If you are a foodie, Cape Town is the place for you.
South Africa is so fortunate to have some of the best food in the world! The Western Cape has wide open spaces to produce free range meats, and a Mediterranean climate with rich soils to produce the best fruit, wine and veg. Along the coast, the Indian and Atlantic Oceans bring forth a variety of the highest quality fresh seafood. This is a perfect base for artisans & chefs to be creative and make some of the best food, wine and beer in the world. Europeans and Americans are competing to import our excellent fruit, veg, and seafood, and sell it in their supermarkets and restaurants at exorbitant prices. South Africans are so lucky that we can produce all of this on our doorstep.
We are foodies and we love to explore Cape Town and the Winelands in our free time. There is so much to see, taste and explore! Many visitors have limited time to explore Cape Town’s foodie scene. In this blog we’ll narrow it down so you don’t get overwhelmed by the choices. More importantly, we don’t want you to miss any of these amazing foodie highlights while visiting our beautiful part of the world! We want all our guests to experience Cape Town like a local. #Travellikealocal
Cape Town for the Foodie:
All Round Best Restaurant:
Reverie Social Table with Chef Julia. She takes only 18 guests per seating and does an excellent 5 course food & wine pairing evening. She features wines from different local boutique wineries and will give you plenty of detail on why she loves the particular wineries and the wines chosen. All guests sit around one long table, and after a few glasses of wine the conversation starts to flow and makes for a great evening out. Please book in advance, those 18 seats fill up fast.
South Africa has some of the best free-range meats in the world. Nelson’s Eye is an old- school institution that stood the test of time since the 1960’s in Cape Town and is a must0visit for steak and meat lovers. This is not a tourist trap, but also a place where locals go to enjoy a steak. Don’t expect a modern slick restaurant – not much has changed since the 1960’s – but expect great steaks at reasonable prices. I love their T-Bone steak. Also try: Hussar Grill – Camps Bay, Butcher Shop & Grill – Mouille Point.
Sea Breeze Fish & Shell in the famous foodie street, Bree Street. They have a relatively small menu to make sure to only serve the freshest and best sustainable seafood options available. I personally love their fresh Saldanha Bay oysters and mussels paired with a glass of bubbly or a crisp local Sauvignon Blanc. Watch out for their bubbly and oyster happy hours between 5-7 pm certain days of the week. Also Try: Willoughby & Co at the V&A Waterfront for the best sushi in Cape Town. Hidden in the mall, they do not have the best view in Cape Town, but on a cloudy day, do yourself a favour. Try the 4×4 sushi, I also love the seared tuna with peanut chilli sauce. Harbour House in Kalk Bay and at the V&A Waterfront also does great seafood.
Lunch: Chefs Warehouse & Pinchos Wine bar in Bree Street is the best! Excellent local flavours served in this stylish yet casual setting on the famous Bree Street. Owner and chef Liam Tomlin is a Cape Town legend and his restaurants will feature several times in this blog. Stay after lunch and enjoy Local at Heritage Square. Plenty of local foodie and wine offerings. Also try: I’m leaving this open and up to you, just pushing you in the right direction. Explore Bree Street from top to bottom and Kloof Street for some excellent lunch offerings.
Best Bakery & Café:
Jason Bakery in Green Point is a Cape Town favourite. This trendy but causal bakery is a favourite amongst tourist and locals. Enjoy the best and most creative pastries, breads, sandwiches and breakfasts. Popular spot for post-run/cycle coffee and snack and business meetings.
Best Fine Dining:
Potluck Club with a unique setting and stunning views over Cape Town and Table Mountain. Potluck Club is in the top of an old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock – you will not find many places around the world with such a unique setting. They focus on tapas-style sharing plates. They have one of the best wine lists in Cape Town and their cocktails are excellent. Also Try: Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia. Could easily feature in the number one spot above. Excellent food and views to die for. Just because there are no rules I’m also going to recommend: La Colombe (would be no 1 for many) and Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic – both with excellent fine dining & views.
Best Wine Bar:
Culture Wine Bar is a must visit. This trendy, vibey bar was tastefully done by one of Cape Town’s finest chefs Matt Manning. Great wine list with well-informed waiters and staff. Also Try: Publik Wine Bar. Their focus is on organic, natural and sustainable wines. I love this “hipster”-type wine bar.
Best Rooftop Bar:
Again, Cape Town delivers, with such stunning views there’s going to be plenty of rooftop bars and makes for a very difficult choice, but I’m going for Gigi Rooftop Bar at Gorgeous George. Enjoy this Cape Town gem on a sunny afternoon. Great drinks, sunset tunes, great views and even a pool to cool down. Also try: Sky Bar at Grand Daddy Hotel. Cape Town’s original rooftop bar. You can even spend the night in one of their very cool airstream trailers on the roof.
Best Foodie Market:
Oranjezicht City Farm, Granger Bay. This must be one of the best markets in the world. Do your weekly shopping here, you will find only the best and responsibly-sourced produce. From seasonal fruit & vegetables, eggs, olives, breads, cheeses, free range meats, charcuterie, fish, the list goes on. Please go hungry, the food and drink stands can compete with Cape Town’s finest restaurants. This market is only open on Saturdays and Sundays (and some Wednesday evenings in season). Also Try: Old Biscuit Mill – Cape Town’s oldest and original market in the trendy Woodstock. Yes, this market is in an old biscuit mill. The food, drink, and music offerings are tops and definitely worth a visit. Take some shopping bags, the produce is quality and you will want to take a few things home with you.
Best Foodie Tour:
Cape Town foodie private tour hosted by our sister company Cape Food & Wine Tours. Experience the rich history and cultures of Cape Town through food and drink on a one-day foodie experience of the mother city. This is a nice introduction tour to Cape Town. Also Try: If you are traveling solo and a private tour is too pricey, try Eat Like a Local. They have a few excellent group foodie tours showing off all things foodie the mother city has to offer.
This is a close and very difficult call! We can’t live without coffee and Cape Town has so much to offer. I’m mentioning two below, but I can easily extend my list to 20. My final vote goes to Rosetta Coffee on Bree Street in Cape Town. My particularly good mood, slight hangover and their excellent cortado and friendly service on my last visit gave them the edge. They also do a good breakfast. Their roastery is not on site, but at their old location in Woodstock. Also Try: Truth Coffee, voted the best coffee shop in the world by the Telegraph, this is definitely worth a visit when in Cape Town. The steampunk-themed coffee shop built around a vintage coffee roaster is more than just the coffee, this is an experience enjoyed by locals and internationals alike. They also do a great lunch and breakfast.
Devils Peak must be Cape Town’s favourite beer brewery. Enjoy beers in their tap room with excellent brewhouse-style meals. Inquire before you go and you might be able to enjoy some local live music, always goes well with some beers. Also Try: The Beerhall at Woodstock Brew serves excellent beer brewed on-site, also with a brewhouse-style menu.
Son of a Butcher in Sea Point is one of the best butchers in Cape Town. (They also have a stand at the Oranjezicht Market.) Excellent responsibly-sourced meats and deli products. I personally love their pork sausages, whole free-range chickens, Boerewors, dry aged steaks and lamb rumps. Also try: Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. This “hipster” butchery in Woodstock is perfection. You can also drop in for an excellent burger, coffee or craft beer when purchasing your meats.
Local Cape Malay Cooking:
Try Faeeza’s Kitchen in the Bo Kaap. This hidden gem should not be missed by any foodie! Get your hands dirty and enjoy a 2-to-3-hour Bo Kaap cooking experience, or just pop in for lunch and enjoy the local Cape Malay meal of the day. Faeeza is a great host and a Cape Town personality you will remember for years after your visit. Please do not expect gourmet food and a fancy restaurant. You will have lunch at Faeeza’s family home, expect great hospitality and excellent full of local flavour food.
Best Vegan & Vegetarian food:
While we do thoroughly enjoy the occasional vegan or vegetarian meal (especially Chrissy), we don’t have that much experience with strictly vegan/vegetarian experiences in Cape Town. We decided to ask our friend Tara, a fellow foodie who offers vegan cooking classes, for some of her top recommendations.
Best Restaurant: “I would say my top restaurants for plant based options would be Spirit Café (they have branches in town and Constantia) and Nourish’d (they have branches in Kloof Street and Observatory).”
Best Shopping and Eatery: Blue Kiwi Organic Market & Café, Glencairn
Warning: You will come back for more!
Written by: Hendrik Human, owner of Earthstompers Adventures and Cape Food & Wine Tours and author of 50 Travel Tips From a Local – Cape Town
Coming Soon: Cape Winelands for the foodie