So…Thanksgiving is over, but now we look forward to Christmas Dinner! And all of those cookies…and the holiday parties…ah, the joys of the scrumptious treats of the holiday season. Don’t worry, though…as the new year rolls around and the weather gets warmer, you won’t have to say goodbye to all of the delectables. Your trip to Cape Town will provide all of this and more.
Let’s start with a few restaurants…
1. The Old Biscuit Mill
OBM is an open market with food, drinks, and cute little shops, located in Woodstock which is only a matter of minutes from the Sunstays apartments where you’ll be living! It’s only open on Saturdays, so you CAN’T miss an OBM Saturday! Our drivers will take pretty much all of our students every Saturday morning starting at 9am and ending at 2pm, so stay for breakfast and lunch if you choose! The food = the most delectable, incredible selection you’ve ever seen; they have everything you could ever imagine, and it’s all gourmet and prepared in front of you. They only take cash, so make sure you bring cash with you, or you can use the ATM over by the shops. The best part — it’s all so cheap! A few weeks in, I started a routine that I’d order the same foods every time. Here are my absolute favorites (and the OBM specialties):
The Eggs Benedict is an absolute MUST. The line for this can get pretty long, so make sure it’s your first stop! Usually, while I’m waiting in line, I like to grab a strawberry smoothie from Wendy’s Smoothies to drink. You can choose between salmon, bacon, or half and half (I love the salmon!). Then I make my way over to the Mini Dutch Pancakes — and I ask for the “American Box” which is a box of mini pancakes topped with butter, syrup, and powdered sugar! Incredible! They melt in your mouth, and no pancakes will ever compare. Washing these down with a couple of Mimosas and grabbing a table with your friends makes for the most perfect Saturday morning ever!
In luxurious Camps Bay, you’ll stroll around the beaches and in and out of the white strip of shops. When you start to get hungry, Blues is a great place to go for lunch. They have the best salad, called the rocket and avo salad, I’ve ever had in my entire life!!! You can sit next to the window and stare at the ocean and the beach on a beautiful sunny day, or you could even eat outside. Definitely one of my favorite lunch spots!
This restaurant is located at the V&A Waterfront, a great location for dining, shopping, and watching the boats on the water! It has the largest wine list in the world — something of which you should take full advantage! Pair a delicious wine with a phenomenal steak. A great place to go in a large group; we went with about 30 of us two or three times! A beautiful restaurant with incredible food and excellent service. I personally enjoy the filet with Bearnaise sauce, mashed potatoes, the prawn and avo salad, and a nice glass of Cabernet or Chenin Blanc. Someone at my table ordered springbok and ostrich and I had a bite…amazing!
Other things to note about your dining experience in Cape Town:
-Don’t leave without trying springbok and ostrich. A good place to do so would be the Royal Eatery on Long Street; try an ostrich burger!
-My favorite place to get seafood would be Harbor House at the V&A Waterfront. BEST mussels I’ve ever had in my entire life!
-Bombay Bicycle Club (Joanna’s favorite restaurant!) is a great place for a small group dinner. It’s very hipster inside; it has awesome decorations and a very different menu. They are known for their “chocolate steak,” but my favorite thing on the menu is the grilled calamari — best I’ve ever had.
-Order wine EVERYWHERE. The winelands are right there, so the wine is incredible. Become an expert. Try different wines. Taste your friend’s wine.
-On all of the wine tours you’ll do, my favorite is Fairview. Be sure to check out the cheese shop inside 🙂 You can bring wine and cheese back to your apartment…the party never ends!
-A South African barbeque is called a Braai. You will experience one when tailgating for the Rugby game! Loads of fun and a cool look into their culture.
-McDonald’s delivers. Yes, you read that correctly. Keep this in mind after a night out on Long Street. Also keep in mind that the food tastes slightly different because it’s not an American McDonald’s. For example, the fries are cooked in a different oil. Nonetheless–it rocks.
-Don’t forget to push your grocery cart on the left side of the store, and to put stickers on fruit yourself.
-No Chickfila (I know, devastating)…but the South Africans love a fast food chicken place called Nando’s. Try it for yourself!
-In South African culture, the waiters and waitresses will take their time. They might not refill your drink or bring the bill unless you ask them to. Try to be patient with them and remember that in their culture, they have a more relaxing dining experience than we do as Americans.
-They call it the bill, not the check, and they won’t split it up for you. You have to be prepared to do a little math at the table and either have cash with you, or request that the credit card machine be brought to your table. (Do not let anyone out of your sight with your credit card — that is illegal!)
-Foods sometimes have different names, but you’ll get used to it. For example, arugula is called “rocket.”
-Make reservations for each and every night. Sometimes restaurants will be full and it’s hard to find some dinner! Something that I recommend doing: call a restaurant and make a reservation for any number of people. Write on the Facebook group that the first X number of people who comment their name get to join in on your reservation! It’s a great way to meet people.
-Ask the staff to go to dinner one night. It’s a great way to get to know them, and most students are looking to meet other students and forgetting that the staff wants to meet you, too!
-You’ll notice a few cultural differences that are no big deal. Like, Coke tastes different, Diet Coke is called “Coke Lite,” and the eggs in the grocery store aren’t refrigerated. Something I did was make a list of all of the things that I found to be different while I was in South Africa. It’s interesting to see how even the smallest things are sometimes not what you’re used to!
So…do you think you can manage devouring all of these awesome, world-renowned meals with the guidance of this list? Have an OBM breakfast for me…I’m so jealous!
-Anna and the Go Global team