Cape Town: an evolution in food and culture

With its sunny disposition and natural beauty, the city of Cape Town has always been a popular destination. But, its bourgeoning art scene and never-ending slew of new restaurants and chic bars are serving to continuously broaden the Mother City’s fan base. This evolution is making the city, overlooked by Table Mountain, a must-visit in 2018 and beyond.

From grassroots to an international stage

You’d have been hard pushed to miss the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) in September last year. This ground-breaking establishment is the first major museum on the continent to showcase contemporary African art. Housed in a creatively reimagined grain silo by the city’s waterfront, its reach was global and Cape Town’s status on the international art scene skyrocketed.

Banner image credit: istockphoto.com/Anna_Om

Inside the Zeitz MOCAA, you’ll find a surprising and refreshing diversity of works, from sculptures and video installations to paintings and photography, by artists from all over Africa and its diaspora.

Beyond the walls of the Zeitz MOCAA, there’s plenty more to explore of Cape Town’s art scene, from high-end to street art.

Video installation at MOCAA. Image credit: George Prassas

Everard Read/CIRCA showcase local artists, such as one of the most recognised South African artists, Lionel Smit, who has a studio just outside the city. Gallery Momo is an excellent contemporary art gallery, located in the CBD. The Cape Gallery, also in the CBD, is one of the city’s oldest with a collection ranging from early Cape painters to modern street artists.

Head to Woodstock, a short drive from Cape Town’s CBD, for the edgier side of the city’s art scene. Check out the Art It Is gallery and take a street art tour around Cape Town’s most hipster neighbourhood. It’s home to vibrant and interesting pieces by famous local and international artists. Guide Juma Mkwela of Township Art Tours is an artist originally from Zimbabwe; he personally knows many of the people behind the artworks and murals you’ll pass, offering an insider’s view of the city’s street art scene.

Image credit: Heather Richardson

Fine dining and fusion food

Here in Woodstock, you can also delve into Cape Town’s ever-evolving culinary world.

The neighbourhood is home to one of the best restaurants in the country, The Test Kitchen, run by chef Luke Dale Roberts. It offers the height of fine dining with an experimental tasting menu and a light and dark room, which guests move between during dinner.

The Test Kitchen. Image Credit: ccfoodtravel

To complement the food on offer in this area, you can walk down to the fabulously inventive Woodstock Gin Company for fynbos infusions.

This colourful neighbourhood, two kilometres east of the city centre, is the beating heart of Cape Town’s foodie revolution. It’s a fantastic sign of what can happen when likeminded businesses open their doors in the same area.

Elsewhere in and around the city, a food lover’s options are infinite. Another of the country’s celebrity chefs, Liam Tomlin, opened Indian-inspired tapas restaurant, Thali, in 2016. 2017 saw Ethiopian and Korean-Japanese fusion food openings, courtesy of Lucy Ethiopian and Haru, respectively. Hokey Poke bought Hawaiian poke bowls to the city, and Sea Breeze Fish & Shell made waves with its popular ‘10 bucks a shuck’ happy hour (around 60p an oyster) from 5pm to 6pm Monday to Saturday.

Following the global trend, health and veggie joints are all the rage here. Two further 2017 openings included Bowls on Bree and Lekker Vegan, the latter promising ‘vegan gourmet junk food.’

Cape Town wouldn’t be a trend-driven foodie city without an array of options for a daily flat white fix. Jarryds of Sea Point, Hemelhuijs, and Clarke’s, are all cult favourites, while hot new properties include the leafy Harvest in Bo-Kaap and 2018’s French-style coffee bar, Coco Safar.

Image credit: Tyrone Bradley

Evolving cities make for exciting travel destinations. In 2018, Cape Town is certainly one such destination. The variety of what’s on offer, whether it’s a visit to Robben Island or a trip to the District Six Museum, is second to none. The food and culture expansion it’s currently undergoing underpins how this wonderful city continues to combine its rich history with a worldwide hunger for the new, the exciting, and the bold.

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