Top 10 Fancy Restaurants in Cape Town

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Grub & Vine

Despite its small room, Grub & Vine’s galley-style kitchen and dining space (about 40 seats) have huge appeal, thanks to hanging lights and potted plants, teal green walls, clubby banquette seating, and rattan chairs.

A short, sharp menu offers bistro fare prepared with great skill and attention to detail. There are classic pairings like pork belly with braised apple and pomme puree and rainbow trout with pea and bacon fricassee.

Flavors are often umami-rich, and the sauces are so good you’ll want to scrape them off the plate with your finger. Smoked impala (venison) with baby fennel and parsnip puree is a treat, as is the sticky toffee pudding.

The modern bistro is right next door to Frogitt & Vonkel, a buzzing wine bar with more than 30 artisanal wines by the glass, a pool table, and board games, making it a good option pre- or post-dinner, especially when there’s a wait on busy nights.

Originally from Essex, England, chef Manning has found a happy medium between beautifully executed dishes and the formality of fine dining. Here, you get all the finesse without the fuss.

On the second floor of the same building is the Chef’s Studio, where Manning and rotating guest chefs host interactive cooking classes. Afterward, everyone tucks into the food and the scene turns into a sociable dinner club.

La Colombe Restaurant

The anticipation of finally reaching this mountaintop retreat (more of a treehouse suspended in the forest than simply a restaurant) high above the Constantia valley, is heightened after successfully navigating the steep, winding approach road.

The gourmet adventure starts immediately after entering the pared-back, serene space with an amuse bouche as a welcome: a flavor explosion to pop whole into your mouth, picked out of a fantastical garden installation.

Stairs lead down into the main dining room and its sleek banquettes, wood-burning stoves, exposed whitewashed timber beams, raw timber floors, and dove grey and white tones.

La Colombe means ‘the dove’ and you’ll see its presence in subtle details like a majestic, hand-drawn artwork by Lucie de Moyencourt and carved wooden doves by local artisan Lameck Tayengwa.

Decisions on whether to have the blow-out tasting menu or the reduced menu will depend on how much time you have and how much you want to spend. There are options for vegetarians and pescatarians, and allergies are seamlessly accommodated.

Whichever menu you choose, anticipate French-Asian inspiration with a depth of flavor on every plate, each more effortlessly balanced and downright delicious than the next.

Every course shows phenomenal attention to detail, regardless of whether the star ingredient is wagyu beef or wild mushrooms. Despite exquisite plating and novel presentation, nothing is overworked or over-complicated. Ultimately, it’s all about the flavors.

Don’t miss the signature Tuna La Colombe, a play on a tin can filled with cubes of marinated, raw tuna. This is one of those signature dishes that has remained a keeper. And don’t skip the cheese course, served in a treasure chest, before dessert.

Utopia Cape Town

Utopia offers a fine dining experience, elevated above the hustle and bustle of Cape Town. Set 15 floors up at the Mirage building on Chiappini Street in De Waterkant, the rooftop comes with some truly breathtaking 360-views over the water and the city skyline.

Up here you find a stylish indoor dining room with panoramic windows, and an outdoor terrace mixing dining tables with a more comfy bar and lounge seats.

The Utopia menu offers freshly cooked flavours, specialising in seafood and grilled meat, also including a selection of Mediterranean dishes. Complemented with a list of handpicked boutique wines, this is a great venue for a special occasion dinner. Or just a crafted sunset cocktail on the terrace.

Filled with a comfortable and reserved atmosphere, the Utopia rooftop is a popular spot, and if you plan to have dinner, reservations are essential.

Aubergine Restaurant

Aubergine is something of a Cape Town icon. Hidden on narrow Barnet Street in Gardens, the fine dining restaurant is housed in a venerable old building said to date back to 1830, and the tall ceilings and thick, cool walls are evidence of this heritage.

There’s a homespun elegance to the décor – it’s comfortable yet refined – and as the man at the helm is a collector of contemporary fine art, plenty of arresting paintings are positioned throughout the eatery.

Harald points out one behind us: created by his friend and famed South African Neo-baroque artist Christo Coetzee, it’s an unusual composition of dentist tools paired with tactile baking references. “I had to have it,” he says. “My wife is a dentist, and well, I’m the cook!”

Harald was raised on a farm near the Belgian border, and over glasses of Charles Fox Méthode Cap Classique, he spins tales of his pastoral childhood. “I spent a lot of time with my grandmother in the kitchen. We had a special tart we baked with fruits from the garden and topped with homemade crumble.”

He also grew up slaughtering the farm’s animals and learned how to use every part, so ‘nose-to-tail eating’ isn’t merely a trend for him, it’s a way of life.

His relationship with the gastronomic world was all-enveloping: from the knee of his grandmother to his time spent understanding what it takes to raise and prepare livestock and produce.

Beyond Restaurant

Peter Tempelhoff’s enduring food philosophy is one that centers on provenance – a philosophy than ensures that the concept never eclipses the importance of the ingredients. Beyond, special attention has been paid to sourcing a diverse range of special raw produce.

From rare-breed meats, and seasonal heirloom vegetables to artisanally crafted cheeses, this diversity serves to showcase and celebrate the ‘weird and wonderful and the beauty of unique strains and flavours beyond mass production.

Also a core consideration – central to this process – is that by sourcing locally, the restaurant underscores its commitment to supporting smaller growers, farmers, and producers who form part of a sustainable supplier ecosystem.

Fyn Restaurant

A little piece of Manhattan in Cape Town, Fyn is a cutting-edge space on the fifth floor of a repurposed building just off historic Church Square.

A glass wall ensures that views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head are sensational (your reward for lunch, rather than the more-in-demand dinner). Sophisticated, but not shouty, the interiors of the 60-seat restaurant are as slick as the food and service.

Boundaries between the kitchen and diners are consciously blurred—the pastry section is slap-bang in the center of the room, for instance—echoing the Japanese-African cooking.

A dream-team partnership between Peter Tempelhoff (an alum of The Greenhouse) and executive chef Ashley Moss means you’re in confident hands. The menu is African-inspired, but it’s Tempelhoff’s obsession with Japan that will have you enthralled.

His confident exploration of tastes, flavors, textures, and cooking styles comes in five-course, kaiseki-style menus. There are pescetarian, vegetarian, and vegan menus, as well. Ask to sit at the counter, where you can watch the highly focused chefs in action.

Belly of the beast

Chefs Anouchka Horn and Neil Swart invite diners to come along and trust them – there are no menu options or set-course taster here, just a selection of what they deem local and seasonal.

As the name would suggest, Belly of the Beast is carnivore-friendly, with all meat from sustainably farmed animals. Dishes could include anything from pumpkin risotto to cured stumpnose fish or gemsbok (antelope) tataki.

Don’t miss baked Alaska with feuilletine and hazelnut praline by talented pastry chef Horn.

Pigalle Restaurant

Believing that dining is like good theatre – about creating the glamour, which you want to come back to time and again, owners, Victor and Naldo Goncalves, have created Pigalle – Cape Town’s most stylish dinner-dance venue.

Named after the area in Paris renown for its exuberant surroundings and ladies of easy virtue, Pigalle restaurant masterfully captures the same sense of joie de vivre through its plush décor, and sumptuous dishes, and seductive jazz numbers.

Upon arrival at Pigalle, a stainless steel porte-cochére and 1930s-style artwork hints at the glamour and lifestyle embraced within.

Inside, the blend of decadent furnishings, in dramatic combinations of red, black, silver, and white, together with delicately exposed warehouse architecture reflects the multi-functional nature of the restaurant – by day, a relaxed lunchtime hotspot and by night, a chic dinner-dance venue.

Pigalle’s red-carpeted, split-level floor divides this vast 250-seater restaurant into intimate dining areas, all boasting views of bandstand and dance floor.

Here, guests can enjoy pre-dinner drinks at the expansive mahogany bar whilst banquettes in rich fabrics, wingback chairs, elegantly dressed tables, and oversized French Provencal chandeliers provide the ideal setting from which to indulge in sumptuous dishes from Pigalle’s internationally inspired menu.

Salsify at the Roundhouse

Tucked halfway between Camps Bay beach and the slopes of Lion’s Head in a wind-free forested glen, Salsify’s idyllic location is in the Roundhouse, a former hunting lodge (circa 1786) steeped in Cape history.

A leather-clad wall, sumptuous velvets, and faded vintage rugs on original oak floors add romance, while graffiti by street artist Skull Boy and a cheeky bronze Otto du Plessis sculpture add grit.

Much like the humble root vegetable, it’s named after, the menu here is restrained, rather than boastful or flashy, always packing a powerful flavor punch.

Local and foraged ingredients form the basis of deceptively simple dishes like fried octopus with apricot mebos (sun-dried fruit leather), green mango salad, peanuts, and coconut; and beef tartare with nasturtium emulsion, pine-nut dressing, and veal fat brioche.

The lunch (especially the six-course Sunday lunch) is one of the best-value fine-dining menus in the city.

Bombay Brasserie

Just across from the Company’s Garden, with the inner city’s hotspots and cultural attractions on its doorstep, Taj Cape Town is perfectly positioned to offer its guests a glimpse into the heart and history of the Mother City. And a visit wouldn’t be complete without dinner at the Bombay Brasserie – the hotel’s signature restaurant.

Its inspiration comes from the buzzing, multicultural Indian city, with a nod to the iconic London restaurant of the same name. Similarly, the menu combines a variety of Indian cooking styles, ingredients, and global influences including Cape Malay cuisine. The result is a multisensory extravaganza.

Formerly the home of the SA Reserve Bank and Temple Chambers, the restaurant mixes the charm of a bygone era with an exciting contemporary approach.

The sumptuous, elegantly exotic interior is reminiscent of an Indian palace, with jewel tones, sparkling chandeliers, and touches of gold, and plush fabrics. An Eastern-styled courtyard and splendid spice wall, filled with traditional aromatics, create a focal point.

Also part of the brasserie is a bar area, where diners can enjoy pre- or post-dinner tipples. Evocative signature cocktails include Passage to India (a bourbon, tea, and vermouth mix) and the Bombay Sparkler (gin, grapefruit, and rooibos marmalade, lemon juice, and bubbly).

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