South Africa: Cape Town restaurant advice


I’m currently (July 21-25, 2012) in Cape Town and lots of nice people have been giving me restaurant advice.  I’ve compiled it all here and am sampling as much as I can!

Cape Town is a very foodie city, in fact it was established because of the need for food (so that sailors wouldn’t starve on their way around the continent).  If you need food, Cape Town is a great place to visit, and now is a great time.

From June to August 2012 there are 28 restaurants on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront competing in the Master of the Trade Routes Culinary Challenge, and they’re all showing off their wintery fusion dishes.  Yum! (as a Canadian, I’d say the emphasis is on the fusion rather than the winter).

So far my vote goes to the Harbour House’s Mozambique piri piri prawns, closely followed by Tasca’s tuna prego.


Award Winners

  • Harbour House. V & A Waterfront and Kalk Bay.  From late July, humpback and southern right whales calf in Kalk / False Bay, and can be seen while dining.  Fireplace inside keeps you cozy while waves splash on the windows.  V & A location has nice views of pedestrians and boats.  International cuisine, focus on fresh, naked ingredients.  Lunch Mon-Sun 12-4, dinner Mon-Sun 6-10.  @LaurenCohen’s fantastic choice.  Prawns at the V&A Waterfront location were delicious!
  • 95 Keerom Restaurant: 95 Keerom Street, 21 422 0765.  Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa.  Building was once slave quarters.  Lunch Thurs/Fri; dinner Mon-Sat.  Reservations essential.  Italian (Milanese), naked ingredients, local where possible.
  • Baia Seafood Restaurant. Upstairs at Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront. Famous for bouillabaisse. Lunch and dinner.
  • Five Flies Restaurant: Rembrandt House, 14 Keerom Street, Tel: 021 424 4442. Eating Out in SA – People’s Choice Award. Note: tours stop here.
  • Aubergine:  39 Barnet Street, Gardens, Cape Town, Tel: 021 465 4909.   Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa.  Local, seasonal.
  • Bizerca Bistro. Jetty Street, Foreshore. Fresh, seasonal, ever-changing daily specials.  Lunch and dinner.  Homemade jams.
  • Signal:  Cape Grace Hotel:  Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Tel:  21 421 0935.  Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa.  Creative Cape cuisine. Local, seasonal.  Prix fixé lunch; breakfast and dinner.  Afternoon tea in the library 12-6.
  • La Colombe:  Constantia Uitsig Hotel, Spanschemal Lane, Constantia, Cape Town.  World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2010 list (#12).   Asian-influenced French cuisine.
  • Catharina’s at Steenberg: Steenberg Hotel, off Tokai Road, Constantia, Cape Town, Tel:  21 713 222.  Contemporary South African.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • The Greenhouse at Cellars: Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, 93 Brommersvlei Road, Tel:  21 794 2137.  South Africa’s #1 resto.  Tasting menu.  Dinner Tuesdays – Sundays.
  • The Bascule Whiskey, Wine & Cocktail Bar.  Cape Grace, West Quay Road, V&A Waterfront.  Voted “Best Pub Style”.  Breakfast, cappuccino, light lunch; tapas, desserts, and glamourous bar evenings.  Largest selection of whiskies in the southern hemisphere.
  • The Test Kitchen.  Shop 1050a, The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock.  World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012 list (#74).  Lunch Tues – Sat 12:30 – 2; dinner Tues – Sat 7 – 9:30.  Regularly changing menus.  The Pot Luck Club and Gallery, next door, serves small plates,cocktails and boutique wines.  Chef Luke Dale-Roberts was at La Colombe when it was #12.
  • Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (a Relais & Chateaux hotel).  World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2010 list (#57, down 21 from 2011).  Nine course African-inspired surprise tasting menu.
Other Restaurant Recommendations
  • SocietiBistro.  50 Orange Street, Gardens.  Seasonal menus, winter’s has pasta and risotto, meats and fish, and a chocolate nemesis for dessert (@LaurenCohen – I can hardly wait to try this!)  Sister restaurants: Societi Brasserie and Jonkerhuis in Constantia, Josephine’s Cookhouse in Newlands. @LaurenCohen’s fantastic choice.
  • Tasca. V & A Waterfront. Portuguese influence. Sit outside in winter with the heat lamps and, if needed, blankets.  Dig in to expertly prepared seafood (my large piece of tuna was served blue rare as requested, and did NOT continue cooking at the table, as it sadly does too often). Malva pudding (kind of like a sticky toffee pudding) was delicious too. Introduced to me by the super nice @LaurenCohen. Thanks Lauren!
  • Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel.  “Cape Town’s most stylish restaurant”.  Tasting menu and a la carte.
  • Hemel Huis.  17 Waterkant St.  Breakfast (all day), lunch.  Standards with a creative twist; artisinal juices and baked goods.  Dishes R90 max.  Dinner Wednesdays. @LaurenCohen’s fantastic choice.
  • Dear Me Food World.  165 Longmarket Street.  M-F breakfast (7-11), lunch (12-3); dinner Thursdays (from 6:30).   “An all-day brassière, pantry and event space”.  Pastry and breads, juices and smoothies, espresso, sandwiches, salads, soups, fish.  Accommodates food allergies/intolerances. @LaurenCohen’s fantastic choice.
  • Dutch East.  42 Huguenot Street,  Franschhoek (in Cape Winelands).  Fresh, local, naked ingredients. Eastern flavours.  Breakfast (8:30-11), lunch.  Wood-fired oven. @LaurenCohen’s fantastic choice.
  • Savoy Cabbage Restaurant and Champagne Bar.  101 Hout Street.  Fresh, local; free-range and organic and small-producer where possible.  Everything house made.  Menu changes daily.  Lunch M-F, dinner M-S, closed Sundays.
  • Manna Epicure.  151 Kloof Street, Tamboerskloof.  On the foodie stretch of Kloof Street.  Seasonal menu.  Famous breakfast of coconut toast, eggs and avocado.  All-day breakfast;  lunch.
  • The Duchess of Wisbeach.  The Courtyard Building, #3 Wisbeach Road, Sea Point.  Casually elegant international, seafood, salads, lamb, homemade ice cream.
  • Caffe Neo. Near Mouille Point lighthouse at the seafront at Sea Point / Green Point.  Good lunch and free wifi.
  • Caprice in Camps Bay.  Breakfast or dinner while watching the ocean.
  • Neighbourhood Bar.  Long Street.  Cool vibe, good food, big portions.
  • Café extrablatt.  Exhibition Building, 79 Main Road, Green Point.  Saturday breakfast buffet, Sunday brunch, drinks and pizzas.  Ask for Wayne, the manager, who is really nice (via @Tips4Trips).
  • Hildebrand Ristorante. Harbour-Side Cafe building, V&A Waterfront. Italian, seafood, hand-made pasta,  Great desserts.  Alba Lounge for cocktails above.
  • Rhapsody’s.  81 Main Road, Green Point.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner (eg chicken skewers).  Blankets if you want to sit outside.
  • Il Paninaro.  V&A Waterfront.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Panini.  Lattés.  Great views.
  • Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions.  221 Beach Road, Sea Point.  On the terrace, with sea views, for sundowners and snacks, inside for full menu.  Sunday brunch.
  • Sotano.  121 Beach Road, Mouille Point.  Seasonal ingredients, tapas or meals.  Excellent wine list.  Outside tables have sea views.
  • Two Oceans.  Cape Point, Cape Peninsula. Dramatic (and breezy) views from the deck.  Seafood.
  • The Lighthouse at Blue Peter Hote.  7 Popham Street, Blouberg.  Beach view with Table Mountain.
  • Brass Bell.  Near Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay.  On the rocks, with crashing waves.  Five different menus inside. @ChaqueRisi’s fave.
  • On The Rocks Blouberg.  Dolphin and whale watch while eating fine food.
  • Fish on the Rocks, Hout Bay Harbour.  Best fish and chips (at the end of the harbour).
Streetfood and Snacks
  • Neighbourgoods Market.  Old Biscuit Mill (300s Albert Road), Woodstock neighbourhood.  Saturdays.  Region’s artisanal foods and products — cheese, bread, produce, beer …. Amazing breakfasts.
  • Afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel.  Lounge, terrace or garden fountain. Daily 2:30 – 5:30 (R185).  Morning tea, a lighter version, is 9:30 – 12:30 (R135).
  • Jason Bakery.  185 Bree Street.  Espresso and croissants.
  • Masala Steak Gatsby: a baguette filled with meat or fish, as well as hot chips, salad, and sauces.  Often halaal.  Top 10 sources according to Portfolio Collections Travel Blog:  Ottery Farmstall; Texies in Seapoint, Fisherman’s Basket in Claremont; Yusra’s Kitchen in Sea Point; Golden Dish in Rylands; Aneesa’s Grassy Park; Cosy Corner in Wynberg; Mariam’s Kitchen in St George’s Mall; Super Fisheries in Athlone; Boa Fast Food in Grassy Park.
  • Bunny chow.  A curry (usually with seafood or chicken, not bunny) served in hollowed out bread.  Durban claims ownership, but available everywhere.
  • The Creamery.  Local, natural ice cream.  Kitchen: Wyecroft and Weymouth Roads, Mowbray.  Scoop stalls: Earthfair St George’s Mall at Church St (Thursdays 11-4); The Larder Market, corner Kendal & Main Roads (Thursdays 3-5); Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock (Saturdays 9-2).  In shops:  Gogo’s Deli (Cardiff Castle at Main and Kildare, Newlands; Foodbarn Deli (Noordhoek Farm Village, Village Lane).  And  at Clarke’s Dining (133 Bree St) (with or without pie!).
  • Gelato Mania.  Main Road, Green Point.
  • Olympica.  134 Main Road, Kalk Bay.  Bakery with harbour views.
  • Giovanni’s.  Sea Point.  @ChaqueRisi’s recommendation for the best freaking sandwich ever!
  • Mzoli’s Place.  Gugelethu.  Choose a cut of meat and chefs will braai (barbeque) it for you.
Do you have anything to add to the list?

Special thanks to The South African High Commission in Canada and these great Twitter folks I suggest you follow:















What do you think? Your comments are most welcome.

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