What a trip! There is so much to say and share about our recent 1 1/2 weeks exploring South Africa, but let's be honest...the most important sharing is all about the food. We spent six glorious, sunshine filled days wandering around Cape Town, and along the way discovered delicious bites, eye-opening coffee, and scrumptious snacks to fuel our packed days. If you or anyone you know is planning a stay in the Mother City soon, I highly recommend checking out a few of these places. Special thanks to The Inside Guide, a local blog dedicated to the best of Cape Town, for pointing us in the right direction.
For the love of coffee
I'm by no means a coffee snob, but even my low coffee IQ knows enough about this magical drink to know that South Africa is quickly becoming a hot spot. Before even stepping on the plane, I had a well researched list of must visit places. Nothing disappointed.
Kamili has two locations in Cape Town, one of which is conveniently located next door to a City Sightseeing Bus stop on Long Street. Like all great coffee shops, Kamili also offers non caffeinated drink options and bakery items for those needing even more rejuvenation.
Motherland Coffee Company is located in the historic downtown area, and is also the meeting point for Free Walking Tours, which we hopped on twice during our visit. While I loved all the coffee I tried in Cape Town, Motherland wins the award for best iced latte.
No trip to Cape Town is complete without a stop at the whimsical Truth Coffee Roasting. This large, open, and quirky space roasts it's own beans. The staff is readily available to help you choose the right roast and preparation for your tastes, and if you're in the mood for a bigger meal, sit down at a table and enjoy something off of the full menu as well.
If you're looking for something a little sweeter, head over to Honest Chocolate Cafe where you can savor their homemade truffles and baked goods alongside your power juice. Make sure to take a seat in the small back courtyard to truly enjoy your break.
Coffee tip: I quickly learned that Iced Coffee means something different in Cape Town than I am used to. Instead of black coffee over ice, I was typically treated to a blended coffee with milk and sugar. While this was also delicious, if it's not what you are looking for, simply ask for a "neat coffee over ice".
One of the best parts about traveling to Cape Town was our ability to try a variety of cuisines, and keep things relatively healthy. Just like major US cities, Cape Town's population is a mixing bowl of different communities, each of which brings it's own food and flavors to the table. The city's growing interest in local, and sustainable eating has also made finding yummy, yet nutritious meals easy and budget friendly.
We NEVER visit the same restaurant twice while traveling, but we made an exception for Clarke's, a relaxed bar and restaurant with all day breakfast! We visited once for lunch, and once for dinner. I order the same things both times, but everything on the menu sounded delicious. Do yourself a favor and make sure to try a slice of their flourless seed bread.
We stumbled upon The Black Sheep our first full day in Cape Town after not being able to get in elsewhere on a busy Saturday evening. It was highly reviewed on TripAdvisor, and had the added benefit of a picture perfect view of Table Mountain from the bar. I'm so glad we landed here. Our meals were perfect (steak for me, braised springbok for David), and the atmosphere was friendly and laid back.
If Cape Town does one things well it's fish, and there's no better way to appreciate fish than sushi. Make sure to grab a table at Willoughby & Co (they don't take reservations), which you can find inside the mall on the V&A Waterfront. Not into sushi? No worries. Willoughby's extensive menu also caters to more classically prepared fish lovers.
Looking to explore the best wine South Africa has to offer? I'de recommend squeezing into Publik Wine Bar, a small and intimate establishment dedicated to highlighting vino from sustainably farmed vineyards across the country. Most of the wines are only offered by the bottle, but that shouldn't stop you. Their small but mighty food menu is also worth a look; please make sure to order the lamb belly. It will induce a culinary epiphany.
While I love good tapas, I typically shy away from it at home due it's higher price tag, so I'm especially glad I was willing to give La Parada a try. Not only was it less expensive thanks to a favorable exchange rate, but I also thought the food was more creative, and the portions more generous. After a lengthy process of elimination, we ordered the cauliflower popcorn, beef short ribs, Mediterranean salad, and butternut squash. All YUM!
All of the food was A+ in Cape Town, but the best overall experience goes to Bo-Kaap Kombuis, a family owned restaurant in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood serving up the best of Cape Malay cuisine. We happened to be there on a buffet night, which meant we were able to try about 10 different things. If you do want to check it out, you need to make a reservation, and I recommend taking an Uber there because it's at the top of a very steep hill.
Snacks, markets, and other worthwhile stops
Sometimes the best part of eating your way through a new place are the small bites and snacks between meals. This held true for Cape Town, where the unlimited snacking options made our stomachs forever happy.
Fresh juices and smoothies can be found everywhere, but make sure to stop by Nourish'd for an extra special treat. While you're sipping on your refreshing snack you can also dig into one of their vegan Rainbow Bowl (hello cashew cream!), or homemade energy bites.
Taking a stroll through Company's Garden is a relaxing way to spend some time during your visit. To make things even more luxurious, sit down at the Company's Garden Restaurant, or take your coffee and pastry to go for some high quality park bench sitting.
Cape Town is full of amazing farmer's markets and food halls, and I suggest trying out at least a few. Start at Mojo Market in Sea Point where you can choose from about a dozen food stands ranging from shawarma to mac & cheese. There's also a central bar serving a wide range of beers, ciders, and wines. Next, head over to V&A Waterfront Food Market and enjoy tacos, ice cream, noodle bowls, sweets, coffee, etc. while taking in the fresh air and street performers. Make sure to try the fresh biltong stand! By far the best market experience though is The Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill on Saturdays. I could have easily spent the entire day here shopping and eating. With so many food stands, it was impossible to pick a lunch option, but I eventually landed on a stall selling a variety of fresh salads, and David went for poke.
No vacation is complete without a little dessert, and I wholeheartedly endorse a stop at Moro Gelato, which produces creamy treats just as good as those found in Italy.
Do you have a favorite Cape Town spot that I missed? Make sure to share below!
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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