Cape Town’s coastal location has made it a cultural crossroads for centuries, and the culinary variety here testifies to this fact. International influences combine with local ingredients for a plethora of options that do not disappoint. For the first-time visitor, here are ten of the best foods and drinks to try during your stay.
Gatsby at Wembley Roadhouse
We can’t do Cape Town justice without mentioning the Gatsby sandwich. A supersized sub filled with French fries and saucy meat, it’s a Cape Town classic often cut into two or four portions. Wembley offers the classic meat choices as well as a fish and chips Gatsby, so you have plenty of options to choose from.
Bobotie at Biesmiellah
Biesmiellah is known for serving halal courses from the Cape Malay tradition, and they do not disappoint. This colorful, window-filled café sits across from Table Mountain, providing diners with quite a view. For a classic South African dish, try the bobotie—spiced minced beef baked with sultanas and egg-soaked bread.
Fynbos Fusion from The Odyssey Gastropub
The Odyssey is the first gastropub in Cape Town, joining the Bree Street ranks with great aplomb. It’s a good place to try a classic Capetonian cocktail, and their Fynbos Fusion is the perfect choice. It’s made with inverroche gin, which is made from fynbos, an indigenous flora found only in the Western Cape. This spirit is then mixed with lemon juice, tonic, and fresh pear puree, providing a botanical flavor you won’t soon forget.
Tapas at Chef’s Warehouse
As you can assume based on the name, Chef’s Warehouse is a restaurant frequented by Cape Town’s chefs. If you want to mingle with people well-versed in culinary culture, go to chef Liam Tomlin’s celebrated eatery. His South African-fusion tapas is exquisite—whether you choose the roast onion risotto, ham hock terrine with celeriac remoulade, or something else, your taste buds will thank you.
The Brie Street at IYO Burgers
You’ve probably never had an ostrich burger before, but IYO Burgers will change that. Once a mobile burger bar, now a popular brick-and-mortar location, IYO offers gourmet burgers with unique toppings. The Brie Street, for example, is an ostrich patty stuffed with Brie cheese.
The Silky Rez at Truth Coffee Cafe
Truth Coffee is cool, plain and simple. Cape Town’s reigning roaster features a steampunk-inspired look that contributes to its status as the city’s most popular coffee house. Try the Silky Rez—it’s the Truth secret recipe served cold. What could be better for a hot day?
Bacon Maple Croissant at Jason Bakery
If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, head over to Jason Bakery. A Bree Street fixture since 2011, baker Jason Lilley serves up sandwiches, doughssants (his take on the cronut), and more. His bacon maple croissant is particularly noteworthy, and you’ll find yourself wanting more than one.
Oliver’s Twist at Orphanage Cocktail Emporium
Bree Street is an eventful place, your best bet for fine dining and unique drink experiences. Orphanage Cocktail Emporium offers one such experience, transporting you to the Victorian era. It’s an homage to Charles Dickens, with brick walls, worn wood floors, and bartenders and waistcoats. Try the Oliver’s Twist, made with chamomile-infused vermouth, Ciroc, apricot, and orange.
Wild-Game Carpaccio at Marco’s African Place
Marco’s restaurant has the impressive ability to attract foreign visitors as well as locals, so it doesn’t feel too touristy. Specializing in local dishes, Marco’s serves up hearty meat entrees with signature spices. The wild-game carpaccio is a real standout, made with springbok, kudu, ostrich, and impala. Or, if you’re feeling particularly brave, you could try the ‘smiley’—a boiled sheep head!
Sushi at Willoughby
You’d expect a coastal town to have some pretty good sushi, and Cape Town does not disappoint. Some of the best can be found at Willoughby & Co. A local favorite located in the V&A Waterfront mall, Willoughby attracts long lines of dedicated diners, all craving the best sushi and seafood. Try the Hot Rock ‘n Roll, spicy tuna wrapped in avocado and tuna, drizzled in sesame oil, and topped off with sesame seeds.
Are you looking for a meeting destination or an exciting, unusual trip out of the ordinary? Search no more! Contact Gavel International for a unique travel experience to Cape Town, South Africa.
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