What restaurants in Cape Town are not to be missed?


Aug 8th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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What restaurants in Cape Town are not to be missed?

I will be in Cape Town in mid-September before starting the safari part of our trip. What restaurants are highly recommended? We will be staying near the V & A waterfront area and will not have a car. We prefer local cuisine and would like to walk if possible.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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Even without a car, you can get around using Rikki's or taxis -- it's all very cheap.

I'm not sure what sort of cuisine you're looking for, but you might want to check out the local reviews on eatout.co.za -- it's a great resource.

There are some places on the waterfront which get very good reviews (Emily's, one.waterfront), but to be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed -- the food was well prepared and inexpensive, but nothing really special. The food at Emily's and one.waterfront seemed very European in style and presentation, when I wanted something more locally flavoured. Harrie's Pancakes is good for a snack, however.

Ginja, an Asian/African/Indian fusion place (it all works better than you'd think) was excellent. For a fun evening, try the Africa Cafe on Heritage Square -- it's a Cape to Cairo journey by way of your table. It's a tad touristy, but the variety of African dishes served there was great. There are some lovely cafes in the De Waterkant area as well.

If you don't mind going further afield, the Cape Malay Restaurant serves an excellent rendition of the eponymous local cuisine in Constantia.

Julian Asher
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Aug 8th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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Baia within waterfront = elegant restaurant, reasonably expensive (for Cape Town) but was still a great deal for us coming from London - wonderfully fresh seafood cooked subtly to bring out natural flavours, does a few non seafood dishes (very well) for those in the party not into fish

Willoughby's = casual diner in waterfront shopping centre, popular with locals, inexpensive, good for quick lunch

Madame Zingara's - can't recall address, quirky restaurant both in terms of interior and menu - we enjoyed the food, particularly one of their signature dishes, the chocolate chilli steak. Quite buzzy so not ideal for quiet relaxed dinner - better for a funky night out.

Rooti's - I think this might be a chain - we ate at one near the waterfront gateway to Robben Island. Inexpensive way to try cape malay cuisine - better suited to lunch or snack.

Tides restaurant in Camps Bay - lovely food and if you book a window table, lovely views too. Good fixed price menu deal when we were there.

Moyo at Spiers - great for an evening of entertainment over dinner - food is a buffet and is reasonable though nothing to write home about - if you can get a table up in a tree top platform or right under the BIG tree that's much nicer than tables beneath the main marquee. Singing and face painters and a beautiful fire and candle-lit environment.

Wang Thai - we went to the one in Greenpoint, not far from the Waterfront, a chain of Thai restaurants, actually pretty good.

Harry's Pancake House - also next to the Robben Island Gateway - another great place for a more casual meal - absolutely lovely thick fluffy pancakes with some innovative fillings stuffed inside - and fresh fruitn milkshakes made while you wait too. Very tasty and cheap too.

City Grill in waterfront - fairly boring burger bar and grill - absolutely nothing to write home about - nothing wrong with the food at all but just not what we'd normally go for but we were tired and just plumped for it rather than look for something else.

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Aug 8th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for the tips. By the way, I tried to print this, but am having difficulty. I remember seeing somewhere on this site recently that other people also had a hard time printing. Any ideas??
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Aug 8th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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Lolo, best thing is to click and drag through the text you're trying to print so that it's highlighted.

Then use File> Print and select the option to Print the Selection only.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 11:00 AM
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Biesmelah (sp?) at 2 Wale Street has Cape Malay food and is very inexpensive and provides the type of cuisine that's difficult, if not impossible, to get elsewhere. No alcohol.

The restaurant in Mount Nelson hotel is also excellent.

And Star (I think that's the name) on Long Street.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 12:53 PM
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Hi Lolo12,
We were in Cape Town for a few days in May and also stayed near the V & A.

We ate at One Waterfront and were underwhelmed as they have gotten such good press. The food was good, service marginal and the atmosphere was stuffy.

We had the best dining experience at 95 Keerom which is just a short cab ride from the area you are staying.
The food was outstanding as was the service. The handsome Italian speaking owner was certainly a bonus!

La Petit Tarte in a great spot for breakfast or lunch...they have the most devine pastries. It is right in Waterkant Village.

Another fun spot in Waterkant Village is The Nose Restaurant & Wine Bar.

We also went to the Africa Cafe which was a great place to experience a variety of African food and is a fun but touristy venue.

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Aug 8th, 2005, 04:18 PM
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I have posted part of this mail on the Fodors board before but have now added some new names hence this response to you so as to save you the effort of having to go through the Fodors archives.

If you are looking for a Cape Town fish restaurant my suggestions would be:

Willoughby's in the Waterfront (no pre-booking at this restaurant)

Baia in the Waterfront. (4210935) Excellent fish restaurant and first class dining facility however on the expensive side (by local standards).

The big hidden secret fish place in Cape Town is Tangos (7126631) This is a venue that locals seem to have kept to themselves. You will hardly ever see tourists at this local family type fish venue. It is rather far out of the city center (25 minutes away in Kendall Road) but imho this is the very best fish restaurant in Cape Town. When you are in this restaurant you soon realize that fresh fish is being brought through the door minutes after being caught in the local Kalk Bay harbour. Furthermore if you want to find great varieties of local fish Tangos is the place to eat. My favorite fish that I generally eat at this venue is musslecracker. You will have to go hunting all over Cape Town for to find in another local restaurant serving this delicious fish variety.

If you have a lunchtime restaurant opportunity may I suggest that you stop at Kalkies in the Kalk Bay harbour. Now here’s a real typical Cape Town experience to want to savor with fresh fish being served that was caught on the day in the Kalk Bay harbour. Furthermore you wont find tourists at this venue as it seems to be too down market from the outside so what you finds is that all the locals eat there because it is such a treasure. Try and experience this great culinary experience when in our city.

Btw when it comes to eating fish most establishments will serve you local fish in the form of Cob (Kabeljou, Kingklip (Local to Cape Town, Cape salmon, Yellowtail and if you are lucky Musslecracker. When it comes to the shelled variety of fish you will be able to find crayfish (smaller than American lobster but definitely more substance to the meat and sweeter), prawns (Shrimp in the USA) and maybe giant prawns (prawns in the USA). All in all when it comes to shelled fish I say again be forewarned against being ripped off and DONT think in Dollar terms when ordering, think in Rand terms relative to what you will have already learnt as far a local values are concerned.

You might ask well where do the local eat? Two places where you generally wont find a tourist in sight due to locals booking out the venues are The Bayside Cafe in Camps Bay (438 2650) and Millers Thumb in the Gardens area. (424 3838) Both these establishments are great places to eat at and the reason as to why locals eat at these venues are simple: Great food, excellent prices and wonderful local atmosphere. Be aware that if you dont pre-book you wont get in to these restaurants on week nights as well as weekends.

Theres another interesting new kid on the block in Cape Town in the form of the Caveau Wine Bar & Deli. This is not a full blooded restaurant in that it is a wine bar and meeting place. If you want to meet some friendly locals this is the place to go to in Cape Town. The the wines and snacks are excellent. Great place. http://www.caveau.co.za/

Spicy foods in Cape Town could land you up in many places:

Wangthai is a Thai restaurant that serves very spicy foods.

Zorinas Cafe (4249301) at 172 Loop Street is a little hidden gem. It is actually a take-out venue with a little hidden restaurant behind it. No bookings, just arrive. Unquestionably the best samoosas and curry in town. Only open at lunch times and certainly worth the visit.

The big secret for wonderful spicy food is Bibis (7618635). This is the restaurant I would recommend most of all. Fabulous Indian cooking. Once again this venue is about 25 minutes out of the city centre and is situated in lower Kenilworth This is where our local Hindu community eat and the food is simply out of this world. Fair warning, no alcohol is served or allowed in this establishment.

If you are looking for a quality dining type restaurant take a look at 95 Keerom Street. (4220765) Quite a new place on the block but definitely excellent dining at slightly higher than normal prices. Nice atmosphere too.

If you are looking for wonderful atmosphere then one of the best places to visit is one of the oldest restaurants in Cape Town viz. The Pizzeria Napolitana (4345386). This restaurant has been in Sea Point as far back as I can remember as a school kid growing up in Sea Point. The reason as to why this venue is still around under the same ownership of a third generation of the same original starting out family is that it offers great Italian foods and fish dishes at incredibly reasonable prices with a marvellous atmosphere in the eaterie thrown in too. Till today if one wants to visit this restaurant one generally needs to book about 3-4 days in advance. If you are looking for pasta in the Sea Point area then The Pizzeria (the name by which we all know it in Cape Town) is a great place to visit.

Talking about pasta if you are in the Gardens area there is a new place by the name of "The Pasta Factory" that is well worth visiting. The restaurant is unique in the manner that it operates. The system that this family concern uses is unique and difficult to describe in a mail however rest assured you will be surprised by the pleasant ways of the establishment inclusive of the excellent food. Reasonably priced too. The "Pasta Factory" works on a first come first serve basis. Btw the only reason as to why I am suggesting pasta places is because I have noticed that when visitors travel to Cape Town for lest say 4 nights on one night somebody in the touring group always somehow or other asks for pasta or pizza. Personally I would not advocate this because Cape Town has so much to offer in terms of local foods and especially fish but its a case of horses for courses so just in case you have an interest in pasta I have made the above two suggestions.

Make no error there are many other wonderful restaurants in Cape Town that are well worth visiting. The above restaurants are NOT the normal run of the mill recommendations that will be made in most "eat out book" recommendations. Willoughbys, Baia and maybe 95 Keerom Street could well come in for mentioning in some of the travel books available or possibly by others writing to this page. The restaurants mentioned in my list are the ones that locals frequent and my advice always remains "when in Cape Town do eat what the Capetonians eat".

As a sideline an interesting website where you can see some whacky Cape Town restaurant reviews is at http://brianberkman.com/?ToDo=rest Go read the site and have Brian Berkman entertain you with his foodie writings.

Enjoy our great city when you visit us .

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
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Aug 9th, 2005, 09:01 AM
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Wow - Selwyn, you sure have given me plenty of information. I only wish I was staying in Cape Town longer if no no other reason than to sample the wonderful cuisine. I look forward to the visit to your city.
What kind of weather should I be expecting in mid-Sept?
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