Looking for restaurants in Cape Town? Want to know where to eat in the South African capital? Local food writer Ishay Govender-Ypma shares her insider tips for the best restaurants in Cape Town, along with where to find killer brunches, the freshest seafood and local food markets.


The Pot Luck Club – for dinner with a view

Luke Dale-Robert’s The Pot Luck Club, headed up by rising star Wesley Randles, sits on the 6th floor of Woodstock’s Old Biscuit Mill lifestyle centre. Wraparound views of Cape Town and a chic, laidback ambiance set the tone for tasting plates of impeccably prepared local ingredients with an Asian influence; think grilled duck breast with naartjie and yuzu dressing.


Bo-kaap – for Cape Malay cooking

Book a historical walk in colourful Bo-kaap, an iconic area renowned for its commanding views over the city and its tight-knit, traditional Cape Malay community. Shireen Narkedien, a Bo-kaap resident and guide can also arrange a meal in the home of a local after the tour, featuring Cape Malay classics like chicken curry and koeksisters – spiced, coconut-flecked doughnuts.


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Saucisse – for picnic ingredients

The city’s numerous parks and Kirstenbosch National Botanical gardens are perfect for picnicking. For platters of the best Western Cape produce – think goat’s milk labneh, cumin-studded boerenkaas, chorizo, homemade pâtés, pickled South African peppadew peppers and spreads – head to Saucisse. Even the (eco-friendly) packaging is a step up from the norm at this deli.


Salad bowl with bread at Saucisse Cape Town

Neighbourgoods Market – for market vibes

The Saturday Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock is a great place to pick up artisanal staples and vegetables if you’re self-catering (or food souvenir hunting). Many shoppers stay on for a street food brunch from one of its stalls, from steak sandwiches at Kitchen Cowboys to cultivated Saldanha Bay oysters from Mother Shuckers.


Truth Coffee – for coffee and brunch

You don’t have to search far to find a well-made, Fairtrade coffee in Cape Town but Truth Coffee is a pioneer of the craft. The café in the emerging Fringe district is an ode to steampunk, with vintage machinery, miles of metal pipework and leather-aproned baristas. Cold brews are the order of the day, though the team also make great standard espressos and flat whites.


Fish on the Rocks – for fish and chips

Fish and chips is a must in Cape Town. Take yours up a gear by ordering snoek, a large-boned member of the barracuda family. Eat it outdoors with the locals at no-fuss Fish on the Rocks in Hout Bay. Fish comes served with slap chips doused in vinegar and you’ll find the 25-minute drive from the city centre worth every bite.


Harbour House – for fresh seafood

At the V&A Waterfront, a shopping and dining complex, settle in for a magnificent view of the harbour and the mountain at waterside Harbour House (middle right) and take your pick from a fine selection of seasonal seafood caught by the restaurant’s own trawler; in late December it’s all about crayfish.


Harbour House on the water with sailing boats in front

Mariam's Kitchen – for foot-long sandwiches

Few foods say Cape Town like a robust gatsby, a foot-long (or even longer) submarine filled with ingredients such as spicy masala steak, slap chips (proper chippy-style chips) and a variety of sauces. Cheap and cheerful, the ones at Mariam’s Kitchen are the city’s best.

33 Heerengracht Street; 00 27 213 007 277

Publik – for wine and cheese

A contemporary butcher with a wine bar at the front, Publik is well worth a visit for its excellently curated list of local, and some international, wines. Prime quality biltong (dried, cured meat) from the meat counters and platters of local cheese and crunchy gherkins keep punters lingering. A wine flight is highly recommended.


Devil's Peak Brewery – for South African beers

With a view of Devil’s Peak Mountain, the Taproom at the aptly named Devil’s Peak Brewery is one of the best craft beer venues in the country. Start with a beer tasting at the bar, then move to a table for a casual lunch or snacks paired with beer, like pulled pork crubeens with amber ale or flash-fried broccoli with English ale.


Where to stay in Cape Town

The Silo

You’ll want a good head for heights to check into The Silo. This incredibly luxurious Thomas Heatherwick designed property occupies six floors above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which was originally built in the 1920s as a grain store. At the time it was the tallest building in sub-Saharan Africa and it remains an iconic spike in the city’s skyline; expect show-stopping views of the waterfront and beyond from its dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows (with bathtubs perfectly positioned for soaking up the views). The hotel is a reimagining of the former grain elevator, with 28 bedrooms, a spa, a range of cafés and bars and – the main event – a rooftop restaurant and pool.

Doubles from £848 per night, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

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Trust olive: Ishay Govender-Ypma is an award winning Cape Town-based food and travel journalist. She also writes a food blog, foodandthefabulous.com


Photographs: Hillary Fox/Cape Town Tourism, Getty, Haldane Martin, Sophie Smith Photograph

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