South Africa’s Mother City is home to some truly global gastronomy – Cape Town’s CBD is a veritable melting pot of different cultures. Not only are its locals far from homogenous themselves, there’s also the multitude of ex-pats from far-flung nations who’ve fallen in love with the city of Cape Town and made it their home.
The resulting mixture of different customs, clothing and cuisine makes for a vibrant and eclectic city – not to mention a mouth-watering restaurant scene. On any night of the week you can sample culinary arts from around the world, with a side serving of South African hospitality and a sprinkling of Cape Town flair.
Dining Out in Cape Town: There are few things better during a torrential Cape Town winter than some good old comfort eating – and nobody does comfort food like the Italians. Bacini’s (upper Kloof Street), with its soccer banner-draped walls and ceiling, is an old favourite. The food is unfalteringly delicious, the prices good value for money and the service excellent. (Find Bacini’s at 177 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Telephone +27 (0)21 423-6668).
A little down the road is Zucca. A relative newcomer (it’s only about two years old), this restaurant has nonetheless made its mark on city dwellers with its authentic fare – watched over by the equally authentic, rounded shape of its owner, Ricky Turilli. Reasons to go include their lunchtime specials and for a peek at the walls, which are covered with corkscrews of various shapes, sizes and origins. (Find Zucca at 84 Kloof Street, Gardens. Telephone: +27 (0)21 423-7331).
And one can’t leave out Col’Cacchio (which translates to ‘up yours’!) in the foreshore, whose loyal clientele and constantly buzzing interior are a testament to the excellent dining experience it offers. The choice between a wood-fired pizza, a bowlful of pasta and a mountainous salad is harder than you might think … (Find Col’Cacchio at 42 Hans Strijdom Avenue on the Foreshore, Cape Town. Telephone: +27 (0)21 419-4848).
Fancy a Chinese? No cardboard takeout boxes for Capetonians. Head over to Mr Chan’s, a Sea Point institution, for an extensive menu of mouth-watering dishes in a traditional setting. (Find Mr Chan at 178 Main Road, Sea Point. Telephone: +27 (0) 439-2239). Also certainly worth a stop is the recently relocated Jewel Tavern, previously in a bland, cafeteria-style harbour location, now reborn as a slick town eatery. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the incredible food. You just can’t stop yourself from having three helpings of everything. (Corner of Duncan & Vanguard Roads, Cape Town. Telephone: +27 (0)21 448-1977).
Or you could join the Mexican wave. Fat Cactus in Park Road (the original is in Mowbray) is enjoying wild popularity thanks to its prime location, Margarita jugs and simple menu of tasty tapas (think quesadillas and nachos) and great burgers. (5 Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town. Telephone: +27 (0)21 422-5022). In Long Street, the long-standing Mexican Kitchen might never die, its gaudily painted interior and famous chilli poppers still pulling punters through its doors. (13 Long Street, Cape Town. Telephone: +27 (0)21 423-1541).
And the Cuban-themed Buena Vista in Green Point is almost a no-brainer if it’s delicious Mexican-inspired meals in a cosy, rustic locale you’re after. (1st Floor Exhibition House, 81 Main Road, Green Point. Telephone +27 (0)21 433-0611).
Portuguese? Pigalle, the dinner-dancing, live-music hosting, 300-seater converted-ice rink of a restaurant in Green Point is certainly dinner with a difference, as well as providing a great Portuguese-inspired seafood menu. (57A Somerset Road, Green Point. Telephone: +27 (0) 421-4848). Or for a more familial supper visit Toni’s in Kloof Street for Mozambican-Portuguese fare. (88 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Telephone: +27 (0)21 423 7617).
How about Indian? Bukhara in Church Street is hands-down the best curry, setting, service and general dining excellence you’re likely to find anywhere. The butter chicken is butter-soft, the vindaloo will blow your head off and the hot, buttery naan bread has me salivating at the very thought of it. (33 Church Street, Cape Town. Telephone: +27 (0)21 424-0000).
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track, how about some Lebanese baba ghanoush and Hummus at Cedar House, watching the world go by on Sea Point’s Main Road? (Courtyard Building, 100 Main Road, Sea Point. Telephone: +27 (0)21 433-2546). Or sample some Kurdish allnazik, zozan or a shish Kebab while enjoying the sensuous movements of a belly dancer at Mesopotamia on the corner of Church and Long Street. (Telephone: +27 (0)21 424-4664).
And if it’s Pacific Rim cuisine or sushi you’re after … well you can’t swing a chopstick in Cape Town without hitting a spot to get your fix. (see our previous article on where to eat Sushi in Cape Town).
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