If you are in Cape Town as part of an African Safari holiday or business trip, why not visit some of the best restaurants in town. We have sampled the delights and were well impressed. It is an excellent finale to a Safari in South Africa, Kruger Safari, Sabi Sands Safari or further afield. Imagine food, romance, fun and adventure in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities that boasts beautiful beaches, Table Mountain and more.
If you are fortunate enough to be visiting Cape Town in South Africa on business or as part of an African Safari holiday or African safari honeymoon, we can recommend some outstanding restaurants and nightlife spots.
The diversity of food is a reflection of the exciting mixture of cultures in this creative and cosmopolitan city.
Here are some of our favourites.
EATING OUT IN CAPE TOWN
Authentic Italian food meets refined dining in this up-market eatery. The beef carpaccio is the perfect way to kick off the meal, whilst mains include light and delicate home-made pastas served with a range of fresher than fresh sauces and the famous New York-style seared tuna with anchovies, capers, olives and tomatoes. The gelato, in a word, is heaven.
Award-winning chef Herald Bresselschmidt conjures up worldy, sophisticated fare at this elegant eatery where elite ingredients such as truffles and foie gras are never far from the menu. Think melt-in-the-mouth tender ostrich fillet olives with orange and balsamic butter or an opulent rabbit with onion and mustard soubise, truffle infused pea puree and white cabbage. Not to mention the excellent wine list.
Get your people-watching fix in between delicious mouthfuls at this much-loved café/ bar/restaurant. The sushi is in a league of its own, the duck spring rolls are scrumptious and perfectly crisp and the marinated fillet carpaccio paper-thin perfection. The gourmet pizzas are also a must; the Scandinavian does justice to its name with ingredients including Norwegian salmon, grapefruit and caviar.
Owned by husband and wife team Laurent and Cyrillia Deslandes, this bustling bistro serves simple but classic French food. We recommend trying the mushroom a la Greque starter with button mushrooms poached in white wine and lemon juice and served with rosa tomatoes, marinated olives, goat cheese, wild arugala and chives. There is also an impressive wine list with a variety of well-priced international and local South African wines.
Bombay Brasserie, The Taj Hotel
For an exotic culinary adventure, visit the Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Hotel. Chef Harpreet Kaur is a master of nuanced Indian cuisine. Try the apricot and potato cake with tamarind chutney, circled with yogurt, or a savory dish of slow-cooked lamb shank in a saffron curry – and be sure to pair your choice with local wine to highlight hidden flavors. The warm, elegant décor and excellent food make Bombay Brasserie a must.
Buitenverwachting (Wine Estate)
Sporting truly amazing views, this restaurant offers a very popular three-course wine-accompanied lunch menu for a surprisingly humble amount, but if you’re looking to pull out the big guns, go for the tasting menu (in three or five courses) where you’ll be treated to posh nosh including glazed quail with braised chicory, and grilled beef in a bone marrow crust.
With a name like Carne, it is not difficult to guess where chef Giorgio Nava’s passion lies. Even the most jaded meat lover will be impressed with the selection, all organically grown on Nava’s personal farm. The modern space references his Italian roots, with a traditional meat slicer and butcher block tables. Vegetarians should not be dissuaded from visiting: there is a selection of pasta dishes available!
Catharina’s at Steenberg
The elegant interior with its old wooden beams, thick stone walls, starched linens and glittering chandeliers sets the appropriate mood for a spot of fine dining. The fare is South African inspired but classic, incorporating favourites like ostrich carpaccio and tartare, Namibian truffle risotto, slow-roasted springbok shank and roasted warthog belly. Topping them all off are myriad sauces, jus, salsas, oils and foams, adding that sophisticated bit of culinary je ne sais quoi.
The Duchess of Wisbeach
Tucked away in Sea Point, the Duchess of Wisbeach is a local gem. The combination of exposed brick columns interspersed with antique pictures creates an airy, casual ambiance and the kitchen takes center stage, so the experience is entertaining and delicious. Enjoy multiple small plates of seafood or excellent steak.
Informal by day and candle-lit cosiness by night, this thatched barn with its lovely old-school stoep serves top-notch global fare without the bank–breaking bill. Reputed chef Franck Dangereux sends the masses salivating with his eclectic fusion cuisine, combined with masterfully inventive sauces. His set three-course winter lunch menus are renowned and feature some of his signature dishes including kofta parcels with harissa, tahina and cumin dipping sauces for starters, and spicy Moroccan lamb cutlets or steak au poivre for mains. The poached quince tarte tatin is amazing if you’re lucky enough to be there when it’s in season.
The Grand on the Beach
Situated on the breathtaking waterfront, this Parisian style café is the first beach café in Cape Town and, with its hip design and tasty eats, is a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal with family, friends or just spend a romantic evening enjoying the magnificent views and warm breeze.
The Greenhouse at the Cellars
Award winning chef Peter Tempelhoff, Executive chef for The Collection by Liz McGrath, has had to create a very special menu for this very special space and as a result sees the introduction of Peter’s new conceptual cuisine. Over the past few months, this Top 10 kitchen team has been hard at work developing an ‘Imagination’ tasting menu, where every dish is a surprise and is sure to leave an impression. Dishes such as ‘Winter Forage’ and ‘Shellfish on a Beach’ will leave you guessing until they arrive at the table. A freshly polished service team at Liz McGrath’s flagship restaurant makes this a very special dining experience!
A welcome addition to the restaurant scene, this action-packed open kitchen serves up an array of delicious pan-Asian tapas dishes including dim sum, sushi, sashimi and tempura in a setting that feels more like a nightclub than a restaurant. To end your culinary journey, we recommend the homemade coconut ice cream and deep-fried crepes filled with caramelized bananas.
The chefs at HQ focus on cooking a single dish to perfection: each night offers a fixed menu of salad, sirloin and chips! The only decision guests need to make is how their steak should be cooked – and whether they want dessert! They also serve a Portobello Mushroom steak for the vegetarians.
Certainly one of the city’s best dining destinations, home to chef George Jardine, this restaurant is well deserving of its culinary accolades. In the time since it opened back in 2006, more attention has been paid to the décor and the addition of drapes to reduce noise and subtle lights has certainly added some intimacy into the city-chic space. The food is as consistently excellent as ever – oysters done a number of ways (think basil with tomato foam or a play on the traditional shallot and vinaigrette) and Jardine’s ever-popular crayfish risotto remain firm favourites for starters, while mains stick with the contemporary twists on comfort food that have become a benchmark. Expect the likes of sweet and smoky warthog belly on congee, rosemary-infused oxtail and velvety soft fillet with shavings of truffle, marrow, Bordelaise sauce and dreamy creamed spinach. For pud, the likes of Grand Marnier soufflé is sure to seduce. The wine list features carefully selected offerings from the star estates as well as the smaller niche farms in the Cape.
Located in a rustic garden on a working wine farm, diners are surrounded by towering palm and oak trees while they feast on French cuisine like artichoke and white truffle risotto. Having achieved an impressive 12th place on the San Pellegrino 50 Best restaurants in the World Awards 2010, it is one not to be missed during your visit.
Tudor-style restaurant building, built in the 1930‟s, has become the home of one of Cape Town‟s best “finer dining” restaurants, offering excellent value for money. La Mouette (The Gull) on Regent Road in Sea Point is named in honour of the noisy landmark of this suburb. The menu has a small selection of dishes, making it relatively easy to choose. Chef Henry Vigar is a passionate chef whose cooking style is modern French-style cuisine with a Mediterranean influence. He has worked at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants and his 6 course Tasting Menu is the best and most reasonably priced in town! Don‟t miss it.
Manna Epicure (lunch only)
Manna Epicure tries to satisfy all of your taste buds – or just those you want to indulge: the menu is divided into sweet, bitter, sour or savory categories and diners can choose food accordingly. Manna is a bustling local hotspot with an innovative approach and a fun and casual atmosphere. Please note that Manna is open only for lunch.
Marco’s African Place
Marco’s is equally popular amongst tourists, with a menu including specialties like Zwelethu’s Favourite Chicken (simmered with onion and peppers) and the pan-African platter of pan-fried springbok, ostrich & kudu fillets. End it with the tongue-in-cheek Group Areas dessert, comprised of white and dark chocolate mousses.
Nobu, One and Only Hotel
Master chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa expands his sushi empire to South Africa at the One & Only Cape Town, and it offers arguably the best sushi on the continent. Unique dishes like toro tartar and mochi ice cream delight loyal fans and newcomers alike.
Reuben’s,One & Only Hotel
This sophisticated brasserie has the same menu as Reuben‟s Franschhoek restaurant, but now you do not have to travel to the winelands to savor some old favourites such as the Slow Braised Onion Soup, Chilli Salted Baby Squid, Double Baked Goats Cheese Souffle and Tart of Blue Rock. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff absolutely great. A true South African experience!
The Roundhouse Restaurant
What was once Lord Charles Somerset’s shooting box has been tastefully renovated into a du jour eatery. Set on the slopes of Lion’s head, diners can take in the Camps Bay vista while making up their minds over what to choose from the modern French menu. For starters you’d well advised to try the citrus-cured salmon with a tempura of mussel and garlic aioli, or the grilled quail. For mains, you’re equally spoilt for choice with options including a mouth –watering roast fillet of beef served with gnocchi, a tomato ginger confit and pinotage jus, or pepper-encrusted tuna, served with prawn risotto and lobster bisque.
Location, location, location – it’s all about the breathtaking panoramic views across the Atlantic Ocean at this restaurant in the Ambassador Hotel, perched as it is above the sea. Floor to ceiling glass windows stretch along the length of the restaurant, and unfold completely to reveal the fresh sea breeze and the sounds of the crashing waves below. Get there early to make the most of the view – around 7:30 in summer, or rather do lunch in winter. Distinguished by classic, contemporary décor, the menu offers simple, approachable, honest food in an easy-dining atmosphere, complemented by an extensive wine list of 70 wines. Be sure to reserve a table by the window.
The elaborate menu at this stylish restaurant offers meals ranging from decadent dishes to signature masterpieces. There is a separate lounge and bar area as well as an outdoor terrace with magnificent views of Table Mountain. We recommend the wharf fillet served with garlic and lemon sauce.
The Test Kitchen
Food lovers and followers of award-winning Cape Town chef Luke Dale-Roberts (formerly at La Colombe) can expect to be thrilled with The Test Kitchen, an exciting new concept in fine dining in the city’s revitalised Woodstock. The 30-seater restaurant provides guests with the option of a casual or more formal dining experience. In the evenings, patrons can enjoy an a la carte menu as well as a five-course and eight-course tasting menu. Alternately, guests can sit at the more casual ‘kitchen bar’ and enjoy food ‘dish-by-dish’, straight from the open kitchen. Signature dishes are ‘sake-steamed scallop with langoustine, cauliflower- stalks, yuzu, limoncello and chive cream’, or Luke’s famous ‘truffle and foie gras egg’. Reservations are essential well in advance
Seafood reigns supreme at this polished Asian eatery. Apart from the excellent sushi and sashimi, the moist and delicate tea-smoked salmon with its lime and shrimp beurre blanc far supercedes its cult reputation. Another fishy favourite is the sesame seed encrusted tuna fillet; which is perfectly complemented by a side serving of sweet-potato chips, thus putting a proudly South African spin on an Asian classic.
FANCY VISITING CAPE TOWN?
We can organise everything from start to finish from flights, accommodation, transfers, car hire, day trips, surprise activities and outings, visits to local charities and recommend the best nightlife spots, restaurants and cafes.