Eating and drinking in Cape Town and beyond

Sarah Khan

Travel writer

Cape Town might seem an unlikely food capital, but if you scratch below the surface, it all makes perfect sense: the centuries-long influx of far-flung cultures; the abundance of fresh produce and seafood; and the world-renowned wine regions just a stone’s throw away from the city centre. So where should you go to experience the best of Cape Town dining as well as the finest offerings of the nearby Winelands? Read on…



It would be impossible to talk about Cape Town’s culinary scene without a tribute to its reigning star, Luke Dale-Roberts: his Test Kitchen, which plies elaborate, witty tasting menus, is ranked 44 on the World’s Best Restaurants list, and its sister the Pot Luck Club, serving Asian-inflected small plates, has one of the best Sunday brunches in town (pictured above). The ever-busy chef simply keeps adding to his empire: he has also opened Shortmarket Club in the heart of the city, Salisfy in Camps Bay and continues to expand his portfolio. Landing a booking at any of his restaurants requires serious forward-planning, but if you’re among the lucky ones who scored a table, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re curious about what, exactly, contemporary South African cuisine is all about, book a table at Hemelhuijs (pictured above). The stylish daytime eatery serves refined, seasonal breakfast and lunch menus, elevating simple traditional dishes with interesting ingredients and show-stopping plating. You’ll hesitate to take a fork to your scrambled eggs on mosbolletjie toast or soft mieliepap with Karoo vygie honey and salted butter, but don’t be shy about desecrating the artful presentation — dig in!

While the beverage that gets the most attention in Cape Town is wine, you might feel compelled to overlook the local coffee culture. Don’t. Caffeine is king in Cape Town, and Truth is consistently rated as one of the best coffee shops in town. Pop in for a flat white, but don’t make it a takeaway cup; you’ll want to linger amid the cavernous space’s funky steampunk décor. The hearty brunches are a good excuse to stick around.



Barely an hour from Cape Town by car, the winelands region of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek makes for an easy day trip – though you might want to stay overnight in order to sample your way through all the varietals. The long-loved Babylonstoren estate (pictured above and lead image), set on a historic working farm and home to the celebrated restaurant Babel, features a wine tasting room – as well as an on-site bakery, spa and countless cottages should you decide to bed down for the night.

If you’re heading to Franschhoek, you’ll find premium accommodation courtesy of the Leeu Collection hotel group. After opening the Leeu House Boutique hotel in the centre of town, they also unveiled Leeu Estates, set on 68 hectares of vineyards nearby. It’s currently the only hotel in the Cape Winelands to secure the new 5-Star Premium status.

Still hungry? Never fear, our round up of things to do in Cape Town has plenty more in the way of eating and drinking options – as well as loads more excellent ways to see the city (and work up an appetite)

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