From New York City, South Africa is really far away. But once you get yourself there, you’ll be treated to temperate weather, world-class beaches, an exciting food and drink scene, and a wine country to rival the best in Europe or California. South Africa in general can still be slightly dangerous, but as a mostly solo female traveler exploring Cape Town for a few days in early December, I found myself only having to modify my usual “walk everywhere” lifestyle a bit (mostly by taking Ubers or not traveling too far alone at night). I found Cape Town to be warm and inviting, with the locals more than willing to tell you about their favorite place to eat or drink.
Restaurants + Cafes
Seabreeze Fish & Shell (Central Business District): Cute restaurant serving local seafood. The menu is varied in terms of style, but they had a few Malay-inspired dishes that looked great. I had local prawns with prawn bisque and couscous and it was fantastic.
Afro’s Chicken Shop (Central Business District): This is a fast-casual chicken place, but the sandwiches are solid but their breakfast items are the real star. They also have really good coffee.
Hudsons The Burger Joint (Gardens): Located on the super cool Kloof street, Hudsons has an extensive burger menu and are serving probably some of the best burgers I’ve had. The bar is really cool and fully stocked as well.
The Deck House (Gardens): Seafood joint overlooking Table Mountain.
Superette (Woodstock): Neighborhood joint service local, seasonal food.
The Potluck Club (Woodstock): One of Cape Town’s nicest restaurants, The Potluck Club is consistently rated one of South Africa’s best restaurants. The food is Asian-ish and reservations book quickly, so make sure you try and snag a spot early.
All of these and many more are mapped here.
Yours Truly Cafe (multiple locations): Really cool coffee shop serving sandwiches and breakfast food. They also have a walk-up counter and outside seating. I went here multiple times over my stay.
Jason Bakery (City Center): Cafe with a walk-up window serving good coffee and delicious pastries.
Truth Coffee (City Center): Steampunk-inspired coffee shop.
All of these and more are mapped here.
Publik Wine Bar (Gardens): Super cool wine bar that deals exclusively in independent South African wineries. Go there for a knowledgeable staff and interesting natural wines you likely won’t find outside of South Africa.
Devil’s Peak Tap Room (Woodstock): When you think of booze South Africa, you probably think of wine, but beer is consumed by far more people. South African Breweries is the conglomerate (and is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev), but there are plenty of craft brewers popping up. I was never able to make it to the tap room, but I tried a few of their beers at other spots.
Garden Collector’s Club (Gardens/Kloof Street): Mid Century Modern-ish spot serving local beer, wine, and food.
All of these and more are mapped here. (It’s the same list as in the restaurants section above),
There are a few main wine areas near Cape Town, and you could spend at least a day in each. Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, and Constantia are the major areas that have a lot of wineries and tours. Speaking from experience, it’s really overwhelming to try and plan a trip, so my friends and I settled on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. You hop on a series of trams or open-air buses and get driven around to various wineries. There are a variety of routes and it’s a hop-on, hop-off situation. It’s a great way to see wine country and a lot of different places without having someone DD. We hired an Uber driver that also does drives to wine country on the side, but you can take a regular Uber out there.
First Thursdays: This is kind of an arts/culture/food/drink/dance extravaganza that happens on the first Thursday of every month. Art galleries and cultural institutions keep their doors open at night, and restaurants and bars bring in DJs and the party spills into the street. It’s packed, but a really fun way to do as the locals do.
Neighbourgoods Market: A Saturday-only market that has art, music, food, booze, and local vendors. I wasn’t able to make it to this when I was there, but I had multiple people tell me I should go. They also run one in Joburg if you’re in that area.
The Old Biscuit Mill: This is a converted biscuit mill in the Woodstock neighborhood that’s home to restaurants and bars.
Brianna is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Hook & Blade. She is based out of New York City where she enjoys exploring the city, trying new foods, and people watching. She works as the Global Email Marketing Manager at Global Citizen, and tries to travel as much as she can.