While all you residents in the Northern Hemisphere are reveling in your well-deserved summer, some of us down at the bottom of the globe are freezing. Well, freezing might be a stretch (winter temps in Cape Town tend to hover in the 50s), but the torrential rains and harsh winds make most of us want to hibernate from May through October.
Since the city is significantly quieter in the off-season, restaurateurs like to incentivize South Africans to abandon their gas heaters and electric blankets for a spell with amazing dining deals. The food scene in Cape Town is one of the world’s best-kept secrets, and these seasonal specials mean you’ll be feasting at unheard-of prices. We’ve rounded up some of the most exciting options on offer.
La Mouette Chef Henry Vigar turns out elegant tasting menus at his cozy Seapoint restaurant year round, but now they’re a fraction of the price: six courses for 295 rand ($24), or 495 rand ($40) with wine pairings. Dishes like charred sole and parsnips with charcoal mayonnaise and onion ash; celeriac soup with truffle dressing and pickled apple; and pumpkin tortellini with basil moss, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin and coconut veloute, make this the deal of the century.
Pigalle This seafood restaurant is one of Cape Town’s finest (though be warned: the decor is a bit cheesy). You’ll forgive the old-fashioned interiors, though, when you’re tucking into a three-course set menu featuring oysters, mussels, prawns, or salmon for 240 rand ($20), or 290 ($24) with wine pairings.
I Love My Laundry In a city that’s hardly lacking for quirky establishments, this laundromat/cafe/gallery hybrid must be one of the most original. This winter, you can get eight pieces of dim sum for 40 rand ($3.25).
Cellars-Hohenort The oldest wine lands in South Africa are a mere 20 minutes from downtown Cape Town, in the posh suburb of Constantia. Both of Cellars-Hohenort hotel’s celebrated restaurants, helmed by star chef Peter Tempelhoff, have great deals this season. At the Conservatory, a two-course (180 rand/$15) or three- course (210 rand/$17) dinner menu has options like miso pork belly, springbok rump, or honey-roasted butternut gnocchi; at the more upscale Greenhouse, you can try rooibos-smoked venison and trout with black scallops and star anise in a five-course tasting menu for 395 rand ($32), or 520 rand with wine ($42).
Kyoto Garden Sushi This zen-like space off Kloof Street is where locals come for great sushi—and even more so now that they have a killer three-course dinner special with a glass of wine for 170 rand ($14).
Umi Camps Bay is the place to be in the summer, but it can get a bit too crowded. That’s why Umi’s Asian-inspired two- (155 rand/$13) and three-course (195 rand/$16) menus this winter make a great incentive to head to the seaside stretch. The views are just as epic, but the sushi is half-price—what’s not to love?
Cafe Dijon You can warm up at this intimate French bistro tucked away in Greenpoint with the sirloin, fries, and a glass of wine for 100 rand ($8).
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• The World’s Best New Food Halls
• Best Places to Travel in 2015