Cape Town and Peninsula Restaurants

Cape Town is the culinary capital of South Africa and quite possibly the continent. It certainly has the best restaurants in southern Africa. Nowhere else in the country is the populace so discerning about food, and nowhere else is there such a wide selection of high-quality restaurants. Western culinary history here dates back to the 17th century—Cape Town was founded specifically to grow food—and that heritage is reflected in the city's cuisine and the fact that a number of restaurants operate in historic town houses and 18th-century wine estates.

Cape Town dining today offers a global culinary experience, with Cape chefs showing the same enthusiasm for international food trends as their counterparts worldwide. French and Italian fare has long been available, but with Thai, Japanese, and Pan-Asian influences flooding in, accents of lemongrass, miso, and yuzu have become de rigueur in fine-dining kitchens. Middle Eastern cuisine is finally making some headway, and the Americas have also come to the fore, with plenty of burgers and ribs, and even chicken and waffles popping up on menus these days, not to mention a few South American and passable Mexican eateries. Ubiquitous pan-Asian fare is probably not as good as what you might be used to in major American cities; sushi is also easily found, though largely limited to tuna and salmon, and often prepared with lots of drizzled mayo and sauces. The locavore trend toward organic produce and healthful dishes is also gaining popularity, though attitudes toward vegetarianism in this meat-happy land remain somewhat backward.

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  • 1. Aubergine

    $$$ | Gardens | European

    One of Cape Town's oldest and most consistent fine-dining establishments, Aubergine has a timber-and-glass interior that matches chef-owner...Read More

  • 2. Bistro Bizerca

    $$$ | Cape Town Central | French

    With its superb cuisine and excellent service, diners adore this French bistro located in an old Cape Dutch building on Heritage Square. Using...Read More

  • 3. The Foodbarn

    $$$ | Noordhoek | French

    Very probably the best restaurant on the Cape Peninsula, the aptly named Foodbarn serves French-influenced cuisine in a rustic and relaxed setting...Read More

  • 4. The Pot Luck Club

    $$$ | Woodstock | Eclectic

    A playful and inventive tapas-style venture from Cape Town star-chef Luke Dale Roberts, this hip eatery on the sixth floor of an old silo is...Read More

  • 5. 5 Rooms

    $$$ | Constantia | Modern European

    Located in a grand old manor house, this gorgeous restaurant serves many of the usual Euro fine-dining suspects, but in a setting that is anything...Read More

  • 6. 95 Keerom

    $$$ | Cape Town Central | Italian

    Chef-owner Giorgio Nava is so passionate about using only the finest ingredients that he catches his own fish and farms his own beef. Diners...Read More

  • 7. Azure

    $$$ | Camps Bay | Eclectic

    Although Azure's blue-and-white nautical-theme decor may feel a bit outdated to some, the restaurant's jaw-dropping sea and mountain views are...Read More

  • 8. Birds

    $$$ | Cape Town Central | Eclectic

    This charming and centrally located café draws diners with simple but exquisitely rendered food in a soothing setting of exposed brick and blond...Read More

  • 9. Catharina's

    $$$ | Tokai | International

    Serving excellent, unpretentious fare in an elegantly quirky space with lovely views across the historic Steenberg wine estate, this is a great...Read More

  • 10. Cheyne's

    $$$ | Asian

    Serving Pacific Rim cuisine from a funky little location in Hout Bay, Cheyne's is the place to go for inventive, pan-Asian small plates. The...Read More

  • 11. Harbour House V&A

    $$$ | Victoria and Alfred Waterfront | Seafood

    Sister restaurant to the original Harbour House in Kalk Bay, the V&A location serves the same reliably fresh and tasty seafood menu from...Read More

  • 12. Kyoto Sushi Garden

    $$$ | Tamboerskloof | Japanese

    Elegant and tranquil, this understated eatery near the Kloof Street drag serves pricey but extremely well-executed Japanese fare for dinner...Read More

  • 13. Mondiall Kitchen & Bar

    $$$ | Victoria and Alfred Waterfront | Eclectic

    Claiming a sweet spot at the V&A Waterfront with fabulous harbor and mountain views, this versatile eatery focuses on updated versions of...Read More

  • 14. Myoga

    $$$ | Newlands | Asian

    This relaxed but glam eatery in the posh Vineyard Hotel & Spa outside Cape Town attracts well-heeled regulars, who come for chef Mike Basset...Read More

  • 15. Paranga

    $$$ | Camps Bay | Eclectic

    Attracting models and folks hoping to spot celebrities along Camps Bay's beach strip, Paranga is a high-attitude, stylish vantage point and...Read More

  • 16. Planet Restaurant

    $$$ | Gardens | Eclectic

    The refurbished fine-dining restaurant at the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel, the Planet occupies one of the most glamorous rooms in the city and...Read More

  • 17. Willoughby & Co

    $$$ | Victoria and Alfred Waterfront | Japanese

    Though unfortunately inside the mall, this buzzing hive of activity consistently churns out what many say is the city's best sushi, thus adding...Read More

  • 18. Ginja

    $$$ | Gardens | Eclectic

    Ginja's position in the culinary firmament is well deserved, but it does mean advance booking and dining at one of two sittings staggered from...Read More

  • 19. Maze

    $$$ | Waterfront | British

    Gordon Ramsay's first restaurant in Africa is a combination of Ramsay's other restaurants Gordon Ramsay Maze and Gordon Ramsay Maze Grill. Guests...Read More

  • 20. Wakame

    $$$ | Mouille Point | Asian

    Truly sublime dishes (prawns with heart of palm, cashews, and a divine yuzu-sesame dressing) battle it out with decent if overly sweet Asian...Read More

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