The Culinary Delights of South Africa’s Beautiful Cape

cape town aerial

One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is home to people from diverse cultures and ethnic groups, each contributing to the array of tastes and smells a visitor can expect to enjoy when dining in one of Cape Town’s many restaurants. 

Typically a good Cape Town restaurant will be reasonably priced and serve well prepared dishes that will linger in your memories long after you have left the city. This article will highlight some of the great flavors, places and influences which give Cape Town restaurants their unique character. To truly experience Cape Town you should try to include dishes from various Cape Town restaurants influenced by different cultures.

Cape Malay food

Probably the biggest cultural influence on Cape Town’s traditional food comes from Cape Malay cooking traditions. Truly South African dishes like Bobotie, Breyani, Samoosas and Koeksisters are all brought to us by the Cape Malay culture. 

Bobotie is made from minced meat and raisins, with a creamy crust for a covering made from egg. The dish has a sweet taste and is a South African favorite. Breyani is a dish made from rice and lentils, with fish, chicken or other meat. This is a tasty, yet spicy meal, which is popular in Cape Town. The samoosa is a very popular snack in Cape Town and South Africa, made by wrapping mince-meat or vegetables in pastry and then deep frying it. For the sweet tooth there is the legendary koeksister, a sweet pastry often enjoyed with a cup of tea. The Cape Malay version has a more cake-like consistency, while the Afrikaner adaption comes in the form of a twisted pastry glazed in syrup, making for a very sweet treat.
Africa Cafe

Visitors to Cape Town can chose from a variety of African fusion restaurants which will give you an unforgettable taste experience as traditional African ingredients are combined in adventurous dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. The menus typically offer a tremendous range, catering to diverse tastes and satisfying your palate, no matter how particular it may be.

Waterfront restaurant
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a development which has grown around a working harbor, where you can shop till you drop, then visit museums and galleries, see weird and wonderful sea life in the famous Two Oceans Aquarium, and dine in one of the fabulous restaurants looking out over the harbor. This is one of Cape Town’s big tourist draw cards, and after visiting you will know exactly why the Waterfront is such a popular spot.

Blues Crayfish

Camps Bay beach is a popular spot for the young and trendy.  Enjoy the beautiful white sand and warm sunshine, but remember to protect yourself with a good sun block. The water is known to be a bit on the chilly side, but it does serve to provide refreshing relief from the midsummer heat.  Here you can expect to find Cape Town restaurants offering top caliber seaside dining.

cape town city restaurants
Taking a walk around the Castle in the city center or browsing the stalls on Greenmarket Square can work up an appetite, which one of the Cape Town City Centre restaurants will satisfy with style.  There are a variety of good restaurants to be found on Shortmarket Street, New Church Street, Castle Street, Long Street, Loop Street and the likes.

Kalk Bay harbor & restaurant

False Bay offers some stunning seaside restaurants, notably those in Kalk Bay, where you can enjoy the best of Cape Town’s more casual dining locations, with the cry of gulls over breaking waves lending a charming character to the setting.


Green Point has a lively nightlife with old style disco clubs and music for the liberal tourist to enjoy a night out. There are a variety of restaurants where you can enjoy anything from sophisticated cocktails to imported Belgian beers with your meal.

Sea Point’s Beach Road has a couple of good restaurants offering a view of the promenade where rollerblading, jogging and dog walking are popular activities under the summer sun. Enjoy a hearty meal here and sip on a drink as the sunsets and Cape Town’s nightlife awakens.

jonkershuis restaurant

Southern Suburbs restaurants range from sports pubs to the finest French cuisine restaurants on beautiful Constantia wine estates. Newlands hosts Cape Town’s cricket and rugby stadiums, where international events are common place, resulting in a frenzy of patriotism and a great atmosphere for visitors to the city to enjoy.

The Winelands are just a short drive outside of the city, where wine tasting is the order of the day. Enjoy a wide variety of restaurants on the various wine farms offering wine tasting and great dishes for the hungry tourist. The beauty of Stellenbosch and Franschoek make for a breathtaking escape from city life where you can enjoy the best food, wine and hospitality.

Cape Quarter

Come visit the Cape and enjoy a rich diversity of scenery, people and tastes.  Road Travel Africa is passionate about South Africa and specialize in culinary packages and tours, so get in touch with us to make sure you know which restaurants and establishments will make your taste buds happy 😉


Swaaneweide and ‘The Widow Ras’ at the foot of the Steenberg Mountains

Steenberg Aerial Photo

Steenberg existed even before Simon van der Stel had built his great house in the heart of the Constantia Valley.  Steenberg, ‘Mountain of Stone’, has a romantic ring, but the original name was more beautiful still, for it was called ‘Swaaneweide’ – The Feeding Place of Swans.  Whether swans did indeed fly down to drink and swim in the cool clear waters of the farm, or whether the first owner, Catharina Ras, was being nostalgic about her former home in Lubeck, on the Baltic coast of Germany, is hard to tell.  Whatever her reason, she named her estate Swaaneweide, maybe she had mistaken the spur-winged geese for swans because today you will still find a large population of these spur-winged geese at Steenberg.

Front Entrance
Catharina Ustings Ras was one of the most daring and controversial figures ever to settle at the Cape.  Life was not easy when she arrived, only ten years after Jan van Riebeeck landed, for 1662 was far from being the age of rights for women.  Yet this indomitable woman had boarded a sailing ship and made the perilous journey to the furthest tip of Africa.  What she found was certainly no land of milk and honey.  It was a fierce, wild place with laws to match.  Keel haulings, hangings, lashings and brandings were normal occurrences.  This being no place for a lone widow of twenty-two, she immediately found herself a second husband, Hans Ras.  He was not a particularly eligible catch – a soldier and free burger with a penchant for female slaves.  But he had a house on the Liesbeek River, which he had bought from Jakob Kluten, founder of the famous Cloete family, whose name has dominated Constantia for more than two hundred years.

Dining room table
Once the wedding knot was tied, Catharina’s life seemed to take on very dramatic overtones, which marked its course from that day forward.  Two wagons left the ceremony, with the bride and groom in one and the guests in the other.  Lit from within by good Cape wine and overcome, no doubt, by the spirit of the occasion, the drivers decided to race one another back to Rondebosch.  While the guests clung fearfully to their seats, praying to Heaven with truly Protestant fervour, the wagons vied for position and as the road was rough and narrow, a collision soon occurred.  Enraged at this conduct on his wedding day, the bridegroom jumped down from his seat and soon became entangled in a fight, receiving a knife thrust, which almost proved fatal, the weapon breaking in two between his ribs.  He survived this incident and lived to father several children, but came to an unfortunate end, when he was killed by a lion some years later. Legend has it that, like Annie Oakley, Catharina courageously fetched a gun, leaped on her horse and gave chase finally shooting the lion herself.

 Manor House
Fate had a good deal more in store for the girl from Lubeck, for a Hottentot murdered her next husband and his successor was trampled underfoot by an elephant.  Seemingly no less endowed with energy than Henry VIII, who surprised all Europe with his impressive total of six wives, Catharina then took unto herself a fifth husband, a hardy German named Matthys Michelse.

Lounge area
In 1682 Catharina Michelse, also known as The Widow Ras, had asked Simon van der Stel for a portion of ground at the foot of the Ou Kaapse Weg and he agreed to lease 25 morgen to her.  After he became the owner of Groot Constantia in 1685, she asked him for a legal title deed and a mandate was granted to her in 1688 to “cultivate, to plough and to sow and also to possess” the farm below the stone mountain.”  According to Baron von Rheede tot Drankenstein, who visited the farm and was served a luncheon of “radishes and freshly baked bread and beautiful cabbages“, Catharina was a fiercely independent woman, “riding bare-back like an Indian and her children resembling Brazilian cannibals!

Catharinas restaurant
In 1695 Frederik Russouw bought the farm.  There to witness the deed, were Henning Huising (owner of Meerlust and uncle to Adam Tas) and Hugo Goyes.  Russouw, a powerful and wealthy member of the Burger Council and it was he who built the new U-shaped house in 1695.  He also made the first wines at Swaaneweide.

As time passed, the Dutch East India Company decreed in 1741 that from May to August each year, Simons Bay would be the official winter port, because “the north west winds in Table Bay had been causing untold damage and loss of life.”  Because Swaaneweide was exactly one days’ journey from Table Bay and one days’ journey from Simons Bay, this meant that many travellers would be obliged to overnight at the farm.  Christina Diemer (the widow of Frederik Russouw) became the recipient of a highly profitable business of supplying hospitality to travelers and provisions to the fleet.

When Christina Diemer died, it was her youngest son, Nicolaas Russouw and his wife Anna Maria Rousselet who inherited the farm.  He had received the farm before Christina died and made an agreement to relinquish any further claim on the estate.  Nicolaas and his wife had the farm from 1765 to 1801.  It was Nicolaas who had the fine new “Holbol” gable built on to the front of the original house, the only one of its kind in the Cape Peninsula.

Dining Room view
When Nicolaas died, his son Daniel bought the farm in 1802 from his mother, Maria.  Due to difficult times and unfortunate circumstances, he sold it to Johannes Adriaan Louw of Fisantekraal (a brother-in-law) and Frederik Anthon Olthoff.  The Deed of Sale is legally phrased and cut and dried and a letter appeared before the Master of the Supreme Court in August 1842, stating firmly that the sale to the two sons-in-law had been legal.  All Daniel Russouw’s children were paid a cash share and signed acceptance of such a share.  Still, the Russouw blood flowed in the Louw children’s veins.  Nicolaas Louw’s greatest passion was Steenberg.  He went straight from school into farming and his three children, Andrew (architect), Jean and Nicolette inherited the property jointly when he died in 1976.

Manor Suite
Steenberg remained the property of the Louw family until 1990 when it was purchased by J.C.I. (Johannesburg Consolidated Investments), and then re-developed as it is today.  The historical buildings have been painstakingly restored.  The ‘Werf’ area of the farm includes the circa 1740 Manor House and Jonkershuis (young man’s house), barn and the original wine cellar.  The main gable is the only surviving example of its type in the Cape Peninsula.  It is a convex-concave or “holbol” outlined by heavy mouldings in a small keystone.

View from the Heritage Suite

The original Manor House, Jonkershuis and Barn houses the 30 suite 5 star hotel, while Catherina’s Restaurant is situated in the original winery.  Catherina’s Restaurant is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves a fine table of contemporary cuisine with a nuance of a Cape influence.  Steenberg has been developed to include an 18-hole championship golf course and 210 residential units.  The golf course, originally designed by Peter Matkovich, is in keeping with the natural environment and complements the indigenous character of the estate.

Golf Course

The 210 residential erven all have direct frontage onto the fairways providing a “park-like” setting and an open vista extending significantly beyond the boundaries of the properties themselves.  Design of the homes is strictly controlled and all conform to a set of architectural and urban design guidelines.  Steenberg underwent extensive soil and micro-climatic analyses before a complete replanting program was begun.  There are about 70ha under vine of which 60% is white namely: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Muscat de Frontignan.  The red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.  The farm is also one of only a handful in the Cape to have invested in the Italian red variety, Nebbiolo.  Contact Road Travel Africa to book your stay at this fantastic hotel, your round of golf on this magnificent golf course, your excellent meal at this fabulous restaurant, your wine tasting at this brilliant wine estate or your treatment at this wonderful spa.


A Magical Flying Wine Tour

At Road Travel we are forever finding new and exciting products for our clients.  This is one day trip we suggest to all Wine Lovers.  From the small private airstrip just outside Stellenbosch, you will take off in a comfortable plane, Cessna 208 Grand Caravan, and you will start your first flight around the stunning Cape Peninsula, which stretches over 70km from North to South.

You will discover many vineyards in the Constantia and Stellenbosch regions, all of them within superb valleys.  During the flight, you will taste some of the top 12 wines made in South Africa, selected and explained by our French sommelier.  He will also give you historical and geological information for better understanding of the influence of the soils and the position of the vines, and consequently, on the difference between wines.  A rare knowledge to better understand the world of wine.

The flight will continue along the Wine Route, which stretches toward the East of the Western Cape region, which you will see from an unusual angle.  The Paarl Mountains, the Franschhoek Valley and the lovely village of Robertson will reveal their hidden secrets and it will probably be far from what you have ever expected.  We will land one hour later on a private airstrip in a magnificent Nature Reserve, a kind of hidden paradise of the Western Cape; We will do our second wine tasting during a delicious “food & wine pairing”.

The third and last wine tasting will take place during the afternoon flight, and you will taste the Best “Cap Classique” and Dessert Wines, with some entremets.  The return flight will take you over the Wine Route again, but specifically over its southern part, where you will be able to see different vineyards in the Elgin and Hermanus regions.  A soft landing at Stellenbosch in the late afternoon will complete an exceptional and rewarding day that you will remember for ever.  Contact us at Road Travel to book your Flying Wine Tour.