Classic French, regional African, bistro-style. From the City Bowl to Constantia, Vredehoek to Sea Point, The Mother City has foods to satisfy all palates.
5. Gold Restaurant, Green Point
What is it: continental African
Described as a taste safari, Gold Restaurant’s menu is built from the cuisines of regional centres, villages, tribes and ethnic groups across the continent. It’s old mixed with new; cutting-edge mixed with traditional. You’ve got the delicately-spiced Zanzibar tomato soup; South African roosterkoek, which are barbecued meat buns; Kenyan mihinidi patties; Cape Malay spicy lamb and ostrich samosas. Atmospherically, the place has all the conviviality of a South African braaivleis, or barbecue party.
4. Pastis Brasserie, Constantia
What is it: French
Think cheese, cured meats, delicious homestyle oddities and a dazzling wine list. Escargot served with a blue cheese dressing. Salmon and kingklip fishcakes, panko-crumbed and fried golden brown. Crumbed camembert, stuff wild mushrooms, creamy chicken livers, duo of mousse. Those of large appetites will enjoy the lamb burger with emmental cheese and truffle aioli. The food aside, Pastis is known for its roster of live acoustic bands. Dine alfresco on the terrace and let the sound swell innocently about you.
3. Hemelhuijs, City Bowl
What is it: a little bit of everything
Hemelhuijs, located in Cape Town central, is a “small oasis” offering “escapism from the hustle and bustle.” Delights, cherry-picked from world-favourite cuisines, include: lime-grilled chicken breast with crayfish cream; grains of paradise-dusted calamari; bobotie ‘frikkadelie’ rolled in cabbage with buttery mash, which is a Mother City speciality. To say Hemelhuijs is fine dining is accurate, but bookings are easily gotten and the vibe is far more relaxed than the kind you’d expect from the world’s michelin-grade elites.
2. NV-80, Sea Point
What is it: modern grill eats, a strong seafood offering, and a touch of provincial France
Sundowners by the sea and premium steaks, lunch or dinner. The chalmar rib eye and t-bone cuts are aged, seared to pink perfection, steeped in carmine juice, and will set you back around $20 (200 rand). Or try the locally-sourced shellfish: the queen prawns, langoustines or lobster. Consider sharing a platter with your special someone over a bottle of Impérial Brut. You’re celebrating, after all, aren’t you?
1. The Woodlands Eatery, Vredehoek
What: pub-style eats you’ll recognise, with a local twist
Vredehoek, located at the bottom of the hulking Table Mountain, is the perfect place for a quaint bistro-style restaurant experience. Here, the foods are crafted for comfort; they’re buttery, cheesy, hearty, and remarkably delicious. The proprietors are best known for their love-infused woodfired pizzas – the best of which may arguably be the lamb pizza, see if we’re wrong – but other favourites, like the peri-peri prawns and pork tacos, draw in locals and tourists year-round. The Woodlands Eatery is no-frills family dining the way you know and love it back home: cheap, accessible, and singularly inviting. They don’t currently have a website, but you can make bookings through Facebook easily enough.