For centuries, Cape Town has set the table for a varied and increasingly discerning public. Visitors have raved about its world-class fare, augmented by historical venues and great views. For harbor settings and Table Mountain views, there's the touristy Waterfront, but you'll see few Capetonians eating there. For uninterrupted ocean views and great sunsets, the Atlantic seaboard is tops -- but consider carefully if you're food focused, because the restaurant strip that lines the beachfront is too brash and overheated for my taste, however great it is for people-watching in summer. I'd stick to The Roundhouse or head back over the Nek to Kloof Street, the road that runs down the slope of Table Mountain into Long Street. There the options are almost limitless, and each one has some kind of charm or quirk, or at least a handful of dashing servers. But whatever you do, enjoy at least one lunch in the Winelands, where you can drink in views of the vineyards and mountains along with a selection of fine Cape wines. If you're setting off for Cape Point, a journey that will take you most of the day, try to time lunch at one of the recommended restaurants in the Constantia area, among the vineyards, or one overlooking the False Bay coast.
Be sure to sample at least one dish inspired by the unique hybrid of Cape cultures. For traditional fare, you can't get more authentic than Biesmiellah in the Bo-Kaap, but there's more to Cape cuisine than bobotie and denningvleis. Cape Town's scenic setting and regular influx of cosmopolitan visitors has attracted some of the world's top chefs, many of whom are creating an exciting modern Cape cuisine, combining local ingredients with elements of the Portuguese, Dutch, French, German, English, Indian, and Malaysian influences that have made up the city's multicultural past.
Eating In -- If you're self-catering, contact Mr. Delivery (tel. 021/423-4177 in City Bowl; tel. 021/439-9916 in Sea Point; tel. 021/761-0040 in Constantia) and ask them to drop off a menu. Mr. Delivery delivers meals from more than 20 restaurants and takeout joints, as well as groceries, directly to your door.
Sushi? The Best Raw Deals in Town -- If you love your sushi, welcome. Cape Town is heaving with sushi joints. Most locals vote Willoughby's (in the V&A Mall, open daily) as the top choice for the freshest fish and most delectable combos -- don't leave without ordering a portion of rainbow rolls. But if you don't like dining in a mall, Kyoto Garden Sushi, 11 Lower Kloofnek Rd. (tel. 021/422-2001), is the place to go. Tucked away next to a florist at the intersection at the bottom of Kloofnek Road, interiors are styled with near-surgical precision. Proactively owner-managed by an American import named Scott, who takes his Japanese food and cocktails very seriously, Kyoto serves ultrafresh, classic sushi (try sashimi made with local specialty fish, like kabeljou), as well as delicious cooked noodle broths and delicate vegetable and seafood sautées. Addicted to detail, Scott imports real wasabi root (rather than the ready-mix paste) and doesn't skimp on finery. He also offers an exacting bar service, including shots of shochu. At the opposite end of this a la mode sushi joint is Minato, a no-nonsense windowless venue, and the only one filled with Japanese customers. It's hidden away (4 Buiten St., off Long St.), and you have to ring the doorbell to gain access (heaven forbid you've neglected to book, turned up late, or arrived with the wrong number of guests). Arrive early so you have time to choose thoughtfully from the elaborate menu, which goes well beyond the obvious fare. The service, with only two servers, is about as charming as the setting, with bright lights and plastic chairs. But the food is great, at the right price (tel. 021/423-4712; reservations essential; Mon-Fri noon-2pm, Mon-Sat 6:30-10:30pm).
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.