Taste the flavours of Cape Town and the Western Cape

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Taste the flavours of Cape Town and the Western Cape
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Taste the flavours of Cape Town and the Western Cape
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Cape Town and the Western Cape is the foodie Mecca of South Africa with some of the best restaurants, tastes and flavours for visitors to explore. Take a look at some of the province's best venues and what makes each region so delicious.

Gåte Restaurant | Stellenbosch

With Head Chef Nicole Loubser – formerly of La Colombe, The Test Kitchen and JAN in Nice – heading up the restaurant, you can all-but guarantee an exceptional dining experience at Gåte Restaurant. Loubser and her team have created a 14-course menu that that can be enjoyed as a five-course lunch or a seven-course dinner, with the Head Chef explaining that they selected “14 countries to embody a taste-driven odyssey, fusing their flavours with South African cuisine.” A blend of artistry and culinary know-how fuels the experience at this venue and it’s no surprise it is already making waves.

Award: Restaurant of the Year Overall Winner - World Luxury Restaurant Awards

Wolfgat Restaurant | Paternoster

This iconic West Coast restaurant takes guests on a food adventure, with seven tasting courses designed to showcase indigenous ingredients that are specific to the West Coast. Focusing on seafood – for which the area is famous – Chef Kobus van der Merwe brings his foraging skills to the table with local plants and seaweed added to the dishes.

Award: Restaurant of the Year – World Restaurant Awards

The Test Kitchen | Cape Town

Continuing to dominate the local scene, The Test Kitchen, is based at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock and is the brainchild of award-winning chef, Luke Dale-Roberts. While the restaurant is renowned for its menu, the venue is not uptight or overly elaborate. The experiences take you around the world, starting off in the Dark Room, before finishing up with the full taster and wine flight experience in the Light Room. This is more than a meal, it’s an experience. Booking essential.

Award: The Best Restaurant in Africa – The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Continental Awards

La Colombe | Cape Town

After having moved from its original home at Constantia Uitsig, La Colombe – now based at Silvermist Estate in the Constantia Valley – has grown its reputation through the hands of celebrated chefs like Franck Dangereux, award-winning maestro Luke Dale-Roberts, and now the exceptionally talented Scot Kirton. Since taking the reins, Kirton has seamlessly integrated classic and modern French cuisine with an Asian influence, with each dish combining to create a fantastic all-round dining experience.

Award: One of 25 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the World - Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Awards

Creation Wines | Hermanus

The story of Creation Wines is as old as the hills - dating back to when Mother Nature created South Africa's beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde. Their unique, curated tasting experinces speak to the history of the valley and the role that Creation Wines has played in promoting it to the world through their award-winning wines, while also ensuring they continue to enjoy a susatainable relationship with the land. Enjoy carefully crafted cuisine with some of the best wines, while taking in the gorgeous surroundings.

Award: One of Top 50 World’s Best Vineyards - World's Best Vineyards Awards

Serendipity Restaurant | Wilderness

Tucked away on the banks of the Touw River in the beautiful town of Wilderness you will find the aptly-named Serendipity. The menu is a showcase of the best produce to be found in the country and the dishes can be best described as fusion food with classic French techniques combining with locally-caught fish or lamb from the Cape Karoo. It makes for a wonderfully eclectic taste experience and provided the Garden Route with a winning venue.

Award: Fine Dining Cuisine Country Winner - World Luxury Restaurant Awards

Vergelegen Wine Estate | Somerset West

With a history dating back to the 1700s, it’s clear that Vergelegen is more than just a regular wine estate. It’s a historical destination that offers so much for everyone. Vergelegen offers wine tastings, cellar tours, nature walks around the award-winning gardens and heritage tours of the house and the library that has books dating back to the early 1700s! When it comes to the gardens, the farm has 17 formal gardens that are looked after by a dedicated team. You can explore both the heritage sites and the gardens at your own pace or on a tour via prior arrangement. Vergelegen has two restaurants – Camphors and Stables – and a picnic option.

Award: One of Top 50 World’s Best Vineyards - World's Best Vineyards Awards

Karibu Restaurant | Cape Town

Based at the iconic V$A Waterfront, Karibu offers guests a chance toencounter the ruggedness of Africa within the luxurious setting of their restaurant where a mixed fusion of African ambiance blends itself with the flavours of a rich and diverse cultural heritage.” Expect prime cuts of meat and fish grilled over the coals of an open fire, all while relaxing with a quality vintage from a selection of award-winning South African wines. The venue captures the essence of South African cuisine with one of the world’s most famous views providing the backdrop.

Award: South African Cuisine Continental Winner - World Luxury Restaurant Awards

Massimo’s Pizza | Cape Town

Based in the coastal village of Hout Bay in Cape Town, Massimo’s is an institution and a favourite spot for locals. The Hout Bay restaurant is well known for its pizzas – which are out of this world – but there is far more on offer with plenty of pasta dishes – including a wheat-free option - to tantalize your taste buds. There are also some seriously decadent desserts, including a chocolate fondue and sweet pizzas.

Award: Best pizzeria in Africa - 50 Top Pizza

4Roomed Ekasi | Cape Town

4Roomed offers a set Feasting Menu, where dishes are brought to the table on bright ceramics made by a local artist. Chef and owner, Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena, serves up traditional South African fare with gourmet flare. The pap (similar to polenta) and butternut is baked in cubes, truffled, and served with a tomato relish. The umngqusho (samp) is elevated with tarragon and coconut cream and is perfectly soft and creamy. Served alongside these is a fragrant, flavourful vegetable curry and steamed bread. Meat dishes include a slow-cooked chicken and fennel dish, and sous-vide fillet of beef, topped with rich caramelised onions. A fresh green salad takes the edge of the summer heat. The set menu includes a dessert, which is always a surprise. For group bookings of 10 or more, a fine dining menu is also available. The bespoke dining experience includes a minimum of five and maximum of 10 courses.

Ranked: One of 30 of the World’s Best Restaurants - Travel & Leisure and Food + Wine

The Restaurant at Waterkloof | Somerset West

A modern space, featuring spectacular vistas, Waterkloof Wine Estate’s signature restaurant is literally taking quality Winelands dining to new heights. Chef Czarnecki places an emphasis on using only the freshest seasonal ingredients, such as free-range eggs, farm-reared Schapenberg lamb, and a variety of common and rare herbs and vegetables – many of which are grown and sourced at Waterkloof. The menu is seasonal, and subject to change, but what always remains consistent is the incredible quality.

Nominated: Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards 2019

Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia | Cape Town

Consistently ranked as one of the country’s top 10 restaurants, you will struggle to find a more beautifully situated restaurant than The Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia. But not only does the venue boast incredible views of the Constantia valley, but with chef Ivor Jones running the kitchen, you can expect the same cutting-edge cuisine and laid-back atmosphere that Liam Tomlin’s original eatery became famous for.

Nominated: Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards 2019

YU Restaurant | Cape Town

One of Cape Town newest trend-setting restaurants, YU is all about contemporary Asian dining. Based at The Onyx, a four-star dual-living hotel on Cape Town’s Foreshore, guests can look forward to dining in its artistic setting, while feasting on delicious Asian tapas, sushi, dim sum and other meals. Expect beautiful cuisine that combines tradition with modernity.

Nominated: World Luxury Awards 2020

Lizette’s Kitchen | Hermanus

One of Hermanus’ best restaurants, Lizette’s Kitchen is a venue where the old, meets the new. Based in a restored Heritage farmhouse, the menu works with the freshest produce with incredible flavours. Chef Lizette calls on her eight years working in Vietnam to bring an Asian influence to proceeding, while also adding some North African and Mediterranean dishes to create a wonderfully dynamic menu. The venue is as rewarding as the food, with the beautiful bar area and outside patio both adding to the experience.

Ranked: One of 28 of the Best Restaurants in Hermanus and the Overberg 2019 – The Inside Guide

Stanford Hills Wine Estate | Stanford

The Tasting Room restaurant at Stanford Hills Wine Estate has a reputation for its laid-back approach, much like the valley in which it is situated. But don’t think that means it does not take its food seriously, because it is of the highest quality, with an emphasis on fresh and inventive dishes. The chalkboard menu changes daily and always offers an interesting variety of options. Aside from the hot kitchen, there is also a fairly extensive mezze/tapas menu to pick and choose from.

Ranked: One of 28 of the Best Restaurants in Hermanus and the Overberg 2019 – The Inside Guide

African Relish | Prince Albert

A recreational cooking school based in the town of Prince Albert in the Cape Karoo, African Relish has become a must-do experience when road-tripping through the region. Billed as a ‘culinary adventure’, offers half and full-day cooking classes using locally sourced ingredients. These anytime cooking courses, which include Karoo Classics or Vegetarian, are easy to book on short notice. They also offer scheduled weekend courses with invited chefs such as Neil Jewell, Nina Timm and Stef Marais, which include longer culinary and special interest retreats like their popular Cycle tour or Yoga retreat. These need to be booked in advance.

Known for: One of the top picks in Prince Albert for Karoo cuisine

The Dining Room at Swartberg Hotel | Prince Albert

Enjoying a meal in The Dining Room is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Prince Albert. Inspired by a history that dates back to 1864, the menu draws from local dishes, and provides an ambience uniquely its own. Be sure to tuck into the venue’s famous Sunday Roast – you won’t regret it.

Known for: Local dishes in the setting of a vintage Victorian-style restaurant located in a national monument hotel

The Restaurant at Abalone House | Paternoster

What was once Reuben’s is now known simply as ‘The Restaurant’, but happily the quality of the offering remains the same. Based as the five-star boutique hotel, Abalone House, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, working off a menu that is inspired by the best that the Cape West Coast has to offer, including, of course, a fine selection of seafood dishes.

Known for: The restaurant is located at a 5-star boutique hotel and offers a unique brandy pairing experience

The Restaurant at Bramon Wine Estate | Plettenberg Bay

Located at the well-established boutique wine farm, The Restaurant at Bramon Wine Estate keeps things simple with a selection of tapas carefully chosen to complement its award-winning wines. Think freshly-baked plaited bread, served with fresh fruit, to start, various dips and olives to follow, soemting a little heavier like springbok carpaccio, bobotie cigars, creamy mussels or soup of the day, before rounding things off with something sweet. Relaxed and casual, this is the perfect spot for a glass or two of wine, with a wonderful selection of tapas.

Ranked: One of the best restaurants on the Garden Route – Eat Out

The VegTable Private Dining Room | Knsyna

A casually-elegant dining experience in the coastal town of Knysna, the VegTable Private Dining Room is a cabin-style home nestled within the lush, green forests of the coastal town. The four-course meal comprises a soup, starter, main course and dessert. In addition to fabulous meat dishes, there is great variety for vegetarians, including a wonderful mushroom risotto, puff pastry with roasted beetroot served on a horseradish crème fraiche, and an irresistible lemon and mozzarella pesto pasta.

Known for: Best for a leisurely farm-to-table feast – Eat Out

Unique dishes of the Western Cape regions:

Garden Route & Klein Karoo

The Garden Route and Klein Karoo is a region as diverse as it is large. Famed for its oysters and champagne – you HAVE to attend the Knysna Oyster Festival in July – and its port and ostrich meat delicacies in the Klein Karoo (you haven’t eaten steak if you haven’t sunk your teeth into an ostrich steak in Oudtshoorn).

Special dish or drink: Oyster experience in Knysna and Fynbos Gin in Stilbaai

Cape West Coast

The Cape West Coast is a massively diverse region, as renowned for its pristine beaches as it is for the boulders and mountainous outcrops in the Cederberg. The same goes for the food, with a large array of flavours ever-present, but if there is one thing the area is really known for, it is its seafood, with a number of amazing restaurants based in coastal towns such as Langebaan and Paternoster. Grab some crayfish for lunch, the catch of the day for dinner, or do both. You won’t be disappointed.

Special dish or drink: Crayfish in Langebaan and Rooibos experience in Clanwilliam

Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands is an area that is famed for its outstanding wines. In recent times, however, its gastronomic offerings have caught up with the wines. Valleys such as Franschhoek and Paarl have outstanding offerings and the combination of wine and food is second to none.

Special dish or drink: Heritage cuisine including Waterblommetje soup in Franschhoek and Malva pudding in Paarl

Cape Karoo

The Cape Karoo is a world of its own, possessing both a unique beauty and charm. This is an area that will have you searching over every hill, wanting to discover what lies beyond and it also happens to be a place with the best lamb dishes on the planet!

Special dish or drink: Karoo lamb in Beaufort West and Roosterkoek in Laingsburg

Cape Overberg

Lying between the Cape Peninsula and the Garden Route, the Cape Overberg is widely considered to be the ‘breadbasket’ of the Cape, because of its wheat fields and large harvest of fruits. The Elgin Valley produces around 60 percent of the total annual apple crop for the country.

Special dish or drink: Abalone in Hermanus and South African wines in Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

Cape Town

Cape Town is a foodie mecca witha huge variety of restaurants to choose from, but if you’re looking for a true taste of the city, the Cape Malay cuisine is definitely where you need to be looking. The Cape Malay culture has influenced a wide variety of culinary delights in South Africa and its aromatic splendour is due to the variety of spices used in the recipes. Cumin, coriander, star anise, tamarind, cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric, to name a few, give the Cape Malay dishes an exception, unrivalled taste.

Special dish or drink: Cape bobotie in Bo-Kaap and Masala steak gatsby in the Cape Flats