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rachelnyc04 Mar 29th, 2011 04:05 AM

South Africa help - Cape town & wineland restaurants, etc
Hi - my husband and I are taking a trip to South Africa next month and could use advice on activities, restaurants, bars of interest in the locations we'll be.

3 nights at Lion Sands River Lodge
2 nights at Franschhoek Country House & Villas
4 nights at One and Only Cape Town

So far we have only booked a day-long wine tour with horseback riding for one of the days in the wine lands. I have never been to Cape Town and would love advice on cool restaurants, bars, recommended areas to explore. We are young and are city people, but also looking to find good deals as we are splurging on the accomodation

Thanks for any advice!

Lifeman Mar 29th, 2011 05:07 AM

Mpost of the eating in Cape Town seems to be concentrated in the V & A Waterfront. There are lots of nice restaurants and bars there. If you get to Stellenbosch, try The Big Easy, which is Ernie Els's restaurant there.

cindyeo Mar 30th, 2011 01:47 PM

I just got back, loved Cape Town. We stayed in Camps Bay, although my husband wanted to stay at the One and Only. We hired a driver for the day and drove down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Stunning scenery. Stopped for lunch on the way back at the Black Marlin, very nice outdoor dining overlooking the sailboats on the Indian Ocean. Had a nice Italian dinner one night at the V&A waterfront at Meloncina, then met my daughter's school group at Mama Africa's to taste some of the local meat another night. It's on Long St, which our taxi driver said was like Bourbon St in New Orleans, which it was the night we were there because there was a parade. Not sure if it always is, but that night it was a happening place.

Grcxx3 Mar 30th, 2011 02:02 PM

We have eaten at several of the restaurants at the V&A Waterfront. I will try to come up with names for you.

We also enjoyed a fabulous lunch at La Petit Ferme in Franschoek. The restaurant at Le Quartier Francais in Franschoek is also supposed to be good. We stayed there, but only ate breakfast.

Grcxx3 Mar 30th, 2011 02:21 PM

Okay - checked out some places at the V&A Waterfront.

We loved Belthazars! We also ate at Balducci's and it was good but not our favorite. On both our trips we have enjoyed the good food/casual environment of Quay Four.

I know we ate at some other places, but these are the ones that come to mind.

justin73 Mar 31st, 2011 02:38 AM

Strangely enough I have found hotel restaurants to be the most impressive during my stay in Cape Town. Not to mention, if you are staying at that hotel, having a few bottles of wine can make dinner that much more great!

braaiseason Apr 1st, 2011 07:37 AM

I have also been to the Black Marlin very good, if in Simon's Town don't forget to check out the penguins at Boulders Beach & there is a TV programme coming soon on ITV with Bill Bailey on the baboons that co-habit along this peninsular.

Kalkies in Kalk Bay has the best fish & chips imo !

dutyfree Apr 2nd, 2011 08:53 AM

Do you have a car? If not I have the BEST guide that my fellow airline flight attendant use when we were in Cape Town.

ekscrunchy Apr 3rd, 2011 03:01 AM

I wrote a lot about food in my report from 2007; I also stayed at Lion Sands, and in Cape Town and Franschhoek:

ronaldmaurice Apr 4th, 2011 12:24 PM

Check out the Opal Lounge restaurant on Kloof street.Voted 3rd best on Trip advisor.We had a memorable meal there in sumptuous surroundings.Definitely worth the splurge.i was told the chef had spent some time at Clridges in London but was South African and returned home.Evidently spent a whole load of money on the interior decor.We would have gone back again but didnt have time.Another place to check out is the seafood restaurant inside the V and A waterfront.It is frequented by the locals and not often mentioned in the guide books.Both service and quality of all the meals we had in South Africa were of a surprisingly higher standard than we anticipated

kellyee21 Apr 5th, 2011 02:02 AM

My boyfriend who has been working the past month in Cape Town just told me yesterday that the Opal Lounge was his favorite restaurant there. He is french and picky so it must be good, LOL. I am joining him down there and plan to go. I have been going over a lot of menus (I'm vegetarian and picky) and I really impressed by the veggie options at a lot of places. Also the prices seem really cheap compared to what we pay in France.

Has anyone eaten at Signal in the Cape Grace ? They have a vegan tasting menu that looks wonderful.

MyriamC Apr 5th, 2011 11:52 AM

If you like seafood, Baia on the V&A Waterfront is very good.
We also enjoyed Jakes on Summerley in Kenilworth, a Cape Town suburb.
Morituri has the best pasta and pizza. It's on the Main Road (M4) in Claremont-Cape Town.

VanessaHobson Apr 6th, 2011 04:40 AM

There is a great restaurant discussion by local Capetonians here:

Here is a list of some of my personal favourites:

L'Ormarins (My favourite wine farm of the moment. I am slowly making my way through them all... it’s a difficult job but one to which I am very committed!)

Another great winery is Fairview - just outside Paarl in the winelands. Lovely cellar for wine tasting, and The Goatshed is great for lunch - fresh baked breads, cured meats and cheeses all produced by Fairview estate.

An unusual activity: Walk with Baboons (An incredible experience, you will learn so much and I think will be a humbling and memorable experience)

Boo Radley (My favourite watering hole in Cape Town)

Restaurants in Cape Town - now that's hard, there are so many!

Here are some of my personal favourites:
1. Wakame - great sea views, good seafood and sushi (
2. Beluga - also great sushi and they have a half-price special on sushi and cocktails until 7pm (
3. La Colombe - it's just been rated no. 12 in the top 50 restaurants in the world (
4. Any of the pavement cafes in Camps Bay for sundowners and tapas. (Cafe Caprice, Sand Bar, Tuscany Beach, Bayside Cafe - all good)
5. The Foodbarn in Noordehoek - a little out of the way, but fantastic food (
6. Five Flies - In the city centre - great for getting a taste of the local cuisine (
7. 95 on Keerom - Authentic northern Italian, great food, and very hands-on chef (
8. Wild Woods - in Houtbay,
9. Jardine - Also in the city centre, good atmosphere, international and South African cuisine. (
10. Societi Bistro - as above.
11. Carne - - excellent meat – same chef as 95 Keroom focusing on excellent South Africa meat.
12. Kitima - Hout Bay, excellent thai cuisine -

For a more casual dining experience:

rachelnyc04 Apr 8th, 2011 12:40 AM

Wow that was so helpful! For some more info, we do not (yet) have a car rented there, but it sounds like from the some the suggestions that it might be worth it for the Cape Town part of the trip to get to more out of the way areas and see the Point. I am just going to print these pages and bring with me! Thanks also for the trip report post, that will be very helpful!

VanessaHobson Apr 8th, 2011 06:26 AM

Hi Rachelnyc04,

I would encourage you to hire a car in Cape Town. It is such a beautiful city, but it is quite spread out - particularly if you want to go to the Peninsula etc.

Get an automatic car - if that is what you are most comfortable with - it is a little bit more expensive than a manual car - but only a bit and it does make it easier when you are not too sure where you are going.

Hire a GPS with the hire car as that is also very helpful.

Obviously like any city in the world - be aware of what is going on around you, plan your route before you leave, get directions from the hotel/guest house you are staying at, tell them where you are going and what time you expect to be back or phone your next destination with an estimated time of arrival.

Also you can hire a cell/mobile phone with the car for added peace of mind. I believe the phone is actually free and you just pay for any calls you make.

Having your own car allows you to be spontaneous and plan your day according to the weather.

ekscrunchy Apr 8th, 2011 07:17 AM

I would certainly get away from the Waterfront for dining.

If you would like, I can recommend a fabulous guide for day touring. His name is Charlie Ratcliffe and he is, hands down, the best guide I have ever experienced in all of my travels. You can book him through this agency; they were responsible for my own fantabulous visit to SA, Botswana, and Victoria Falls a few years back. They have an 800 number so you can call with no charge from NYC.

rachelnyc04 Apr 13th, 2011 12:19 AM

thanks for the added advice! im actually in london, but will definitely have a look at charlie's website, thanks very much :)

i hope the safety is not something that's going to intimidate me out of enjoying the visit - i have heard a fair amount of precautions from other visitors and a few local friends we have. i'm used to big cities, but never been to cape town.

ekscrunchy Apr 15th, 2011 03:02 AM

From one New Yorker to another:

You have nothing to worry about in Cape Town. When you park the car, there will be locals who will offer to watch it; I do not know the exact protocol because Charlie (see above) drove us everyplace, but a local will be able to give you some advice on that.

Jacki_Gilmore Apr 15th, 2011 06:53 AM

Hi, I'm a Cape Townian.

The easiest way is to hire a car with a GPS - most of the car hire companies have this option, and its not ridiculously expesive. I read a post about the locals watching the cars. We call them 'car guards', and unless they are wearing an official uniform (a high visibility bip does NOT count as an official uniform), DON'T TIP THEM, they are merely beggers and you are feeding their drug/alcohol habits. The ones with uniforms you should tip R5. This seems very obvious, but people still do it, don't leave valuables in sight in the car - this includes items of clothing.

Most of the wine farms have extremely good restaurants. Terroir on Kleine Zalze is a renowned upmarket South African restaurant just outside Stellenbosch on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.

The obvious sites would be Table Mountain and the Waterfront, but the Company Gardens with the houses of parliament, the presidential residence, the National Library and the Planetarium is also a very nice quiet place to go, especially on a Sunday. You can buy peanuts to feed the squirrels, or just sit on a bench and look at the people.

The nightlife on Long Street is also something to experience, but be careful to walk around in the city after dark - keep to busy places. Just use common sense, I've lived here for 25 years and I haven't even been mugged!!

A Township tour is also a good idea, but only go on organised tours by well-known official operators, and of course not after dark.

I hope you enjoy your stay!!

SteviSquaw Apr 15th, 2011 11:13 AM

If you are able to stop at the Black Marlin, I also highly recommend it. I had a wonerful 4 hour long dinner there for a friend's 40th birthday and the service was superb along with the wine and the food.

Definitely get a car as you will want to visit all of the wonderful areas in CT. You're already going to wine country. I did a wine tasting day there that, frankly, I don't remembber much off - too much tasting and not enough eating! But I did ship 2 cases of wine home.

I agree with Long Street in CT is great as well as mentioned by Jacki. I was with old friends that live there and we had no problems either and had a great time.

Simonstown where the penguins are is something to see as well. So much to do....add another week! <grin>

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