There’s a reason I’ve gained 20 pounds in the year since I moved to Cape Town: the food here is just that amazing. And just as I feel I've made a dent, eating my way through the thriving restaurant scene, when half a dozen brand-new eateries find their way onto my must-try list. With global attention on Cape Town as the World Design Capital this year, plenty of chefs are taking the plunge and opening new spots here, featuring a diverse mix of influences. A popular pop-up goes permanent with a dim-sum menu at Beijing Opera; a well-regarded chef emerges from behind the kitchen of some Cape Town institutions to open his own eponymous restaurant, Seelan; and a pair of brothers who’ve worked their magic at iconic South African restaurants have done it again with a brand-new hit. Here are five of Cape Town’s tastiest newcomers.
This cozy, cluttered brasserie is filled with aesthetically mismatched pieces—soccer and army figurines battling it out, alongside life-size animal sculptures— but don't let its eclectic look fool you. The menu here is filled with refined dishes such as karoo lamb and butternut risotto, steak au poivre, and a nice selection of teas (hazelnut truffle, anyone?). Linger over a game of pool or come watch a movie on the big screen.
Local chef Seelan Sundoo has been working his magic at area favorites such as La Perla and Grand Café & Beach long enough that it comes as no surprise that he launched his own namesake restaurant this year. From his new spot at the heavily trafficked V&A Waterfront, he serves up a menu of European classics with distinct Indian and African touches: prawn curry, duck with Mozambican spices and Italian sausage with roasted fennel and parmesan.
Chef Yang Zhao's successful dim-sum pop-up has now found itself a permanent home in the lively De Waterkant neighborhood. Favorites include pork buns, chicken potstickers, and steamed pepper, chilli and shrimp dumplings, washed down with some aloe juice.