A taste of the unexpected is food for your soul. Truer words have never been spoken. In our constant search for unique and authentic, you will find that one restaurant that introduces you to a flavour profile so unfamiliar to your palate, it jolts your tastebuds out of their slumber and reawakens your senses.

We undoubtedly honour the well-earned title of  “best food scene in South Africa” here in Cape Town, so there’s a constant need for introspect and reinvention. If you are looking for a place that turns up the heat on authenticity, look no further than these 3 restaurants.

1. Karibu South African Dining

This ideally situated restaurant at the V&A Waterfront gives you a picture-perfect view of Table Mountain. And while this in itself is considered pulling out all the stops, you must try their exotic meats. It doesn’t get more authentically African than a delicately spiced Ostrich steak with a side of chakalaka and pap. Throw all caution to the wind and order the ostrich and crocodile carpaccio, the flavours offer something unexpected, as do the textures. It will also keep you coming back for more.

Contact: +27 21 421 7005/6
Address: V&A Waterfront Shopping Centre

2. NV-80

It’s date night and you’re out to impress your better-half – walk this way. NV-80 offers an intimate dining experience and too many options to choose from. They serve a legendary T-bone steak, but we are not shopping around for just any dish, we are looking for something authentic. Hello springbok loin with macerated pear. The gamey flavour of the springbok paired with a sweet yet savoury pear, alongside a baked potato with fresh veggies is all you really need to win your partner over, hook, line and springbok. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself.

Contact: 021 439 7112/4
Address: The Point, 76 Regent Road

3. Gold Restaurant

I am in complete agreement with the name, this entire experience is gold. While many argue that it is very touristy, I beg to differ. As a South African, I have learnt so much about African culture and cuisine from Gold Restaurant. The 14-course dinner menu keeps you well-fed and thoroughly entertained at the same time. The menu is also constantly evolving so it is hard to talk about one dish that you must-try. I suggest you take your time and try them all. The drumming lesson before the dinner will fine-tune this entirely authentic experience.

Contact: +27 (0) 21 421 4653
Address: 15 Bennett Street, Green Point, 8005

Your palate needs a spin around the block every now and then. Africa tastes like many things, it is a melting pot of culture and cuisines, and you should definitely try a little of everything to uncover her flavours. Start with these three restaurants.

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 21 years of journalism experience. Her motto - Travel. Eat. Repeat. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.