The deeper I dive into Cape Town, the more I see a very real vibe. Sure, there are hints to a lot of other global cities, but it does too have its own style and flavour. In a way, Cape Town is almost like fusion cuisine everyone loves so much. It’s a little bit of something you know, dashed with a unique South African twist.
There is a certain ambiance to Cape Town, and it screams out in a shade of youthfulness dabbed with a hint of culture. This sentiment plays out most obviously as the night sky rises and the evening drinks start spilling onto the tables.
It’s a little bit hard to describe the character of the Cape Town evening scene. It has shades of the creative vibe of the North American resto-bar trend. The 20 and 30-somethings all congregate not in restaurants or pubs, but in perfect combinations of the two. Places like & Union meld together gourmet eating, live music, and micro-brews and local wines all under one roof. It’s quality without the drab boredom of a sit down restaurant. It’s a university bar without the drunk kid passed out under a table.
If your taste is more on the wild side, there’s a place called Fat Cactus that offers a Mexican menu with a local blend fused. Clients pass around giant pitchers of frozen margaritas while downing lamb fajitas served on hot plates. The atmosphere is loud, funky and completely unpretentious. The food is of a quality far greater than you’d expect too. All-in-all, the Cape Town dining scene is among the most delicious I’ve experienced on the planet.
This side of Cape Town’s restaurant scene is perfect for that group of people not yet ready to slow down to a stop, but still a little classier than pizza by the slice or microwaved hotdogs.
The best part is that it’s all completely affordable. Well, through the eyes of a foreigner perhaps. A night of the Boys Burger Club at Hudson’s, which consisted of a gourmet burger, onion rings, 4 beers, and far too many pushups (the punishment in the Boys Burger Club for saying the words Burger, Chips, or Beer), came to a simple 200 Rand including a 15% tip. 20usd, for a night of great food in a brilliant setting, I’ll take that any night.
Of course, there is no monopoly on dinning held by the resto-bar scene in Cape Town. If you’re after a quiet dinner by candle light with a band playing soft jazz in the background, it’s not hard to find that either. However, for me, it’s the wild atmospheres and laughter filled resto-bars that best describe the mood of Cape Town as I see it: vibrant, young, and not afraid to be unique.
My affection for Cape Town only continues to grow. Apparently, the city has learned that the way to my heart is through my stomach. Between the sushi bars, burger joints, and the restobars, there is plenty keeping my appetite whet here in Cape Town.