There are so many different types of restaurants in Cape Town that it was almost impossible to know where to start this blog post. Because of the many different cultures that have migrated into Cape Town over the last few centuries the number of different cuisines available is mind-boggling. In this blog post I’m going to attempt to write about some of the most interesting restaurants Cape Town has to offer according to their culture and what makes them so special.
Cuisine: French, but with a mix of Mediterranean
Pigalle is a French restaurant that is completely decked out in art deco elegance. Named after the famous red light district in Paris, instead it aims to bring some of the glamour and sophistication of vintage Paris to Cape Town. Converted from an old ice rink, stepping inside is like being transported back in time. Huge art deco paintings of dancing couples line the walls, chaise lounges litter the entrance halls and custom made art noveau chandeliers hang from a high ceiling.
The food is similarly as chic. Oysters, Parma ham and a mezze platter are all available as starters and lobster thermidor, steaks and slow roasted duck are for mains. As you can imagine, the price isn’t the average restaurant spend but if you are looking for a restaurant for something special then Pigalle is the one for you.
If you are looking for super chic, super modern dining then Haiku should be top of your list. Voted by ‘Eat Out Magazine’ as one of South Africa’s top 10 places to eat, this tapas style Asian restaurant scores high on quality of food and ambience. The kitchen is open plan so you can see your meal coming together expertly in front of you, the walls and floor are polished granite and cocktails are available at the bar.
The food is as chic as the restaurant, but it also features all the staple favourites of an Asian restaurant. A wide variety of prawns, spicy chicken, duck and mushrooms are available all in tapas style so there’s no excuse not to try everything!
Cuisine: South African
Known locally as a cheap place to buy good food, Arnolds offers a wide range of pan continental food such as burgers, pastas, spring rolls and chicken wings, making it a perfect place for families to eat. However, there is also a South African side to the menu with everything from crocodile ribs to an ostrich fillet on offer, all for a remarkably cheap price.
The interior is homely and welcoming, with a lot of tables well spaced out across the open plan space. There is also a setting area with sofas if you are only looking for a quick bite to eat.
Addis in Cape
Addis in Cape is the restaurant to go to if you want to experience another African culture. It offers customers an authentic Ethiopian eating experience; arts and crafts and genuine traditional cultural pieces line the walls as well as customary furnishing. Low tables surrounded with comfy chairs mean that eating at Addis in Cape is a relaxing experience (and eating with your hands is encouraged).
The food available is varied and comes in the form of two set menus, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Like a lot of South African restaurants, seafood dominates the menu but there are also some unusual meat dishes available, for example beef tartar mixed with kibe (a variety of rice) and chicken cooked with varying spices. The restaurant also offers a mini coffee ceremony at your table; traditionally this means that coffee berries are cooked over a fire of flowers and grass, although the restaurants take on this is not quite as grand.
Eastern Food Bazaar
Cuisine: Eastern (mainly Indian)
Rounding up the ‘best of’ list is the Eastern Food Bazaar. It isn’t a standard restaurant, in that you place your order at a counter in the middle of the hall, and then pick up your food from one of the many kitchen stations around, all adding to that Eastern bazaar feel. The price is very cheap (the most expensive item being about R30) and the portions are a very generous size. There are many different types of Eastern food available to buy here including Chinese, Punjab, kebab and Indian which can be eaten in, in a setting area upstairs or taken away (which many do).
The décor is equally as impressive. Ornate wood pillars and doorways surround the hall, unusual decorations and artefacts line walls and some interesting chandeliers hang from the ceiling. If you are looking for a cheap and tasty place to eat then it’s well worth heading to the Eastern Food Bazaar.