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The Charles Café: a city sanctuary

John Donne, 17th-century poet, said “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” – The Charles Café is a definite exception to this. Step off Waterkant Street, take a few steps along the sidewalk and you’ll find yourself in an island of paradise – a sanctuary in the tides of an otherwise busy city.

Once you’ve passed the peaceful fountain littered with chirping, bathing birds you’ll be greeted by Justine’s welcoming grin. As the powerhouse who heads up The Charles Café, Justine works with a wonderful team that will make sure you feel like family by the time you leave. From Ross’ cheeky welcome to Costa’s artisan coffees and their taste creations, you will want to bookmark this café come restaurant as a place you must return to.


The breakfast Risotto is a firm favourite all round – and fortunately they serve breakfast till 15h00 so you don’t have to miss out if you miss the morning rush. More than that you can choose from a scrumptious array of edible offerings. Some of these delights include light lunches, fresh pastries, specialty coffees and teas, cheese and meat boards, wine pairings with select products from small, independent vineyards and breweries. What more could you want?

Well, there is one more thing you could want and that’s a rooftop deck overlooking the city. This somewhat-removed vista is exactly where you’ll want to be on lazy summer Saturdays sipping on champagne or a thirst-quencher of your choice. Keep an eye out on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for news about events, dinner parties and braai gatherings at this café in the clouds (sort of).

One of the quirkier elements of The Charles Café is a little creature called Nelson. He’s a beautiful ginger tabby cat that frequents this sweet spot almost every day. He walks around like he owns the place is almost guaranteed to come looking for some affection or some lap time. Like we said, you’ll feel like part of the family by the time you leave – cat included!


Take the time to step away from the rush – even just for an afternoon – and slow down at The Charles Café. The four pillars holding this Cape Town gem together are history, warmth, friendship and hospitality. Put this on your list of must-experience places this coming month – you won’t regret it!

Operating hours: Mondays, closed; Tuesday – Friday, 07h00 – 18h00; Saturday, 08h00 – 18h00; Sunday, 08h00 – 15h00

Address: 137 Waterkant Street, Cape Town, 8001

Contact: 082 455 3933 or



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