Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Foodie Guide to Cape Town and the Winelands

We finished our trip with 6 days in the Cape Town area.  We spent 2 nights in Franschhoek, and 4 nights in Camps Bay, a beachfront 10 minutes from downtown Cape Town.  We explored the town, saw the Cape of Good Hope, went penguin-watching, hiked Table Mountain and Lion's Head, wandered Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens, ate tasty food, drank lots of wine, and enjoyed sundowners on the beach.
The food in Cape Town and wine country was such a pleasant change.  The winelands were originally colonized by the French, and the heritage shows in their food.  Now the areas of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are well known for their culinary inventiveness.  The food was a mix of French classic technique paired with local ingredients and an African flair.  Our best meal was at La Bon Vivant, a French bistro in Franschhoek. Following the guide are pictures of food, wine and adventures.  For more detail and more pictures, check out Mackenzie's accounts here.

And here is the guide of where we ate and drank and overall impressions, comment with any questions:

Cape Town:

La Boheme (Sea Point): Spanish inspired cuisine.  Excellent tapas. Great wine list. Atmosphere gets A++.
Bay Harbour Market (Hout Bay): An indoor market with live music, beer, wine, cider, and cheap eats.
Vovo Telo (V&A Waterfront, lunch): Rustic and tasty lunches, excellent coffee.
Anatoli (Da Waterkant): Turkish fare, including mezzes, mains, and desserts.  Best meal in Cape Town.
Primi Piatti (Camp's Bay): Inexpensive, tasty pizzas and pastas.

Cocktails and Appetizers
The Bungalow, formerly La Med (Clifton): Very hip vibe, decent (overpriced) sushi, fantastic views, great place for a sundowner drink.
Cafe Carpice (Camp's Bay): We had drinks and calamari. Overall: don't bother. Weak drinks, nice view (but The Bungalow is better), decent calamari.


Apprentice @ Institute of Culinary Arts (lunch): A variable menu with good options.  Well executed but lacking creativity.

Ken Forrester: Excellent value (11 wines on the full tasting menu for R50), best white wines.
Spier: Huge complex, commanding grounds, good wine but less value.
Jordan: Quieter setting, great views, good but not great wines.


The Common Room at Le Quartier Francais*: Small plates intended to be shared.  Very inconsistent quality throughout the menu.  Fun atmosphere.
Le Bon Vivant: Best meal of the trip. We had the restaurant to ourselves (thanks to it being winter). Excellent service and top quality food.
Pierneef at La Motte (lunch): Top quality food in a beautiful setting.  Exquisite presentation and excellent execution.  Close second to the meal at Le Bon Vivant.

Stony Brook Vineyards: Intimate experience at a small winery. Family run. Best red wine.
GlenWood: Off the beaten path, gorgeous views, wines were unremarkable.  Rumored to have excellent sushi.
La Motte: Excellent restaurant (see above), cozy tasting room, allowed to walk around the barrels, good wines.
L'ormains: Has a car museum also, beautiful setting on a horse farm, shuttle driver takes you to the tasting, unique grape varietals including an excellent Sangiovese.
La Provence: Modern tasting room, good selection of wines. Lack of variety on the tasting menu. No opportunity to taste any of the high-end wines.

*We intended to go to Ryan's Kitchen, but as we walked up at 7pm, they were closing due to lack of business.

Day 1: Cape Town, Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope
At Boulder's Beach

Camp's Bay and the 12 Apostles

Sunset at Camps Bay

Days 2 and 3: Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

Ken Forrester
View at Jordan
(Kenz pic)

La Motte

The Goose Cottage: Our Franschhoek Home
 And somehow Mackenzie got all the food pics, so here they are:  Franschhoek Food (Le Bon Vivant and La Motte Winery)

Day 4 back in Cape Town, for 1 more day with Matt and Mackenzie:

Lunch Pizzas at the V&A Waterfront

V&A Waterfront
Day 5: Kirstenbosch and Lion's Head
Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens

Camp's Bay from the trail on Lion's Head
Top of Lion's Head with Table Mountain in the Background
Trail on Lion's Head
Table Mountain and Lion's Head from Signal Hill
Day 6: Table Mountain
"True Summit" of Table Mountain, McClure Beacon
Boardwalk on Table Mountain
On the edge

Headed back down the trail

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