Cape Town is a city filled with diversity, something that has always been reflected in its varied cuisine. From food trucks to pop-up stores, there’s something for every taste in the ‘Mother City’. With an average of almost 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, it’s also a great place to enjoy the outdoors – combine the two with our pick of the best al fresco eating in the city.
The Wild Fig
The Wild Fig has a charming outdoor courtyard, shaded by leafy trees throughout the summer. The restaurant is a popular dining spot for locals, who come for the relaxed ambience and light al fresco inches and dinners. They serve French, Mediterranean, and seafood dishes either outdoors or in the pretty Cape vernacular building that houses the main dining room.
Opening hours: 12pm-10.30pm 12pm-10pm (Sundays Only)
Watch out for: Lemony Pesto Pasta
1 Liesbeek Ave, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa +27 21 448 0507
Sitting on a chair, enjoying the sea view while sipping coffee and gorging on a scrumptious breakfast spread – is there a better morning? Sotano makes that dream come true. Situated opposite Mouille Point’s iconic barber pole lighthouse, this Mediterranean-style restaurant offers scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean beyond. A great place to unwind; sip on a cold glass of wine or a chilled beer, enjoy their breakfast options or nibble on their brilliant tapas menu.
Opening hours: 7am-11pm
Watch out for: Mediterranean Breakfast
121 Beach Rd, Mouille Point, Cape Town, 8005, South Africa +27 21 433 1757
The Grand Café and Beach
The Grand Café and Beach is one of Cape Town’s top al fresco spots. A true fine dining experience matched with stunning views of the seafront, its cocktail bar and lounge area is a see and be seen of Cape Town’s finest. The bistro-styled menu is filled with tasty seafood and international dishes – try the seafood platter.
Price: Fine Dining
Opening hours: 12pm-11.30pm 12pm-5pm (Sundays Only)
Watch out for: Crayfish and shrimp ‘Bloody Mary’ salad
Haul Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8002, South Africa +27 21 425 0551
Nestled among pots, shrubs, herbs and trees, Fraiche Ayres is a delightful little place tucked in the Starke Ayres Nursery in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. They offer a range of foods for breakfast lunch and tea. The food is simple and fresh, and the quiches and sandwiches come highly recommended. The restaurant’s lavender and rose décor is warm and welcoming, and the outside seating areas are perfect for any weather, with blankets for when the evening turns chill.
Opening hours: 8.30am-4.30pm
Watch out for: Roasted butternut and feta salad
Starke Ayres Garden Centre, Liesbeeck Parkway, Rosebank, Cape Town, 7700 +27 21 686 6004
One of Cape Town’s most loved seafood restaurants, Beluga is more often than not packed with patrons enjoying the all-week specials on handcrafted sushi and cocktails. The ambiance is fun and relaxed, and the interior décor and furnishings are reminiscent of dining in a trendy New York restaurant. There’s also a great cobbled courtyard where you can snack on an al fresco sushi platter al year round, with heaters and blankets to keep you warm during winter.
Price: Fine Dining
Opening hours: 12pm-11pm
Watch out for: Dim sum menu
The Foundry, Prestwich St, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa +27 21 418 2948
By Shreyas Kulkarni