to golden beaches and fertile vineyards, Cape Town in South Africa is an old
pro at capturing people’s hearts. It is also a top city to dine in, whether
you’re after a simple braai or fine dining with a sea view.
Tourists, locals and TV stars love Mzoli’s, a busy butchery serving
Cape Town’s tastiest grilled meat. First buy your meat and ask them to add
their special sauce. Take it to the kitchen to be braaied (barbecued) and then
find a table outside. Drinks are available from nearby vendors, but bring your
own napkins as there’s no cutlery (00 27 21 638 1355; 150 NY111, Gugulethu;
meal from £3).
Sit within arm’s reach of the crashing waves and the buzz of Kalk Bay
harbour at Live Bait, one of the best options in Cape Town for a relaxed
seafood meal. Large windows make the most of the sea view while the interior is
nautically styled, with bright furnishings and striped fabrics. The same
company runs the fancier Harbour House
upstairs and the cheap-eats Lucky Fish takeaway (Kalk Bay Harbour; hake and
Come to the neighbourhood local, Societi
Bistro, to dine in the courtyard garden, with Table Mountain views, or in
the atmospheric, brick-walled and wine-rack covered interior on unfussy bistro
dishes, such as ostrich burgers or tomato fettuccine, all washed down with
local wine or beers that have been expertly sourced. The restaurant also runs
cooking courses, over three or five days (50 Orange St, Gardens; main from £5).
Savoy Cabbage, which first
opened in 1998, remains a great place for inventive contemporary cooking. The
menu changes daily to reflect the produce in season, but it often features
game, such as eland and wildebeest. The artfully battered dining rooms are a
visually stimulating environment ( 101 Hout Ln, City Bowl; closed Sundays;
mains from £8).
Harald Bresselschmidt is one of Cape Town’s most consistent chefs, and Aubergine, his restaurant produces creative
and impeccably realised dishes, such as ostrich tandoori and springbok with
nectarines and foie gras. Aubergine has a lovely terrace, though there’s a
great ambiance inside too, in what was once the home of the first Chief Justice
of the Cape, Sir John Wylde (39 Barnet Street, Gdns; three-course menu from
Overlooking Camps Bay, Roundhouse
is situated in an 18th-century heritage-listed building in wooded grounds. The
menu features local produce, and includes deer loin and freshwater crayfish.
There’s also a tasting menu and vegetarian options. For a weekend breakfast or
lunch, head to the outside terrace, Rumbullion ( Round House Road, The Glen,
Camps Bay ; four-course dinner from £37).
The shady garden setting makes La Colombe at the Constantia Uitsig winery a
relaxing place to dine. British chef Scot Kirton rustles up skilful dishes such
as springbok loin, wild mushroom cannelloni and langoustine salad. The even
more laid-back River Café sits at the entrance to the winery
(Constantia-Uitsig, Spaanschemat River Rd; three-course lunch £17).
Tokara is renowned for
its fine-art collection, excellent chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, as well as
its upmarket restaurant. In summer, sit outside for mountain views and
intricate dishes, such as Korean marinated beef fillet; in winter, cosy up by
the fire with a dessert wine. There’s also a deli – make sure to try the olive
oil made on the estate (Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch; mains from £9).
There’s enough to keep you busy all day at La Motte, a vast estate near Franschhoek.
Taste a shiraz, then sit down for a wine-pairing dinner at Pierneef à la Motte,
with dishes such as rooibos confit pork and braised beef cheek. The restaurant
is named after South African artist Jacob Hendrink Pierneef, and his work is on
display at the on-site museum (Main Rd, Franschhoek, 45 miles from Cape Town;
mains from £10).
British Airways and Virgin
Atlantic fly direct from London Heathrow (from £900); it is often cheaper to fly via a hub in Africa or Europe (from £650,
via Amsterdam). A taxi into the
city from the airport will cost around £15, and all the major car-hire firms
have desks in the airport (from £16 per day). Buses and trains from Cape Town
run to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, to the east of the city and close to the
wine region; or join a guided tour.
Where to stay
Adheena and Yoann are the welcoming South African-French couple who run
the charming La Rose b&b. It is
beautifully decorated and has a rooftop garden with views of Bo-Kaap, a central
neighbourhood full of brightly painted houses (32 Rose St, Bo-Kaap; from £55).
Daddy Hotel’s star piece is its penthouse suites housed in seven vintage
Airstream trailers decorated by artists. The regular rooms are also playful and
reference South African culture (Long St, City Bowl; from £95, trailer £135).
Camps Bay Retreat, in the grand
Earl’s Dyke Manor, is set in a secluded nature reserve with views of Table
Mountain. Rooms in the Deck House are reached by rope bridge over a ravine (7
Chilworth Rd, The Glen; from £180).
The article 'Mini guide to eating in Cape Town' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Traveller.