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Restaurants in Cape Town


The list of restaurants in Cape Town is endless, but the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (http://www.waterfront.co.za/restaurants) is a very good and popular start. It has a large variety of restaurants to cater for many different tastes that vary from seafood, Indian cuisine, steakhouses, Mexican, mediterranean and many more. Dining in Cape Town is relatively affordable for foreign visitors especially when strong currencies like the Euro, Pound and US Dollar are concerned. But check out the menus at the Waterfront before you order as some restaurants can get very pricy.

The Quay Four (http://www.quay.co.za) at the Waterfront however is a very popular and not too expensive restaurant, directly on the waters edge. It is a local and international favourite with live music almost every night of the week and a vibrant atmosphere.

Or for a unique, alternative and slightly wacky restaurant experience try Madame Zingara (http://www.zingara.co.za). The menu is Italian fused with a North Eastern African influence. But a house speciality is steak covered with chocolate sauce. She was destroyed by a fire in 2006, but the Phoenix will rise from her ashes. You will find her on 192 Loop Street, in the city centre. She is a little pricy but definitely worth every penny as you won’t forget this experience.

Mesopotamia (http://www.restaurants.co.za/details.asp?resId=3406) on the corner of Long Street and Church Street is a small Kurdish restaurant in Long Street. They have great food and beautiful inside décor. You sit on pillows on the floor next to low eating tables. Every night a belly dancer will entertain the visitors with her gracious moves. And for dessert you can have some real Turkish Delight and a water pipe.

Maestro’s restaurant has two outlets, one on Kloof Street, Cape Town and one on Woodbridge Island, Milnerton. This is the recommended outlet as it is directly on the beach with stunning views of the mountain and Table Bay. In addition they also have a great menu and is quite affordable. To get there follow Otto du Plessis drive from Cape Town and turn left into Woodbridge Island (where the Milnerton lighthouse is).

Die Melkbosskerm (http://www.dining-out.co.za/member_menu.asp?MemberID=2252) is a very special restaurant about 35km outside Cape Town in the suburb of Melkbos. They are located on Otto du Plessis drive but check out their website for directions as there is no street number. Here you will experience a real West Coast feast of traditionally prepared Afrikaner food with great hospitality. It’s setting is ‘semi-outdoor’ which gives its patrons the feeling that they’re at a home braai (barbeque). The menu consists of different buffet options, to cater for different tastes and hungers.


If you are looking for something more uniquely African and more affordable you should try the city centre. Here you can try out Mama Africa (http://www.dining-out.co.za/member_details-MemberID-138.html) which is located in 178 Long Street, city centre. It has a true african décor and they specialise in traditional African dishes. A special attraction is the live drumbeat shows performed during your dining experience.

Marco’s African Place (http://www.marcosafricanplace.co.za/) is located at no. 15 Rose Lane, in the Bo Kaap area. They also specialise in African cuisine and also have live music available. This is not every night of the week, so check out their website for more details on live performances.

The Africa Café (http://www.africacafe.co.za) is located at 108 Shortmarket Street, city centre and specialises in African cuisine. The special attractions at this restaurant is the communal feast and the interesting attire that the waitresses wear.

Afro Café (http://www.afrocoffee.com) is located at 48 Church Street Mall, city centre and is a small little restaurant/café hidden under some trees. It’s small and cosy but has outdoor seating space to accommodate daytime patrons. It has a great urban African feel about it and is very affordable. They also have cool T-shirts with African themes for sale as momento’s.


Cape Town also has a number of good and affordable franchise restaurants offering a wide variety of tastes.

For the best seafood in the world you have to try Ocean Basket (http://www.oceanbasket.co.za). The outlet at Beach Boulevard, Table View beachfront (a suburb of Cape Town) is highly recommended with it’s great view of Table Bay and Table Mountain. They serve platters of fish in a metal pan to keep it warm longer. It also looks great. They always have fresh line fish, calamari, prawns and mussels which are flavourably prepared at a very good price. Try the calamari steak strips grilled and cajun style for some extra flavour!

The Spur Steakhouses (http://www.spur.co.za) are family favourites with huge varieties of meals at very good prices. They are located in most shopping centres all over Cape Town. All meals are prepared in an open kitchen where you watch your beef being grilled. They also serve mexican dishes, seafood, and poultry, but are most famous for their ribs and their onion rings. Recommended outlets are the ones located at Big Bay, Melkbosstrand and the V&A Watrfront.

Panarotti’s Italian restaurants (http://www.panarottis.com/) are very popular for their pasta and pizzas. During the week they have many specials, but they are most famous for their all-you-can-eat special. For this you pay a fixed amount and can eat as much different pizza as your stomach can handle. Check out their website for their other weekly specials.

Cape Town Fish Market (http://www.ctfm.co.za) is a seafood franchise and is recommended for their excellent sushi and teppanyaki (stir-fry Japanese style on a large iron plate). They also sell fresh fish directly to the public if you wish to prepare your own dishes.


If you want to try some typical local dishes, the following are a must: crayfish, snoek, ostrich fillet, springbok, boerewors & pap or a Cape Malay meal. As a snack you can try biltong, bokkoms, samoosas, melktert and koeksusters. And of course you can swollow it down with some local and healthy rooibostea. Or if you prefer, the national brew Castle Lager.

In South Africa you can ask for a doggy bag when you haven’t been able to fininsh your meal. So if you want to take the rest home the restaurant will place the left-overs in a nice container for you. This practice started many years back when people wanted to take the left-over bones home for their dogs, hence the name doggy bag. This practice became very popular and eventually evolved into taking left-overs home for yourself (for breakfast for instance). This might sound strange, but hey as a student you might agree that taking left-overs home is better than cooking.

It is also standard practice at most restaurants that you can take your own wine to a restaurant. But you will need to pay a small corkage fee to do this. This is much cheaper than paying restaurant prices. You might be limited to one bottle per 4 people at certain restaurants, and this only applies to wine (not beer or spirits).

Please remember that waitresses and barmen don’t earn salaries in South Africa. Restaurant tipping is therefore suggested between 10% – 15% of your bill depending on the quality of the service you received. If you’re a non-smoker great news: by law restaurants in South Africa must have a designated non-smoking section, or they must be intirely non-smoking. This works well so you can enjoy your meal in smoke free air, and you won’t go home smelling of smoke after dining out.


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