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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 24 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Richard Holmes

From tapas to sushi, coffee to wine, Cape Town’s international food, with an African twist, is sophisticated and superb.

Cape Town is perhaps best known for Cape Malay cuisine – curries that are fragrantly spicy rather than fiery. Being a port, fresh seafood features prominently – expect plenty of fresh local line fish, crayfish and mussels – though meat is much-loved and excellent too. In summer look out for fresh yellowtail and rock lobster.

Two world-class wine regions – Constantia and Stellenbosch – are of course on the doorstep.

What to try

Cape Malay curries made with chicken or lamb, and eaten with roti are a speciality of the city. Also try bobotie, a spicy mince dish topped with savoury baked custard. The calorie-laden Gatsby sandwich – stuffed with spiced steak, salad and chips – is a favourite with late-night revellers.

Also see Richard’s round-up of traditional South African foods to try in South Africa.

Recommendations

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A day in Franschhoek

Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa

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Bucket List Experience
A day in Franschhoek

The gorgeously quaint ‘French Corner’ of the Cape Winelands is also South Africa’s premier gourmet destination.

Best for ages 18+

Aegir Project Brewery

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Close up of beer vats on the wall in the bar

The craft beer revolution is in full swing in Cape Town, and the Aegir Project in laid-back Noordhoek has long led the charge. Their easy-going taproom and restaurant offer a range of local brews and fine views.

Best for ages 18+

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Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia

Constantia’s growing culinary clout is on full display here, with chef Ivor Jones’ small-plate menu offering some of the city’s most inspired, and affordable, fine dining.

Adult price: £50

Best for ages 18+

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Constantia Wine Region

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

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Bucket List Experience
A vineyard blossoming in the spring

The picturesque Constantia Valley is a compact wine route that’s home to some of the oldest wine farms in the Cape.

Best for ages 18+

Elgr

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Close up of a meal

Chef Jesper Nilsson blends his Swedish heritage with local culinary traditions to create a multi-cultural dining experience.

Adult price: £35

Best for ages 18+

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Neighbourhood Goods Market

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Exterior view of the restaurant during the daytime

This Cape Town institution, set up in an Old Biscuit Factory in 2006, features food stalls from around the world, plus local artisans selling designer clothing, accessories and quality handicrafts. Live music adds to the atmospheric buzz and energy.

Best for ages 8+

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Oranjezicht City Farm Market

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Woman Selling Fresh Local Vegetable at Farmers Market

A bustling food, wine and design market situated overlooking the ocean. Wonderful fresh produce and dozens of food stalls. Open weekends, 9am-2pm.

Best for ages 13+

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Stellenbosch Wine Region

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

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Bucket List Experience
The wine estate on a summers day

One of the world’s greatest wine regions, home to more than 150 wineries producing numerous world-class wines, gorgeous Cape Dutch architecture, superb restaurants and top-notch art galleries.

Min age 18

Best for ages 6+

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

Bree Street in the city centre is a vibrant gourmet boulevard of wine bars, coffee shops and restaurants that’s best discovered on foot.

The extensive coastline means there’s no shortage of sea-view eateries serving up fresh seafood.

The winelands – Constantia and Stellenbosch – are peppered with outstanding restaurants serving exceptional food – in gorgeous al fresco settings inspired by Cape Dutch Architecture.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

The Cape Town Essentials Food Tour

Cape Town

The Cape Town Essentials Food Tour
This tour focuses on a variety of different traditions and food cultures in Cape Town from the Bo-Kaap and De Waterkant. Each stop is also an opportunity to learn about the history of the cultures involved; the food and locations always relate back to important aspects of Capetonian heritage, especially about how the different communities developed together. We touch base on the Indian Ocean Slave Trade and Apartheid and how they both played a vital part in local cuisine as well as in the national consciousness of South African culture. The Essentials tour is our "first born" :) and the most popular tour at this time. Plays off in the colourful De Waterkant, filled with history, culture but more so what the locals like to enjoy day to day. We stop at Bo Kaap Deli, Marcos African Cafe, Cafe Charles & Fireman’s Arms. 4 food and drink parings.

Price: Z1,990

Min age: 5

Rating 4.99 / 5 [244 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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The 10 Tastings of Cape Town With Locals: Private Food Walking Tour

Cape Town

The 10 Tastings of Cape Town With Locals: Private Food Walking Tour
Eat your way through Cape Town's culinary scene on a private food tour. Go on a delicious journey as you try 10 of the best food items beloved by the locals: from savory to sweet and local drinks; this tour will leave every foodie satisfied! Enjoy tastings typical of the local cuisine and hand-picked by a local guide passionate about food like Biltong and Koeksister. But that's not it! This tour is more than just food; it's a cultural experience! In between food stops, you'll also find city highlights making this experience a well-rounded tour that will satisfy every foodie. Withlocals The 10 Tastings Private Food Tour™ is one of Withlocals' signature tours available in major cities worldwide. We work with passionate local guides who earn a fair fee. We support local economies by only offering local produce and prevent over-tourism with only small non-intrusive groups. Our tours are carbon-neutral and away from the standard tourist routes.

Price: €92

Min age: 0

Rating 4.48 / 5 [120 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Cape Town

Western Cape, South Africa

Aerial view of the whole city at dusk

A vibrant, multicultural city with dramatic scenery, adrenaline adventure galore, Africa’s best art scene, golden beaches world-class wine regions and outstanding gastronomy. All in the shadows of the mighty Table Mountain.