Places To Chow – Cape Town, South Africa

Places To Chow
Cape Town, South Africa

There is a plethora of places to eat and drink in Cape Town, a location where “African time” and having a good time are both adhered to. As with most large cities, Cape Town offers an abundance of different types of cuisine, and areas like the Victoria Albert Waterfront and Camps Bay cater toward tourists on holiday with restaurants, nightclubs and bars aplenty. A large part of my Cape Town experience was spent eating, from lunch with Steve Biko’s widow in a rural town to elaborate buffets at fancy hotels. I enjoyed them all, different as the cuisine, company and setting often were. I have chosen several places across the board, in different neighborhoods and for different tastes and experiences.

The Sandbar – a small restaurant in the trendy and beautiful area of Camps Bay, where guests can sit outside and take in the view of the Twelve Apostles, the breaking waves and the gorgeous people passing by. Although most patrons wandered off the sand in beach attire, they were usually wealthy Europeans with “winter” homes in Camps Bay, clad in Chanel sunglasses and Juicy Couture sundresses. The sundowners (Capetonian for cocktails at sunset) and the salads are phenomenal (the blue-cheese and pear was a hit) and you cannot beat the view or the people-watching.

Ganesh – this place is hard to find and definitely not a spot for tourists. It’s tucked away in Observatory, a bohemian neighborhood with lots of artists and students. The décor is funky and inviting, a dimly lit room with lots of candles, paintings of Naomi Campbell and an entire corner devoted to voodoo. Cozy up to the bar for a slice of their famous lemon meringue pie, or find a table and order off the eclectic menu written up on the wall. The vegetarian lasagna and the kebabs are particularly note-worthy. The waitresses are either extremely rude or very chatty, but they are all characters and most nights will be happy to take a couple of shots of tequila with you.

Mesopotamia – dinner at this restaurant is an experience, so be ready for an entire evening out. The Kurdish restaurant is located in the city centre and seems to be popular with both tourists and locals. Guests lounge on large cushions around low tables, where you can order hummus and pita bread, smoke some hooka and watch belly dancers captivate the room. The dancer’s show is incredible, and she oftentimes invites unknowing diners to join her in the middle of the room to shake their hips and copy her moves. Watching the guests try to imitate her is humorous and watching her dance is mesmerizing.

Iziko – although many Western tourists never step foot in a township during their stay in Cape Town, I cannot imagine a complete view of the city without a visit to one of the many black/coloured townships. Iziko is a restaurant located in Langa, one of Cape Town’s oldest townships, a simple place that serves traditional South African food, like ostrich and briam. The food is unpretentious, and so is the staff. Iziko is an organization that teaches unemployed Langa residents cooking and catering skills, so almost all the staff comes across as shy, obviously still learning as they go. If you’re looking for fine dining with all the frills, Iziko’s is not the place for you, but if you want a truly South African experience then this just may end up being one of your favorite restaurants in Cape Town.