Cape Town has many craft burger restaurants – but only one has really stood the test of time. For over a decade, Long Street institution Royale Eatery had served some of the city’s best burgers (and provided one of the most delightful atmospheres). This joint has an incredibly inclusive menu, with all kinds of diets cared for – so no matter what eating plan you’re following, if you crave a burger, check this gem out.
If it’s your first time visiting, be prepared to be blown away by the various options available for your burger. There are the ‘Royale Classics’: a beef/vegetarian/chicken patty (or two) below some lettuce, tomato, caramelised onion and gherkins, and smothered in a delicious garlic aioli, with various possible cheeses accompanying (options range from cheddar to Swiss cheese to mature Brie). If you don’t want a standard white bun, there are other options available too. In short, the most ‘simple’ burger you could get at Royale is not particularly simple at all.
There is a wide range of other possible burgers. Beef patties soon give way to more unusual options, like pork, lamb, ostrich and a patty that’s beef mixed with chorizo. There are also several interesting chicken burgers, including an Asian-style one. Perhaps most unusually, there is not one but two fish burgers on the menu – a salmon one and a hake one. Both are delicious, especially if you’re into seafood.
And if you’re visiting on Meat Free Monday, you’ll be pleased to find two whole pages in the menu devoted to meat-free burgers. The veg patties are homemade and range from soya to marinated tofu, to lentil, to Falafel, and even to black bean and vegetable. In short, even if you’re not vegetarian, you may be tempted by something in this section of the menu.
If you are a walk-in customer and sit in the downstairs section of the restaurant, you could try one of their pizzas. These tend to be quite pricy, as you effectively build your own one on top of a R60 Margherita, but the bases are thin, crispy and delicious, and if you want more cheese than a burger can offer, this is the perfect dish. There are also salads available for those who are totally carb-averse (though, of course, you can ask for your burger to be bun-free).
Royale Eatery is well-known for its extravagant double-thick milkshakes, which, if you order the large, fail to fit into a standard glass and come in a 600ml metal tumbler (and often still spill over). If you’re in the mood for something unusual, check out the Jack Daniels & Peanut Butter one.
The rest of the drinks menu is pretty straightforward. As with any inner city venue, there are several possible craft beers for you to choose from, and there is a variety of well-priced – which is to say under R50 – cocktails (their Bloody Mary is bloody good!). There aren’t too many wines on offer, but the available ones are unusual and exciting to try out.
Royale Eatery is always reasonably priced (which is to say under R100 per main), but they’re currently running a Winter Special on weekday lunchtimes, where a number of meals – including a 2-topping pizza – are available for R50.
To book at Royale (be aware that you’ll be seated upstairs, in the pizza-free zone), call 021 422 4536.