Cape Town Restaurants
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Cape Town Restaurant Reviews
Cape Town is the culinary capital of South Africa. Nowhere else in the country is the populace so discerning about food, and nowhere else is there such a wide selection of restaurants. Western culinary history here dates back more than 350 years—Cape Town was founded specifically to grow food—and that heritage is reflected in the city's cuisine. A number of restaurants operate in historic town houses and 18th-century wine estates, and many include heritage dishes on their menus.
Today dining in the city and its suburbs can offer a truly global culinary experience, since Cape chefs are now showing the same enthusiasm for global trends as their counterparts worldwide. French and Italian food has long been available here, but in the last decade, with the introduction of Thai and Pan-Asian flavors, locals have embraced the chili. Kurdish, Pakistani, Persian, Ethiopian, Lebanese, and regional Chinese cuisines are now easily available, and other Asian fare is commonplace. Sushi is ubiquitous. If there is a cuisine trend it is toward organic produce and healthful dishes made with foams rather than creams.
Wine lists at many restaurants reflect the enormous expansion and resurgence of the Cape wine industry, with some establishments compiling exciting selections of lesser-known gems. More and more restaurants employ a sommelier to offer guidance on wine, but diners, even in modest establishments, can expect staff to be well versed about both wine lists and menus. Wines are expensive in restaurants (often three times what you'd pay in a wineshop), and connoisseurs are often irritated at corkage charges (around R25). Only a handful of restaurants will refuse to open a bottle you bring, often the same ones that refuse to provide tap water despite its being perfectly potable.
Timing and What to Wear
During summer months restaurants in trendier areas are geared up for late-night dining but will accept dinner orders from about 6. In winter locals tend to dine earlier, but there are venues that stay open late, particularly at the Waterfront and the strip along the main road between the city and Green Point. Other areas that are meccas for food lovers include Kloof Street (dubbed Restaurant Mile) in the City Bowl and the beachfront road in Camps Bay along the Atlantic seaboard. Many restaurants are crowded in high season, so it's best to book in advance whenever possible. With the exception of the fancier hotel restaurants—where a jacket is suggested—the dress code in Cape Town is casual (but no shorts).
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