Tired of tourist-trap eateries when travelling? 'Eat like a local' guides point you towards fab, friendly, foodie local hangouts. First up: Cape Town, gastronomic capital of South Africa…
Cape Town is renowned as having some of the best cuisine in South Africa. It's a city like no other - where in one day you can have a proper English breakfast in a rose garden, lunch in a vineyard, champagne cocktails on board a catamaran at sunset, and dinner on top of a skyscraper! Whatever your tastes, Cape Town won't fail to disappoint...
Breakfast is apparently the most important meal of the day, and there are some fab spots to give you your required nutrients... Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay overlooks the ocean and serves freshly baked croissants, brioches and pastries made on site. Their food is seasonal and the menu changes daily, so you can go back over and over again! Try their basil, camembert and roasted veggie omelette with a frothy cappucino... heaven. They get VERY busy and you can't book, so join the queue and enjoy the view!
For those with a bigger budget, or who want to spoil themselves, the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay does a wicked brekkie too. For your money you get a really different continental selection (including whisky-laced porridge - yum!), a fantastic hot menu with different kinds of Eggs Benedict (my favourite!) and local sausages, as well as unlimited fresh Knysna oysters and local sparkling wine. What a great way to start the day! And the view is something else... a fab sundowner spot too.
Lunch may be a squeeze after such fantastic breakfasts, but I'm sure you'll squeeze some in! First on my list of lunchtime favorites is Morgenhof wine estate in Stellenbosch - built in 1692 and set in a wooded valley, the estate is famous for its award-winning Bordeaux blend as well as its reasonably-priced quaffers. The food is lovely - think poached salmon on wasabi mash, grilled lamb cutlets with minted peas and fresh, crisp salad greens - but if all you fancy is a cheese platter and a glass of Chardonnay, you can have that too. Very popular for weddings (mine included!!), the estate is a tranquil and traditional wine farm that makes a wonderful stop on a tour of the Winelands. And did I mention the free wine tastings???
Next stop for lunch-hungry folk is Banana Jam Cafe in Kenilworth. Cheap and cheerful, and staffed with student waitresses, it caters for the young-at-heart crowd who don't mind multi-coloured cocktails and Bob Marley blaring from the speakers. Their feta, olive and prawn pasta is lovely, and their Jerk Chicken goes particularly well with a rum and Coke...
Sunsets are best enjoyed outdoors, and Cape Town locals often have a snack or two over a glass of something tasty while the sun goes down. Popular places include La Med in Camps Bay - cheap pizza, gorgeous bods and the sun setting over the Atlantic.
Or take a catamaran from the otherwise touristy V&A Waterfront and get up close & personal with some whales while you sip your bubbles.
On a Sunday in summer, every local in the know heads for Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where there are live concerts as the sun goes down. Take a picnic or buy one there, eat cheese and drink fabulous South African wine to a range of music genres from rock to classical and Glenn Miller.
Dinner opens up a huge variety of gastronomic possibilities. Too many to mention them all, so here are a few of my favorites...
Monday night is all-you-can-eat sushi night at Saul's Sushi @ Vegas in Sea Point - for less than a tenner you can gorge yourself on freshly prepared sashimi, nigiri, california rolls and miso... they have some really different rolls to try - think ostrich and avocado, blue cheese and biltong, or crispy salmon skin... try them all!
For fabulous burgers, the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice in Bree Street is the schizzle... not only is the hotel worth a peek just to see the decor (think ski lodge meets Monty Python in Alice's Wonderland!!) but the gourmet burgers are just sublime. The Salmon one especially so - fresh salmon i sflaked and made into a patty, served on home baked ciabatta with red onion relish and wasabi mayo... ooh er! They also have the best range of chocolate milkshakes in town - from Lindt chocolate to Mars Bar and everything in between.
If a special lady deserves a special dinner, take her to La Colombe. A French restaurant on the famed Constantia Uitsig wine estate, it's the next best thing to dining in Provence. The cuising ranges from poached tuna with tarragon hollandaise and asparagus, to confit of duck in a red wine reduction... The sauces are particularly excellent - a real find in the suburbs of Cape Town! Ask for the table "69" in the garden - it's set in a private rose bower with fairy lights and candles - perfect for a romantic evening a deux.
Finally, no trip to Cape Town would be complete without at least one visit to the locals' favorite hangout... The beach!! Anytime of day is great, to take a picnic and a bottle of bubbles (decant it if you can - public drinking is not allowed but the police turn a blind eye if you're discreet) and check out the views.
See you soon with my "Eat like a Local" guide to the Garden Route!