Food lovers rejoice! Cape Town is known for its diverse and vibrant food scene, and there are plenty of attractions to keep you happy.
For a truly local experience, head to one of the city’s many food markets. Here you’ll find fresh produce, artisanal goods, and street food from all over the world. If you’re looking for something more upscale, Cape Town has no shortage of fine-dining restaurants.
1. Foodbarn Bakery & Deli
PERFECT FOR: •COFFEE & A LIGHT BITE •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •LUNCH •QUICK EATS •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS •WALK-INS
After a day spent driving down the coast pretending you’re in a Jeep commercial, stop in Noordhoek, a tiny, hippy town 30 minutes from Cape Town. Noordhoek Farm Village has excellent restaurants, kitschy trinket shops, and some of the best ice cream at Kirsten’s Kick-Ass Ice Cream. Before that, though, (or after, I’m not your mother) grab a quick bite or pick up locally-made snacks for sundowners from Foodbarn Deli. Take Chapman’s Peak Drive on your way back and stop at the lookout point to watch the sunset.
2. Lucky Fish & Chips
PERFECT FOR: •CHEAP EATS •CLASSIC ESTABLISHMENT •LUNCH •SERIOUS TAKE-OUT OPERATION
At Lucky Fish, they serve the freshest fish available, which makes for superb quality and queues out the door.
3. 4Roomed Ekasi Culture
PERFECT FOR: •BIG GROUPS •IMPRESSING OUT-OF-TOWNERS •LUNCH •UNIQUE DINING EXPERIENCE
It’s a casual dining restaurant where a 3-course culinary experience is inspired by foods mostly found in the townships and coupled with influences of other South African cultures found there. These are stories told with each and every plate of food and show how South African heritage is interlinked.
4. The Gin Bar
PERFECT FOR: •CLASSIC ESTABLISHMENT •DRINKING GOOD COCKTAILS •HAPPY HOUR
Gin and tonics are the unofficial drink of Cape Town and there’s no better place to drink them than at this tiny, antique-filled bar with over 50 local gin varieties. It’s hidden in a back room through a courtyard behind Honest Chocolate Cafe.
5. The Power & The Glory
PERFECT FOR: •CLASSIC ESTABLISHMENT •FIRST/EARLY IN THE GAME •DATES •HAPPY HOUR
An evening at The Power & The Glory is the best way to experience Cape Town at night. People gather here in such high numbers that they spill down the street.
6. Mojo Market
PERFECT FOR: •BIG GROUPS •CASUAL WEEKNIGHT •DINNER •DRINKS & A LIGHT BITE •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •SPORTS •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS
If you aren’t in town for a weekend market, are looking for a quick bite, or have a big group that doesn’t want to sit around a table talking to each other anymore, Mojo Market in Seapoint is a great dinner spot. There are over a dozen food stalls, live music every night, ocean views, and a huge seating area with crowds of people drinking Drifter beer and G&Ts.
7. The Woodlands Eatery
PERFECT FOR: •CASUAL •WEEKNIGHT DINNER •CLASSIC ESTABLISHMENT •DATE NIGHT •OUTDOOR/PATIO SITUATION •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS
If your group is exhausted and about to drop $30 on a piece of fish at the Waterfront out of convenience, or because you can’t bear to see another menu with the words “celeriac reduction,” reroute everyone straight to Woodlands Eatery. It’s located in Vredehoek, a residential area that’s only about a 10-minute drive away. You can sip a local Pinotage on the light-strung patio while trying to decide whose suitcase will be sacrificed to carry back all the wine you bought. Woodlands Eatery is a winner for any food preference and any circumstance. It’s also one of the few places open on Sundays.
8. Unframed Ice Cream
PERFECT FOR: •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •QUICK EATS •SERIOUS TAKE-OUT OPERATION •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS
Unframed serves Cape Town’s best ice cream and was named the best ice cream parlor in the world (which seems like a hard call to make, but we’ll take it). They also post their flavors on Instagram every morning in case you need a few hours to think before committing to just one.
9. The Poké Co.
PERFECT FOR: •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •KEEPING IT KIND OF HEALTHY •LUNCH •QUICK EATS
The Poke Co. is your best choice before a hike or day trip when you’re looking to grab something “now now” (a real phrase used by people across the country to describe “immediately”). This is the local go-to fast-casual spot because of the high-quality, sustainable fish they serve and sauces.
10. The Raptor Room
PERFECT FOR: •BRUNCH •CASUAL WEEKNIGHT •DINNER •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •LUNCH •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS •WALK-INS
Part coffee shop, part restaurant, and part concert venue, the bright pink Raptor Room is a great daytime option before or after exploring the District Six Museum. It’s a very cool-feeling place that serves national staples like gatsbys (sub sandwiches stuffed with french fries), vetkoeks (savory donuts stuffed with meat or french fries), and peri peri chicken.
11. Harvest Cafe
PERFECT FOR: •BREAKFAST •COFFEE & A LIGHT BITE •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •KEEPING IT KIND OF HEALTHY •LUNCH •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS
Bo-Kaap, a historic and colorful neighborhood in the center of the city, is a must-visit, and the best way to see it is from the roof of Harvest Cafe. You’ll find a perfect view of the rainbow houses on Wale Street, a unique coffee menu (focus on this, though they have food, too), and a barista who is some sort of latte-art Picasso.
12. The Strangers Club
PERFECT FOR: •BREAKFAST •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •KEEPING IT KIND OF HEALTHY •LUNCH •OUTDOOR/PATIO SITUATION •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS
The Strangers Club is a leafy, semi-outdoor bungalow hidden on a side street in Green Point that looks like it would host yoga retreats – which means that their menu of smoothie bowls and salads makes a lot of sense. TSC is full of the international model/surfer set, but the atmosphere is so laid back that the occasional “yaaaa bruuu!” being thrown across the room is just part of the experience.
13. Jason Bakery
PERFECT FOR: •BREAKFAST •BRUNCH •CLASSIC ESTABLISHMENT •COFFEE & A LIGHT BITE •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS
If you only have brunch once while you’re here, Jason is the place to go. When you’re heading here before or after a hike, there are healthier options like shakshuka and almond-and-baked-apple oats.
14. Between Us
PERFECT FOR: •BREAKFAST •DATE NIGHT •GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS •LUNCH •OUTDOOR/PATIO SITUATION •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS
Between us is an all-day affair: breakfast in the morning sun, leisurely lunches with friends, a family dinner, or late night tête-à-tête at the bar. A place where the food is consistently spectacular and the environment familiar but ever-surprising.
15. The Commissary
PERFECT FOR: •CASUAL WEEKNIGHT •DINNER •DATE NIGHT •DINING SOLO •EATING AT THE BAR •SMALL PLATES •VEGANS •VEGETARIANS •WALK-INS
The Commissary is a small, graffiti-covered space in the center of town from the same team as The Test Kitchen and The Potluck Club. But instead of plates that were definitely constructed with tweezers, the food here can only be described as American carnival food with an Asian twist – things like barbecue pork belly with toasted coconut and deep-fried, skewered shrimp “prawn dogs.” They don’t take reservations, but you can wait for your table over beers at The House of Machines next door.