As a first year Tukkie, it won’t be too long before you’ve discovered every fast-food place within close range – you’ll know where Romans, Steers and all the rest are before you even figure out how to swipe your student card.

Unfortunately, all these places offer is cheap convenience – they lack in true tastebud euphoria. You’ll need to know where the special “hidden gem” restaurants are if you really want to score some brownie points with Ms Hot Pants from ENG 110. You won’t impress her by wining and dining at the place with the big yellow M. 

And if the parents are in town and want to spoil you with a good meal out?  The red and white colonel isn’t going to cut it either, especially if you want to take advantage of Daddy’s credit card. Luckily, the strange new city you find yourself in isn’t only filled with Bulls supporters and purple trees, but lovely restaurants as well. Perdeby wined and dined in a few of them to bring you a list, from affordable to breaking the bank, of the best brownie-point-scoring restaurants close by.

Kung-Fu Kitchen: $

Right behind Springbok Bar, this eatery and take-away offers the best in sushi and Asian cuisine and is a good place to start if you don’t know the difference between sashimi, nigiri and maki. With their super affordable prices (soups and spring rolls under R15 and rice dishes and chow mein under R35) you’ll be working the chopsticks like a pro in no time. Being cheap and conveniently close without compromising taste makes Kung-Fu king.

Capeesh?: $$

Capeesh? is comfy, classy and cosy – the perfect place for a first date. This appetizing Italian restaurant and pizzeria understands ambience, service and delectable food and excels in all three categories. Boasting two giant wood-fired ovens, a wine cellar and Vespa scooters as decoration, Capeesh? is an Italian restaurant with character. It is also reasonably light on the pocket and conveniently situated not too far from campus at the Cherry Lane Centre on the corner of Fehrsen and Middel Streets, Brooklyn. Capeesh? makes for an upmarket yet intimate dining experience.

MooMoo: $$

This relatively new meat and wine restaurant – or “Meet & Whine” as MooMoo describes it – is an innovation in itself. The decor is sophisticated but cheeky. Colourful cows on green, grassy patches decorate the patio tables and quirky quotes like “Red meat is not bad for you, it is blue-green meat that’s bad for you” line the walls. The menus are made of newspaper, the bill comes in an empty milk carton and the restaurant even boasts an impressive wall of wine (where you can pick out your wine by the glass). These little touches make MooMoo even more special.

For wine lovers, MooMoo also has a “buy one, get one on us” hour everyday, as well as wine-tasting specials. The menu offers a wide variety of mouth-watering food and puts the fun back into wining and dining. MooMoo, situated in Brooklyn Design Square on the corner of Veale and Middel streets, is also easy on the wallet and definitely a great place to “meet and whine”.

Catemba: $$$

Succulent Portuguese-style cooking in a vibrant and homely atmosphere makes Catemba one of those little “hidden gem” restaurants. Apart from lip-smacking peri-peri prawns, lemon and herb chicken, seafood paella and oysters served with tequila sauce, Catemba also offers a wide selection of quality wines and Spanish dancing on special occasions. Plate-breaking and sombrero-wearing customers are happy to pay that little bit extra for the enjoyment that is Catemba restaurant. So save up with a few friends and go and check out Catemba, which is situated on Hilda Street (just off Church Street). You might just catch some Spanish dancing.

The Blue Crane Restaurant: $$$

Just when you’ve started to feel like Oliver Twist, your parents are in town and taking you for an early morning breakfast. The Blue Crane Restaurant, situated at the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary in Melk Street, Brooklyn, offers the best breakfast buffets and light lunches. Here you can eat scrumptious scones and croissants and relax completely while gazing at the breathtaking view. Your mother will be so enraptured by the birds in the water, that unwelcome questions regarding girlfriends/boyfriends and semester tests will be forgotten completely. You won’t have to pay (it is a bit expensive), mom won’t nag for a change and you will have love in your tummy again. It is a win-win situation at The Blue Crane Restaurant.

Kream: $$$$

If you really want to pull out all the stops in impressing someone, Kream is the place to go. This delectable restaurant offers fine dining in true celeb-style. Just reading the menu will make your taste buds go crazy with anticipation. Crocodile carpaccio is just one of the tasty delicacies available at Kream restaurant. The trendy atmosphere complements the food perfectly and will add to your memorable Kream experience. Kream is situated at the new Brooklyn Bridge Office Park in Fehrsen Street, Brooklyn but if you don’t feel like driving there, The Kream Limo is also available for fetching guests at home. We say roll out the red carpet.

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