This is part nine of my travel series to South Africa. For the complete series, please see below:
Traveling to South Africa – South African Airways and Federal Air
Singita Ebony – The Lodge
Singita Ebony – Day to Night
Singita Sweni – The Lodge
Singita Sweni – Day to Night
Cape Town – The Peninsula Tour and The Boat House
Cape Town – City and Winelands Tour
Cape Town – V&A Waterfront, Test Kitchen, Fork and Table Mountain
24 Hours in Istanbul
Today, I wanted to share some of the last remaining favorite sights and tastes we experienced during our trip to Cape Town – two of our favorite restaurants, the V&A Waterfront, and Table Mountain!
Our hotel Cape Grace was located in a touristy, but very lovely area of Cape Town – the Victoria & Albert, or V&A, Waterfront.What I loved about this area was that while it was clearly upscale/touristy, it was also a working port with large ships docked all around. I loved seeing them from our room at Cape Grace.
Even though I loved almost all of the food we had in South Africa, I still missed Asian food from time to time. I can’t go very long without eating Asian food and yes I am that person you’ll see in Paris eating at the Chinese restaurant next to the big tables filled with tour groups.
I was craving a bowl of noodle soup in Cape Town and when I saw this Taiwanese ship with workers on board slurping noodles, I nearly passed out in excitement! Sadly however, I found out that they were just eating some instant ramen that they had brought from home.
Walking over the bridge way from our hotel.
The V&A area was full of shops and places to eat. We checked out a building full of “food stalls”. We would have stopped by to eat here but didn’t have time during our stay.
The one meal we were able to fit in at V&A was at the lovely Harbour House, which came very highly recommended. It was about a ten minute walk from Cape Grace. We sat outside with a view of the docks right next to us.
The food was delicious! This was a gnocchi dish I ordered. So good and fattening.
Incredibly fresh fish – we ordered this dish based on what was on the blackboard as “just caught”. I would highly recommend going this route, this was a delicious King Clip.
Now that we’re on the topic of food, I wanted to share some of the other amazing food we had in Cape Town – some of our favorite restaurants (aside from our meal at Bruce Robertson’s).
The first restaurant and one that I would highly recommend to any food lover visiting Cape Town – The Test Kitchen.
The restaurant was located in a very cool little center called “The Old Biscuit Mill,” which was formerly exactly what it sounds like – a mill dedicated to making biscuits.
The Test Kitchen itself was a very open seating arrangement, with tables placed all around the cooking areas.
The food was so, so good! I can’t do justice to the food in my descriptions so please forgive me in advance.
Even the bread selection was fabulous – loved the hot and toasty pretzel rolls!
This was the amuse bouche, it all looks sweet but in fact these were all savory. All amazing and of course the only item I remember is the gold dusted “billionare’s shortbread” with duck liver parfait.
Yet another amuse bouche – lovely though not exactly bite sized! Tomato, an aubergine puree, goat cheese, and more.
Smoked fish as a first course (one of my favorite foods in the world!). I believe it was a yellowtail ceviche (and the carrots were BBQ’d!), with crème fraiche and curry dressing.
Grilled scallop with raw shiitake mushrooms. and asparagus
A fried line fish with cauliflower and quail egg ravioli.
The chefs preparing more amuse bouche courses in the kitchen.
Crispy pork belly with a blue cheese dressing – oh so good!
A light apple and jelly sorbet.
A caramelized poached pear with noisette ice cream.
Delicious chocolate dessert which included something called a “cinnamon sponge” and a lovely parfait.
Our dinner for two, complete with full wine pairings, was less than $200, tip and tax included. And I would say that was on the high end for Cape Town – all in all, much friendlier prices than what we’re used to in the Bay Area. I would highly, highly recommend Test Kitchen for anyone visiting Cape Town. Make reservations here way in advance, especially if you want a dinner seating (I’m talking two months plus) – it’s probably one of the hardest reservations to make in town.
The second restaurant which we really enjoyed was Fork, close to the City Center of Cape Town.
I was craving tapas for one of our last dinners in Cape Town and wanted to see what the local interpretation would be like.
First up – a meat and cheese platter. Jamón ibérico, baby!
A few more dishes – smoked salmon rolls with goat cheese, mini kudu fillets with a chili potato puree, and a lovely rocket and parmesan salad.
By this point we had drunk quite a bit of sangria and also run into a father/daughter pair that we’d met at Singita so there are no more photos for the night.
Fork – very recommended, have your hotel make reservations a week or so before you arrive. Our bill came in around $50 US.
I wanted to end this post by sharing one of our final and favorite sights that we saw in Cape Town – Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a must see in Cape Town and you should have your hotel concierge purchase you tickets ahead of time on the morning you decide to go (this helps you avoid a potentially very long line!).
You can either hike, walk or take a cable car to the top of the mountain. We took a cable car which was wonderful. Next time I think we would walk up, it’s apparently a lovely way to spend three hours.
At the top, we took a stroll around the perimeter of the mountain. It was seriously gorgeous with amazing views from every side.
The city (you can see some clouds coming in).
Side note: we had several conversations with native South Africans who had the impression that Americans were very litigious. “Don’t get too close to a lion…it may attack you…and then you’ll have to sue!” they’d cackle.
Whether or not this impression was right or wrong, I will say that I did notice a distinct lack of fences, or signs for safety, even at the biggest and most heavily trafficked tourist attractions, including Table Mountain. Instead, it seemed that basic common sense was the rule – if you’re not an idiot, you won’t step too close to the edge of Table Mountain, and then you won’t go tumbling off to your death.
Even though it made perfect sense, Mr. Feather and I were still surprised at first by our ability to get as close to the edge of the mountain as we wanted. It was beautiful though, and soon we were really enjoying the freedom to go scrambling down the rocks in safer areas.
I’ll sign off this post with one of my favorite photos that we took up on Table Mountain, of both the sea, the greenery, and city.
Cape Town is truly one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited, and one of our favorite destinations so far. It is the one place we’ve been to that has exceeded expectations by the largest margin. I love you Cape Town, and we will be back!
Next, I’ll be taking you through the last leg on our trip, our journey back home, with a nice long stop in Istanbul. Thank you for reading along!