Cape Town is a Foodie’s idea of heaven – food, and wine, in the Mother City is as diverse as the people who live here.
Labelled a ‘gourmet nirvana’ by Lonely Planet, Cape Town bursts at the seams with trendy markets, food trucks, original restaurants and cozy little eateries.
The biggest issue facing any gastronome is not so much what to eat, as where to eat it. Hence our list of the 12 best food & drink ‘hoods in Cape Town – the lowdown on which neighbourhoods to visit, for which top restaurants …
1. CITY BOWL
When it comes to top restaurants, eateries and drinking holes Cape Town’s City Bowl is your best bet. This is the Mother City’s after-work drinks, sundowners and dates neighbourhood. It hums at night. Called the ‘bowl’ for its natural amphitheatre shape, it also functions as the heart of the city and is awash with places to eat and drink.
The highlights: Bree Street (the new Long Street), Kloof Street and Gardens.
We recommend: Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar, Little Saint and The Village Idiot
2. DE WATERKANT
Lying in the heart of the Old Malay Quarter, adjacent to the CBD, De Waterkant has evolved into an oh-so trendy ‘hood, particularly since the new Cape Quarter shopping mall and the gentrification of much of Main Road. It’s the address of young professionals and the LGBT community who can afford the address. The neighbourhood is small but packs a punch
3. GREEN POINT
Green Point is just north west of the CBD, the site of the Soccer Stadium and a jumble of hostels, hotels, nightclubs and restaurants that have led to its being dubbed the Soho of Cape Town. Eateries are vibrant and eclectic – you’ll find anything and everything along this strip of Main Road – from Italian to Japanese (there’s even a banting restaurant).
4. SEA POINT
Lying just around the corner from Green Point and Mouille Point, Sea Point is at once one of the most densely populated suburbs, full of high-rise apartment buildings, and a seaside suburb perched on a narrow headland between Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean. Its promenade is a much favoured walkway. A lively collection of restaurants – from fine dining, to bistros, from coffee shops to cheap take-aways – makes eating out a pleasure .
The colourful houses and cobbled streets of the Bo-Kaap, on the slopes of Signal Hill, make it into almost every travel article on Cape Town. CNN calls it Cape town’s ‘most colourful neighbourhood’. Its rich cultural background, and mix of people, make eating here an experience.
The always humming, restaurant and shop-laden Waterfront is one of the tourist mecca’s of the city. Whilst the locals tend to stay away it is, nonetheless, unbeatable for its collection of first-rate eateries and views out over the harbour and Table Mountain.
7. CAMPS BAY
When it comes to glamorous beaches, they don’t come better than Camps Bay, with the 12 Apostles as its backdrop (except, perhaps, for Clifton, which easily competes; but has such limited parking). The Beach Road strip is crowded with restaurants. Know where you’re going before you get there.
Woodstock is exciting. This once industrial suburb has been overturned by an urban renewal, with the Old Biscuit Mill at its heart. The low rentals and plethora of warehouses have brought with them an influx of designers, artists, creatives, galleries, coffee shops and some seriously cool eateries.
Distinctly bohemian flavoured, semi-detached Victorian terraced homes line the streets of Observatory – called such for the South African Astronomical Observatory which has its headquarters here, up on a slight rise outside the city. Gastronomical pleasure is equally catered for and eateries and quaint, quirky shops line the main road.
We recommend: Pancho’s (book first)
This leafy, green, horsey neighbourhood that is also the home of Cape Town’s city wine route is a far cry from the hubbub of the inner city. Things in this upmarket ‘hood slow almost to a crawl, unless you’re at Constantia Village Shopping Centre where getting a parking is akin to Christmas sales at Harrods. Fine dining is thus the order of the day, and good restaurants are not hard to find (most of them are on wine farms).
We recommend: Bistro Sixteen82, Jonkershuis and La Colombe
11. KALK BAY
The combination of laidback fishing village and vibrant high street makes Kalk Bay difficult to resist. About 25 minutes’ from the city bowl the village’s odd mix of historic buildings, cobbled streets, antique shops and galleries, book stores and coffee shops means it’s always busy, particularly over weekends. Add an extra 20 minutes to your journey for the ceaseless road works on Main Road through the village.
12. HOUT BAY
Another far-flung, still-working fishing village turned trendy seaside suburb, Hout Bay lies surrounded by mountains with the Atlantic to its south, and the informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu within its community. Restaurants and eateries along the major tributaries of the suburb are many.