Best Restaurants Cape Town and Winelands


Oct 24th, 2011, 04:03 PM
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Best Restaurants Cape Town and Winelands

So, we have 4 nights in Cape Town and 2 in the Winelands. What are the best restaurants to go to? We have booked LQF (Tasting Room) for one night in the Winelands, but otherwise are pretty open. Thinking about La Colombe for one of the nights in Cape Town.

Thanks for your help.
travelgourmet is online now  
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Oct 24th, 2011, 04:23 PM
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We loved the Opal Lounge on Kloof Street in Capetown. It was the highlight meal of our South Africa trip.
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Oct 24th, 2011, 09:43 PM
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Opal Lounge was my favorite too. I didn't get to eat at La Colombe but it is on my list for next time. We did do a wine tasting there and that was excellent. Roundhouse was also very very good. My partner just got back from a trip and his new favorite is Jordan in Stellenbosch, great food, great views. For something a little different, you might like to consider Fork. Tapas but not your ordinary tapas (you can do a search for their menu online).
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Oct 25th, 2011, 03:00 AM
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If you want excellent food and good service, combined with a breathtaking setting right on the beach, then go to Fish Hoek Galley Restaurant. The town of Fish Hoek is 20 minutes from the center of Cape Town. Check it out on the web, it even has a live webcam. Enjoy!
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Oct 25th, 2011, 03:18 AM
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Fish Hoek is more than 20 mins from the centre of Cape Town, more like 40 mins, I used to live here.

Kalk Bay is lovely & superb for fish even better than Hout Bay.
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Oct 25th, 2011, 07:00 AM
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fwiw, the Tasting Room was one of the best meals we've ever had in our lives. So jealous you have that to look forward to!
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Oct 25th, 2011, 08:02 AM
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I really liked Ryan's kitchen which is right next door to LQF. You could have a dinner there and they cook in front of you. Unlike Ruebens, Ryan is still the chef and on site. I have sent clients to Ruebens for years but recently they have not been "wowed".

I had lunch at La Petit Ferme and also at LQF recently (August 2011) and they are good choices. I think La Motte wine estate (2 miles out of town) has a great lunch and you can never go wrong with any meal at LQF including the tasting room experience which I did in 2008. Pam, from our office, is in Cape Town right now and I am getting an update from her today on new restaurants. When I was in Cape Town with my wife and teenage daughters this past summer we ate at D'Vincis, Saigon, and Masons all on Kloof Street. I also love Baia for seafood at the waterfront. I will get a report from Pam on Pigales. We had a group of 120 customers there 2 nights ago. We have sent a lot of clients there in the past but I have not eaten there.

I always drive to Camp's Bay, park the car, and walk around to the restaurants. There are at least 30 choices on the main road for a great lunch. Very crowded so perhaps avoid 1130-1pm.

La Clombe and Constantia Uitsig are great choices on the back side of Tabel Mt.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Nov 11th, 2011, 06:05 AM
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I just came across this and it piqued my interest.

We travel to Cape Town at least once every year and the comparitive lack of top quality restaurants is a particular bugbear of ours (probably the only we have about Cape Town).

There's still a tendency...even amongst the 'top' restaurants...of going for quantity over quality, simply because that's what South Africans have traditionally expected. The huge influx of tourists recently seems to have improved things though, and things are changing gradually for the better.

Our last visit took us to
- Aubergine, which was excellent and which has a top class (if very expensive) wine list.

- Planet at the Mount Nelson. Almost surprisingly (considering it's a hotel restaurant) very, very good. Extremely tasty food and good service. A poor cheese board though which was disappointing.

- The Savoy Cabbage. A bit of a let down. Casual disinterested service, no atmosphere, and bland food. Maybe it was just a bad night.

- Buitenverwachting. Haha. Tremendous wine and interesting, tasty food. We made the mistake though of ordering the 5 course 'tasting menu', thinking it would be a 'tasting menu'. It isn''s 5 enormous portions of food.
By the 3rd course we were ready to explode. Such a basic mistake, because it has a delicious menu....but come on, stop pandering to quantity.

- Nobu. Busy, touristy, hurried, kids running around. Not the place for a romantic tete-a-tete (if that's what you're planning). The O&O is well worth popping into for cocktails though..

- Grand Provence (Franschhoek)...the most beautiful setting, and excellent food. Well worth the journey and usually a bit quieter than LQF.

While in Franschhoek we picnic lunched at Solms-Delta, which was truly excellent. The restaurant looked fabulous as well so we'll be back next time around to try it out...

Also on our list for February are the highly rated Overture, and The Roundhouse at Camps Bay.

It's definitely getting there slowly but surely, is Cape Town. Just keep it going and get rid off the owners and chefs who think style over substance means good doesn't !!
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Nov 11th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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Clear favorite in Franschhoek with our guests is Le Bon Vivant. Ryan's kitchen, Solms Delta and Mon Plaisir (great views and not as crowded as LPF) are also recommended. Enjoy your visit to our beautiful valley.
bernie (La Fontaine guest-house, Franschhoek)
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Nov 11th, 2011, 10:15 AM
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I agree with Mac on Solms Delta, their picnics are awesome, great venue to match a great basket of eats.

In the Cape I suggest Myoga in the suburb of Claremont, it is located at the Vineyard Hotel. Simply outstanding food and exceptional value (where the locals eat too).

In Stellenbosch, venture out to Jordan Restaurant at the Jordan wine estate.

Have a look at for some other reviews.
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Nov 13th, 2011, 06:26 PM
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So nice to hear that Buitenverwachting is still a good restaurant. we had a lovely lunch there in February 1992 that was absolutely delicious, and the wine was superb. What a good memory you brought to mind!
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Nov 18th, 2011, 06:31 AM
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Some updates from South Africa...

Highlight meal so far is Test Kitchen. Wow. One of the best meals of the year, up there with noma, Geranium, Momofuku Ko, and Joel Robuchon. Hear reservations are getting tough to come by and with good reason.

Enjoyed Opal Lounge. Good service and good food. Menu was a bit dated, though. Not a bad thing, per se, but not the most current restaurant. Still, the duo of pork cheeks was darn tasty.

Baia was quite nice. Well prepared seafood and in a nice location in the V&A Waterfront. Eager, competent staff, which seems to be the norm in much of SA and is a refreshing change from the very hands off approach we see in Denmark.

Beluga and Sevruga are two sides of the same coin (ate at Beluga for pleasure and work colleagues took my wife to Sevruga). Good food, but nothing special. They should pare the menu and be a little more focused, but the food was tasty enough and the service was welcoming.

Had lunch at Reubens in Franschoek. I thought it was good. Enjoyed the deep fried quail and their calamari was fantastic. A very, very good modern bistro. Not sure whether dinner aims for something more than that, but as a bistro, it is excellent.

Agree, however, on the quantity over quality points made above. Well, maybe not quality exactly, as the food was good enough most places, but not a lot of real innovation (save Test Kitchen). They are a bit beholden to the market, though. We were talking with the sous chef at Test Kitchen about the portion sizes in SA and how we were absolutely stuffed after the 10 courses (plus amuse bouche, palate cleanser, and pre-dessert) they trotted out. He said that they have some customers complain that they don't have big enough portions!

All in all, the food has been good to great. Going to Rust en Vrede tonight and LQF Tasting Room tomorrow. Will report back with thoughts on these two. Honestly, they have a lot to live up to after Test Kitchen.
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Jan 12th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Great post! If anyone still out there interested in the following:

Cape Town - we're thinking Test Kitchen over La Colombe. Thoughts? What's your view on our other night in Cape Town? We were thinking Savoy Cabbage but have seen several reviews similar to comment above and 95 Kerroom looks cool but the US has a lot of great Italian. We are staying at the Bay Hotel but not opposed to a taxi ride for dinner.

Franschhoek we're going to do the Tasting Room one evening. I was all set on Ryan's Kitchen for our other night but then concerned it was too gimmicky. While I appreciate creativity in a chef I'm all about the food and don't want the gimmick to overshadow the cuisine. This made me lean towards Le Bon Vivant. We are also doing lunch at Franschhoek Kitchen.

Appreciate the advice.
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Jan 12th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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One other question....what is dress code for all of these? Most say no dress code but what would you feel comfortable wearing? I would prefer to just wear dark slacks and a collared shirt as don't want to pack a sport coat since we also have to bring along safari clothing.
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Jan 16th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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The opal Lounge for a splurge and Millers thumb for a regular meal.We would have visited the Opal Lounge more than once if we had had time.Willoughbys for seafood in the V and A waterfront is fabulous for seafood and very popular with the locals(usually a good sign)
We were very impressed by the culinary standards and value and service everywhere we had meals in Capetown
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Jan 16th, 2012, 09:41 PM
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TJ - while I'm sure that La Colombe remains a good spot, I thought Test Kitchen was just fantastic. Worth noting that both the chef and sous chef at Test Kitchen manned La Colombe when it was climbing everyone's 'best of' lists a couple of years ago.

For Franschoek, I liked Tasting Room, so definitely a keeper. Also really enjoyed Rust en Vrede, but it is a hike from Franschoek. Probably too far, which detracted from the experience.

As for dress, I did not go to any restaurants where I would not have been comfortable in jeans and a decent shirt. Jeans and a t-shirt would have been fine at Test Kitchen and the more casual spots.
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Jan 17th, 2012, 07:13 AM
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Great advice all and very helpful travelgourment. We are all booked at the Test Kitchen and Tasting Room. For our other night in Cape Town, any thoughts on a really good food spot with nice ambiance but a more casual menu? A lot of the restaurants seem casual in vibe but pretty formal menus/ food. Im thinking it sounds like a lot of rich food and we may want to go casual menu one evening (great sushi or just something on the basic side).
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