Our Culinary Tour of Cape Town, South Africa
In November we were lucky enough to take a week out of the busy Christmas build-up, and enjoy seven days of culinary exploration in and around Cape Town. As it is widely known for being one of the world's food and wine hotspots, eating well was our main priority for the trip (surprise surprise) and we had a long list of places we were determined to tick off in just one week!
If you are planning a trip to Cape Town, we would suggest hiring a car as this can be done cheaply, and makes getting around really quick and easy. Cape Town and its surrounding areas are not only a feast for the stomach, but also the eyes. Some of our favourite finds were a little off the beaten track, and having the freedom to drive along the coast and stop off wherever we fancied definitely added to the holiday. Chapman's Peak Drive in particular is not to be missed, and gives amazing views across the bays, and out into the Atlantic Ocean.
Here we have comprised two lists of our 'Top Places To Eat' - the first is places in and around central Cape Town, and the second is our favourite places in the dreamy idyll of the Winelands - a little further out of the city. Whether you are planning a trip to South Africa and looking for some inspiration, or simply have a bad case of wanderlust and are in need of some January-escapism, we hope you find this list helpful!
Look out for a couple more in-depth reviews and lots more snaps from our favourite places in the next few weeks...
In & Around Cape Town
Clarke's - 133 Bree Street
If you're in need of a good wholesome brunch to set you up for a day sightseeing, look no further than Clarke's. With a clean, minimalist interior, bustling yet chilled vibe, and brunch staples such as avos, poached eggs and good coffee all in plentiful supply, it would be easy to while away several hours here. Its safe to say that The Hash Eggs not only cured a pretty hefty hangover, but also fuelled us all the way to the top of Table Mountain without a cable car in sight!
Kloof Street House - 30 Kloof Street Gardens
This was a real hidden gem (even our local taxi driver gave up trying to find it!) as well as one of the only places taking reservations on a Sunday evening. Tucked away just off Kloof Street, the restaurant lies in a cosy, candle-lit Victorian house, and also has a dreamy, fairy-light-strewn garden to the front. Whether enjoying an alfresco cocktail, or indulging in a luxurious dinner, Kloof Street House seems to get the balance just right - intimate yet polished, informal yet professional. We found the service to be very attentive, and the decor is as opulent as the menu, with Catie sampling (and loving) Ostrich steak for the first time! Would definitely recommend booking in advance here as it was super busy with locals - always a good sign!
Live Bait - Kalk Bay Harbour
As part of the successful Harbour House Group, its no surprise that we had such a good evening at Live Bait, a lively restaurant situated right on Kalk Bay Harbour. It couldn't be closer to the sea, and this was definitely reflected in the fantastic seafood we enjoyed. Our sushi starters were sublime, however the star of the evening was a huge platter of beautiful grilled king prawns, served simply with a garlic and chilli butter and fresh crusty bread - utterly heavenly.
Lekker - 106 Main Road, Kalk Bay
This relaxed cafe definitely sums up Kalk Bay's bohemian, easy-going vibe, and with 'Lekker' being an Afrikaans word for 'tasty', you can count on them to start your day in the most delicious way. We enjoyed excellent coffee, homemade banana bread and the house granola for breakfast - all for a very reasonable price.
The Cod Father - 37 The Drive, Camps Bay
Situated in glamorous Camps Bay, we enjoyed our final South African dinner at The Cod Father, and it seems we really did save the best till last! The restaurant has a great 'buzz' about it, and was absolutely heaving when we arrived. Nevertheless, our helpful waiter managed to squeeze us in at their renowned sushi bar, where we were watched the 'Codfathers' themselves at work. Exercising self-restraint with the sushi is tricky but essential, as we were then lead to the in-house fresh fish counter to choose what we fancied for dinner from their 'catch of the day'. I don't think we have ever tasted fresher or more delicious fish - the kingclip in particular was utterly dreamy.
Superette Cafe - Woodstock Exchange, Albert Road
This trendy cafe came highly recommended to us, and we quickly discovered why. Superette is tucked away in Woodstock, an edgier district of Cape Town that seemed to be teaming with start-ups and new, innovative restaurants. Superette places its emphasis on supporting good local suppliers, whether thats something delicious from the menu, or a gift from their 'retail table' covered in curiosities from local artists and producers. We were particularly taken with their freshly baked goods from the Woodstock Bakery, whether it was a sandwich for lunch, or a simple slice of toasted sourdough for breakfast. Bliss.
Pot Luck Club - The Old Biscuit Mill, 373-375 Albert Road
Sitting at the top of Woodstock's Old Biscuit Mill, Pot Luck Club offers stunning panoramic views across the city of Cape Town. Don't let this distract you from your plate though, as this innovative restaurant is renowned for its cutting edge flavours from around the world, and immaculate presentation. The kitchen is also open-plan and illuminated with studio-lighting, so when not admiring the view it is easy to be transfixed watching the chefs dart around during a busy service. All the dishes are designed to be shared tapas-style, and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to try and taste so many incredible combinations in one lunchtime - an easy way to avoid any sort of food-envy! Although quite pricey (by South African standards) it was a very memorable eating experience that we have to recommend!
The Winelands - From Stellenbosch to Franschhoek
Schoon - Bird Street & Church Street, Stellenbosch
'Schoon' translates as 'clean or pure', and this is a very fitting description or the food and philosophy behind this bustling café in the heart of Stellenbosch town. We enjoyed fresh juices and delicious salads for a relaxed lunch here, that was not only tasty but without doubt one of our more virtuous meals of the week!
De Warenmarkt - 16 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
We stumbled across this eclectic food market at just the right time...lets just say it is the ideal destination to restore yourself if you've indulged in one vineyard too many. With amazing fresh juices by Juice Revolution, excellent coffee from Deluxe Coffee, street food stands-galore and a deli selling a variety of organic, healthy snacks, we like to think of it as Stellenbosch's answer to Wholefoods.
L'Avenir - Klapmuts Road R44, Stellenbosch
This lovely relaxed vineyard is the perfect peaceful escape - we spent a very enjoyable morning sampling their wines whilst looking out over the lake. Our tipple of choice would have to be the crisp and fruity Brut Rosé, which slipped down very easily alongside a delicious cheeseboard complete with pâté and fresh crusty bread. Although the wines are South African, the place definitely has a touch of french flair, from the vineyard's name and history to our fun and knowledgeable Gallic host, Valentine.
Waterford Estate - Blaauwklippen Road, Helderburg, Stellenbosch
For a wine-tasting experience with a difference, head to the Waterford Estate. Here, wines are paired with bespoke chocolates, making it a memorable and delicious tasting experience - the two together are surely the ultimate indulgence?! They also offer safari-style vineyard tours around their stunning grounds, which we sadly didn't have time for but would love to do if we ever return!
Tokara - Helshoogte Road, Stellenbosch
We enjoyed a spectacular lunch on the balcony of Tokara's restaurant, providing unrivalled views across the beautiful vineyard and winelands beyond. The vibe here was definitely more 'haute cuisine', with an exciting menu, exquisite presentation and attentive service. We felt thoroughly spoiled, and were so content after a couple of Aperol Spritz's we could have spent all afternoon soaking in the view! Luckily we managed to tear ourselves away though, and after a wander around the vineyard we stumbled across the Tokara delicatessen - the ideal place for a souvenir shopping spree!
La Residence - Elandskloof Road, Franschhoek
We both agree that this is possibly the most luxurious place either of us have ever been, from the serene setting and opulent interiors to the discreet service and extravagant spread they modestly call 'Afternoon Tea'. We feasted like kings here, and spent to the most magnificent afternoon sampling teatime treats that ranged from fresh scones and shortbread to miniature tartlets and smoked salmon. As the sun began to set we shifted from cakes to cocktails, rolling back to our guest house later that evening with EXTREMELY full tummies!
Roca - Dieu Donne Estate, Uitkyk Road, Franschhoek
If you're partial to a sundowner then this would have to be our number one pick, with Roca boasting arguably the best view in Franschhoek. It seems the restaurant is very much aware if this, as your evening starts with drinks on the terrace, enjoying an unrivalled view of the sun setting over the Franschhoek hills. Once the red sky turns to black, you are then moved up to a table in the upstairs of the cosy restaurant. We had a lovely meal of delicious fresh pasta followed by a traditional South African dish for dessert - a sweet and sticky malva pudding.