It is hard to imagine not finding a restaurant representing the cuisine of every possible region of the world in Cape Town. The offerings are as diverse as Cape Town itself.
While the city is renowned for its Italian restaurants, you will also find stylish Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Japanese, Thai and even Israeli and Argentinean restaurants.
Depending on your level of adventure, you will be well advised to try restaurants with local cooking, of which there are just as many.
The cooking of the Cape Malay people is exceptional and spicy. One traditional dish favoured by visitors and a must on your visit, is bobotie. It is a spicy curry minced meat mix baked in an oven covered with egg custard. Traditionally it is served on “yellow” rice with raisons and chutney.
Many of the dishes are pot stews using meat or fresh fish. Locally a pot stew is called “bredie”.
Similarly the Afrikaners love outdoor cooking. If it’s possible to put it on the barbeque (called “braai”), they will do it. Try the “sosaties”, which are kebabs marinated and cooked on a braai.
“Boerewors” is indigenous sausage, which must adhere to strict standards of meat content and spices to even be called by that name. It is best prepared on a braai and often eaten with maize porridge called “mieliepap” and a tomato and union stew.
“Potjiekos” (pot food) is very popular. It can hold any ingredients or combinations of ingredients – in extreme circumstances it can even be vegetarian – and is cooked very slowly on an open fire in a large black iron pot. The practice of preparing potjiekis is normally exercised by men who will stand around the fire all day.
The dish will only be labelled “potjiekos” if the chef did not stir the pot once. It is layered with ingredients, typically starting with unions, ginger and garlic, meat, potato’s, carrots, tomatoes, other vegetables of choice and fresh greens, mushrooms and peppers on top.
Even ostrich neck is cooked in this way with red wine or beer being used for flavouring and preventing the pot from becoming too dry.
The winelands surrounding the Cape Peninsula also offer hundreds of great restaurants in spectacular settings. Most of them offer local regional dishes including fresh line fish, which is plentiful, but some also offer first class African cuisine.
You will never be out of drink in Cape Town. Some of the best wine in the world is produced in the Western Cape.
A variety of locally brewed beers are available and just as popular.
Tap water in Cape Town – and for that matter, in the whole of South Africa – is safe to drink. If you are not convinced, the variety of bottled water in the shops is endless.