Due to the nature of the hotel business and because many of the great friends I’ve made in Cape Town are involved in the hotel, restaurant or wine industry, most of my downtime seems to be spent eating and drinking!
It is no surprise therefore, that my ‘Best List’ comprises mainly of food and wine experiences:
Best Bread: Sourdough ciabatta from Olympia Café in Kalk Bay
You cannot book and probably won’t find a free table at this iconic café, so write your name on the whiteboard, buy a bottle of wine and start drinking it at the entrance (or perched at a complete stranger’s table). Ignore the grubby décor and enjoy the fantastic vibe. I recommend the warm, crusty sourdough ciabatta be liberally doused in the sauce from their steamed mussels.
Best Steak Tartare: Caveau in Bree Street
Ask for this even if it is not on the menu. You can either have it pre-mixed in the kitchen or have all the ingredients brought to your table! As an onion hater, I always opt for the latter. A bucket of fries with this dish is a must. If you want steak tartare at home (or any meat for that matter), Raith Gourmet in the Garden Centre is the best place in town.
Best Italian Dining Experience: Magica Roma in Pinelands
Let Ezio, Marco or Franco order for you and don’t leave without sampling the Grappa trolley. It’s so popular that you have to book ahead, unless you happen to be Bill Clinton, who has been known to drop in.
Best Bar: Bascule at Cape Grace of course!
It might sound crazy to go back to ‘work’ after a long day at the hotel, but Bascule always makes me extremely comfortable. Whether it’s lunch, sundowners or late night whiskies, where else but Bascule? It has a view to die for and the largest whisky selection in the southern hemisphere.
Best Wine Estate: My all-time favourite is Waterford in Stellenbosch
Beautiful setting, outstanding wines and a unique tasting experience, including a Wine Drive in a safari-type Land Rover.