- Fabio Marcato
Discover Specialties in Cape Town - A Foodie's Guide
South Africa has a rich and diverse food culture, and if you are a foodie like us, then you will definitely have the time of your life here. From traditional dishes to modern cuisine, there is something for everyone.
What to Eat and Drink in South Africa?
Some of the must-try South African specialties include the Braai, Babooti, Banana Leaf Cake, Boerewors sausage, and the famous wines.
A Braai is a traditional South African barbeque, and it is a social event that brings people together. It is an essential part of South African culture, and it involves grilling meat, sausages, and vegetables over an open fire. If you want to experience a Braai, you can head to a local park or beach and join the locals. There are also many restaurants that offer a Braai experience, such as The Butcher Man in Green Point.
Fabio mastering the Braai, Ryan fucking around
Fabio's failed attempt at roasting marshmellow kebabs on the braai
Bobotie is a spicy lamb and beef stew that is made with fragrant spices and vegetables and covered in an egg custard. It is a popular dish in South African households, and you can find it in many restaurants but even pre-made in the supermarket. While Ryan was not so much of a fan, calling it a dessert with minced meat (comparing it to the meat-filled trifle Rachel made in that long-ago Friends episode), but I admittedly liked it a lot, picking it up a few times from the local Kwikspar.
Boerewors sausage is a traditional South African sausage that is made with beef, pork, and spices. It is often served with pap (maize meal) and chakalaka (a spicy vegetable relish). I usually love sausages but this one was way too salty for me and looked a bit too much like a massive 💩.
South Africa is also known for its wines, especially the famous Cape wines. Some of the most popular wines include Pinotage, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc and you can find some good wineries just at the gates of the city like the boutique wine farm Beau Costantia. For an even larger selection of wines and wineries, you can head just under an hour outside the city to the gorgeous towns of Stellenbosch and Franschoek (you must try the wine tram).
From Italian Cuisine to Japanese Buffets: Cape Town's Foodie Hotspots
If you're visiting Cape Town and looking for great places to eat, there are literally tons of options! One of the trendiest, hippest spots now is The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock which offers a Saturday and Sunday market filled with food stalls rocking cuisines from all over the world. You can find food from other African countries here, making it a must-visit destination. We tried the Zimbabwean food and it was damn good (along with some oysters and bubbly)!
Oysters and bubbly at the Old Biscuit Mill Market
Zimbabwean food at the Old Biscuit Mill Market
If you're looking for another food market (these seem to be omnipresent during Cape Town's summers), you'll definitely want to check out the Oranjezicht Food Market at the V&A Waterfront. This is the fancier version of a food market and offers a wide variety of gourmet foods from everywhere.
For a more upscale dining experience, consider visiting La Perla. This Mediterranean-style restaurant is situated on the ocean with a terrace that provides a beautiful view of the sunset. They offer a decent selection of Italian food with a ton of South African wines.
If you're in the mood for Japanese food, there are two great restaurants to choose from. Our first experience at Best Of Asia Green Point during load-shedding was surreal and a bit frustrating. We didn't realize why the conveyor belt that typically brings guests endless amounts of sushi was not functioning due to the power outage, but despite that, the food was still top-notch and fresh. The best part? It's incredibly affordable! For just 12 euros, you can enjoy their buffet, and even get to choose a Chinese dish to add to your meal. Just don't go during load-shedding 🤣. We made this a typical after-gym Monday tradition. Meanwhile, Tjing Tjing House Rooftop Bar has a fancy balcony in the CBD district, but a much classier take on Japanese than Best of Asia.
If you're looking for a great place to grab a quick bite, The Butcher Man in Green Point is a good option -- with freshly braaied (bbq-ed) meats. For a more laid-back atmosphere, Rockpool in Sea Point is a popular spot with holiday vibes and frozen margarita beer cocktails called "coronaritas."
For breakfast or lunch, check out the Bootlegger Coffee chain of restaurants or Tiger Milk -- which grills a banging burger and fries (their slogan is sickeningly Dude Food Made Real Good, though). And if you're in the mood for karaoke after you eat, Bokeh is one of the best places in the world to sing your heart out.
A Bootlegger Coffee brekky
Burgering it up at Tiger's Milk after a really tough night out
And since I am Italian, I always have to seek out the best pizzas in a place and in that case the crown goes to I LOVE THE DOUGH. While the interior is a bit excessive, it serves up a delicious Napoli-style (but not exactly) pizza always with a side of fresh chili oil and garlic oil.
The best photo we could get of I Love the Dough pizza, totally un-sexy due to the neon pink interior (but delish)
Other notable mentions include Cause And Effect for fab seafood platters and cool cocktails, Blondie for a fancy cocktail bar with a Mediterranean selection of tapas, and Empire Asian Restaurant for authentic Chinese food.
If you need a place to work and chill during the day, the Nourish'd chain is popular (and super vegan and hipster), but we prefer the colonial-style open-air restaurant in the must-visit Green Point Park, Park Cafe.
Finally, don't leave Cape Town without trying KFC (no link needed -- they are everywhere) after a drunken night out 🤣. It's popular here, and the chicken is kind of boiled and less fried than other KFCs I have experienced, which makes it maybe healthier (no evidence to support this claim, though)?!? They also serve the chicken with a bowl of gravy (with a small amount of mashed potatoes plopped inside), and the fries are a hit with the spicy salt!
A Digital Nomad's Guide to Cape Town, South Africa post and even go into our accidental fine-dining experience in Exploring South African’s Fine Cuisine Scene: Cape Town's Restaurant on the Pierhead.If you are hangry for more, we mention a few other places in our
We won't mention this restaurant, but it is a cute pic