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I'll be vacationing in Cape Town for a few weeks during February and am looking for dining recommendations in and around the city.

I'll be staying in the hills above de Waterkaant and will have a car. I made a similar trip in 2005 and tried a lot of the places that are listed in the guidebooks. I'm wondering what else is out there.

Thanks!

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In Cape Town, go to the Waterfront to Belthazar, sit outside, people-watch, drink bubbles and eat great squid. Also, Savoy Cabbage is very nice.

Blues in Camps Bay.

Black Marlin in Simon's Town, on the drive down or back from Cape Point. Unbelievably good seafood.

Meerendal wine farm in Durbanville (lunch only).

Moving out of CT/direct environs, here are some Winelands recs:

96 Winery Road, Helderberg

Wijnhuis, Stellenbosch

Decameron, Stellenbosch

Java Cafe, Stellenbosch (where we breakfast every morning when we're "working" down there)

Joostenberg Deli & Bistro, Joostenberg (an absolute must for house-made sausages)

Hartenberg Estate, Bottelary (lunch only)

Marc's, Paarl

Bosman's, Paarl (very dressy)

Rozendal farm, Jonkershoek

Quartier Francaise, Franschhoek

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Well, I ended up stuck in a conference room for most of my time in Johannesburg, but our closing out dinner was spectacular. We went downtown to a place called Moyo at the Market--modern African food with a bit of a schticky flair, but not too bad. (It is technically a chain, with three outposts in Joburg.) And the food was excellent.

The whole meal was served family style, and each table started out with a selection of fresh rolls--mini chapati, pumpkin, onion-coconut--and dips--olive oil, chili sauce, chickpea dip (not hummus), and chopped nuts and spices (a dry mix). All were quite good, and a nice start.

This was followed by a tray of samosas, which were easily the best I'd had in my life. They all used the same light, flaky pastry and were shaped differently depending on filling--duck, venison, or pea and potato. The duck was the runaway winner (which is particularly impressive when you consider that I don't like duck), but they all were head and shoulders above any other samosa I've run across.

Finally, the main course. Each table got large dishes of braised lamb, baked chicken, veggie mash, couscous, and cornmeal pap. The chicken tasted like bananas. But while I find that idea to be deeply disturbing and utterly disgusting (bananas, for god's sake!)... it still managed to be *gorgeous*. Subtle, juicy... I was temped to throw a few legs in my purse. (All the other dishes were spectacular too, just not as easy to transport in an evening bag.)

The ice cream dessert (topped with caramel and sweet almonds) was a bit of a letdown, so we just ordered yet another bottle of excellent South African wine to carry us through. (No, I don't remember the name, which is silly--and understandable--considering how many empties were littering the table.)

Caveat: Do not order the local rum, Red Heart. Ew.

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I'm off to South Africa again--another conference in Johannesburg and a few vacation days in Cape Town. Any recent experiences or word of mouth on either? The Joburg portion will be pretty work-intensive, but we're actually staying IN town this time, in Sandton, so I hope to be able to sneak out for at least one dinner and would love to have a name in my pocket since it will probably be spur of the moment.

Cape Town, though, is wide open. I plan at least a day in wine country; our lovely sommelier at Per Se recommended some Stellenbosch wineries to me (Neil Ellis, Meerlust, and Mulderbosch), but I'd appreciate any other recommendations there or in Franschoek. Recent restaurant advice citywide is much appreciated too. Thanks!

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Most of the recommendations up top of the thread are still valid (Decameron is closed, Mamma Roma in Stellenbosch Square mall is quite good, though). Joostenberg for lunch is an absolute must.

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I'm off to South Africa again--another conference in Johannesburg and a few vacation days in Cape Town. Any recent experiences or word of mouth on either? The Joburg portion will be pretty work-intensive, but we're actually staying IN town this time, in Sandton, so I hope to be able to sneak out for at least one dinner and would love to have a name in my pocket since it will probably be spur of the moment.

Cape Town, though, is wide open. I plan at least a day in wine country; our lovely sommelier at Per Se recommended some Stellenbosch wineries to me (Neil Ellis, Meerlust, and Mulderbosch), but I'd appreciate any other recommendations there or in Franschoek. Recent restaurant advice citywide is much appreciated too. Thanks!

When in Cape Town we generally dine at the Savoy Cabbage. Superb food. We sent our friends there last week and they had a superb meal as well. In the winelands, we have had fabulous meals at Le Quartier Francais and Ruebens (in Franschhoek) and Bosmans (in Paarl). We've had pretty good meals at Le Bon Vivant and had a nice lunch at Bread and Wine. I've heard great things about Bouillabaisse.

For wineries, i'd personally skip Mulderbosch and Neil Ellis. You can generally get those wines in the US, though Mulderbosch has some SA only wines which are nice. I'd recommend grabbing a copy of the Platter Guide and looking for the smaller producers you can't get here. That way you can bring back a ton of stuff. I'd do a stop at Vergelegen (a big producer though), amazing grounds and good wine. It is a little out of the way though in Somserset West. Zorgvliet makes some nice wines (near Stellenbosch) as well as Neethlingshof. GlenWood is a place i've been looking to try on my next trip - last time we went they were closed which was annoying since its a 3KM drive down a gravel road. Also, De Toren in Stellenbosch makes some nice wines.

Have a great trip

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I wish I had better luck in South Africa than I did, but a combination of overwork and weather kept me from branching out too much--and eating mediocrity--as a result.

In Johannesburg, work only allowed me one meal outside of the hotel. We had a group dinner at an "African" place on Mandela Square in Sandton that, while nicely appointed, was supremely forgettable. I honestly can't even remember the name of the place. I do, however, remember that the fish tasted like it had soaked in bitter sugar sauce for at least a couple of days, though the lamb and the pap were nice (you know, for pap).

In Cape Town, the worst storms in 20 years battered the city for most of my time there, which kind of put a damper on exploration. For accommodations, I can't recommend the Hippo Boutique Hotel in Gardens more highly. The location is great, the rooms are comfy, and the staff couldn't be nicer or more welcoming. (The woman who checked me in said she'd been at home at night worrying about whether I was okay during the worst of the storms.) Because of the weather and a couple of exhausting tourist days in the winelands and Cape Point, I ate a lot of meals from provisions picked up at Woolworths--which I was surprised to find out is much more of a high-end Trader Joe's than the five-and-dimes I grew up with. Great cheeses, granola-nut bars, and dried tropical fruits.

I did meet a few friends for one excellent night out. We started at The Tank, which offered a bizarre mix of Italian and Asian options (I've really never seen such a thing). We stuck to Asian and had some fine sushi rolls, the surprise winner of which was the Crispy Nori Roll, with spicy tuna, seaweed tempura, and... sweet potato. (See? I told you it was a surprise.) We also drank the excellent and well-priced Haute Cabriere Chardonnay/Pinot Noir.

Our conversation was too good to stop with the check, so we decided to move on for an after-dinner bottle of wine (oh, tell me you haven't done it...) at The Nose, which is located in the same mall as The Tank. My companions told me beforehand that the food there isn't that great, but that they had taken a few wine tasting classes there and fell in love with it. Indeed, their wine list was amazing and interesting and informative; they even generally have on offer a few wines that they're rotating out of stock listed on a chalk board for around a quarter of their normal price. The interior reminds me more of a college coffee shop than a wine bar, but I loved it--fireplace, mismatched furniture, seriously chill vibe. We had the Constantia Uitsig Chardonnay--lovely.

I appreciated all your recommendations above for vineyards to visit, but the fact that I rarely drive in America made me nervous about renting a car to drive on the wrong side of the road to and from a day of drinking in the winelands. Call me overly prudent, but that just seemed like a barrel of trouble waiting to happen. (Ha! Barrel! See what I did there?) So I took a tour, which turned into a predictably disappointing whirl through three mediocre wineries. I was looking for wines to ship home, but I just didn't find anything exciting enough to go to the trouble for. I did taste my first white cabernet sauvignon at Asara, which was interesting, but not nearly interesting enough to haggle with shipping and customs to get home.

All in all though, Cape Town is a dream. Even in the worst weather, I fell in love. It seemed to me a perfect combination of the ruggedness of Australia and the chic-ness and wine culture of San Francisco, built on an indelible foundation of Africa. I can't wait to go back.

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So, we're moving to Cape Town in the fairly near future. I'll try and get some action going in this thread. ;)

Hi all. Love the new look, Rocks.

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So, we're moving to Cape Town in the fairly near future. I'll try and get some action going in this thread. ;)

Hi all. Love the new look, Rocks.

Stretch!

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Stretch: Try the Wijnhuis Restaurant on church street in Stellenbosch, SA.

I was part of the team in 1997 worked in SA there for 2. 5 years!

Paarl and Franschhoek find great simple food made with passion and have some great eateries also. Beautiful wines and terrior plus outstanding weather and landscape.

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Stretch: Try the Wijnhuis Restaurant on church street in Stellenbosch, SA.

I remember eating some of the best arugula of my life here. Wine prices are a little higher than some other places in the area (though still very reasonable by US standards), but it's very comfy.

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I remember eating some of the best arugula of my life here. Wine prices are a little higher than some other places in the area (though still very reasonable by US standards), but it's very comfy.

Agreed but you have to keep in mind import taxes and county or country sales tax. Hence prices.

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Agreed but you have to keep in mind import taxes and county or country sales tax. Hence prices.

Oh believe me, I remember. My point only was that the wine prices at Wijnhuis were higher than at, say, Bistro at Joostenberg or De Oude Paarl or Terroir at Kleine Zalze, but not at all to a point where US-based travelers would bat an eye.

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