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The 15 Best Affordable Restaurants in Stellenbosch to Suit Your Student Budget

Havana Dauncey
· March 1, 2024
The 15 Best Affordable Restaurants in Stellenbosch to Suit Your Student Budget

Stellenbosch, nestled in the heart of the Cape Winelands, is not just renowned for its picturesque vineyards and rich cultural history but also for its burgeoning culinary scene. Centred around Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch has evolved into a fully-fledged student town, bustling with young students in every corner and designed to cater for their not-so-big student budgets.

Because of this, you can easily find the most delicious meals for very affordable prices, making it an experience you simply can’t miss out on. With local hidden gems and various daily specials, to get the most out of Stellenbosch’s foodie scene, you’re going to need a local.

That’s why we’ve crafted the complete local guide to Stellies’ best, most affordable restaurants that are perfect for any student budget, including all the student tricks to get the best bang for your buck.

1. Java Bistro

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Java Bistro, located smack-bam in the centre of Stellenbosch’s trendiest street, is the local watering hole for every Maties student and a rite of passage for many students who end up working there part-time. Java offers a bit of everything at some of the best prices in town. And what’s even better — they have a special almost every day of the week!

Whether you’re looking for a morning coffee and brekkie, a quick bite and study session between classes, a dinner date with friends or a drink after a long day, Java Bistro is the place for you.

Specials:

  • Mondays: 50% off wraps

  • Tuesday: Cheeseburger and chips for R59

  • Wednesday: All pizzas are R80

  • Thursday: Buy-one-get-one-free pasta

Price range: R39-R189

Speciality: Burgers, pizza, wraps, pasta

Location: Corner of Church Street and Andringa Street

2. Hudsons Burger Joint

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With branches across the country, Hudsons is famous for its epic burgers, great deals and electric atmosphere. Hudsons has something for everyone — from tasty appetisers, mouthwatering burgers, insane plant-based options, crispy pizzas, legendary milkshakes and creative desserts (you have to try their deep-fried Oreos!).

While their prices are on the higher side, if you take advantage of their weekly deals, you can easily find a budget-friendly bite that is worth the few extra bucks.

Specials:

  • Monday: Half price on all vegan burgers

  • Tuesday: 2-for-1 pizzas all-day

  • Happy Hour: Discounted beers on tap, appetisers, selected glasses of wine and cocktails between 16:30-18:30 Mon-Fri

Price range: R75-R295

Speciality: Burgers, sliders, pizzas

Location: Dorp Street

3. Basic Bistro

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Basic Bistro is a cosy restaurant right in the heart of Stellenbosch. At Basic Bistro, you’ll find gourmet burgers, bountiful pasta dishes, flavoursome malay curry, matured steak, an intimate wine list and espresso-based coffees. Feeling like a sweet treat? Basic Bistro is one of the best spots in Stellies for tea and cake (you can even get them to bake you one of your own for a special occasion).

Their prices range from fair to fancy, so you’re sure to find something to suit your appetite and your budget.

Specials:

  • Breakfast special: R50 for 2-egg omelette with spicy prego or napoli sauce, cheese, rocket, ciabatta and any hot drink of your choice

  • Lunch special: 2 meals and 2 drinks for R125

  • Burger special: R170 for Hempies Du Toit burger with a glass of Cavalier Red Blend

Price range: R32-R195

Speciality: Burgers, pasta, coffee and cake

Location: Church Street

4. Watami

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Craving some sushi? Watami is a rare gem, offering gourmet sushi at affordable prices, cementing it as Stellies students’ favourite sushi spot. Located in the centre of town by Eikestad Mall. Beloved for its delicious sushi, massive platter, all-you-can-eat buffets and crazy specials, you really can’t go wrong with Watami.

Specials:

  • Specials combo: 2-for-1 sushi platters for R149

  • Sit-down sushi special: 30% off all coloured plates on the belt every day

  • Chicken meal: 2 chicken meals with 4 spring rolls for R158 or 1 chicken meal with 2 spring rolls for R85

  • Lunch special: R79-R95 for lunch meal with 300ml coke 11:00-16:00 Mon-Fri

Price range: R22-R430

Speciality: Sushi and Asian cuisine

Location: Eikestad Mall on Andringa Street

5. The Meeting Place

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The Meeting Place lives up to its name by providing students with a budget-friendly meeting space to come together and enjoy a variety of meals. Their cute outdoor courtyard, delicious food, occasional specials and regular live music have cemented it as a Stellenbosch hotspot.

Their simple menu with decent prices offers all your favourites, elevated to a gourmet level. And don’t forget to try a slice of their famous cheesecakes (or even order a whole one for yourself).

Price range: R70-R100

Speciality: Burgers, salads, pasta cheesecake

Location: Dorp Street

6. Rome in a Bite

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Who needs a trip to Italy when you can have Rome in a Bite in the heart of Stellenbosch? Located on Stellenbosch’s trendiest corners under fairy lights eating authentic Italian food and sipping on a glass of wine, it’s hard not to think you’re sitting in a European small town. From pasta dishes to flavourful pizzas, this eatery captures the essence of Italian cuisine.

While their prices aren’t always super budget-friendly, students have discovered some clever tricks, like taking advantage of their occasional specials and the student staple of sharing — especially their famous extra-long pizza.

Price range: R59-R294

Speciality: Pizza and pasta

Location: Corner of Church Street and Andringa Street

7. Craft Wheat and Hops

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Craft is a haven for students seeking a variety of craft beers paired with affordable and tasty meals. The menu features pub-style dishes, including burgers, pizzas and tapas. Its lively evening atmosphere has cemented it as a go-to spot for getting a post-class drink or catching the rugby with mates.

Specials:

  • Burger and beer combo: Beef burger with 500ml Jack Black Lager for R99 12:00-17:00 Mon-Fri

  • 500ml Draughts for R35 12:00-17:00 Mon-Fri

  • All Flammkuchens for R55 12:00-17:00 Mon-Fri

Price range: R55-R159

Speciality: Burgers, pizzas, flammkuchen beers and gin

Location: Andringa Street

8. Cognito

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Cognito is a cosy family and lifestyle restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As one of the newer restaurants on the block, Cognito has quickly become a local favourite for students wanting to treat themselves with a fancy, yet affordable meal, making use of the generous specials to help keep it within the student budget. It’s also become a go-to spot for cyclists to get together after their morning cycle.

Specials:

  • Tuesday Italian night: All pasta and pizzas are buy-1-get-1-free

  • Wednesday Steak night: Any steak on the menu served with chips and a side of your choice for only R145

  • Thursday Burger night: Get a free draught with any burger

  • Saturday special: 800g-1kg pork ribs served with onion rings and chips for only R200

  • Happy hour special: Cocktails are R40 per glass 14:00-18:00 daily

Price range: R40-R180

Speciality: Burgers, pizza, steak, pasta and breakfast

Location: Dorp Street

9. Brampton Wine Studio

Wine enthusiasts on a student budget need not feel left out in Stellenbosch. The Brampton Wine Studio, situated on Church Street, offers a unique urban wine-tasting experience as well as some delicious food. While sipping on a delectable glass of wine and chewing on a tasty flatbread, you can also enjoy Brampton’s vibey tunes which has become one of its defining characteristics — so much so you can even check out their Spotify account and download one of their playlists. Another popular student trick is to go halfsies on a flatbread.

Price range: R55-R120

Speciality: Wine, flatbreads, wraps, salads and cheese boards

Location: Church Street

10. De Vrije Burger

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Home of great burgers and fries in Stellenbosch — De Vrije Burger offers 100% free-range beef, double cheese, homemade bun and all the trimmings. De Vrije Burger keeps it simple, but amazing, with only 4 options on the menu. While the prices are rather steep, they are definitely worth it, especially for the free ice cream you get with it — it’s like a reward!

Specials: With every De Vrije Burger purchased you get a De Vrije Roomys (soft-serve ice cream)

Price range: R115-R155

Speciality: Burgers, chips and ice cream

Location: Drostdy Road

11. Vendetta’s Pizzeria

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Vendetta’s is a traditional Italian pizzeria hidden under trees covered in fairy lights. They specialise in Sourdough Neapolitan Pizza made with traditional flour from Italy. Whether you opt for a classic Margarita or a more adventurous topping combination, this pizzeria caters to the student craving for Italian flavours. However, Vendetta’s prices are on the higher side. That’s why you’ll see it pumping with students on Tuesdays for its date night special.

Specials:

  • Tuesday Date Night: R250 for 2 pizzas and a bottle of wine

  • Happy hour: Discounted starters, cocktails, beers on tap and wines by the glass 16:30-18:30 Mon-Fri

Price range: R55-R225

Speciality: Pizzas and wine

Location: Hamman Street (at the back of Hudsons)

12. Simply Greek

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Simply Greek is simply the best, bringing the taste of Greece to Stellenbosch. This restaurant offers a menu filled with authentic Greek dishes, from traditional dips and various mezze platters to shawarmas and moussaka. While the prices may scare you at first, taking advantage of their specials and sharing the massive portions with your friends, you can easily fit it into your student budget.

Specials:

  • Mezze platter for 2 with a bottle of Allee Bleue Chenin Blanc for R550

  • Create your own platter for 380

  • 2 Calamari mezze for R260

  • 2 Chicken souvlaki mezze with chips and 2 glasses of Lourensford Sauvignon Blanc for R260

Price range: R30-R595

Speciality: Platters, mezze, shawarmas and Greek cuisine

Location: Plein Street

13. Bohemia

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Adding to the eclectic mix of dining options in Stellenbosch, Bohemia on the corner of Victoria Street and Andringa Street is the hub of Stellies student nightlife. From when it opens at 11:00 til its closing at 2:00, you’ll always find it brimming with students, whether it's for their snack between classes, afternoon drink or evening get-together with friends. The best thing about Bohemia is its electric energy created by its friendly staff, regular live music and weekly bingo nights. All the while, you can find simple but delicious pub food that doesn’t break the bank.

Specials: Drink specials 18:00-20:00

Price range: R40-R125

Speciality: Burgers, pizza, chicken strips and toasties

Location: Corner of Andringa Street and Victoria Street

14. Julian’s Cafe-Bar

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Situated in the hustle and bustle of Andringa Street, Julian's Cafe-Bar is a versatile establishment that transforms from a cosy cafe during the day to a lively bar in the evening. With a menu featuring a mix of light bites, heartier meals and ‘the best nachos in Stellenbosch', you can’t go wrong, no matter what you feel like. Julian's is also very generous with its daily specials, making it a go-to spot for students throughout the day.

Specials:

  • Monday: Any burger and chips for R85

  • Tuesday: 200g chicken strips and chips for R60

  • Wednesday: Large nachos for R85

  • Thursday: Any pizza for R85

  • Friday: Crumbed chicken burger and 500ml draught for R95

  • Saturday: Margherita pizza with 2 toppings for R70

  • Build your own breakfast for R55 including a hot drink

Price range: R50-R180

Speciality: Nachos, burgers, pizza

Location: Andringa Street

15. Panda and En Route

En Route and Panda may not be typical restaurants, but they are the staple of every Maties student’s diet. Located right next to each other and run by the same owners, this spot becomes the hub of students come lunch and dinner times. And the best part — they offer some of the best bang for your buck in Stellies. En Route provides the basics with breakfast, coffee, sandwiches, smashburger, pizza and pasta. Panda, on the other hand, focuses more on Asian cuisine, allowing you to build your own bowl or smoothie with the option of choosing one of their set dishes if you can’t make up your mind. And once you’ve picked up your order, you can sit down and enjoy it in their respective courtyards.

Price range: R25-R90

Speciality: Breakfasts, pizzas, smashburgers, pasta, sandwiches, smoothies and Asian bowls

Location: Hofmeyer Street

Conclusion

In conclusion, Stellenbosch lives up to its reputation as a student town with all its affordable and delicious dining options. From vibrant pubs to charming cafes and international flavours, the culinary landscape of Stellenbosch is as diverse as its student population. So, whether you're sipping coffee in a cosy cafe, enjoying live music at a pub or savouring flavours from around the world, Stellenbosch has something to satisfy every student's palate without breaking the bank. Cheers to exploring the flavours of Stellenbosch on a student-friendly budget!

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