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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Casa Labia

    $ | Café

    Sitting atop fynbos-covered hills overlooking the magnificent surf, this excellent Italian-inspired café churns out well-priced meals, from...Read More

  • 8. Catharina's

    $$$ | Tokai | International

    Serving excellent, unpretentious fare in an elegantly quirky space with lovely views across the historic Steenberg wine estate, this is a great...Read More

  • 9. Dear Me

    $$ | Cape Town Central | Eclectic

    A leader in the Cape Town locavore food scene, this centrally located brasserie serves delicious fare that you don't have to feel guilty about...Read More

  • 10. Empire Cafe

    $ | Café

    Overlooking Muizenberg's surfers' beach, Empire is a place to come barefoot with sand still between your toes for unexpectedly good food, though...Read More

  • 11. Giovanni's Deliworld

    $ | Green Point | Café

    With floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with everything delicious from French Champagne to truffle oil, Giovanni's is a great place to stock up...Read More

  • 12. La Petite Tarte

    $ | Green Point | French

    This delightful little French-style sidewalk café in the charming and pedestrian-friendly De Waterkant neighborhood above Green Point serves...Read More

  • 13. Mondiall Kitchen & Bar

    $$$ | Victoria and Alfred Waterfront | Eclectic

    Claiming a sweet spot at the V&A Waterfront with fabulous harbor and mountain views, this versatile eatery focuses on updated versions of...Read More

  • 14. Paranga

    $$$ | Camps Bay | Eclectic

    Attracting models and folks hoping to spot celebrities along Camps Bay's beach strip, Paranga is a high-attitude, stylish vantage point and...Read More

  • 15. Sababa

    $ | Cape Town Central | Middle Eastern

    This bright, all-white café on trendy Bree Street is the go-to place for delicious, creative, and relatively healthful Middle Eastern–style...Read More

  • 16. Skinny Legs & All

    $ | Cape Town Central | Café

    Serving delicious, organic fare from breakfast through lunch, this unpretentious yet design-conscious café is a great addition to Cape Town...Read More

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