Red Indians were still sticking arrows into the not-yet-extinct bison). Yes, folks, you guessed it: the Spur 2 for 1 burgers special applicable to their beef, chicken and rib burgers. So for R20 you get your beef burger, with chips, onion rings and Heavenly (free) sauces, and with your remaining R6? I suggest you order a water and take advantage of the other (newish I think special) where Spur sauces (pepper, mushroom, cheese etc) are on special for R6.95 down from around R16! Personally, I think that the non-free sauces are a bit of a let down (and bear a striking resemblance to royco-mix-with-water sauces: ick) because 1) they’re a bit ick, 2) they’re not free and 3) can’t compare to the gloriousness of the free sauce combo who’s virtues were extolled, at length, previously. But, as a counter-argument, ordering sauces has never been this cheap and it’s hard to resist. Also, an added bonus, is this is not just a Cape Town special, but is available countrywide!
So in summary: Greens if you’re cool, Hudsons if you’re a hipster or hipster in training (they’ll also let you in if you’re still in your work clothes and look like you need a beer) and Spur if dignity means nothing and onion rings mean everything.
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And so, today is Wednesday – quick see if you can still get a table at Greens (Park Road)!
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