A foodie guide to Cape Town
- Recommended for:
- Food and Drink, Budget, Expensive, Mid-range
From Table Mountain to the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town has a range of mouth-watering food that will keep you returning year after year
Cape Town occupies one of the most breathtaking city locations in the world. Imposing mountains, endless beaches, lush vegetation, fertile winelands and a modern, chic harbour — the city couldn’t look more perfect if it tried. It is one of my favourite cities in the world and although the scenery is truly inspiring, it's the food that really grabs my attention.
You will be spoiled for choice when eating out in Cape Town and if you are a seafood lover, you will be in heaven. You can get every kind of international food here as well as local specialties.
Willoughby & Co in the mall in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront development is a favourite of mine for fresh fish and sushi. The choice is pretty extensive and the prices are relatively low. It also has an oyster bar and a deli selling all kinds of Japanese treats. It’s a handy place to pop into after shopping, or before going to the cinema.
Although not as smart as the V&A Waterfront or the sea-fronted Camps Bay and Hout Bay, central Cape Town has some fine restaurants and cafes. Café culture has well and truly reached Cape Town and a good place to sit and watch the world go by is at Long Street Café (259 Long Street). This trendy, Art-Deco style hang-out is a popular spot for breakfast and also has a great range of deli items to take home too.
Walk a short distance from the city centre into the Signal Hill/Bo Kaap area. Other than a stroll through its pretty streets to admire its brightly coloured houses, this part of Cape Town is often ignored by tourists. This is a real shame, because this is where the Cape Malay cuisine originated from and still thrives today. My recommendation is Noon Gun Tea Room (273 Longmarket Street). There is no specific menu, but the owner will serve up a traditional three-course meal of bobotie, mutton curry and chicken breiany as if you had been invited over for dinner.
For a meal with a view, head to Polana in Kalk Bay harbour. This predominantly seafood restaurant is a little out of the way, but well worth the drive. You can sit in the restaurant area or on the comfy oversized couches and watch the waves crashing into the harbour and tuck into fresh fish that earlier that day was swimming in said harbour. This place isn’t cheap, but it makes a great treat at the end of a holiday.
It seems that most restaurants in Cape Town enjoy world-class views of the Atlantic and/or Table Mountain, but La Med in Clifton (at Glen Country Club on Victoria Road) really makes the most of its beachfront location with outdoor seating and a large terrace. The pizzas here are delectable and they have a broad array of cocktails to choose from too. La Med is my personal favourite for watching the sunset before a night out on the town.
The Codfather restaurant, despite its slightly cheese name, surprised me with some of the best seafood I've ever eaten. Choose your fish from the counter instead of using a menu, or pick up some yummy conveyor-belt sushi for starters. And yet again, you eyes will be spoiled when you look out the window.
South Africans are renowned for their barbecues, known in Afrikaans as braais. Families and friends often get together at weekends, particularly to celebrate special events, and have a ‘bring-and-braai’. Each person brings a different food (steaks, salads, dips, etc) and it is all shared out with lots of beer and merriment. South Africans are big meat eaters, but in Cape Town a lot more seafood is added to the mix, and if you get the chance to get involved with one of these whilst you’re in town I would definitely recommend it. The ‘pap’ that is served with the meat however is somewhat of an acquired taste. It is similar to polenta and is a staple in most sub-Saharan African countries, but I have to admit, it isn’t my top pick of South African food. A popular spot to braai is Maiden’s Cove, where you can mix with locals and maybe pick up some cooking tips whilst admiring the view of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles mountain range.
And to drink...
Wine is also tip-top in Cape Town. The Stellenbosch wine region surrounding the city produces some of the best wine in South Africa and world-famous new world wines. If you are into your wine, then I would advise taking a tour of one of the myriad vineyards in the area. You will get to try before you buy and the countryside is beautiful.
Where to stay
Southern Sun Waterfront Cape Town
Located just a few minutes (by free shuttle bus) from the V&A Waterfront, the hotel is modern and clean and the breakfast is fantastic, with a great variety of fruit, cereals, hot and cold options. To top it all off, the staff couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful if they tried. Double rooms from around £80 per room, per night. (1 Lower Buitengracht)