6 places in Cape Town to indulge in culinary heaven

When it comes to fine dining, South Africa definitely doesn’t have to stand back for any country. With many influences from Malaysian, Indian and European cuisine, South Africa is sure to astound any foodie with it’s truly unique fusion of flavours. Just to give you a bit of historic background, Jan van Riebeeck, a Dutch merchant, was appointed by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) in 1652 to establish a way-station in Cape Town for the trade route between the Netherlands and the East Indies. He was charged with building a fort and planting fruit and vegetables to ensure a fresh supply for all VOC ships passing by the Cape. This frequent passage of ships from both the East and the West is what started the unique culinary adventure that South Africa has on offer today.

There are heaps of restaurants in and around Cape Town that is worth mentioning but these are the 6 top restaurants that I would recommend to anyone who will be spending some time in the beautiful Mother City.

Beluga

Situated in a beautiful cobblestoned courtyard, this restaurant gives a very good first impression as one walks into the 100-year old art deco building. There are a wide variety of food options on the menu to choose from, each as appetising as the next. With a variety of options on the menu ranging from Lamb cutlets, Asian prawn curry to Ostrich Fillet, there is bound to be something on the menu that would tickle your fancy. I personally always head back just for their incredible sushi. They have all the usual sushi favourites, some just with a bit of a twist.

Beluga

The Grand Beach Café

Only a short cab ride away from all the designer shops and tourist invested V&A Waterfront, you will find the tranquil Grand Café. The restaurant has its own private beach with seats, couches and tables on the sand which makes it the perfect place to meet up after a long day at work to enjoy a cocktail or two. The chic bistro style menu has many options for both lunch and dinner. This restaurant is a must-see if you are in Cape Town.

The Greenhouse at Cellars

If you are looking for an intimate and exclusive gourmet dining experience, The Greenhouse at Cellars is the perfect restaurant for you. With limited seating for only 45 people, this beautifully decorated restaurant offers cuisine that is skillfully created, and each plate resembles a piece of art. Eat Out, a South African dining Magazine, awarded The Greenhouse with the “Best Restaurant in South Africa” award in 2011. I highly recommend the Chef’s Tasting Menu, which consists of 7 courses of pure heavenly indulgence.

La Colombe, Constantia Uitsig

This restaurant is just bursting with awards. In 2010 it received an impressive 12 Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants in the World, the Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Africa and Middle East Award and was winner of both Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year in the Prudential Eat Out Awards in 2008 and again in 2009. Need I really say anymore? If these awards didn’t convince you to eat there, I honestly don’t know what will.

Buitenverwachting

If you appreciate a spectacular view whilst enjoying gourmet food, then Buitenverwachting is definitely for you. Overlooking the lush Constantiaberg Mountains and the surrounding vineyards, this restaurant is situated in a truly picturesque setting. The contemporary fine dining cuisine offered is fine dining at it’s best. The food absolutely radiates with sophistication and it is no wonder that the restaurant has been considered as one of Cape Town’s finest for many years. A la carte and set menus are availably for daily lunch or dinner.

Buitenverwachting

Sevruga

Sevruga is the sister restaurant to the above mentioned Beluga. Situated at the V&A Waterfront, a very busy tourist area, this restaurant brings peace and elegance to the tired shopper. The outside seating area is the perfect place to enjoy a couple of oysters, a good South African white wine and just take in the beauty of the surroundings. The restaurant’s menu offers a large variety of food items, each one as delectable as the next. What struck me the most was the huge selection of wines on offer. Each of the 200 odd wines are elaborately incorporated with the meals on the menu to ensure an array of taste sensations.

Comments (8)

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  1. Theo Cromhout says:

    I disagreed on Twitter with the selection of “culinary heavens” in this article, but it would only be fair if I shared what I think qualifies for such an illustrious list, particularly for A Luxury Travel Blog…

    Anyhow, there is no doubt that La Colombe and The Greenhouse (Peter Templehof at the Cellars) qualify as 2 of Cape Town’s finest restaurants, and for what it is worth, I would add the following establishments that are more than worthy to share the honours…..

    The Foodbarn in Noordhoek (Legendary Chef Franck Dangereux), Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club in Woodstock (both inspired by Chef Luke Dale-Roberts), Chef Rudi at The Planet Restaurant at Mount Nelson Hotel and finally, La Mouette in Sea Point ,would all find themselves sharing in good company. Apart from inspirational and innovative approach to cooking, only using the very best of our freshest and finest local ingredients, the food is sublime and complimented by a thoughtful selection of wines. What sets them apart however, is the overall dining experience and ambience, and most importantly, the attentive and unobtrusive service….Can’t go wrong with any of these fine gems…..if you enjoy the finer things in life!

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    Thank you, Theo… it was a pleasure talking to you on Twitter earlier today, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your own insights.

    It’s been a while now since I was in Cape Town, but we stayed in the Camps Bay area where we visited, so found ourselves trying the restaurants there mostly. I seem to remember there was a Portuguese restaurant that we rather enjoyed – not exclusive, but very good and always busy. Think it began with ‘V’ but I’ve tried Googling and can’t seem to locate it, so I guess it’s probably not there any more.

    We also enjoyed the jazz brunch at Winchester Mansions – no doubt a bit of a tourist draw, but a lovely atmosphere nonetheless.

  3. Theo Cromhout says:

    Hi Paul, The Portuguese place is called Vasco’s(de Gama) and is in/near Green Point, and is pretty much an institution. Quite dodgy inside, but the food is incredible as is the atmosphere. There’s also another Portuguese place/dive called Dias Tavern aside District 6 near the CDB, also serves up the same Portuguese fare in a very laid back and informal pub like atmosphere, incredible vibe that is frequented by locals…..the food is also out of this world.

    As for Winchester Mansions, u can’t go wrong with a view like that; and it’s run by one of the most respected hoteliers in the country, so it has great service and food to go along with the amazing sea front location.

    Come back soon, there is so much more you need to experience…..

  4. Paul Johnson says:

    Hi Theo

    Thanks for that… that’s the one. Gosh, this is all bringing back memories. It must be about 10 years ago now since we were there – how time flies. We stayed at Atlantic House. Would love to come back soon as we have yet to take our children. If Cape Town Tourism is listening… :)

    Thanks again for commenting – do visit us again soon. There are no expensive airfares to come to ALTB. ;-)

    Paul

  5. Aidan Kenny says:

    Being Down in Cape Town with the Niall Mellon charity helping to build houses in the poor area three years ago very good experience. Hopefully some day I will be able to afford to bring my wife back to this lovely city and country side Table Mountain and all the beautiful coast line.

  6. tony ward says:

    I agree with most everything Theo has said but…..for the life of me how La Mouette figures is beyond me. Such bland food, bland building, bland staff .

  7. Jeannaz says:

    I’m a regular at Beluga. I would like to add Shimmy beach club to the list since I really like the food and the venue.

    Jeannaz

  8. Luke Powers says:

    Hi All

    Very interesting comments on what could be an endless debate. Cape Town has so many excellent restaurants, and the culinary landscape here is constantly changing. My two cents worth: I agree with Theo, that the Test Kitchen is right up there. Luke Dale-Roberts is a genius. As is Franck Dangereux at the Foodbarn. The Greenhouse and La Colombe deserve to be in the top 10 too. And what about Haiku… The Grand Cafe and Beach, as stunning as its setting is, no food to write home about.

    I love the fact that Dias Tavern and Vasco’s got a mention. Superb espetadas and peri peri chicken served in a gritty local setting.

    How about a Top 10 list for the Cape Winelands? Scooping more than half of the Top 10 in this year’s Eat Out awards.

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