Cape Town is the culinary Mecca of South Africa. South Africans love to go out for dinner, and there is great interest in good wine and food. The atmosphere in the restaurants is generally both refined and relaxed, smart dress not required.
For centuries quite a number of cooking traditions co-existed at the Cape. The Dutch settlers brought the Boerekos (farmers' food). Typical examples are the "Melktart" (milk tart) and the "Waterblommetjie Bredie" (waterflower stew). A simple meal, which is eaten daily in the entire country, is "Pap met Wors", maize mash with fried onions and beef or sheep sausage, the "Boerewors".
Very much alive is the Braaivleis tradition, a barbecue of lamb, beef and/or pork with sweet vegetables and salad. On warm evenings you can smell the grill fumes everywhere in the country. A fish barbecue, especially the "Snoek-Braai", is a dear speciality of the Cape. From the days of the Voortrekkers originates Potjiekos. Lamb or any other meat is stewed for hours with lots of vegetables in a round cast-iron pot on three legs over a fire.
The Cape Malay kitchen is very unique. The Malays who were forcefully taken as slaves to the Cape, brought their cooking methods with them and modified them with local ingredients such as raisins and pumpkin. Typically, a Cape Malay dish contains lots of turmarin, here called "Borrie", kardamom, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and raisins. Except for pork and wine, any local ingredient is used. Typical dishes are "Bobotie", a mince meat - raisin bake with lots of cinnamon and laurel leaves, and "Roties", wheatflour pita bread with a filling of deliciously spiced vegetables and meat.
French cuisine, introduced by the Huguenots together with their wine growing skills, is also at home in the Cape. Creatively more obliged to the taste than to a certain style, modern chefs tend to combine different traditions. Nouvelle Boerekos is farm food refined the French way, and in Fusion Food European, usually French, dishes are being modified with Japanese ingredients.
Most of the restaurants cannot be classed by any of these traditions, but prepare good international dishes with fresh organic ingredients, sometimes with an Austrian, sometimes with an English note. Italian food, beyond pizza and pasta, is well represented and Sushi is a favourite with the health-conscious. Since a number of Indian gourmet chefs have relocated to Cape Town, you can find some excellent Indian restaurants in the city, which are of particular interest for vegetarians. The menus indicate which dishes are spicy and wihch are mild. People are quite fond of seafood in Cape Town, as the main dish of a candle-lit dinner or as a lunch snack and even for breakfast as haddock or kippers in the English tradition. On all the menus of Cape Town, fish occupies a prominent place and the fish restaurants are well frequented by locals and tourists.
More information, addresses and features of restaurants as well as interesting links to be found on the blue INFO page.