While everyone knows Cape Town is one of the top food capitals of the world with a hot restaurant scene, these days, foodies around the world are looking for immersive food experiences, something that extends beyond a simple sit-down, restaurant-order-from-the-menu type of affair.
We so get it, which is why we’ve rounded up some of the most memorable, immersive, delicious food and drink experiences happening in Cape Town right now. We have scouted for anything and everything delicious happening in the Mother City – ranging from long, lingering social table feasts, the best food markets, martini masterclass workshops and wild food foraging experiences to the best creative gems! If it’s tasty, fun, immersive and authentic, you’ll find it right here!
Reverie Social Table
Whether you’re new in Cape Town and keen to meet foodie-minded folk or simply want to hang out with your best mates over an epic feast, chef Julia Hattingh’s Reverie Social Table Experience is the place to be. Set in Observatory, the heart of her quirky space is a festive 18-seater table that, through the course of the evening, is the stage to five artfully plated, seasonally inspired courses – each beautifully matched with wines from local boutique estates. You’ll have so much fun getting to know your new foodie friends, you won’t even be tempted to check your phone. Read more or book.
Salon 58 Soirées
It sounds like a cliché, but it really isn’t: experiencing local style icon and visionary Jackie Burger’s beautifully created soirées really does opens your mind and visual senses. Jackie’s eye for detail and organic yet keen sense of curation is on display at her inspirational get-togethers that bring together designers, artists, makers and chefs to mind-expanding effect. Sometimes hosted at the PJ Oliver Art Centre in Stellenbosch where Jackie’s studio is based, sometimes at an unexpected location such as an old barn in the countryside, one constant remains – the soireés always surprise and delight all the senses. Read more or book.
Secret Sunset Cocktail Experience
At the end of the day, when Cape Town gets ready to swap her sweeping blue mantel for a jaunty mid-night blue cape spangled with a thousand stars, the lingering reprieve of her magnificent sunset calls for a cold one. But where to go? Well, if you are looking for the most awe-inspiring outdoor seaside sundowner spots all you need to do is follow in the footsteps of Henk Brand and Suna Symington. “Henk and I have always loved exploring and looking for isolated spots where few people go. We found most of our favourites through sheer curiosity – we would look at Google Maps satellite images and try to find new places to enjoy sundowners. Then we’d go on elaborate adventures to access those spots, ” says Suna. These days, they have quite an impressive repertoire of go-to cocktail destinations which they enthusiastically share with fellow adventurers. Read more or book.
How often can you say you’ve had dinner at an award-winning Italian chef’s home? Chef Lapo Magni – born in Florence, raised with the regional slow food of his Mama, and shaped into a top chef through cooking stints in restaurants across Italy and SA – is happy to supply you with the bragging rights over a four-course meal at his casa. He’s super passionate about using only sustainable, local produce, so as you take a seat at his dinner table, he’ll tell you all about the suppliers behind the dishes on the night’s menu, whether it’s the man who foraged the porcini in your mushroom risotto or the ethical butcher who supplied the free-range beef for the ragu with the homemade pappardelle. Read more or book.
Wild Food Foraging with Roushana Gray
Did you know there’s edible seaweed bobbing all along our shoreline and that, when prepared right, it’s the umami ingredient of your dreams? Do you know the best time to harvest mussels or go mushroom picking? Indigenous food expert and foraging fundi Roushana Gray is about to make you see your everyday surrounds in a whole new way, whether you head into the forests in search of pine rings after heavy rains; into the veld to pick indigenous fynbos or edible flowers; or to the beach to harvest kelp. After your excursion, she’ll help you transform your loot into a delicious 3-course meal, served with craft beer or a fynbos mocktail, for good measure. Read more or book.
Martini Masterclass at Hope on Hopkins Distillery
Shaken? Stirred? What’s the diffs? Best ask Leigh Lisk and Lucy Beard, the duo behind what is hands-down Cape Town’s coolest craft vodka and gin distillery, Hope on Hopkins. Rock up at their HQ in Salt River, and they’ll pour-and-talk you through the different types of martini: the perfect, made with their London Dry gin; the vodka martini, with their small-batch vodka; the sweet, with their Salt River gin, and the dirty, with their Mediterranean gin. You’ll also learn how ol’ 007 forever changed the martini-drinking game and why he always insisted on his shaken. Read more or book.
Oranjezicht City Farm Market
Sick of getting saddled with more packaging than food with your weekly shop? Time to get back to basics, bring a tote and stock up on some of the best organic fruit and veggies – sourced from the Oranjezicht inner-city farm and other small producers – plus free-range eggs and meat, at this weekly Cape Town institution. Of course, it’s also the Saturday-morning social you won’t want to miss, with food stalls plying you with everything from gelato and gin cocktails (breakfast of champions!) to authentic Vietnamese bahn mi and American-style BBQ pulled pork and brisket. And of course lots of artisinal goodies just screaming to be part of your ultimate picnic basket! Come hungry, thirsty and with a full wallet. Read more.
Constantia Wine Route
If you’re only in Cape Town for a day or two and don’t feel like heading out into the actual winelands to replenish those Cab Sav and Chardonnay stocks, you’ll be well-chuffed to find out that the Constantia Wine Route is second to none. It’s home to some of the oldest estates in the country, including Klein Constantia, producers of the legendary Vin de Constance – Napoleon’s tipple of choice while on exile on St Helena island! Each of the eight estates on the route offers its own special magic, from award-winning restaurants and boutique hotels to picnic sites and museums, plus of course, the best wines and bubbles in the biz.
Coffee Appreciation Experience at Truth
The coolest coffee-tasting you’re ever likely to have, Truth – named best coffee shop IN THE WORLD by the Daily Telegraph in 2016 – takes you through all the twists and turns of coffee production in this super-interactive experience. It includes a tour of their Steampunk roastery, a look at their retrofitted 1940s Probat coffee roaster (where the magic happens), a tiny history lesson (don’t worry, it’s riveting), plus a cupping session where you get to make like a professional coffee taster and sniff, slurp and savour three different single-origin coffees. Read more or book.
Here’s a hot tip: get an Uber if you’re planning to go to First Thursday, because you ain’t easily going to find parking. Happening on the first Thursday of every month, the initiative sees participating inner-city galleries open their doors for punters to come and glimpse their goods free of charge. Of course, all that cultural appreciation – and cheap glasses of gallery wine – is bound to work up an appetite, which is why you’ll find some of the hippest bars and restaurants on the walking route keeping their doors open and vying for the masses’ affections with artisanal pizzas, steak and chips, tacos and tapas, which is all great of course. But we think the star of the show is the street food – cool food trucks lining the streets selling everything from deep-fried mac and cheese balls to bratwurst ’dogs. Read more.
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Photography: Kleinjan Groenewald | Jenni Elizabeth | Liezel Norval-Kruger