The Mother City is known for its world-class restaurants and excellent eateries. Any given day you can enjoy anything from molecular gastronomy to a thin-based pizza as good as one you’ll find in Naples. But sometimes there’s nothing more enjoyable than a taste of home. To celebrate Heritage Day, here is CTE.com‘s guide to the best South African cuisine (plus some from the rest of the continent).
Take your place in the buffet line, where you will be tempted by mouth-watering specialities from across the continent, such as Malawian mbatata balls (sweet potato and cheese balls rolled in sesame seeds) and Ethiopian sik sik wat (lamb cooked in a berbere sauce). Lively singing and an adjoining shop selling local arts and crafts ensure an all-round sensory feast with a distinctly African flavour.
Where 108 Shortmarket Street, CBD
Contact +27 21 422 0221, www.africacafe.co.za
There are few things more satisfying than eating at Biesmiellah, where you feel like you’ve stepped into the home of a Cape Malay family. Order spicy starters to share, then choose from a large variety of Indian curries, breyanis and kalyas (meat marinated in buttermilk), before taking a leisurely stroll around the Malay Quarter.
Where 2 Wale Street, Bo-Kaap
Contact +27 21 423 0850, www.biesmiellah.co.za
Promising its diners a ‘taste safari’ that incorporates flavours from Cape Town to Timbuktu, Gold Restaurant is the perfect place to experience cuisine from across the continent. An evening here begins with a djembe drumming session, followed by a hand-washing ceremony. Afterwards, tuck into a 14-course meal, each one from a different country.
Where 15 Bennett Street, Green Point
Contact +27 21 421 4653, www.goldrestaurant.co.za
The chefs here know just how to bring the organic flavours of the veld to your plate. Expect all of the local favourites, including bobotie, denningsvleis, game, snoek, putu and chakalaka, and sweet koeksisters to finish. Karibu also does the traditional braai, where you can take your pick from prime cuts of meat, fish and poultry, grilled to perfection in front of you over the coals of an open fire.
Where Shop 156, The Wharf Centre, V&A Waterfront
Contact +27 21 421 7005, www.kariburestaurant.co.za
An interior of bamboo walls, quirky brights and wooden tables makes for a colourful, laid-back dining environment. The menu features meat, meat and more meat – Karoo lamb chops, Mama’s Game Grill (crocodile, ostrich and venison such as springbok and kudu), feta and biltong salad – but there’s also a sizeable seafood and vegetarian selection (try the Moroccan prawns or the spinach-stuffed pancakes). A marimba band performs every night from 8 pm, getting the party started.
Where 178 Long Street, CBD
Contact +27 21 426 1017, www.mamaafricarestaurant.co.za
Marco’s African Place
For your fix of African and Cape Malay cuisine, live marimba bands and other African entertainment, look no further. Order the chakalaka salad to start and a pan-African platter (grilled fillets of game) with samp and beans for mains, followed by Mama’s brandy tart, a South African favourite. The restaurant seats 220 people, so group bookings are welcomed.
Where 15 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap
Contact +27 423 5412, www.marcosafricanplace.co.za
Prepare for a memorable experience from start to finish. Have your face painted in traditional patterns and be mesmerised by African song and dance, then dig into an impressive meal of Lephalale springbok shank, dukkah-crusted lamb chops or lentil curry, all in the beautiful surrounds of the sprawling Kirstenbosch botanical garden. Another Moyo venue in Blouberg offers an equally enjoyable African experience, with postcard views of Table Mountain in the distance.
Where Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, 99 Rhodes Drive, Newlands
Contact +27 21 762 9585, www.moyo.co.za
Strictly speaking, Mzoli’s is a butchery, but don’t let that deter you. Select your cut of meat, then have it cooked to your specifications at the braai station. With plastic tables and chairs in a dusty yard, it’s not glam but it’s an authentic township experience, and definitely worth trying. Bring your own alcoholic beverages or purchase cooldrinks from Mzoli’s
Where Shop 3, Steve Biko Drive, Guguletu
Featured image Karibu