While Cape Town, South Africa is known for its breathtaking views, beautiful beaches, cheap wine, amazing hikes, and vast flora and fauna, its food scene seems to be swept under the rug. Cape Town is a melting pot of a city with Dutch, American, Spanish, Indian, and African influences. This means that South Africa has an international cuisine that has formed its food culture through the evolution of the country itself. 

During my semester abroad, I thought it was only necessary to explore the food scene. As I devoured butter chicken, milk tarts, and biltong, I ate my way through the city. From these taste tests and heavy research, I have compiled an alphabetical list of the fifty greatest things to eat in Cape Town, South Africa at the fifty most lekker restaurants.  

1. Sharing Plates at Asoka 

If you want to feel like a magical twilight pixie, have a dinner at Asoka. It sits in the center of the trendy Kloof Street, with Table Mountain as its backdrop. The restaurant itself was transformed from a classic twentieth century house and literally has an olive tree growing in the middle of it. This is all accompanied by twinkling lights and a moody ambience.

Come with a big group so you can taste as much as possible from their sharing plates menu. Make sure you order the crispy fish tacos and the mezze platter. Don't feel embarrassed if you stay after for cocktails. The kitchen is open until midnight so it will not be difficult to get delightfully carried away. 

2. Pasta at A Tavola

Although A Tavola is more of a hidden gem—as it is in a middle of nowhere area in Claremont—it is THE place to get fresh pasta. It has the perfect blend of Mom and Pop Italian and fine dining that makes for a great night out for both the family and friends. 

I can vouch for the service being great. When my Tagliatelle Ragu arrived to my seat looking fabulous, I decided to grind some fresh black pepper on top. I, slightly too aggressively, began grinding pepper, and the entire grinder spilled onto my pasta. Nearly instantly my waiter came by, apologized, and brought me a new plate. Moral of the story: get some pasta at A Tavola.

3. Kingklip at Aubergine

Aubergine, which means eggplant for our less sophisticated folks (aka me) is a classy restaurant in Gardens. Chef Harald Bresselschmidt assures that all of his dishes are made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients to make for a meal with an emphasis on lightness and balance.

In the winter, devour their famous Aubergine Trio by the wood burning fire place. In the summer, enjoy the most beautiful kingklip appetizer in the world under the stars.

4. Springbok Salad at Bay Harbour Market

meat, beef, vegetable, lettuce
Amelia Schwartz

The Bay Harbour Market is the place to be on a Friday Night in Cape Town. Take a drive along the coast to find this market in Hout Bay. There, you will find a wide selection of cuisines from a variety of vendors, crafts, drinks, and live music.

Do your best to taste as much as you can but make sure you visit Bon Amie to get a Springbok Salad. You can pat yourself on the back for being healthy (you DID get a salad) while dining on some juicy meat. 

#SpoonTip: If you can't make it to the Bay Harbour Market on Friday night, don't fret. It is also open Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

5. Finger Food at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

bread, cheese
Amelia Schwartz

Everyone deserves to be a classy Brit for an afternoon. Everyone deserves to sip tea while their pinky finger naturally lifts up. Everyone deserves to stuff their face with endless finger foods. Therefore, everyone deserves to spend an afternoon at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel for High Tea.

For a set price of only R300, you get all you can drink tea and all you can eat finger foods. There are dozens of tea selections from across the world to please the whole group, although I recommend you try something new. There is also endless finger sandwiches and slices of cake. You will leave the Mount Nelson feeling more classy and more pleasantly plump than ever before. 

6. Springbok at The Black Sheep

When I think back on my meal at Black Sheep, it is impossible not to let out an 'mmm.' It is one of the restaurants that fills your soul, your spirits, and your belly. The restaurant itself is always warm and bustling, making it a great night out for you and your friends. 

It is difficult to recommend a dish at Black Sheep since the blackboard menu changes daily based on what ingredients are in season. But, since it is Cape Town, you cannot go wrong with the tender Spingbok with butternut mash.

7. Bombay Ribs at The Bombay Bicycle Club

It only takes a glance at the quirky outside of Bombay Bicycle Club to know that it is worth a visit. You'll see an old wrecked car on the roof, a decrepit 'Jollywood' sign, the neon lights lining its' name and you will wonder, what the heck is being cooked up in the wacky place?

Luckily, the food is just as enticing as Bombay Bicycle Club's eye-catching decor. Every dish, particularly their Bombay Ribs, bursts with flavor, spirit, and history. 

8. Burrata at Burrata

Burrata, in Woodstock's Old Biscuit Mill, has the most authentic Italian pizzas in town. As an abroad student and cheese fanatic, I experienced quite a struggle in searching for some good, fresh mozzarella. You know, the kind that is so soft it melts in your mouth. Burrata happens to have that mozzarella, flavorful sauce and handmade dough, making for one heck of a delightful pizza. 

Before you dig into your pizza, you absolutely have to get the restaurants' namesake - the burrata. This fresh mozzarella ball is filled with soft ricotta cheese. Put that on some bread with olive oil and you will be transported to Italia.

9. Sweet Potato & Butternut Gnocchi at Café Paradiso

spinach, salad
Amelia Schwartz

Since Café Paradiso was created by the same creative genius who opened Bombay Bicycle Club, it is unsurprising that it is also a standout. Set in a starlit, twinkly-light-filled garden, Café Paradiso serves up Greek, country-style dishes. 

You can visit for lunch to get full of of their house made tzatziki, hummus and babaganoush or enjoy fresh pasta and meat with a glass of wine at dinner. You cannot go wrong with their sweet potato and butternut gnocchi served with rocket and bacon. True to its name, the gnocchi are little pillows of paradise. 

10. Baked Potato Gnocchi at Chalk & Cork

Continuing the list of outstanding tapas restaurants in Cape Town, Chalk and Cork, which has a perfect menu full of innovative, small dishes, is great for celebration or just your every day fun dinner. The co-owners and couple, Marc and Amy Botes worked alongside Gordon Ramsay in London, so you know they know what they are doing. 

There are dozens of delicious tapas to choose from, but since I clearly am obsessed with gnocchi, I highly recommend the baked potato gnocchi. Hey, why not just make it into battle of the gnocchi? Make sure you also order the 'Carne Asada,' the beef carpaccio, and the calamari. Unfortunately, I cannot assure you that all of these items will be available when you visit, since the menu is constantly changing.

11. Tapas for 2 at Chef's Warehouse & Canteen

If you want to treat your significant other to an outstanding meal, or maybe impress your mom with your impeccable restaurant taste, take them to Chef's Warehouse & Canteen. This restaurant specializes in a 'Tapas for 2' set menu. For R620 you receive hours worth of tapas, served in sets of three. You will want to visit again and again just to see what new dishes the chefs whip up. 

12. Huevos Rancheros at Clarke's Bar and Dining Room

toast, bread, sandwich, egg
Amelia Schwartz

Clarke's Bar and Dining Room is a restaurant reminiscent of your favorite high school diner with a sophisticated and trendy twist. It is a hipster haven with its upbeat and mature vibe and innovative menu (and an abundance of avo, at that).

Clarke's has all-day breakfast, which is an absolute delicacy for my fellow brunch-lovers. Later in the night though, the 'Bar' component becomes the forefront. While the night scene at Clarke's may be one of the best in the city, it is worth visiting during the day just to get the huevos rancheros. It is served with black beans, slow cooked in red wine and beer, and placed on fresh bread rather than the traditional tortilla. Don't fret—you can get drinks with brunch too (mimosas, anyone?).

13. Seafood at The Codfather

The Codfather has been the most popular restaurant in Camps Bay for 17 years and there is no mystery why. The restaurant has no menu. Instead, chefs serve up whatever fish and shellfish are especially fresh. This means that you are sure to be getting the best of the best. You can get one piece of seafood such as giant prawns, oysters, langoustines, crayfish, calamari, and line fish, or you can get a platter of several of these. If you are feeling more of a fancy vibe, The Codfather also has sushi. It is the taste of the sea. 

14. Ice Cream with a Toasted Marshmallow at The Creamery

coffee, cream, chocolate
Amelia Schwartz

Let me be frank here. Ice cream is hard as f*** to find in Cape Town. In the states, if you want some ice cream, you are sure to find an ice cream shop within a ten minute walking radius. In Cape Town, most ice cream shops are a drive away and they are sub par at best. I had this negative mentality about Cape Town's ice cream scene until I visited The Creamery.

The Creamery has rich, homemade flavors that change seasonally. Some of my favorites include the 65% Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Salted Caramel. I am also usually not a toppings girl, but Creamery's toppings are irresistible. Get a bruleed banana, shortbread crumble, or go all out with a toasted marshmallow — it's like a pillow of love and joy atop a bed of frozen deliciousness. 

15. Fondue at The Culture Cheese Club

Culture Cheese Club is Cape Town's first 'artisan cheese hub and fermented food hot spot and restaurant'... seriously, could there be anything better than that? Culture Cheese Club works as a shop and a restaurant, showcasing their organic cheese, 80% supplied locally and 20% imported. 

Their menu is full of cheesy dishes, from the empty to the crispy to the bubbly, including camembert mac and cheese, mushroom and brie risotto, and the cheese platter. While all of these dishes are outstanding, nothing could top their cheese fondue. Culture Cheese Club also serves other fermented goodies like tapas and drinks. Therefore, this is the place that will convert you to a kombucha kid... and a cheese kid, of course. 

16. Ramen at Downtown Ramen

For anyone who thinks that 'authentic Japanese ramen' is the same as instant ramen, you are greatly mistaken. Downtown Rame is exactly what you would want from a ramen bar. It is cozy, small, and intimate with a comfortingly small menu. Therefore, the chefs are able to perfect everything. Choose between two types of ramen: pork or vegetarian and boa with three filling options: pork belly, braised short rib, or vegetarian. The Ramen Bar is the perfect place to visit on a cold, rainy winter day... or just any day because ramen is amazing

17. Anything and Everything at Eastern Food Bazaar

The Eastern Food Bazaar is a true piece of art. Every time I go there, I am reminded how wonderful life is and how spectacular Cape Town is. Eastern Food Bazaar specializes in authentic Durban curries at an astoundingly cheap price with an 'untouristy' vibe that will make you want to hang out for hours. You can get curry (I recommend the butter chicken), rice, salad, and sambal for just R50. 

If you are not an Indian food fan, get some fried rice or noodles from the Chinese section, or Shwarma and falafel from the Mediterranean section. The Eastern Food Bazaar will make your belly happy without breaking the bank.

18. Tacos at El Burro

In the middle of a long hike up Table Mountain, there is one thing I crave... tacos. Maybe water too, but primarily, tacos. Assuming that everyone else has the same cravings, the only place to celebrate a day's hard work is El Burro

Come to El Burro for the authentic Mexican tacos (the best in Cape Town), stay for the delightfully strong margaritas and hoppin' hipster vibe. Get a plate of three of their equally unique tacos; I definitely recommend the grilled fish tacos, or put the power in your own hands and create your own. Pair that with a pineapple chili margarita and you are in for one heck of a good night. 

19. The Lobster Roll at Hallelujah

shrimp, cocktail, ceviche, tuna
Anna Brennan

Pink, neon logo, flamingo wall paper, tumblr-esque website, and a menu full of modernized Asian food served tapas style? Looks like the working of a hipster hot spot. Still, Hallelujah is so much more than its off-the-walls trendy mood.

You will want to order every single dish off of their concise menu, from their tiger prawns on steamed buns to their miso grilled banana. No matter what, you must have their lobster roll. Hallelujah puts their own take on the New England classic with house made mayo and a side of grilled corn. Why aren't lobster rolls always like this?

20. Chocolate Bunny Chow at Honest Chocolate Cafe

There are many persons, places, and things of which I affiliate my stay in Cape Town. To name a few, Table Mountain, wine, baboons, and Honest Chocolate. I was first introduced to Honest Chocolate when I was given a sample of their famous bon bon at Old Biscuit Mill. As soon as I ate that piece of chocolate, the world as I knew it changed. You can imagine my excitement when I found out there is such a thing as the Honest Chocolate Cafe.

At the cafe, you can get their staples like chocolate bars, bon bons, and their chocolate spread, baked goods like chocolate cake and chocolate tart, or drinks and dishes that takes the mere idea of chocolate to a whole new level. For example, enjoy Nachos & Chocolate Guacamole or their Chocolate Bunny Chow. This twist on a South African favorite uses banana bread with their chocolate spread, fresh ice cream and nuts. If that makes you parched, don't hesitate to order a chocolate milkshake. You will never want to leave this place. 

#SpoonTip: At night, The Honest Chocolate Cafe transforms into a secret gin bar. So I am not joking when I say you will not want to leave.

21. Burger Sliders at Hudson's

Hudson's is the Cape Town burger joint. It is the place where you go with a huge group of friends after a long week of classes at varsity, chow down on some scrumptious burgers and appetizers, and drink beer. You will want to make Hudson's a weekly tradition with your friend group just because, no matter the location, Hudson's is fun as f***. They even get extra fun points for the fact that they have a bomb happy hour — half off all drinks and appetizers from 4:30-6:30. 

All of the burgers are great, and you can choose to have a beef, chicken or ostrich patty. Though, for all my indecisive folks, your best bet is to get the burger sliders so you can taste as much as possible. 

22. Grilled Calamari at Il Leone Mastrantonio

The Mastrantonio brand celebrates 'the art of good living,' and that philosophy definitely shines at Il Leone. It is another restaurant that gives you a true Italian experience — you will come for the pasta, stay for the wine and the company. A standout dish is their Calamari Grigliati served with vegetables and mashed potatoes. It is the perfect dish to accompany a warm summers day. 

23. Whiskey Braai-BQ Burger at Inside & Your Out Burger

Inside & You're Out Burgers is claimed to have the best burgers in Cape Town and it completely makes sense since they stuff their burgers with stuff. That's right. These burgers are legitimately inside out with fillings like cheese and (extra) meat placed inside of the burger, setting up a delicious surprise for anyone who takes a bite. The most popular burger is the Whiskey Braai-BQ — a beef burger stuffed with smoked cheddar, topped with crispy onions and IYO house dip.

Aside from having out of this world burgers, IYO values the local community, having a positive environmental impact, and ethical accessibility. Therefore, all of their ingredients are locally sourced and organic and their meat is grass-fed. This all means that IYO burgers taste good and make you feel good.

24. Pastries at Jason Bakery 

One time in Cape Town, I was super hungover. I was sad because my phone was taken the night before and I was very, very nauseous. I really needed a hug. Somehow, I managed to stumble to Jason Bakery. It was there and then that I ate the best soup I have ever had. It was a carrot and ginger puree and it may or may not have changed my life forever and ever. Ironically, Jason Bakery nicknames every one of their soups 'Cup o' love.' I still dream about this soup.

Unfortunately, Jason only sells their soup during the winter, so any other time of the year you should try some of their freshly baked pastries like their pot pies, mini quiches, or muffins. Soup or not, Jason Bakery is probably the best breakfast you can get in Cape Town. 

25. Fish and Chips at Kalky's

chicken, meat
Amelia Schwartz

There are no thrills and frills at Kalky's in Kalk Bay. All there is (and all you really need) is fresh, straight out of the ocean seafood. Grab a Savanna, sit outside on the dock facing the beautiful African sunset, and enjoy a fulfilling plate of South African fish and chips.

In contrast to British fish and chips which is usually made with cod, the South African version is traditionally made with hake — a simple white fish. The chips are also typically a little skinnier and less crispy. If fish and chips aren't your thing, you can chow down on a platter of prawns and/or calamari and/or crayfish. No matter what you choose, you can be confident that it is fresh and tasty. 

26. Bagels and Schmear at Kleinsky's Delicatessen

Everyone has their choice of comfort food. Some choose pizza. Some choose mac n' cheese. Some choose ice cream. I choose Jewish deli food. Bagels and schmear are one of  the many lights to my life and I thoroughly believe that matzo ball soup can cure anything. Thank god Kleinsky's Delicatessen exists to provide us with that comfort. 

Kleinsky's have all the New York jewish deli necessities — pastrami sandwiches, pickles, latkes, blintzes, challah, and my beloved matzo ball soup. Though, Kleinsky's real hero is their bagels. Since they are the best in Cape Town, you could simply pick up a bag for takeaway, or you could stay in and get a sandwich with their house made schmear. Either way, the meal will warm your soul.

27. Baked Camembert at Kloof Street House

bread, vegetable
Amelia Schwartz

Kloof Street House is a true experience. You could seemingly explore the nooks and crannies of the restaurant for hours, rummaging through their cozy library or simply admiring their beautifully lit garden. 

Everything about Kloof Street House's decour screams celebration. The food is sophisticated by fact, but fun and flirty at the core. You may be thinking, how is food flirty? Well order the baked camembert and experience the melty cheesy goodness and you will understand just how sexy food can be. This vibe is amplified through their extensive and creative cocktail menu, making Kloof Street House a great place for dinner or post-dinner drinks... or both. 

#SpoonTip: Get the Porn Star Martini. As embarrassing as it may be to say it out loud, push through the awkwardness and get it. It is delicious and beautiful and even interactive. 

28. Tuna 'La Colombe' at La Colombe

Acclaimed as one of the top 10 restaurants in South Africa and one of the 100 best in the world, La Colombe is an absolute delight. Set in a gorgeous and private Silvermist Wine Estate, La Colombe looks over Hout Bay and the Constantia Valley.

Dinner is served as set menus, displaying the vast talent of chefs Scot Kirton and James Gaag. The food is a combination of French, South African, and New American classics. Every single dish is a little piece of heaven, but the real standout is La Colombe's famous tuna tataki. Be warned: this is a fine dining experience so don't expect any kind of deal. But with a dinner set menu (excluding wine) at R1090 for 10 courses, it's worth every penny.

29. Tasting Menu at La Mouette

Amelia Schwartz

La Mouette gives customers an amazing, fine dining experience at an affordable price. The six-course summer tasting menu (excluding wine) is priced at R445, with outstanding dishes including crispy lamb shoulder and a melting Ferrero Rocher dessert. If you aren't feeling particularly hungry, you can order something off of their a la carte menu which even includes dishes off of their set menu. 

Truly, La Mouette is perfect for people on a student budget who want to feel fancy for a night. 

30. Mixed Meat and Veggie Platter at Madam Taitou

Amelia Schwartz

Madam Taitou may just be the best Ethiopian food you can find outside of Ethiopia. The restaurant itself is small, cozy, and warm, filled with genuine Ethiopian decorations. You can find yourself sitting in a couched out corner, or in a small group in your own personal upstairs club house that overlooks the rest of the restaurant. 

Then comes the food... wow, the food. Ethiopian cuisine is the epitome of comfort food, and Madam Taitou has mastered it. Most dishes come as a mushy, curry-like texture placed atop a large, spongey sourdough pancake called injera (extra rolls of injera comes on the side). You then use that injera to scoop up your food. Don't be afraid to get a little messy — it's all part of the fun.

The best way to tackle Madam Taitou is to visit with a medium to large group and order one or two mixed meat and veggie platters. That way you get to taste it all... and you will want to taste it all.

31. Curry at Maharajah

Amelia Schwartz

Thanks to the Cape Malay's large influence on Cape Town's culture and history, Indian food has become intertwined with Cape Town cuisine. You can find some rich, flavorful curry all over the city, but nothing compares to the authenticity of Maharajah. 

Maharajah serves customers some real-deal Durban curries so do not take their spice levels lightly. Every dish, from breyani to masala, is bursting with aroma and flavor. I recommend you get some of the Durban classics — the butter chicken and mixed vegetable curry. 

32. The Pan African Platter at Marco's African Place

pork, sauce, meat
Amelia Schwartz

You can't leave Cape Town without tasting traditional South African food. Thankfully, Marcos African Place is available to take locals and travelers through a journey of African culture and cuisine. Step out of your comfort zone and order game meat like springbok, kudu, ostrich, crocodile, and impala. Also make sure you try some Xhosa classics for your sides — pap, umngqusho, and samp. 

While you enjoy your food, you will be treated to wonderful African drumming and dance numbers. By the end of this meal, you too will want to get up on your feet and dance for joy. 

#SpoonTip: For all those who want to taste as much as possible, order the Pan African Platter. This comes with kudu, springbok, ostrich and a side. 

33. Pizza at Massimo's

The best place to find genuine, Italian-style pizza is at Massimo's. Raised on a farm in northern Italy, Massimo understands the art of fluffy crust, the greatness of a well-spiced sauce, and the importance of fresh produce

Massimo and his wife and co-owner, Tracy, started the Sunflower Fund charity which strives to increase the number of bone marrow donors in South Africa. As Massimo is a cancer survivor, this charity is near and dear to his heart and he takes advantage of his restaurant success to spread awareness. If you order the Pavarotti Pizza which has bolognese sauce and parmesan, R10 goes towards the Sunflower Fund. 

34. Meat at Mzoli's

Anna Brennan

A trip to Cape Town is incomplete without a good ol' Sunday braai (a South African barbecue), and Mzoli's is the place to do it. Mzoli's is in the township of Gugulethu and is placed inside a tent, stuffed with picnic tables, a dance floor, and of course, a DJ. Wait in a line outside to order your meat. Literally, you get a bucket of meat — ribs, boerwors, chicken, steak, anything your beating, meaty heart desires. 

Mzoli's is more than great meat, it is all about the vibes. After you enjoy your food, you will want to stay for hours, dancing along to the loud music and mingling with the regulars.

35. A Milkshake at My Sugar

Their tagline is 'It's not just chocolate; it's an experience.' Just that should lure you into My Sugar. Seriously, if Willy Wonka secretly opened up a shop in Cape Town, it would probably be My Sugar. Chocolate comes in all forms here: from white to dark, truffles to cake, coffee to cocoas. Though the dish that surpasses the rest are the milkshakes.

Fitting the current 'freakshake' trend, these milkshakes are jam-packed with ice cream, flavor, toppings, and sugar. Get the reliable Super Chocolate or try the Miso Caramel. Props to anyone who finishes one on their own. 

36. Salmon Sashimi at Nobu

If you follow the global restaurant scene, you know that Nobu is an international phenomenon. The Nobu title has a reputation of having the best, most high-quality seafood around the world. It is pricey, but if you are a traveler, Cape Town's Nobu at the One & Only Hotel is one of the most affordable locations in the world.

If you want to treat yourself, get the tasting menu. If you are on a budget like me and most of my fellow students, you absolutely have to get one of Nobu's classics, the salmon sashimi. It is melt-in-your-mouth goodness. 

37. Nü Platter at 

lives by raw passion, sustainability, supreme quality, integrity, and social responsibility. These words are certainly exemplified in their food. They use organic ingredients to cook up delicious and nutritious foods perfect for a brunch or a post-workout snack. 

No matter the occasion, the perfect meal is the Nü Platter which comes with baked quinoa cakes and a side salad. You never thought a healthy grain could taste so good, but Nü knows the magic trick to make it work.

38. The Smoked Salmon Potato Pancake Benedict Thing from Old Biscuit Mill

salmon, smoked salmon, lox
Amelia Schwartz

The Saturday market at Old Biscuit Mill is a weekly tradition for many locals and tourists alike. There you can find any food to suit your cravings — Chinese, crepes, kabobs, waffles, Michelle Obama's favorite sandwich... you get the point. Though, the dish that tops it all is The Test Kitchen's smoked salmon potato pancake Benedict thing. 

Placed in the center of the market, the chefs have their routine down pat. As you wait in line for your dish, take a moment and admire the pure art that is them making your food. I always imagine classical music playing in the background — that is how beautiful this dish is. This may have been the best food I tasted in Cape Town and the whole world deserves to know about it. 

39. Seafood Platter at Pigalle

Pigalle provides customers with wonderful seafood and steak with a Portuguese twist. Like other Cape Town seafood restaurants, the best way to go is to get a seafood platter, allowing you to taste a little bit of the best of the best — lobster, prawns, langoustines, calamari, line fish, and mussels. 

The seafood is fantastic in itself, but it becomes ten times better when you accompany it with the live jazz and and salsa that fills Pigalle. You will want to get out of your seat and dance, but just remember to wait ten minutes after you eat unless you want to risk getting a cramp. 

40. Vegan Quesadilla at Plant

Plant made me consider going vegan. For anyone who knows me, they know that is a huge deal. Plant is the only restaurant in Cape Town with an 100% plant-based menu complete with fresh-pressed juice, meat and dairy alternatives, and veggies galore. 

The toughest part of being vegan is giving up cheese. That has to be a fact. Though, Plant introduced me to the wonders of vegan cheese. For instance, in their Mexican quesadilla, they use cheddar-style cashew cheese in addition to yummy veggies and guacamole. Even in the absence of 'real' cheese, this quesadilla is one of the best in Cape Town. I may have resisted veganism, but I am still a Plant fanatic. 

41. Arancini at Potluck Club

We spent a bit of time talking about how Cape Town knows how to do tapas right. There are dozens of restaurants across the city that have menus full of delectable, and innovative small dishes, perfect for sharing and tasting as many flavors as possible. So if tapas-style dining was a South African industry, Potluck Club would be the industry leader. 

Owned by Cape Town's most renowned chef, Luke Dale Roberts, Potluck Club explores five basic tastes: salty, sour, sweet, umami, and bitter in order to allow guests to try each flavor on its own as well as the flavors in harmony with each other. With these guidelines, Potluck Club serves some of the most spectacular tapas. 

Our favorite tapa, categorized under 'umami,' is the parmesan and buffalo arancini. It is pretty difficult to go wrong with fried cheese balls. 

42. Beef Carpaccio at Shortmarket Club

The newest edition to Luke Dale Roberts' creations, Short Market Club, continues the theme of original flavor combinations with an open kitchen. The restaurant is designed in order to be a place where customers can enjoy a delicious meal while admiring the eclectic surrounding that is the City Bowl.

Both the brunch and dinner menu features modern versions of our favorite dishes including egg & soldiers with shitake brioche for brunch and grass-fed beef carpaccio as an appetizer. Shortmarket Club is a real up and coming star, so make sure you stop by soon in order to be a part of the legacy. 

43. Dumplings at South China Dim Sum Bar

South China Dim Sum Bar is an authentic, unpretentious, cozy spot for Chinese food. Dim Sum is a style of Chinese dining that serves many small, simple dishes meant for sharing. 

In order to be a great Dim Sum restaurant, you must have stellar dumplings, and man, does South China Dim Sum Bar do them right.

Some of their most popular dumplings (or at least dumplings of sort) are chicken wontons and beef, lamb, and chicken pot stickers. Don't choose between dumplings — just get them all. I will not judge. 

44. Lentil Bowl at Starlings

spinach, kale, broccoli
Amelia Schwartz

Starlings is a gem of a cafe hidden inside an ivy-covered entrance in Claremont. You are either seated inside a homey-feeling house or a beautiful, floral-filled backyard garden. This setting makes Starlings a great place to have a warm, summer brunch. 

Their menu is complete with wholesome egg dishes without any excessive frills or flares. We recommend the breakfast lentil bowl which comes with two poached eggs and avocado. It is such a simple, healthy creation that you will rush home to try to make it yourself. 

45. A Meal at The Test Kitchen

This is a big one. The Test Kitchen is THE restaurant of Cape Town. Constantly ranked as the best restaurant in South Africa (and often Africa) and as one of the best restaurants in the world, The Test Kitchen should be on everyone's culinary bucket list

Again, Luke Dale Roberts presents true magic as he brews together ingredients that one would imagine could never be synchronized. Somehow it works — it more than works. It becomes a piece of art, a piece of treasure, true beauty. There is no way for me to give examples of what is on this menu because it changes daily. Just leave your trust in the wonderful chefs — they will surely put your appetite in good hands. 

#SpoonTip: Reservations fill up extremely fast. Space opens up for the next month on the first of the previous month, so get your computer out and ready at 8 am if you want to battle it out for a spot. 

46. Magic Mushroom Burger at Tigers Milk

Tiger's Milk wants you to 'unleash your tiger within.' With a big glass of beer and a juicy burger oozing with house made truffle sauce, it is easy to let your inner animal run free. 

Tiger's Milk has several locations across Cape Town and each one offers the same great drink list (and happy hour), burgers, pizzas, and salads (but come on, who is really going to get a salad?) After much research, it has been determined that the The Magic Mushroom Burger which has their secret sauce and mushroom infused truffle sauce, is the definitive best burger. You will want to ask for a flask of the sauces to go. It is just that good. 

#SpoonTip: If you want Tiger's Milk burgers but aren't in the mood to sit down, check out Easy Tiger. It's the same burgers (with the addition of cheesy fries) served fast food-style.

47. Steampunk Benedict at Truth Coffee

Truth Coffee is another great example to why Cape Town's food scene is ridiculously underrated. The cafe/coffee shop is ranked as one of (if not, the best) in the world. Truth Coffee is known for its steampunk-style theme and house-brewed coffee like their Resurrection Blend and Vengeance blend. 

Although Truth Coffee is better known for their drinks, their food is a necessary part of the Truth experience. Most notable is their Steampunk Benedict, which is served all day and made with sourdough toast, homemade hollandaise and crispy bacon. With its creativity and confidence, Truth Coffee has the ability to change coffee shops as we know them.

48. A Waffle at the V&A Waterfront Food Market

waffle, cream, ice cream
Amelia Schwartz

Controversially, the V&A Waterfront is my least favorite area of Cape Town. It is like the Times Square of South Africa. Try to find a bite to eat at the V&A Waterfront and you will be welcomed by over-crowded, over-expensive, touristy restaurants. Thank god for the V&A Food Market for redeeming the food scene of this part of the city. 

Opened every day from 10:00 to 20:00, the V&A Food Market has dozens of food vendors that offer delicious and reasonably priced bites from empanadas to summer rolls. Although every vendor is a great option, it is nearly impossible to dismiss For the Love of Yummyness which serves brussels waffles with an Afrikaans flare. Imagine the fluffiest waffle in the world topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Are you drooling? You should be drooling. 

49. Lamb Shank at The Wild Fig

As a Mowbray native, I worked hard to search for the hidden gems of the southern suburbs. The Wild Fig was the greatest find of them all. Drive out to middle of nowhere Observatory to find a quaint farmhouse. Inside is where you will find the lovely, candlelit Wild Fig. 

The chef uses Mediterranean and Asian inspirations to create a menu full of comforting and soothing dishes. A standout is their lamb shank, carefully slow cooked with red wine jus and served with mash. The lamb falls off the bone and is so tender that you don't even need a knife. With dishes like that and the incredible service, The Wild Fig is worth the trip. 

50. Sushi at Willougby & Co

If you are looking for good sushi, go to Willoughby & Co. The only other restaurant at the V&A Waterfront worth trying, Willoughby has fresh fish, delivered daily and reliably tasty. The menu is a bit overwhelming, stocked high with seafood and Asian dishes, but if you skip to the sushi page there is no risk of disappointment

Willoughby & Co. does not take reservations, so make sure you take into account that there will probably be a wait.

So no matter what you're craving, you're sure to find the best of the best in Cape Town. Happy eating!