I actually met my now-husband in a Cape Town restaurant—high up on a hill at Bo-Kaap Kombuis, where the terrace overlooks the city twinkling far below—so I consider myself something of an authority on local eateries that inspire unforgettable memories. But that rustic, homey restaurant, known more for its hearty Cape Malay classics (such as the lamb dish denning vleis, butter bean curry, and meatloaf-esque bobotie) than for its humble interiors, is probably only romantic to me, thanks to that life-changing encounter. But fear not: Cape Town has quite a mix of far more swoon-inducing eateries to choose from. Some are notable for their views, some for their secret gardens, and some for their sultry menus (oysters, anyone?). If you're here on your honeymoon or anniversary—or thinking about popping the question—here are five of the city’s most romantic restaurants, where you should book far in advance for your own memorable Cape Town meal.
Pigalle is a stalwart on the Cape Town dining scene: a go-to venue for special occasions, anniversaries, and proposals. The scarlet walls, sparkling chandeliers, and live jazz band make for a memorable evening—the kind where you hit the dance floor to work off the escargot and filet mignon.
Pot Luck Club & Gallery
Even if its sister restaurant, the Test Kitchen, is much more formal, I prefer the Pot Luck Clu: its casual, small-plates menu and industrial-chic décor are much more laid-back, but no less stylish. Its setting, atop a silo, means there are 360-degree views over the city, making it the most romantic perch in Cape Town at sunset.
This signature restaurant, in the historic Alphen Hotel in Constantia, exudes dramatic, old-world romance: dark woods, plush crimson and violet chairs, all lit by gilded lampshades. Its location in the Constantia winelands also means there's an extensive wine list to accompany the decadent fare (think game such as springbok and kudu loin, sirloin and prawn thermidor, followed by chocolate peanut butter fondant).
You'd be forgiven for wondering if you'd stepped into Paris when you walk through the back doors of Bistrot Bizerca, and into its lovely courtyard garden. The cozy but elegant setting sets a nice backdrop for a minimalist menu of just six permanent items: among them, you'll find Karoo lamb stew, Saldanha oysters, and butternut gnocchi.