You can’t go wrong eating out in Cape Town and its surrounding areas. It’s truly a gastronomic delight and by far the best fine dining destination in Africa. My selection ofCape Town’s top 10 restaurants offer a variety of gorgeous locations, where you can enjoy excellent fresh, organic local menus paired with world class wines. Many of the finest restaurants are located in the Winelands, where a four hundred year history of wine making and culinary genius continues to this day.
The Savoy Cabbage, 101 Hout Street, Cape Town
The Savoy Cabbage serves contemporary food that is as free range and organic as is humanly possible. From the “Fish Cakes with Pea Veloute and Smoked Garlic” to the “Rare spiced Kudu Loin with Chestnut Spätzle”, the food is creative, fun and delicious. The menu changes daily, but have a look to get an idea of what’s in store. The restaurant is elegant but not stuffy, with warm brick walls and a good ambiance.
Aubergine, 39 Barnet Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Aubergine serves contemporary food with a lovely blend of Asian and western influences. On the dinner menu, a Rare-Fried Ostrich Fillet in a morel mushroom sauce, sits comfortably next to Medallions of Pork Fillet with lardo flavours fried blue cheese wonton and roccula-tomato sauce. The eclectic menu is paired with excellent wine and good service. The restaurant is cozy and romantic, a perfect place for a date, but also great if you’re just out with friends. Vegetarians are well served here and so is the after work crowd looking for a classy place to have a drink and some light, delicious snacks.
Rust en Vrede, Stellenbosch
Rust en Vrede is consistently rated a top restaurant in the Cape Town area and you will really not be disappointed. The food is contemporary with a classic flair. Locally grown, organic ingredients are used to create dishes like Salmon Trout Mi Cuit, Yuzu Jelly, Apple Caviar, Horseradish, and Ginger Crumble. The four and six-course menus are fantastic, and a very fun way to try as many dishes as possible, all paired with different wines from the estate. The setting in an historic wine estate can’t be beat, especially if you make it for sundown around 6pm. The service is impeccable and the vibe is very relaxed.
The Strandloper, Langebaan
The Strandloper is not so much a restaurant as a jumble of old rowing boats, fishing nets, wind shelters and other flotsam and jetsam that seem to have landed on the beach in a storm. You sit on the sand and you eat. The nameStrandloper comes from Stone Age beachcombers who left evidence of their own beach braais in shell middens all around the coastline. There are 10 courses in all, but no-one announces them, you just get up and help yourself whenever you’re ready. Mussels in white wine, mussels in garlic butter, haarders (mullet), seafood paella, braaied snoek, smoked angelfish, stumpnose bream and kreef. It’s a delicious feast of food and culture.
Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, Franschhoek
The Tasting Room is on San Pellegrino’s list of top 50 restaurants in the world for its fine dining menu, created by Relais & Châteaux Grande Chef — Margot Janse. The dishes are inspired by unique African ingredients, each one offers a delicious surprise to be savored long after the meal is finished. Every tasting plate is served with a complimentary wine. Expect to spend at least three hours here to enjoy each course. The decor is exquisite but the dining is still relaxed with no dress code in place. The grounds of this exclusive boutique hotel are lovely to take a pre-dinner stroll around.
The Roundhouse, Camps Bay, Cape Town
Wonderful views, fantastic ambiance and excellent service round out the remarkable food at The Roundhouse. During the summer you can have lunch al fresco on the terraces of the historic property, while overlooking the sun worshippers enjoying the Camps Bay beach. In the evenings, the Roundhouse offers a wonderful tasting menu, paired with complimentary wines and to die for desserts. The main dining area, The Somerset Room, has glorious panoramic views of the mountains and bays, it’s truly a picture-perfect setting. The dining menu offers contemporary dishes with an Asian/African twist.
La Colombe, Constantia Uitsig, Cape Town
La Colombe has a regular spot on the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants of the World. The executive chef Scot Kirton offers a tasty menu inspired by classic French cuisine with an Asian twist. The gorgeous setting, within Cape Town’s most famous vineyard and overlooking a fountain courtyard, adds to the classy dining experience. The winter special menu is great value (from May – September) and offers diners a chance to sample five different courses for a set price. Signature dishes use local, fresh ingredients and a fantastic wine list makes it all taste even better.
Beluga, Greenpoint, Cape Town
Fish lovers gather at the Beluga for a whale of a time. Beluga is one of Cape Town’s most established seafood restaurants. The sushi, dim sum and sashimi get top marks, and the lamb shank is excellent as well. This is a popular restaurant with lots of energy, so if you’re looking for quiet romantic evening, maybe not your best bet, (check out Servuga, the sister restaurant instead). The bar buzzes at happy hour, and also serves up light fare to wash down a strong cocktail or two. Prices are very reasonable and service is excellent even when the restaurant is filled to capacity.
Jonkershuis, Groot Constantia
Jonkershuis is a wonderful option for those looking for great food, at reasonable prices in a lovely setting. The menu consists of mostly light dishes, light pastas, gourmet salads, and spicy Cape Malay specials. The burgers are considered among the best in Cape Town. In the summer, it’s wonderful to enjoy your meal under century old oak trees in the beautiful gardens. “Jonkershuis” means “young man’s house” and it was a second dwelling typical of all Cape Dutch homesteads, where the eldest son would set up house in anticipation of inheriting the whole.
La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek
La Petite Ferme is a lovely little restaurant that’s been run by three generations and considered to be one of the best in a town known for its exceptional restaurants. The lunch in particular is heavenly. Where else could you enjoy a starter of bite-size Springbok Bobotie, served with peppered poppadums and sambals? And while your taste buds are savoring the food, your eyeballs will be lapping up the gorgeous valley and lake views. Conde Nast Traveller named La Petite Ferme as one of the top 15 ‘Best Value’ establishments in the world. There are guestrooms available if you’d like to stay a little longer and savor the setting.