City Center



121 Castle St.,
Cape Town,

South Africa,

A fusion of Euro/Asian flavors practically jumps off the plate at this industrial-chic, 60-seat restaurant in the city’s old Malay Quarter. Beyond the claustrophobic Indiana Jones–like entrance hall, in a cavernous brasserie-style dining room with exposed brickwork, diners are treated to hors d'oeuvres while studying the menu of chef/owner Michael Bassett’s exotic offerings. (Since it merely lists the key ingredients in each dish without description or method, assistance from the helpful, friendly waitstaff is usually necessary.) Many of Bassett’s dishes reflect his travels in the Far East: Peking-style duck with stir-fried Asian greens, and Moroccan oxtail b’stilla (a sort of savory meat pie in phyllo pastry) are usually offered. But so are locally inspired dishes like medallions of springbok loin with caramelized red cabbage. Insider Tip: Arrive early and head upstairs for a drink at Shoga, Ginja’s slightly more casual yet very hip sister-bistro and bar, where much of the cooking is done in a wood-burning oven.