My Cape Town picks

With my upcoming trip back to London, and an increased interest in nice restaurants/bars that come with a recommendation, I asked my remaining London friends for their recommendation list. To which I received some very challenging replies – quite simply, there are too many places to choose from. But surely, surely  everyone has their ‘must visit’ list?

So to be sure I could answer the question in return (I was told a much easier task due to the size of Cape Town), I made my list of top visits (which I recently did have to send to a visiting Brit). Here it is… in a to-be-continued state. I also fear I may get some backlash, for which I’m ready. But hey, we bought a house and haven’t got out much recently (read: in the past two years).

RESTAURANTS (in no particular order)

La Boheme – for the wine list and the incredible food! They do an awesome 3 course meal for about R135 – really substantial too. The wine by the glass means everyone is happy, and the full wine list is also really great. Booking advised.

El Burro – very vibey and awesome Mexican food (none of that tex mex crap) – downstairs is a fun tequila bar. Booking advised

Sotano in Mouille Point – Mediterranean food, very relaxed, sometimes live music, awesome to sit out side (when the wind isn’t blowing) and enjoy the sunset. Sunday day drinking sessions (or maybe Saturdays) are the best.

La Parada – vibey after work drinks and tapas. Expensive mostly, but fun for an after work ‘this is summer’ drink.

Black Sheep restaurant on Kloof street– loved it! Food is really great and always busy. Need a reservation (the bar is also pretty cool there)

La Mouette – my absolute best. The service, the food, the wine list. Nothing is short of perfect at this spot and definitely worth a visit for a special treat (or just for, you know.. whatever). The tasting menu is the winner.

BARS

Weinhaus & BierGarten – recommended, just not by me as I’ve never actually been. But I’ve heard, and I’ve seen, and it looks like fun

Publik (for interesting Wine and across the road from the Biergarten)

COFFEE SHOPS
Origin. A flat white is R24. This is possibly the most expensive flat white in Cape Town. But its also the best. And the breakfasts are substantial. And while the time it takes to get your coffee may make you consider having tea – it is the best coffee in Cape Town and will be worth it. Even if you have to ask them to warm it up. It really is.

Origin is available at lots of places – but I’m talking about headquarters at 28 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Green Point

Another favourite, mostly for the cool hipster (which I’m not) bicycle on the wall is Bean There.

But I suppose it must be said, that while not hipster cool – a Woolies coffee has never done me wrong.

WINE FARMS

Let’s be honest – there are hundreds to choose from, so being unfamiliar (aka a tourist) and choosing anything other than the ‘marketed’ ones, will be tough. Some of those big, well-established ones are good though, but there are others that may be missed because they don’t have the view, or the international name brand. Anyway, these are my favourites.

Franschoek Farms
La Motte is my winner for a touristy-level tasting room, a bit of a tromp around a cellar, a peak in a private room and an awesome restaurant with amazing food – all set under trees with some water features. I also quite happen to like their wines. I don’t drink Sauvignon Blanc as a general rule, but their organic one is really nice.

Haute Cabriere is probably found on the top ten lists of most must visit lists, but I’d keep it on my list mostly for the view from up there, the interesting tasting room built into a mountain and the opportunity to see sabrage.

Maison probably my favourite, and not only because I may have dated the winemaker (going to claim it) or because the owner owns the furniture shop that most of our house is decorated by, but because it’s boutique, has fabulous food, a special and relaxed garden setting and some nice furniture as well.

Bread & Wine is the onsite restaurant which drives the visit to Moreson and makes you happy it did. The restaurant is fanatastic and the wine, especially the bubbly, is great too!

Stellenbosch Farms
Jordan Wine Farm has one of best restaurants in country. I think it’s safe to say the restaurant outshines the wines, but it’s been a while and perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh. Must book ahead here though. Way, way ahead.

Waterford Estate is beautiful in setting and has a really nice chocolate and wine pairing. If you’re into chocolate and wine, which I’m not. But the wine was great and the old world charm of the tasting area makes it a special visit.

The next 3 are all in same road and worth making a visit of them in one day. All of them I haven’t seen the inside (or the outside) of in a few years. But they remain some of the ones that highlight my wine tasting memories.
Haskell Vineyards, also known as Dombeya sometimes – I don’t know the difference. I had my 30th at the Long Table Restaurant so obviously its just a little special. The wine, the food, the restaurant. I think it works.

Hidden Valley has one of the best views in Stellenbosch. On a clear day you can see all the way to Table Mountain. It also had just opened when we were wedding venue searching back in 2007 and we were in love (but at that point, it was never going to work!). It is perfect. The restaurant is apparently outstanding, although I’ve never been to it. Mostly its the view. Just go for the view.

Also steeped in memories, Peter Falke is something different but also special to me. I recall a lazy afternoon (after a few farms) tasting wine past 7pm (which makes it worthwhile as the last stop), the sun dipping behind the hills, and a best friend telling us she was pregnant (she hadn’t been drinking) while another was about to leave us for London. Memories aside, the tasting room is cool and modern and it offers a nice break from all those beautiful views the other farms offer.

Keeping it Local
The wine farm worth mentioning in Cape Town, for those who’d hate to drive any further than Capetonians do, is Beau Constantia. My favourite spot – mostly because it started out with two wines (a red and a white, fancy that?) and a small tasting room. It now offers MCC, a sushi pop up restaurant and craft beer (bloody hipsters!). The best views, and a beautiful contemporary design. And its just up the road from my house.

Ok, I know I’ve missed some other favourites, but this will need to be an evolving list… also, I’m just tired of typing now.

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