• Saturday, April 4, 2020

What To Do and Where To Eat in Cape Town

Cape Town
December 6, 2019
By , Associate Editor

Good for: Large groups, small groups, couples, families – pretty much any combination of people. There is something in Cape Town for every scenario.

When to go: Although Cape Town is a year-round destination, November through February is likely when you’ll make the most of the region’s scenery. Those are the months for which you have the warmest weather and the least amount of rainfall.

What To Do:

Cape Town City Tour
A good place to start is the very top. On a clear day, from the summit of Table Mountain, you can get views of the city, it’s waterfront, Camps Bay, the Hottentots Holland Mountains to the East, and the mountains of the Cape Peninsula all the way down to Cape Point to the south. You know, just to gauge your surroundings. From there, the Table Mountain cableway with revolving floors is basically a requirement, which gives you a 360-degree view. After descending the mountain, you can embark on the Mother City tour, which takes place in Signal Hill. It’s where the Noon Day Gun is fired at midday every day, and where you go through the colorful Bo-Kaap or Cape Malay Quarter, past the Grand Parade, City Hall and the Castle of Good Hope and South African Cultural History Museum. We’ll call this Day 1.

Table Mountain
Table Mountain is one of those things that makes Cape Town the city it is, rising up over 3280 feet above sea level. Whether or not you choose the tour of the previous day, this symbol, playground, and spiritual retreat is a must-see either way. It can be walked, or you can take the cable car.

Castle of Good Hope
This is the oldest surviving building in South Africa, built between 1666 and 1679. It’s a pentagonal fortification that replaces a small clay-and-timber fort that was built by Commander Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 at the Cape of Good Hope for the Dutch East India Company (better known as the Verenigde Oos-Indische Compagnie – you’ve seen movies).

Cape Point Tour
If we were to list all that you’d see, we’d be here all day. But the highlights include a scenic drive, Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak, Noordhoek Beach, the Cape Point Nature Reserve, two lighthouses on the tip of Africa, Boulders Penguin Colony, Simonstown, Kalk Bay and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Those are just off the top of our head.

Seal Island Hout Bay
This is the part where you take a ferry from Hout Bay Harbour to the nearby Duiker Island – which is also known as Seal Island. It’s where thousands of Cape Fur Seals can be seen in their natural habitat. And of course, with the ferry ride come beautiful views of the bay, the harbor, The Sentinel, and Chapman’s Peak. 

Cape Point Nature Reserve
Cape Point lies at the south-western tip of Africa. We’re talking one-of-a-kind views, a restaurant, and a funicular that takes you all the way up to the old lighthouse. Except it’s that, paired with zebras, baboons, deserted beaches, and fynbos (which are plants found only on the southern tip of Africa).

Boulders Penguin Colony
The Boulders Visitor Centre is home to the famous colony of Jackass Penguins – yes, you read that right. They’re named after their hilarious braying call. The Table Mountain National Park staff offer guided tours, and after you’ve enjoyed the penguins, you can even take a swim in the warm waters of the False Bay.

Cape Winelands Day Tour
The one thing that was missing from this trip thus far has been some quality wine. Enter the picturesque wine regions of South Africa: Paarl, Franschoek and Stellenbosch. Apart from the regional wines for you to try, the area is renowned for other attractions, such as butterflies, cheetahs, and everything in between. Stellenbosch specifically, is South Africa’s most famous wine region. The area was reserved for viticulture in the late 17th century, when the Cape’s first governor acknowledged the region’s fruitfulness. Three centuries later, Stellenbosch was the first area to establish a designated wine route, and is still considered the country’s leading wine-producing spot.

Franschhoek Valley
This region is renowned specifically for its mountainous backdrop, delicious wines, and equally gourmet restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, Cape Town is hardly in deficit of ones we recommend.

          

Cape Town restaurants:

95 Keerom – A chic yet inviting restaurant housed in a historic building. 95 Keerom features simple, authentic Italian cuisine. Open Monday to Sunday for dinner.

Aubergine – While there are Asian influences at work here, the cuisine harks back to classic European roots. The wine list is of matching superiority. This places is for all those who are serious about food. Open Monday to Sunday for dinner.

Baia – A great seafood restaurant since 2001. Located at the Waterfront, with terrific harbor and ocean views. Open Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Beluga – Voted one of the World’s Top 60 restaurants in Condé Nast Traveler, this restaurant is located in the Foundry Building in the Greenpoint area of Cape Town. Open Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Bukhara – Situated in Cape Town’s bustling CBD (33 Church Street), this much-acclaimed North Indian restaurant is frequented by business people, politicians, food critics and all lovers of food alike. Open Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Carne – Steakhouse located at 70 Keerom Street in the city. Open Monday to Saturday for dinner only.

The Africa Café – Not exactly small and intimate, but a fun feast of African cuisine from all over the continent, brought to your table in mezze-sized portions, which keep coming and coming. Great location in a restored Cape Georgian home facing Heritage Square at 108 Shortmarket St. Open Monday to Saturday for dinner, and Tuesday to Saturday for lunch.

The Grand Café & Beach – On the beach at Granger Bay, this is where beach culture meets bohemian décor and open windows to the sea. A chic, bistro-styled menu for both lunch and dinner combines old and new classics in a new-world fusion of beach café cuisine. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.

The Roundhouse – With sensational views across Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles, The Roundhouse has been elegantly restored in Grand Old Cape style. The cuisine is uncomplicated, contemporary French, inspired by seasonal ingredients and paired with one of the finest boutique wine collections in South Africa. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, and for lunch only on Sundays.

The Test Kitchen – Found at Cape Town’s coolest location, The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, The Test Kitchen is probably the trendiest restaurant in the Mother City – a creative space for chef Luke Dale Roberts to develop new dishes, research flavor combinations and operate an intimate dining venue offering patrons something quite out of the ordinary. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.

Constantia

La Colombe – Considered one of the best restaurants in South Africa by many. It’s located at Constantia Uitsig in Constantia, and features some very quality wine.

Constantia Uitsig – Sister restaurant to La Colombe.

The Greenhouse – Cape Town's first Grand Chef Peter deconstructs and reinvents past classics, resulting in dishes that surprise and leave a lasting impression. Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner only.

                            

Cape Peninsula

Black Marlin – Great views and very fresh fish and seafood. The only drawback is its rather large size, and the tourist buses it therefore attracts. But during whale season especially, it’s worth it all.

Brass Bell – Great location and views – but most importantly, decent food. There is also a location in Kalk Bay.

Harbour House – Kalk Bay. The restaurant’s own fishing boat, Live Bait, supplies the restaurant daily, guaranteeing the freshest line fish in Cape Town. Open Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.

                                

Cape Winelands

Babylonstoren – This Cape Dutch farm located near Paarl offers vineyards and orchards surrounded by the dramatic mountains of the Drakenstein Valley, and a fruit-and-vegetable garden, which supplies a remarkable restaurant. The menu is driven by the seasons and what nature dictates, which means that there’s always something fresh and surprising.

Haute Cabriere – A cellar-restaurant where food and wine are given equal due. Light some candles, crack open some fine wine, and you have a sublime environment in which to enjoy wonderful flavor mixes.

Overture – Set on Hidden Valley wine farm with views of Table Mountain, the Stellenbosch Valley, and Robben Island, the menu focuses on local produce and seasonal offerings.

Reuben’s – The chic interior and outstanding traditional Cape cuisine by Eat Out Chef of the Year 2004 Reuben Riffel ranks this one of South Africa’s finest restaurants.

Rust en Vrede – This place is classic elegance and contemporary international cuisine, set within an historic wine estate, and voted the best restaurant in South Africa in 2010.

Terroir – Relaxed and intimate, with a Provencal-inspired menu, rich with seasonal, fresh, and organic produce from the region.

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français – Fresh local ingredients and innovative cuisine distinguish chef Magot Janse’s Tasting Room as one of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World by Restaurant Magazine UK in 2006.

Tokara – A gorgeous, elegant modernist restaurant overlooking its vineyards. Outstanding food, but do not eat here if you are in a rush.

Waterkloof – Modern yet unadorned, with spectacular vistas, French chef Grégory Czarnecki creates contemporary classics complemented by the estate’s European-style wines.