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The City Center & City Bowl

There is simply not enough space to cover the many superb restaurants concentrated in this area, so in some cases, a simple mention will have to suffice.

Expensive -- On the outskirts of the cobblestoned Bo-Kaap is the much vaunted Ginja, 121 Castle St. (tel. 021/426-2368), a fine-dining stalwart that continues to earn rave reviews, but earns just as much criticism. It's a curious venue -- a carefully renovated semi-dilapidated double-volume space, but many visitors grumble about such details as the toilets, despite the memorable fusion cuisine. Upstairs is Ginja's smaller, spunkier sister restaurant, Shoga (tel. 021/426-2369), where prices (and atmosphere) are more relaxed, and there's a simpler menu (also with Asian influence) that doesn't skimp on quality. Start by sharing a selection of tapas, and then ask about the day's fish (the chef's "twist" usually convinces me); also worth noting is the very fine ostrich, woodfired and tandoori-marinated. I prefer the vibe here and perhaps because there's less pressure to perform (Shoga doesn't see the accolades thrown at Ginja), there's more chance of coming away impressed.

Moderate -- A favorite place to kick-start the evening (or end the day) is Caveau (tel. 021/422-1367), a Cape Town haunt on Heritage Square, within strolling distance of Long Street. It's a wonderful, warm, informal venue that spills out onto the street, with excellent wines by the glass to accompany a range of tapas and more filling meals. It's a hugely popular after-hours watering hole, and you'll struggle to get a table here after 5pm. Wonderful tapas plates are also in abundance at Fork, 84 Long St. (tel. 021/424-6334). Kick off with puff pastry stuffed with oven-roasted peppers, asparagus, and caprino; slices of tuna on cannellini beans; or slightly overdone but extremely tender lamb cutlets.

Inexpensive -- &Union, 110 Bree St. (tel. 021/422-2770), is a slick-casual "beer and charcuterie" venue beneath the church near Heritage Square from the entrepreneurs who started the feisty Vida e Caffé brand (now marching into London; www.caffe.co.za). Place your order at the counter (the cured meat platters and tapas are perfect accompaniment to the high-end artisanal German-style beers) and park yourself at one of the benches beneath the trees outside (or settle for a bar stool inside).

Also right in the heart of the city, and this time from Bruce Robertson, the culinary wizard who created much-hype with The Showroom (now closed), is Quarter (tel. 021/424-1175), which is a bit like a slightly upmarket street food outlet specializing in a truly South African favorite called Bunny Chow. Any South African will probably be able to tell you how late night bunny chow meals -- a quarter loaf of bread stuffed with any variety of fillings (in my day it was always chicken curry, but fillings can be quirkier) -- rescued them from the munchies and staved off a hard-earned hangover. Bruce's slick, chic, sexy little eatery lets you sit at communal tables and jive with the locals. Definitely one worth trying, if only to say you've had something truly South African; it's next to the entrance of the Grand Daddy Hotel, at 44 Long St., and open weekdays 10am to 10pm and Saturday 4pm to 4am.

If you like the idea of pizza but could do without the cheese, head over to Limoncello, 8 Breda St. (tel. 021/461-5100), a tiny restaurant in Gardens frequented by locals who love the ultrathin, crispy pizza base (tomato free), topped with smoked salmon (or aubergine), lemon juice, and fresh rocket (arugula). Equally good is the tender baby squid, flash-fried with chili and garlic. Their risotto of the day is usually spot on.

The Waterfront & Docklands

There's quality at the Waterfront, sure, but nothing so fine that I make a regular pilgrimage, with the exception of Willoughby. Foodies have been queuing up to sample the goods at Gordon Ramsey's first African restaurant, maze, just off the lobby of the new One&Only hotel (tel. 021/431-5222). Ramsey is no stranger to South Africa (he regularly runs the Comrades Marathon in Kwazulu-Natal). During his time here, he's prepared a menu inspired largely by local cultural influences and produce -- roast rack of Karoo lamb, Cape Malay-style mussels, Mozambican prawns, springbok filet, ostrich, and even fish frikkadels (spiced meatballs) are featured. There's a fairly even split between steak (broiler grilled at 650°) and seafood; and by all accounts, a focus on simple, stripped-back cuisine, rather than overfussy, complex combinations satisfy. Imported beer-fed Aussie wagyu costs dearly. The place just opened in April 2009, so the verdict is out, but reports so far have been less than glowing, and feedback on the service quite scathing. Only time will tell if this celebrity import will rise above being another pricey hotel eatery.

If you'd rather be at the Waterfront than inside one of its hotels, then first among the recommended choices is Den Anker, Pierhead (tel. 021/419-0249; ask for a map at one of the information desks in Victoria Wharf). It's worth the trip, if only to wolf down a pot of the freshest West Coast mussels, accompanied by Belgian beer, in a casual atmosphere with great harbor and mountain views. Rabbit, simmered in Belgian beer and served with applesauce and potato croquettes, is another specialty; and the steaks are out of this world.

In the Victoria Wharf shopping center proper is Willoughby & Co. (tel. 021/418-6116), arguably the best place in town for fresh, unpretentious seafood dishes, and a consistent favorite in the top sushi polls. Certainly, it doesn't get any fresher (it's the best fish market in town, too). That said, the venue is very much mall-like; those after a formal dining experience (with celebrity credentials) will probably prefer Nobu (tel. 021/431-5222), within the worldly confines of the One&Only.

If eating in a mall (or hotel) in the most beautiful city in the world depresses you, head upstairs to the terrace at Baia (tel. 021/421-0935), for linen tablecloths and picture-perfect harbor and mountain views; the seafood's excellent, too, but caters predominantly to a foreign market, as most rand-wielding locals think it's overpriced. Down below, with some open-air tables just a few meters from the harbor, Sevruga (tel. 021/421-5134) is a relative newcomer (and sister establishment to Greenpoint's very popular Beluga). The menu is a mix of fresh sushi and meat offerings, such as slow-braised lamb. The servers' condescending attitude and inefficiency are offputting.

For a more refined atmosphere and competent service, try Signal (tel. 021/410-7100). It's the Cape Grace's entirely reinvented venue for Malay-inspired dishes, prepared by local chef Malika van Reenen and served in a refined setting. Malika personally recommends the Malay curried chicken soup to start -- it's mildly spicy and flavored with coconut, crispy onions, bean sprouts, and fresh coriander -- followed by her very good cumin-crusted springbok loin, served with potato samoosas, sautéed spinach, and beetroot chutney.

Finally, no review of Cape Town's restaurants would be complete without a mention of Panama Jacks, Quay 500 (tel. 021/448-1080; www.panamajacks.net), a celebrated dockside restaurant that predates the Waterfront development. It has no view or elegance, but the simple seafood dishes -- steamed, grilled, or flambéed -- are superb. Fresh crayfish [lobster] is the specialty. Located in the old working section of the harbor, it's beyond walking distance from the Waterfront, and it's very difficult to find. You're best off using a taxi; otherwise, head for the Royal Cape Yacht Club and take the second road left.

Boom with a View -- One of Cape Town's more idiosyncratic habits is the sounding of the Noon Gun, a tradition that has informed Capetonians of their lunch break since 1806. The South African Navy fires the Signal Hill cannon, letting out a familiar rumble across the city, 6 days a week, and it's quite a thrill to experience it at close quarters. You can drive up there by following the road signs -- or walk to the Gun by heading up steep Longmarket Street via the Bo-Kaap. The best place to wait for the boom (or recuperate afterward) is with a cup of tea and slice of traditional melktert (milk tart) at the Noon Gun Tea Room and Restaurant, 273 Longmarket St. (tel. 021/424-0529; open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm). The tearoom affords magnificent views of the city and mountain, and serves authentic Cape Malay fare. One word: babotie.

De Waterkant

This tiny enclave within Green Point has always enjoyed a reputation as a Cape Town nightlife hot spot and center of the gay scene, but in the past few years, De Waterkant has also developed into the city's most exciting shopping precinct. But one needs sustenance to plunder, and the restaurants and eateries in and around the recently expanded Cape Quarter don't disappoint. Start with the best coffee (or tea) in the country at Origin, 28 Hudson St. (tel. 021/421-1000; www.originroasting.co.za), where the buzz is as heady as the brilliant blends served by an intensely knowledgeable crew. Tea lovers should head directly for the glass-enclosed room at the back -- the fishbowl-like venue is said to heighten the experience. For dining choices, head around the central cobbled courtyard, where four fine options have tables spilling out around the central fountain: Tank (tel. 021/419-0007; www.the-tank.co.za), with its oversize fish tank and massive ego, is great for sushi (they're very proud of their Japanese sushi master chef), Asian fusion, and people-watching -- if you can get a table outside. Indoors, the acoustics can be a problem, but head right to the back room and grab the banquette seats with views of the city skyline. Equally popular but more casual is Andiamo (tel. 021/421-3687), which has a small but good Italian menu and a testosterone-strong staff pumping up the action. Food is good, but when it's packed, tables are a little too close together and the vibe is frenetic. Inside the actual deli-shop, you'll find the greatest selection of edible items this side of the equator. It's a good place to stock up for a picnic or gifts for foodie friends. Across the tiny piazza is the Nose Restaurant and Wine Bar (tel. 021/425-2200), which serves superb wines by the glass, with personal write-ups by the owner to ease the selection process. Food is perfectly serviceable, too, and the atmosphere is a great deal more laid-back than at Andiamo, which you can watch buzzing from your table. If it's a delicious light meal you're after, the pick of the bunch is La Petite Tart, on the "outside" of the Quarter, on Dixon Street (tel. 021/425-9077). Owned and run by Jessica, a French model who has successfully re-created her own little bit of the Left Bank here, it has the longest tea list in town and the most wonderful tart selection (apricot and almond is a big favorite); if you're in the mood for savory, try a traditional croque-monsieur or quiche (such as the blue cheese, butternut, and beetroot option). These are fresh-baked daily, and you can virtually follow your nose to find this tiny restaurant.

Green Point, Mouille Point & Sea Point

Even before Green Point's pre-2010 transformation, these bustling, adjoining neighborhoods experienced an explosion in growth. New restaurants and retail outlets opened monthly along their respective main roads, while the modern apartment blocks that rise above them were being built or renovated faster than for the restaurants could handle. Green Point has a number of fashionable and good-value restaurants. Besides Anatoli, you should check out Il Leoni Mastrantonio, 22 Coburn St., on the corner of Prestwich (tel. 021/421-0071), is hailed by some as their top Italian pick. Moving farther away from the city, Mediterranean Manos, 39 Main Rd. (tel. 021/434-1090), is a reliable choice with better value than most (although who can tell what Green Point's soccer-inspired upgrade will do). Inside the Cape Royale Hotel is Geisha, 47 Main Rd. (tel. 021/439-0533), known for its quality Asian fusion and tapas. Altogether more relaxed dining (plus Cape Town's prettiest cupcakes) is what you get at Miss K Food Café, Winston Place, 65 Main Rd. (tel. 021/439-9559), where Kirtsen Zschokke is especially revered for her satisfying breakfasts (served till 1pm) and a great lunchtime buffet spread, perfect for an unhurried day on the town.

Become a Main Road Local -- Long before the arrival of Green Point Stadium and the attendant influx of cash, a couple of stalwarts have pulled devoted locals. Giovanni's Deliworld (tel. 021/434-6893) -- owned and run by the Esposito brothers -- is a traditional Italian deli that for 2 decades has served serious espressos and a good selection of home-cooked meals. Nearby, unchanged since 1971, is Mario's, 89 Main Rd. (tel. 021/439-6644), started by a pair of Italian immigrants, the Marzagallis, during the days when Green Point was near-deserted. Mario passed away back in 1986, but widow Pina is still satisfying regulars with her legendary artichokes, authentic homemade pasta, bacon-wrapped quail, and traditional veal. Pina is now assisted by daughter Marilena and taciturn son Marco-Giovanni, and her recipes still come from her ancient La Grande Cucina cookbook. She'll gladly take requests, too, so chat to her before you order. Mario's is closed Mondays.

But if the idea of working up an appetite with a fresh sea breeze appeals, Mouille Point's Beach Road is the place to be. If you're looking for something really casual (and inexpensive), just grab a table on the sea-facing deck at Caffé Neo, 129 Beach Rd. (tel. 021/433-0849). With its bizarre mix of modern decor peppered with family photographs, this is a daytime venue run by a charming Greek family. Wi-Fi is free, hence the many people sitting with their laptops and the central timber table. Also near the Cape Royale is brand new Bravado (tel. 021/433 1496), which is the relocated and expanded version of Bravo, an old favorite Mouille Point haunt (which has now been claimed by the hotel in which its located), with dishy owners, a vibey serving staff, plenty of Stella Artois on tap, and delicious square, thin-crust pizzas. If there's one place that's injecting the Green Point dining strip with a bit of upbeat fun, this is it.

Chocolate Fever -- For a hand-on approach to chocolate addiction, sign up for one of Cape Town's chocolate workshops, offered by the Lindt-endorsed Chocolate Studio in Green Point, at The Foundry, Cardiff Street (tel. 021/417-5080; www.chocolatestudio.co.za). Cape Town-born chef Alfred Henry puts you through the paces as you learn to make luscious chocolates, decadent chocolatey desserts, Lindt cakes, truffles, and more, including ice cream and sorbet. There are multiday courses, but a 3-hour evening workshop costs R500. Early booking is essential.

The Sunset Strip: Wining, Dining & Posing in Camps Bay

When the summer sun starts its slow descent into the ocean, most Capetonians feel compelled to head over to the Atlantic seaboard to soak up the last of its pink rays and watch the kaleidoscope unfold. Toasting nature's miracle with fast-flowing refreshment is usually part of the deal, and Victoria Road -- the street that hugs Camps Bay's palm-fringed beachfront -- is where you'll find a swath of tightly packed refreshment stations, all posing as luxury restaurants, and all boasting good-to-glorious views of the ocean, white-sand beach, and some of the most ravishing examples of humanity to grace the insides of a bikini or pair of board shorts.

Warning: In summer, the atmosphere on this strip gets frenzied, and any genuine desire to service individuals' needs or produce noteworthy food takes a backseat to turning tables as fast as possible (Blues, Grand Café, and Sandbar being notable exceptions); if you're looking for a more laid-back seaside alternative, where views are not tainted by brash or low-level aggressive staff, head for The Roundhouse (high above the sea) or Wakame, on Mouille Point's Beach Road (despite the name, there is no real beach), or escape altogether to one of the sleepy village-size towns in the southern part of the peninsula.

Starting on the northern edge of Camps Bay beach is La Med, part of the Glen Country Club, clearly signposted off Victoria (tel. 021/438-5600). It's a rather tacky indoor/outdoor bar in a sublime location, with lawns that run into the ocean. The summer buzz (with excellent music, especially on Sun nights -- in 2008-09, world-class electro-jazz duo Goldfish turned this into a throbbing mini-Ibiza every week through the season) and sheer size (it packs in well over 500) can attract a rowdy, quite young crowd -- but it's definitely an iconic Cape Town experience (sunglasses optional). For slightly more staid drinking partners, stay south, down Victoria Road, in Camps Bay proper. First up is the revamped Sandbar (tel. 021/438-8336): One of Camps Bay's oldest sidewalk bistros, this is right on the edge of the strip, so it's usually more laid-back and friendly and still serves a mean daiquiri. Great salads, too, but people don't come here for the food. Next door, the flavor of the moment hereabouts is The Grand Café, while two other long-running stalwarts of this strip are nearby: Tuscany Beach Café (tel. 021/438-1213) and Café Caprice (tel. 021/438-8315), both of which also recently underwent plastic surgery (emphasis on plastic). You're welcome to enjoy just a drink at these venues while you (pretend to) peruse the menu. If you don't like what's on offer, simply move along. Vida e Caffé is where I get my morning fix of caffeine, but the sloppy table arrangement is hardly conducive to people-watching. Unless it's for a fruitful smoothie, avoid next-door Kaui, where food has become hideously bland. If you have children, try to bag a window table at Col'Cacchio (tel. 021/438-2171) upstairs.

Farther along the main drag, beyond the sports field, for the price of a steak elsewhere, you can snack on a sandwich at Camps Bay Beach Club, tucked beside the entrance to The Bay hotel, like some neon-lit modernist cave.

Even better views are had from the elevated options housed farther south, in the mall-like Promenade Centre beyond The Bay hotel. Here you'll find the greatest concentration of eateries on the Atlantic seaboard, though few can be recommended for their food, and outlandish rent means venues are extremely schizophrenic. First up is well-dressed Paranga (tel. 021/438-0404), on the first floor, with great cushy banquette seating along the walls (book terrace seats for the best views); food is nothing to write home about and quite pricey, but for watching the beach scene (sunglasses essential), the venue is pretty unbeatable. Above is Summerville (tel. 021/438-3174), which relies on its view to draw customers. Sit outside, and it can be a great place to crack open an icy Heineken and imbibe the landscape -- soon you might be hungry enough to attempt one of their salads. Alongside is Blues (tel. 021/438-2040), also with great views and, having just celebrated its 22nd birthday, the most old-fashioned (read: grownup) establishment on the Promenade. You often need to book a dinner table days before, proof that with a sublime location, you can get away with inconsistent cuisine resulting from an ever-changing lineup of chefs. Adjacent is Baraza (tel. 021/438-1758), finished in muted earth tones and furnished with comfortable sofas, with counters that run the length of the windows to frame the elevated views of the sunset strip; you can order from the Blues menu here, and there's often cool DJ-spun music. Below Blues and Baraza, there's a massive lineup of glitzy venues purpose-made for a see-and-be-seen crowd that's typically primped up after a day on the beach: Kove and Bungalow are both from the man (Paul Kovensky) who brought us Paranga -- and it shows. They're elegant and a la mode, but I wouldn't want to eat in either. The other eateries in this neck of the (concrete) woods are too sad to contemplate, although the peri-peri chicken at Nando's is a celebrated South African export (and served here in a licensed restaurant). If you want a taste to remember Camps Bay by, though, cruise into the back part of the Promenade and seek out Sinnfull, Britta Sinn's heaven-sent ice cream emporium (tel. 021/438-3541). There's no view or space to pose here, but you'll be back.

Farther along the strip, you'll find Primi Pomodoro (tel. 021/438-2923); like its sister establishment in the Waterfront, this casual eatery offers quick-fix Italian dining known primarily for its fast-as-lightening service -- an extensive menu of pizzas and pastas has become increasingly variable, quality wise, over the years, but low prices and filling portions help it maintain a strong following.

Finally, no round-up of Camps Bay's generally mediocre dining scene would be complete without mention of The Codfather, 37 The Drive (tel. 021/438-0782), which may not be as near the water as the modish, well-dressed joints already discussed. Despite the tattiness of the exterior, it will satisfy any craving for fresh seafood. You choose your fresh fish from a formidable display that's barely off the boat, and it's up to you to ask about the price (besides the color-coded conveyor-belt sushi, it's sold by weight). There's no guarantee that the chef won't botch the job, but this is one place Capetonians generally rave about.

Southern Suburbs & the Constantia Wine Route

The Constantia wine estate, Uitsig, is fortunate enough to house three fabulous dining options: The first, Constantia Uitsig, in an old Cape Dutch farm. But in 2009, all the accolades went to ultrapricey sister establishment La Colombe (tel. 021/794-2390), when chef Luke Dale Roberts took the Eat Out Chef of the Year Award. Roberts's seven-course tasting menu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most (especially at R800 per head, including wine; a la carte main courses cost R120-R260). The menu includes his extremely popular fricassee of quail and langoustine, and smoked tomato gazpacho with Alaskan crab. But you should consider his duo of lamb (lamb shouler with two lamb kidneys, plus rack of Karoo lamb) and the decadent springbok with foie gras. We highly recommend it, though we've recently received a scathing report about dire service from an irate reader (unforgivable, given the prices charged here). You can avoid any such controversy by trying the casual fare for friendlier prices at Constantia Uitsig's River Café (tel. 021/794-3010), where a fine cafe-style menu is complemented by items such as Karoo-lamb burger. Breakfasts are tops, too.

Resting less overtly on its laurels, though, and increasingly making waves in Cape Town's culinary ocean, is Steenberg Hotel's delectable Catharina's (tel. 021/713-2222), where chef Garth Almazan's contemporary take on South African cuisine satisfies a regular bevy of rich local housewives but also manages to lure many city slickers from the center of Cape Town. Lunches, accompanied by amazing views, are lighter, but you miss out on the chance to sample utterly memorable combinations, like warthog loin served with a grilled tiger prawn, butternut ginger tortellini, avocado salsa, oyster mushrooms, poached quail egg, and honey star anise jus. Also recommended is the springbok loin, prepared differently according to the time of day.

The biggest tourism drawing card in this area -- with a gracious manor house museum and lovely grounds -- is Groot Constantia. The relaxed Jonkershuis Restaurant (tel. 021/794-6255), also in a historic building, is another wonderful venue. On a fine day, it's worth grabbing a table under the oaks; bookings are essential.

Another Constantia option worth considering, with a lovely garden setting but a great deal more formal, is The Greenhouse (tel. 021/794-2137), at the Cellars-Hohenort hotel, where chef Peter Tempelhoff offers a seasonal menu, using herbs from the hotel garden; he does especially notable things with duck. On the same property is the Cape Malay Kitchen, now with stiff competition from Signal, at the Waterfront's Cape Grace. If you want an exceptional, innovative menu in a lively, fun environment, book your place at Myoga (no dress code, dashing service).

The Southern Peninsula: Traveling to Cape Point

There's a string of memorable, often unpretentious and sociable places in which to eat on a tour of the southern peninsula. Below are some of the best. Note that you may not always find the same kind of snappy service and cosmopolitan crowd that you might expect in the city, but a mellow vibe best suits this corner of the world.

From Hout Bay To Cape Point -- The family-run restaurant at the Chapman's Peak Hotel, Chapman's Peak Drive, at the base of the Peak on the Hout Bay side (tel. 021/790-1036), is famous for its fresh calamari and fish -- served still sizzling in the pan with fat fries -- and wide veranda with views of the small fishing harbor. It's a jolly, unpretentious place that long predates Cape Town's burgeoning restaurant scene, yet it still pulls in the punters from all over the city. On the southern side of Chapman's Peak Drive, the place that has everyone talking is The Foodbarn (tel. 021/789-1390), in Noordhoek Farm Village. It is co-owned by Franck Dangereux, the celebrated French chef who, after putting La Colombe on the map (it was Restaurant of Year six times under his watch), opted for a more laid-back lifestyle (and cuisine style) and relocated here in 2007. The food is simple and exquisitely presented, ingredients are predominantly organic, and the ambience, after a recent shabby chic makeover by Franck's wife, is superb. It's comfortable and family friendly, and Franck is succeeding in his dream to bring fine dining to the people.

Kalk Bay -- You'll find the most atmospheric False Bay restaurants in the charming and increasingly trendy fishing village of Kalk Bay. In the small fishing harbor, where fishermen still hawk their hand-caught fish directly to the public and surrounding restaurants, three options are right on the water. For looks and views of the crashing waves, the best venue is the breezy Harbour House (tel. 021/788-4133) -- book a table by the window, and you can sit with the ocean crashing on the rocks just below. Linefish are listed in chalk on the board and scratched off as they disappear down the hungry maws of patrons. Downstairs, Live Bait (tel. 021/788-5755) is a more casual affair, with mosaic tables, mismatched chairs, and a similarly dramatic full frontal assault of waves. Prepare for worryingly casual service, though, as you wait, and wait, and wait for your sushi, fresh mussels, or beer-battered line fish. If you can make do without the in-your-face seafront theater, consider F SH (pronounced "fish"), at The Quays on Main Road (tel. 021/788-1869); choose a few cuts of different types of fish, and they're weighed, priced, and grilled either Cajun style or with the homemade spice mix. The sushi is straight out of False Bay, too.

If you have a yen for something besides seafood, Olympia Cafe & Deli, Main Road, diagonally opposite the turnoff to the harbor (tel. 021/788-6396), is an excellent deli-restaurant serving light meals to the hippies and trendy bohemians who venture over to this side of the mountain to join the locals who've made this their haunt of choice. The casual dining is almost as sexy as the crowd, but you may need to fight off competition for a table. Beware, too, that house rules strictly forbid "smoking, split bills, self discipline, bull shit . . . ever. . . ." so you're advised to keep it real. Also rather sexy is Cape to Cuba, Main Road (tel. 021/788-1566), a fabulous place to pop into for a cocktail -- eclectically decorated with mismatched chairs, numerous chandeliers, and Catholic kitsch on rich, saturated-color walls. It's extremely comfortable, and the mojitos are drop-dead delicious; pity the food isn't up to snuff. For real home-style dining, go to Theresa's, at the corner of Harbour Road and Boye's Drive (tel. 021/788-8051), for the absolute bottom line in old-fashioned grub, prepared with love and care in a take-it-or-leave-it atmosphere.

Simons Town -- I love The Meeting Place (tel. 021/786-5678), located on the main road, a casual cafe-deli-bistro with fresh, delicious produce and light meals. Upstairs is where you'll head at night, where the menu gets more serious; I've never had a bad meal at either venue (female shoppers should pop into Mauve, a great little clothing boutique just around the corner). On the way out of Simons Town, heading for Cape Point, you'll see the Black Marlin, Main Road (tel. 021/786-1621), a venue that enjoys one of the best sea views in the Cape, making it a popular tourist spot (arrive early to avoid the tour buses); seafood is the specialty, so order the line fish -- and ask for all three butters (lemon, garlic, and chili) on the side.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.