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Help for a San Francisco palate in Cape Town?

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I am going to visit my daughter, who is living in Rondebosch on a student budget and cannot wait to bring me (and my credit card) to some good restaurants and purveyors. Would love to try the highly-praised seafood, sample local wines and produce, stay away from feeble attempts at Italian or French cuisine. Recommendations for restaurants, cafes, wine bars, farmers' markets would be most appreciated (we won't have a car).

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  1. You should have a look through the recent Cape Town thread. Seafood and wine means that the Codfather or Blues in Camps Bay will be good. It has been a while since I was there but I seem to remember that the restaurant at the Buitenwervachting winery is supposed to be excellent

    1. I recommend Caveau(spelling?) near the colonial hotel , which is near the Cape Malay area, in central Cape Town.
      They serve south african tapas, good for lunch.
      Around the corner from there is Savoy Cabbage.
      You need to get a car and go see the wine country at least for a day, otherwise you didnt do the trip properly. Their are great restaraunts around stellenbosch and Franshoek

      1. Le Quartier Francais in Franschoek is excellent, and Franschoek is a great place to explore wines and great food. You would need a car, but it's not too difficult to rent one, and it's a fairly short drive (about forty minutes if I remember).

        Emily's (near the Waterfront) comes highly recommended, although I haven't eaten there myself, and Madam Zingara downtown was nice too. There were good steaks and seafood at Balthasar on the Waterfront and also good food at Societi Bistro, also on the Waterfront.

        Willoughby's, a little tiny place in the V & A Mall, does not have a lot of atmosphere, but the seafood is very good.

        The restaurant at the Winchester Mansions hotel in Sea Point has a quite good restaurant if you're in that area

        1. Oh Boy...are you in for a treat!
          I can highly recommend all kinds of Cape Town eats for a San Francisco palate...I have lived and eaten in both cities.
          You have to eat fish n' chips while you are there at any harbor. I love Fishermans Wharf at Hout Bay or Kalkies at Kalk Bay. Cape to Cairo is a restaurant in Kalk Bay too that is fabulous. All the menus in Cape Town carry the best fresh fish. Try Kingklip and Snoek(smoked too). The Ocean Basket franchise is very good and all over the place. The Africa Image Cafe near Green Market Square has great food when you're out and about exploring the city. The best dining experience I had was at The Africa Cafe where you have a feast of many African dishes served by women who sing, dance and drum at the end of the meal. Buy their cookbook. If travelling to wine country the buffet at Boschendal is amazing, Lanzerac too, but just as good and very exotic is Moyo at Spier winery.
          Blues in Camps Bay has the best views and sundowners(cocktails)at sunset...there are so many more. Just ask the locals where they go. I'm jealous...need a tour guide?

          1. P.S....Check out Woolworths food section to sample all kinds of SA produce and packaged foods. Try their Koeksisters!
            Melissa's is a gourmet deli that is really good too...as I think of more I'll keep posting. When are you going and coming back?
            The tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel is wonderful. I also like the one I had at Rhodes Memorial.

            1. Neighbour Goods Market
              @ THE OLD BISCUIT MILL, 373 - 375 Albert Road Woodstock. EVERY SATURDAY 9AM - 4PM.

              its a new public market, opened a few months ago.
              Cape Towns answer to Borough Market.

              1. Hi, all

                I must respectfully disagree with Gastrognome's kind comment about the Neighbourhood Goods Market - Borough Market it ain't. I think it is an important first step in establishing a culture of markets, but I wouldn't reccommend it to anyone who comes from the home of the Ferry Plaza Market, nor anyone hoping for Borough. But we can continue to wish, can't we??

                I agree with Afrodizzy - a better way to get a sense of Cape food culture (and see the products which make Cape Town unique and different from other food meccas like San Francisco) is to visit farm stalls (perhaps the Cape's true answer to the more American and European 'farmers markets') and institutions like Woolworths (different from the US Woolworths) and Melissa's.

                For a San Franciscan looking to show his/her student (and probably budgeting) daughter a delicious time, I'd reccommend:

                The Table Bay or Radisson hotel buffet for breakfast
                Tea at the Mount Nelson
                A nice promenade in Kalkbay, with lunch or dinner at the Olympia Cafe. If your daughter has a kitchen and you're tired of eating out, you might pick up some local fish straight from the fishermen/women on the harbour wall for dinner. They'll scale and filet it for you if you ask
                A picnic at Kirstenbosch (any of the shops mentioned above should be a good resource)
                If you feel like sushi with local fish, try Minato (see my previous post on that)
                Out in wine country, you will see a lot of French influences, but don't be scared off - it tends to be fused with South African flavours and uniquely South African products. French Connection and Reuben's in Franschhoek are both winners. If you feel like spoiling your daughter, perhaps try the tasting menu at le Quartier Francais - I've never tried it myself, but it looks lovely.

                Upmarket places I haven't eaten at recently, but will probably be good:
                Moyo at Spier (Fancy African food. Go hungry.)
                Five Flies

                Please let us know how your trip goes, and your thoughts on the food.
                Savoy Cabbage

                2 Replies
                1. re: Gooseberry

                  thanks for the corection, I have to admit, I have not even been to the market, just read a little about it and perhaps wishful thinking has had me buy into the hype before visiting.

                  I second your opinion on farmstalls,nothing like a nice fresh roostekoek with some real farm butter.

                  and want to add that fairview vineyards in paarl(i think) has an excellent bakery/cafe and good cheeses to try.

                  1. re: gastrognome

                    Hi, Gastrognome

                    Let us know when you've gone - I'd value another chowhound opinion! I myself have only been once, and left feeling a bit mixed. On the one hand, I'm so excited to see this sort of thing taking off in SA, and at how popular it is. On the other, I've been spoiled by my travels - some of the food is good, but a lot of it is just... ok. Silly mistakes, like quiches without salt, bland chicken pies, etc. I'd like to go again soon, and give it another try, but the crowds are a bit intimidating!

                    Which are your favourite farmstalls in the region at the moment? I've been out of the country for most of the year (working in San Francisco, ironically!) and one of the bad surprises was how many of my favourites have either closed down, or changed ownership. Would welcome any suggestions...