Dining in Cape Town’s suburbs

By Alan Ramsay
This item appears on page 45 of the January 2019 issue.

A longtime resident of Cape Town, South Africa, I've been providing ITN readers suggestions for places to visit in the city (Feb. '18, pg. 12 & March '18, pg. 15). Here are a few places at which to wine and dine in the renowned Constantia Valley, fairly close to the centre of Cape Town.

Because these restaurants are relatively close to each other, consider also tasting the wines at one estate and then moving to another for a meal.

• For wine enthusiasts, all the cellars of the Constantia Valley are worth a visit (see http://constantiawineroute.com). However, my number-one choice would be Constantia Glen (Constantia Main Rd., Constantia, Cape Town; phone +27 [0] 21 795 5639, www.constantiaglen.com), for its wines and tasting room and because the scenery is spectacular. (The cellar is set apart, and visits there are by appointment only.)

This estate has a small selection of white wines and Bordeaux-blend red wines. Its indoor/outdoor restaurant is also good, because of the ambience. I pop in there a couple of times a year, last in November 2018, when they launched their 2014 red Bordeaux blend.

Groot Constantia (Groot Constantia Rd., Constantia, Cape Town; phone +27 21 794-5128, www.grootconstantia.co.za), dating back to 1685, is the oldest wine estate in the Cape, but the experience is quite touristy. While I often see buses lined up outside the wine-tasting venue, the grounds are expansive and the restaurants there, which I last visited in 2017, are less "frenetic."

Alternative restaurants you might try while out in Constantia include the following:

The Open Door (Spaanschemat River Rd., Constantia, Cape Town, 7848, South Africa; phone +27 21 794 3010, opendoorrestaurant.co.za) is to be recommended for its contemporary food — breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I ate there quite often in 2018, partly because there is also a wonderful mountain-bike park adjacent (with bikes for hire), which attracts children and adults alike, as well as a stunning new, all-glass wine cellar and a number of traditional, small Cape cottages that offer light meals.

• For my wife and me, our favourite Constantia restaurant is 95 at Parks (114 Constantia Main Road; phone +27 21 761 0247, https://95atparks.co.za), situated in an old house. We ate there several times in 2018.

Opened in Constantia in mid-2017, it offers northern Italian cuisine. Milanese chef-patron Giorgio Nava also has the restaurant Carne in the city centre, offering just beef and venison that has been reared on his own Karoo farm — grass-fed and as free-range as it gets.

95 at Parks is part of a small group that includes 95 at Keerom, in downtown Cape Town, and 95 at Morgenster wine estate, Somerset West, a 40-minute drive out of Cape Town.

• In Pinelands, one of Cape Town's most popular Italian eateries is Magica Roma (8 Central Square, Pinelands 7405, South Africa; phone +27 21 531 1489), which is always busy, mainly because of the excellent service and personal attention from the owners. Be sure to get there early, such as by 12:15 for lunch and by 6:30 for dinner. I have eaten there many times over many years, most recently in September 2018.

As with most of Cape Town's better restaurants, prices for breakfast there are around ZAR150 per head. For lunch and dinner, work on ZAR50-ZAR150 for starters and ZAR150-ZAR250 (near $11-$18) for main courses. At the current exchange rate of $1 = ZAR14, those prices are a steal for visitors from countries with strong currencies.

With Cape Town and the Western Cape among renowned wine-growing areas of the world, excellent wines are to be found in all restaurants. Prices start at about ZAR100 ($7.20) per bottle, rising to 10 times as much for exceptional wines.


Cape Town, South Africa