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. 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. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 5 Rooms

    $$$ | Constantia | Modern 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Kyoto Sushi Garden

    $$$ | Tamboerskloof | Japanese

    Elegant and tranquil, this understated eatery near the Kloof Street drag serves pricey but extremely well-executed Japanese fare for dinner...Read More

  • 13. Myoga

    $$$ | Newlands | Asian

    This relaxed but glam eatery in the posh Vineyard Hotel & Spa outside Cape Town attracts well-heeled regulars, who come for chef Mike Basset...Read More

  • 14. Planet Restaurant

    $$$ | Gardens | Eclectic

    The refurbished fine-dining restaurant at the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel, the Planet occupies one of the most glamorous rooms in the city and...Read More

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