Churros Challenge Results

Churros are not common in Cape Town, despite being delicious. In fact, after an extensive search we only found 6 restaurants which serve them. So we tried them all and here are the results.

Read our introduction article to learn more about churros. The primary judge was my secret sidekick, ‘Batman’, who has some pastry experience. I did quality control and tested 3 out of 6 of the candidates to check that I agreed with the ranking. The churros were judged out of 50 points, broken down as follows:

10 for Presentation (look, size, portion size)
15 for Churro (flavour, density & texture, freshness)
15 for Chocolate (consistency, flavor, quality)
5 for Service
5 for Venue

The venues we judged were:

•  Bistro 1682 at Steenberg
•  El Hombe Loco
•  El Burro
•  Sotano
•  Food Barn Deli
•  La Belle Café and Bakery at the Alphen Boutique Hotel

Unfortunately French Toast has closed down, so we could not include them. We also tried to include Cafe Sofia but each time we went they were closed (Camps Bay). Pot Luck Club also had churros on their menu but have been closed, only reopening in their new venue in February this year. We’ll have to try them out when they are open again and report back.

Here are the results, starting with the highest scoring first.

El burro – 45/50
Menu Description: Mexican donuts and chocolate sauce
Price: R45
Available: Monday – Saturday 12:00 – 23:30

8/10 for Presentation
Great presentation with a reasonable portion size.
15/15 for Churro taste
The best tasting churros by far. Appealing consistency, coated with a perfect amount of cinnamon and sugar. Tasty dipped in the chocolate or even coffee.
13/15 for Chocolate taste
Although it was not the traditional hot chocolate that churros are served with, the taste of this dipping chocolate was great. It was rich and you could taste that it was made from a good quality chocolate with a high cocoa content.
4/5 for Service
El Burro’s staff are always smiling, friendly and efficient.
4/5 for Venue
Great vibe due to it being consistently busy. Nicely decorated with an Authentic Mexican feel.

Bistro Sixteen82 – 43/50
Price: R45
Menu Description: Cinnamon doughnuts and salted caramel chocolate
Available: Mon – Sun 16:45-19:45

9/10 for Presentation
Good portion size served and presented in a lovely tapas-like style on a wooden board.
14/15 for Churro taste
Great consistency, perfect ratio of cinnamon and sugar to churro. A bit too crispy but it was nice having a variation. Taste great alone or dipped in the salted caramel chocolate sauce.
11/15 for Chocolate taste
The salted caramel chocolate’s consistency is slightly runnier than traditional hot chocolate. Its distinct caramel taste gives a great twist to the traditional churro dish.
5/5 for Service
Exceptionally accommodating service.
4/5 for Venue
A gorgeous venue where lush vegetation meets modern architecture. When booking try get a table outside. The only thing missing is the lack of music.

Food Barn Deli – 38/50
Price: R26
Menu Description: Churros with Chocolate Dip
Available: Tuesday – Saturday 18:00 – late

10/10 for Presentation
Beautifully presented with an excellent portion size.
9/15 for Churro taste
These churros are flawless in consistency and shape. They are savoury with little cinnamon and sugar, which makes them bland and difficult to enjoy on their own.
9/15 for Chocolate taste
The chocolate dip is thick like a sweet ganache creating a huge contrast from their churros.
5/5 for Service
The Foodbarn have well trained and very knowledgeable staff.
5/5 for Venue
A lovely laidback yet fancy tapas venue, with a European feel that attracts a range of age groups.

El Hombre Loco – 36/50
Price: R16
Menu Description: Churros
Available: Monday – Sunday 08:00 – 21:00

8/10 for Presentation
Exceptional portion size. Presentation was as good as it can be in a take away box.
13/15 for Churro taste
Theses moreish churros are an excellent size with a great shape and consistency, which are not too sweet or savoury and are just crispy enough.
7/15 for Chocolate taste
The chocolate dipping sauce is a mix between ganache and chocolate flavoured syrup.
5/5 for Service
The service is friendly and helpful.
3/5 for Venue
A lovely burrito/taco take away spot in the V&A Waterfront’s food hall.

La Belle – 36/50
Price: R50
Menu Description: Spanish style doughnut with Belgian chocolate dipping sauce
Available: Monday – Sunday 7:00 – 11:30

5/10 for Presentation
Quaint presentation. Small portion size for cost.
6/15 for Churro taste
Very different to the traditional churros, these churros are savoury, not star shaped and have very little cinnamon and sugar. Due to them being very thin not only is their consistency not churro like, but they are extremely flimsy causing them to bend when lifting them.
15/15 for Chocolate taste
This is outstanding hot chocolate. It is the perfect rich, good quality hot chocolate, similar to the traditional Parisian ones. The portion size is enough to dunk your churros into as well as to drink.
5/5 for Service
Some of the friendliest and most welcoming staff you will find in Cape Town.
5/5 for Venue
La Belle is set in the peaceful and lush settings of the Alphen Hotel. It is a bustling café with pastries piled high in the display cabinet it has a definite French patisserie meets posh English tea boutique feel.

Sotano – 30/50
Price: R35
Menu Description: Spanish doughnut with chocolate sauce
Available: Monday – Sunday 12:00 – 22:30

7/10 for Presentation
A good size portion for the price, presentation was pretty standard.
8/15 for Churro taste
Fresh churros with a great amount of cinnamon and sugar. They were slightly under cooked.
9/15 for Chocolate taste
The chocolate sauce is a warm sweet chocolate sauce that tastes similar to a to a chocolate flavoured syrup. The flavours of cinnamon and chilli (the chef shared the recipe) were not evident.
3/5 for Service
The service is friendly and relaxed.
3/5 for Venue
A vibrate and tranquil promenade front Mediterranean restaurant in Mouillie Point. Perfect for relaxing with friends in the sun on a Sunday afternoon.

We also added a public participation element to the challenge. Allowing people to vote for their favourite churros on Facebook. Those restaurants that encouraged support from their followers on social media would get more votes, so take the results with a pinch of salt. The ranking from highest to lowest was as follows:

• Bistro 1682 at Steenberg
• El Burro
• Food Barn Deli
• La Belle Café and Bakery
• Sotano
• El Hombe Loco

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3 Responses

  1. Ralph says:

    El Hombre Loco rocks. Love their burritos! Best in Cape Town!!

  2. Jeremy says:

    Great article Dax, surprised one of my favourites, Foodbarn Delhi, did not come out on top. We’ll definitely have to try out El burro

    • Dax says:

      Thanks. There is an element of personal taste when judging something like churros which varies quite a bit from recipe to recipe. So it’s possible someone could disagree with our findings. Also, bear in mind that all the churros we had were pretty good, some just better than others.