Cape Town and Peninsula Restaurants

Cape Town is the culinary capital of South Africa and quite possibly the continent. It certainly has the best restaurants in southern Africa. Nowhere else in the country is the populace so discerning about food, and nowhere else is there such a wide selection of high-quality restaurants. Western culinary history here dates back to the 17th century—Cape Town was founded specifically to grow food—and that heritage is reflected in the city's cuisine and the fact that a number of restaurants operate in historic town houses and 18th-century wine estates.

Cape Town dining today offers a global culinary experience, with Cape chefs showing the same enthusiasm for international food trends as their counterparts worldwide. French and Italian fare has long been available, but with Thai, Japanese, and Pan-Asian influences flooding in, accents of lemongrass, miso, and yuzu have become de rigueur in fine-dining kitchens. Middle Eastern cuisine is finally making some headway, and the Americas have also come to the fore, with plenty of burgers and ribs, and even chicken and waffles popping up on menus these days, not to mention a few South American and passable Mexican eateries. Ubiquitous pan-Asian fare is probably not as good as what you might be used to in major American cities; sushi is also easily found, though largely limited to tuna and salmon, and often prepared with lots of drizzled mayo and sauces. The locavore trend toward organic produce and healthful dishes is also gaining popularity, though attitudes toward vegetarianism in this meat-happy land remain somewhat backward.

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  • 1. Aubergine

    $$$ | Gardens | European

    One of Cape Town's oldest and most consistent fine-dining establishments, Aubergine has a timber-and-glass interior that matches chef-owner...Read More

  • 2. Bistro 1682

    $$ | Tokai | Eclectic

    Named for the year the Steenberg wine estate on which it sits was established, this not-to-be-missed bistro serves dishes intended to be paired...Read More

  • 3. Bistro Bizerca

    $$$ | Cape Town Central | French

    With its superb cuisine and excellent service, diners adore this French bistro located in an old Cape Dutch building on Heritage Square. Using...Read More

  • 4. Hemelhuijs

    $$ | Cape Town Central | Eclectic

    Super-stylish Hemelhuijs is both a showcase for a range of exquisite ceramicware and fanciful lighting, and a centrally located restaurant serving...Read More

  • 5. La Colombe

    $$$$ | Constantia | Eclectic

    Among South Africa's most lauded fine-dining restaurants, La Colombe recently moved its award-winning French-Asian cuisine to a new location...Read More

  • 6. Nobu

    $$$$ | Victoria and Alfred Waterfront | Japanese

    World-famous chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa's exceptional contemporary Japanese cuisine with a South American twist may be costly by local standards...Read More

  • 7. Olympia Café

    $$ | Café

    This tiny Kalk Bay landmark with its mismatched tables and open kitchen is much beloved by locals as a super-casual destination for consistently...Read More

  • 8. The Foodbarn

    $$$ | Noordhoek | French

    Very probably the best restaurant on the Cape Peninsula, the aptly named Foodbarn serves French-influenced cuisine in a rustic and relaxed setting...Read More

  • 9. The Greenhouse

    $$$$ | Constantia | Eclectic

    Wondrous culinary magic happens at this conservatory-like dining room overlooking the beautiful gardens of the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel. The cuisine...Read More

  • 10. The Pot Luck Club

    $$$ | Woodstock | Eclectic

    A playful and inventive tapas-style venture from Cape Town star-chef Luke Dale Roberts, this hip eatery on the sixth floor of an old silo is...Read More

  • 11. The Test Kitchen

    $$$$ | Woodstock | Eclectic

    Star chef Luke Dale Roberts put South Africa on the culinary map when he opened this deceptively casual-looking eatery in Cape Town's trendy...Read More

  • 12. 5 Rooms

    $$$ | Constantia | European

    Located in a grand old manor house, this gorgeous restaurant serves many of the usual Euro fine-dining suspects, but in a setting that is anything...Read More

  • 13. 95 Keerom

    $$$ | Cape Town Central | Italian

    Chef-owner Giorgio Nava is so passionate about using only the finest ingredients that he catches his own fish and farms his own beef. Diners...Read More

  • 14. Azure

    $$$ | Camps Bay | Eclectic

    Although Azure's blue-and-white nautical-theme decor may feel a bit outdated to some, the restaurant's jaw-dropping sea and mountain views are...Read More

  • 15. Belthazar

    $$$$ | Victoria and Alfred Waterfront | Steakhouse

    Boasting one of the largest selections of wines by the glass (about 100) in the land, Belthazar is also recommended for its consistently good...Read More

  • 16. Birds

    $$$ | Cape Town Central | Eclectic

    This charming and centrally located café draws diners with simple but exquisitely rendered food in a soothing setting of exposed brick and blond...Read More

  • 17. Black Sheep Restaurant

    $$ | Tamboerskloof | Eclectic

    The menu at this relatively new but instantly popular Kloof Street eatery focuses on a small regular menu of comfort fare mixed with an ever...Read More

  • 18. Bombay Brasserie

    $$ | Cape Town Central | Indian

    Turning the old Reserve Bank Building into a scene of fantastical opulence with ornate, handblown glass chandeliers, lots of dark wood, and...Read More

  • 19. Café Roux

    $ | Noordhoek | Café

    Easy eating in a family-friendly atmosphere doesn't get much better than this. Sit outside or in, and enjoy the lively outdoorsy scene populated...Read More

  • 20. Caffe Neo

    $ | Mouille Point | Mediterranean

    You'll pay more for a sandwich here than you should have to, but excellent lighthouse and sea views from the balcony and free Wi-Fi are the...Read More

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