Cape Town Food Bucket

Cape Town Foodie Bucket List: 21 Dishes To Try Before You Die

Cape Town food is constantly evolving, and the city is full of exciting fine dining restaurants, cosy old school shacks and stylish cafes. Whether you’re a seafood lover or obsessed with brunch, you won’t go hungry here.

To celebrate the amazing surge of talented Cape Town chefs, we’ve rounded up the ultimate foodie bucket list for 2019. Eat your way around the city as you tick off these incredible dishes, one by one.

1. Brai – Mzolis

There’s a great selection of meat braaied on the coals at this iconic Gugulethu joint. Juicy meats and delicious pap. A firm favourite since it opened in 2003 in the township on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Mzolis Cape Town Food

2. Tasting Menu – Gold

With a 14 course Cape Malay and African menu, Gold offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Their set menu includes Malawi sweet potato cakes, Cameroon Benne chicken salad, Xhosa pot corn bread and South African Mandazi (cinnamon and sugar-coated pumpkin fritters).

Cape Town Food Best Tasting Menu

3. Steak – The Hussar Grill

For 54 years, the multiple award-winning Hussar Grill has been renowned for absolute excellence in selecting and flame-grilling only the finest quality, 28-day aged, South African beef and game. Top end meats grilled to perfection.

Cape Town Food Steak

4. Chef’s Sushi Plate – Kyoto Garden Sushi

This shrine to Japanese food has top-quality, unusual ingredients from around the world, from farmed abalone to Mozambican conch, eel, sea urchin, and even Alaskan king crab, deep-sea scallops and wild salmon.

Kyoto Garden Sushi in Cape Town

5. Freak Shake – Gibson’s

This is the ultimate spot to get your sugar fix in Cape Town. There’s 100 milkshakes to choose from, like classic SA flavours Malva & Custard and Trifle or Sweet & Salted Popcorn and Chocolate & Salty Pretzels.

Freak Shake in Cape Town

6. Tagliatelle Ragu – A Tavola

All the ingredients at this lovely Italian restaurant are freshly sourced from local farms, their flavours are bold and the servings are generous. Plus, the pasta is handmade in-house using organic semolina flour. Get the Tagliatelle with a rich minced veal Bolognese sauce.

Tagliatelle Ragu in Cape Town

7. Mushroom Pithivier – Riverine Rabbit

All of the dishes at this fine dining hot spot are truly perfect, but this one is a real treat. A puff pastry pie filled with porcini mushrooms, button mushrooms & cream. Chef Ash Heeger is on a culinary mission that just keeps getting better, bigger and more exciting.

Mushroom Pithivier

8. Pizza – Burrata Restaurant

The pizza oven was hand built by a third-generation family-owned business in Naples. This oven is able to reach higher temperatures than the average pizza oven, which means every pizza turned out is unbelievably tasty. Probably the most authentic Italian style pizza in the country.

Pizza in Cape Town

9. Burgers – The Dog’s Bollocks at YARD

They do just great simple burgers that you can eat either inside or out, depending on the weather. Their high point is without a doubt their delicious sauces and toppings, and the juicy burger patty.

Burgers in Cape Town

10. Afternoon Tea – Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

Take your time over this indulgent afternoon tea of tempting sandwiches and sweet treats. Finger sandwiches are filled with rare roast beef, smoked salmon or creamy egg mayonnaise. Follow with velvety chocolate cake, lemon meringue or freshly-baked scones topped with preserves and cream.

Afternoon Tea in Cape Town

11. Thali Tapas Menu – Thali

Share the Thali for Two menu at this exciting Indian tapas restaurant for a serious feast. Delicious dishes will fill the table, including Duck Kathi Rolls, Fried Fish Tacos, Tandoori Cauliflower and Lamb Curry.

Thali Tapas Menu

12. 5-Course Dinner – Reverie Social Table

Every day, chef Julia Hattingh serves up an exclusive five-course meal to guests seated around an 18-seater table. Dishes make great use of local produce and are paired with wine. You’re encouraged to just put away your cellphone and chat to some of the interesting people you’ll find in Cape Town.

Exlusive 5-Course Dinner

13. Springbok Carpaccio – Beluga 

Beluga is a super stylish Euro-Asian restaurant with some superb dishes on the menu, but the Springbok Carpaccio is a real highlight. A refreshing dish, it’s served with basil pesto, baby leaves and a parmesan crisp. Grab a table in the courtyard for the best vibe.

Springbok Carpaccio in Cape Town

14. Bunny Chow – Yeh Dosti 

This popular South African fast food dish consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with curry is a must-try in Cape Town. There’s no better spot than Yeh Dosti. They authentically serve Durban’s legendary Bunny Chow and have lamb, chicken and bean options.

Bunny Chow in Cape Town

15. Seafood Platter – The Codfather

There’s no menus here – staff will talk you through the day’s incredible selection of fresh seafood and make up a platter to your tastes. Basically, it’s like a great fish market. They cook the seafood on the grill and it comes out absolutely perfect.

Seafood Platter

16. Kaiseki Tray – FYN

FYN is a new restaurant that cleverly brings together South African and Japanese flavours for a dining experience unlike any other in the city. The Kaiseki tray of starters includes a “squid ramen” and blue prawn sashimi and it’s out-of-this-world.

The Kaiseki Tray

17. Tapas Platter – Rick’s Cafe

This place looks straight out of movie classic “Casablanca” with its stylish colonial Moroccan tones. It does all-time favourites as well as changing specials, but one thing you need to order is the tapas platter.  There’s Calamari, Moroccan Meatballs, Spicy Chilli Poppers, Peppadew dip, Vegetable Crudites, Tzatziki and Humus with Pita Bread and more.

Rick's Cafe Tapas Platter

18. Grilled Game – The Black Sheep Restaurant

This sustainable and exciting restaurant serves local game, including kudu, blesbok and springbok, when available and it’s worth the wait. The menu here changes daily, with the dishes written up on the blackboard so be sure to stop by for something new to try again and again.

The Black Sheep Restaurant

19. Fish and Chips – Kalky’s

Probably the most famous fish & chips shop in the Cape Town area is Kalky’s in Kalk Bay harbour. Serving up a variety of delicious seafood, like hake, snoek, and line fish like yellowtail, caught fresh on the owner’s boat. It’s old school and totally tasty.

Fish and Chips in Cape Town

20. Sunday Brunch – The Pot Luck Club

With 180-degree views of the city, this has been dubbed the coolest place to be in Cape Town. The Pot Luck Club’s innovative cuisine also includes a slick brunch. The menu is a collection of dishes on platters, such as Fish Sliders, fresh oysters or a mini Arnold Bennett.

The Pot Luck Club's

21. Bacon Avocado Toast – Hemelhuijs

This stylish restaurant is a small oasis in the heart of Cape Town serving up some seriously tasty eats. It serves breakfast all day, as well as this droolworthy open sandwich. Roasted bacon, crushed avocado and a soft egg comes on top of mosbolletjie bread.

Bacon Avocado Toast in Cape Town

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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