I first visited the Mother City in 1997, shortly after apartheid was abolished (in 1991), and have always been completely taken by the pleasant, laidback lifestyle in this gorgeous coastal city.
On my first visit to Cape Town I experienced all the essential sights, like Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years), the District 6 Museum and the iconic Table Mountain.
All worth a visit but every time I return to Cape Town I aim to discover and explore new areas and experiences.
Accommodation in Cape Town
Cape Town has many different neigbourhoods, each with their personality and vibe.
I have on several occasions stayed in one of the charming cottages in Waterkant, the perfect, and quite safe, base for exploring the ocean front, the city and the hinterlands.
Two of my preferred cottages are the newly renovated, quite sassy, cottage on 9B Loader Street in De Waterkant with an amazing view to the Table Mountain from the private roof terrace, and the more intimate and homely cottage on 40 Napier Street in De Waterkant with not only a private roof terrace but also a private pool.
Both cottages are managed by De Waterkant Cottages.
Cafés & Restaurants in Cape Town
Cape Town is deservedly famous for its inexpensive restaurants serving tasty food and for amazing produce, often sourced at the city’s popular markets and local farms.
I always look forward to revisiting old favourites and especially to experience the kitchen at newish and, to me, unfamiliar restaurants.
I have visited quite a few of the much-hyped, fine dining restaurants in Cape Town, like The Pot Luck Club, The Shortmarket Club, Salsify at the Roundhouse, Chef’s Warehouse Beau Constantia, Waterside and, my favourite so far, Fyn Restaurant (ranked 37 on the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022).
However, I have to confess that I most times prefer laid-back eateries, like the below
Casual Lunch Restaurants in Cape Town
Specializing in coffee (roasted in-house), cakes, breads as well as hearty breakfast and lunch dishes
The Loading Bay
Quite stylish café with healthy all-day breakfast options
Innovative and flavourful dishes in a chic, and ever-changing, setting
Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room
Inner-city landmark famous for its burgers but equally fine for breakfasts and coffees
Casual Dinner in Cape Town
The royal Oyster
The name says it all, really (about the oysters that is, it is really quite unpretentious!).
Il leone mastrantonio
Italian-inspired comfort food in a simple, yet stylish, setting
A casual (almost) seaside eatery with a Mediterranean- inspired menu
Flavourful, innovative food based on local, seasonal ingredients
Markets in Cape Town
Capetonians love their food markets and my two favourites are
Set in The Old Biscuit Mill in the ‘upcoming’ district of Woodstock. It is great for street food and a good opportunity to explore Woodstock and its many design and vintage shops.
Oranjesicht City Farm Market
Set in Granger Bay(near the Waterfront) it is a more glossy version, featuring farm-to-table produce as well as tasty street food.
NB Both markets are only open on selected days and get very busy from 11.00 am to 1.30 pm. In other words, I recommend that you arrive at 9.30 am for breakfast or at 1.30 for a late lunch.
Events, Experiences and Sights in Cape Town
I always try to plan some cultural expeditions, when I visit Cape Town, preferably experiencing new aspects of and/or neighbourhoods in the city.
Some of my best experiences have been
Wild Food Foraging at Veld & Sea
Roushanna Gray is an avid foodie, forager and artist who offers inspiring workshops at her Veld & Sea Glasshouse in Scarborough (about an hours drive from the centre of Cape Town).
Enjoying freshly picked, raw sea urchins with the chilly waves lapping against my feet was one of my favourite food experiences ever…
The Chef’s Studio
Chef Matt Manning offers hands-on cooking courses and wine master classes at a private venue above his restaurant Grub & Vine. A great introduction to local food, wine and people.
Boo-Kaap Cooking Tour
Lead by local foodie favourite, Zainie Smith, who opened the first Cape Malay restaurant in Cape Town, and expertly guides to the best local spice shops, gives an introduction to the history and culture of this particular Cape Town ‘hood as well as heads a hands-on cooking class (strongly supported by her son Zayed and his wife).
Investec Cape Town Art Fair
Keeps surprising me with striking, edgy and, I imagine, commercial art as well as a great vibe!
Mobile Phone Photography Workshop
With Trevor Samson, a talented, experienced and inspiring photographer based in the quaint, very charming, seaside village Kalk Bay.
James Fernie’s philanthropic cultural tours which let you interact with the locals in three or four community projects in Cape Town’s largest township, Khayelitsha (an area where you should definitely not venture without a local guide).
BTW uthando means love in Xhosa.
Seitz Museum of Contemporary African Art
The awe-inspiring museum collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits 21st century art from Africa and its diaspora.
Trips from Cape Town
A truly impressive Cape Dutch vineyard, farm, garden, hotel, spa, restaurant and café where most of the food is procured from their own farm.
Babylonstoren can be visited on a day trip just for a walk through the gardens and a meal. Or you can opt for the more luxurious version with an overnight stay and a visit to the spa.
Popular seaside village with the local fishermen still plying their trade from the beach, and much-loved for its food scene. I particularly enjoyed the food and amazing beach views at Wolfgat, Leeto and Gaittije.
Paternoster is about 140 kilometres from Cape Town and ideal for a small getaway. However I would consider making the trip for the lunch experience at Wolfgat (book well in advance).
NB Should you fail to secure a table at Wolfgat, check out the set Strandveld lunch menu at their informal garden restaurant Oep ve Koep. Or enjoy a meal at both restaurants…
More Tips for Cape Town
I invite you to send me an email at walther.griese (a) gmail.com if you have any suggestions for places which I definitely should experience on my next visit to Cape Town. Or if you would like additional information about the above experiences…
Updated on 17 October 2022