Before you set your sights on some of Cape Town’s restaurants, it pays to know just how lavishly you can splash out. In this city, even the fanciest eateries are within your wallet’s reach. Dining out is a national pastime – with many South African’s finding it cheaper to pop out to eat – in the mid-price/cheap eats end of the scale, rather than cook at home. Sound good? You bet. Portions are plentiful, but we’ve got a tip for you about that. Ingredients are high quality and, though you’ll want to track down some South African favourites, the sushi in this city is fresh and innovative. We’re tempted to say you’ll not eat a bad meal in Cape Town. But our round up of the best restaurants stacks the odds even further in your favour. Oh, and if you see a ‘Don Pedro’ on a menu, order it for dessert. A very grown up, but usually small shake that comes loaded with a hearty shot of liqueur or whiskey. It definitely adds that certain something to a meal in Cape Town.
Adding yet more fuel to Test Kitchen’s fire – we’re going to recommend trying to get a reservation here. And when we say they’re like gold dust, it would possibly be easier to find gold on Cape Town’s streets than get a Test Kitchen table. Reservations open four times a year and you’ve got to act fast to bag one. That disclaimer done, what’s the fuss about? Well, UK chef, Luke Dale-Roberts, has got his restaurant listed in the world’s top 50 with a menu stuffed full of South African ingredients. The tasting menu puts that local fare to good use in international dishes that sound familiar – pork scratchings anyone? – but the flavours reach new heights of nom. Allow four hours for a meal here and a surprisingly affordable (for a treat) £100 per person.
If you love a long and leisurely peruse of a menu – you’re in for a shock at the Codfather. You choose your fish cuts from a fishmonger style display of freshly caught fillets, steaks, shellfish and just about any other seafood you can imagine. Once you’ve chosen, your haul is weighed, priced and sent to the grill for cooking. While you wait, you can choose from an ever-restocked sushi train. Or, just stick to the sushi, the Codfather won’t mind. Busy, sometimes chaotic and confusing if you’re not expecting the quirky way to order. But, you’ll not get fresher fish, the sushi train is enough to bring you here without ever slinging a langoustine on the grill and the upscale Camps Bay is a nice change from Cape Town’s city vibe.
Orbzii Tip: Fancy some fish without having to queue or shout above the buzzy atmosphere? Eat at slightly unconventional times to avoid the rush.
FYN’s the sort of place where a course may well arrive on a slab of seasoned oak. Overcome that and you’ll not look back. For an eye-wateringly low £35 you can sample the sort of food that’ll usually cost 3-4 times that in similar class establishments elsewhere. 10 courses will steadily arrive, bringing with them a raft of South African ingredients. The ancient African grain and homely milk tart sound pedestrian – but they nicely balance the oryx, ostrich egg custard and spekboom menu items. A feast for your eyes, the Michelin-style presentation hints at this restaurant’s aspirations a little. Michelin inspectors don’t evaluate Cape Town’s eateries. If they did? FYN looks like a contender.
Orbzii Tip: Cape Town wine tours are the place to sample some vintages – but at a place like FYN, it’s hard to resist the wine pairing option.
Cape Town’s restaurant selection is about as eclectic as they come. Global eats aren’t in short supply. But you do need to try some local dishes while you’re here – or run the risk of foodie FOMO. Gold Restaurant is Cape Town’s place for a very African feast. Yes, you’ll spot some South African recipes – but the 14 course tasting menu brings together cuisine from Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana – and, well, the list goes on. The added music, drumming, puppets, dancing and decor never leave you in any doubt that you’re anywhere other than Africa. It could stray into tacky territory – but the refined dining and genuine African traditions keep things firmly in line, if a smidge on the touristy side. Expect to pay R500 per person (£24) – plus an extra £5 to have a go at the drumming.
Orbzii Tip: The menu is a tad meaty. If you’re veggie, vegan or just averse to trying some of the more experimental cuts – every dish has a vegetarian or vegan alternative.
In the market for a plush lunch of cocktails and sushi? Perhaps with a sea view? Of course you are. Waterfront restaurants in Cape Town aren’t hard to find. But it’s worth taking the time to reserve a spot at Sevruga. Outdoor tables get the full harbour view treatment – served with a nice side of people watching. Indoors, decor and ambience get a little more refined – but lose the views.
There’s much to tempt you away from the sushi. Think tender racks of lamb and a beef fillet dish with a tantalising truffle sauce. You’re here for the seafood though. Cape Town – and South Africa – have some stellar sushi restaurants. But Sevruga is hard to beat for flavour, location and their blissful cocktail menu. Fear not plant based eaters, Sevruga’s got a vegan sushi option for you too.
Orbzii Tip: We’ve pegged Sevruga as plush. And, make no mistake, it is. But you can eat handsomely everywhere in Cape Town – for very little. The pound to rand conversion rate puts Sevruga’s signature 16 piece sushi plate at a modest £14. More than enough for a lunch – with budget to spare for a cocktail.
Braais (barbecues), biltong and a love for all things meat-based once made Cape Town a difficult spot to be vegetarian, never mind vegan. But there are some all-vegan dining spots in Cape Town worth a look. Lekker Vegan is the place to go for vegan junk food. Huge burgers, vegan mayos, sauces and the ever-popular South African comfort food gem – a chip roll. UK vegans will spot a familiar brand. Frys fake meats hail from South Africa and Lekker puts them to great use. They’ve also added the Beyond Burger to their offering, which is a welcome sight on any burger list. Adventurous types might be curious about the Cannabis ice cream and ‘dope’ mineral water. Don’t worry, CBD infusions keep things strictly legal. Burgers are around £4.50, with a chip roll coming in at £2. Cheap vegan eats done well.
Orbzii Tips: Everywhere from cheap eats to swish restaurants portions can be huge. So you’ll often see locals leaving with bags and boxes of leftovers. There’s no stigma attached to asking for a ‘doggy bag’ in South Africa. For something a little more refined, ask for your leftovers to be ‘boxed’ instead.
Ravenous and ready to get to Cape Town’s restaurants? Download the Orbzii app to get your feet under the city’s top tables.