Travel like a local: your neighbourhood guide to the V&A Waterfront
The V&A Waterfront is a massive hub of activity. Here, you’ll find restaurants, shops, entertainment, adventure, accommodation—there’s a reason it’s so popular after all. So, while it’s not strictly a neighbourhood, we decided to include it as an honorary one for our neighbourhood series.
Where to eat and make merry
V&A Food Market
This leading artisan retail store and street food experience with a distinct market feel has everything from craft beer and ciders to Mexican food and ice cream. Located in the historical Pumphouse building off Nobel Square, the market features over 40 vendors.
Oranjezicht City Farm
A true farmer’s market, the Oranjezicht City Farm sells the products and produce of local urban farmers. Seasonal fruit and veg, flowers, and homemade goodies are on offer here. Vegans and vegetarians, this market is for you. The market is well-known for catering to all types of foodies, and customers who want wheat, gluten, sugar and dairy-free alternatives are well served. The market takes place at Granger Bay at the Waterfront.
One of two world-class restaurants found at the One&Only hotel in Cape Town, Nobu is the first of master chef Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa’s restaurants in Africa. Here his classical Japanese cuisine is given a delightful local twist, with dishes such as sake roast whitefish with jalapeno or the chocolate bento box; a dark chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream and a sesame seed tuile. You can also try the Japanese beer and a selection of S=sake and shochu based cocktails in the Nobu lounge.
Cape Town Fish Market
The Cape Town Fish Market, with branches all over the country, has become synonymous with fresh fish and the newly refurbished restaurant is quickly becoming the chain’s flagship venue. The location on the Clock Tower Precinct makes for excellent water-side dining, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy sushi and seafood.
Named after one of the world’s most expensive type of caviar, Sevruga is not in fact devastatingly expensive, although it is a major tourist attraction at the V&A Waterfront. Serene views from the terrace make for gorgeous summer days, and the sushi is just as wonderful. Sevruga already has a reputation in Cape Town, so visit it to experience what everyone’s talking about.
Reuben’s at One&Only
Set in the gorgeous One & Only hotel, Reuben’s has quickly become a local favourite thanks to the popularity of the Cape Town chef, Reuben Riffel. The menu is extensive and offers diners a taste sensation, no matter what they choose.
One of the oldest restaurants at the Waterfront, the Greek Fisherman has been around since 1992. The menu includes Mediterranean and seafood dishes, as well as Greek meze specialities a seafood platter feast and a popular oven-baked lamb.
A mainstay at the V&A Waterfront, Balducci’s has a great vibe and an extensive wine list to go along with its menu, which offers a huge variety, from steak and pizza to sushi and pasta. Don’t skip the Balducci Asian Noodle & Sushi Bar for some of Cape Town’s best sushi.
Based at the Cape Grace hotel, Signal Restaurant is known for delicious Cape cuisine as prepared by executive chef Malika van Reenen. Drawing flavour from local heritage, the food is sourced from nearby farms and suppliers to keep it fresh and is turned into beautiful dishes in the restaurant.
For more restaurants, visit www.waterfront.co.za/eat/overview
Casablanca Night Club
Located on the outskirts of the V&A Waterfront, Casablanca boasts an extensive courtyard for outdoor celebrations. Dance beneath the stars in summer and in winter enjoy a drink under Bedouin tents with a fireplace to keep you cosy. The party here kicks off pretty late with the doors only opening at 10 pm, but fortunately it goes on until the wee hours to maximise your party time.
Shimmy Beach Club
Shimmy offers an extensive variety of food and beverages to satisfy your every need. This restaurant turns into a vibey spot as the sun goes down, with great music and an extensive drinks menu. It doesn’t hurt that the view is breath-taking.
Mitchells Scottish Ale House
You are always guaranteed a pleasantly rowdy atmosphere at Mitchells, and come game day it makes for a great place to cheer on your team. You can’t go wrong with this Waterfront staple, with its large TVs, great food, and plenty of beer on tap.
Right next door to Mitchells you’ll find Ferrymans, another staple at the V&A and for good reason. It was the first tenant of the Waterfront and is still going strong with a wide variety of beers, food, and big screen TVs for the games!
One of the mainstays in the V&A Waterfront, Quay Four has been going strong for more than a decade and is a favourite with folks from all walks of life. There are plenty of screens for sports games, and the seafood is among Cape Town’s best. The dock-side dining also makes for an unbeatable Capetonian experience. So grab a meal, order some beers, and settle in for all the action.
For more bars, visit www.waterfront.co.za/eat/overview
Things to see and do
This is great for both the young and the young-at-heart. Everyone gets to choose a blank canvas, select their seat, and receive their painting tools. How you paint and the colours you choose to use are all up to you. You can dab, swish, flick, or brush on the paint—it doesn’t matter. It’s all about being creative in the most fun way possible. The kids will love it!
Scratch Patch and Cave Golf
Did you know that almost half of the world’s gemstones can be found in South Africa? Did you know that you could scratch for these gems yourself right here in Cape Town? The Scratch Patch and Mineral World at the Waterfront is a cool way to dig for your own beautiful gems. You get to immerse yourself in all the stones that quite literally cover the floor, then visit the gem exhibitions and shops afterwards. There’s also putt-putt in a magical cave-like setting. You’re looking at hours of fun here.
The Jolly Roger
What kid doesn’t want to be a pirate? The Jolly Roger pirate boat is the perfect port of call for the youngsters to play out the ultimate adventure on the high seas. Operating seven days a week, the Jolly Roger offers morning, afternoon and sunset cruises. Private charters are also available.
Two Oceans Aquarium
With more than 3000 marine creatures on view—including sharks, turtles and penguins—the Two Oceans Aquarium makes for a truly fantastic day out for all ages. It showcases the unique marine life of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans which lie on either side of the Cape of Good Hope. Make sure you check out the Predator Exhibit with the resident ragged tooth sharks fed on Sundays at 3 pm!
Sunset Boat Cruise
You are in Cape Town, the most beautiful city in the world, so take advantage of the location and charter a luxury yacht for a sunset cruise to Clifton 4th Beach or Table Bay. Top if off with some bubbly and some oysters as you soak it all in. Enjoy the tranquillity of the scene as the sun sets over one of the most incredible backdrops on the planet. In the heart of the V&A Waterfront you’ll find the Sea Princess Luxury Catamaran, which you can board for a sunset champagne cruise or book for a private charter.
If a luxury cruise is a little too high-brow for you, Waterfront Charters offers a number of different options on the water with everything from sailing on a Schooner to Southern Cross Fun Cruises for the kids.
One of the newest additions to the Waterfront is Zeitz MOCAA, the largest contemporary art gallery in Africa. Set aside at least an afternoon to explore the nine floors worth of exhibitions of cutting-edge contemporary art from around the continent. It’s located in the hip and happening Silo District, which is a great place to grab a meal and explore the local art and design scene.
Where to stay
Cape Grace has held pride of place on its own quay in the V&A Waterfront for the past 16 years, increasing its reputation for ultimate style, luxury and service in the perfect waterside setting.
Renowned for its comfortable and reliable service, the City Lodge hotel is centrally located at the gateway to the vibrant and dynamic V&A Waterfront and within walking distance of Cape Town’s CBD, close to the N2 freeway and 15 minutes from the international airport. A nautical theme runs through the hotel and a spa-pool is available for guests to relax in the warm Cape weather.
Dock House offers discerning guests, visiting dignitaries, and celebrities exclusive accommodation and personalised butler-style service in an excellent world-class setting.
One&Only Cape Town is a destination unto itself. It’s an urban chic Waterfront resort providing an unprecedented level of luxury in South Africa, along with some fantastic dining options.
Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge
Experience a rich piece of history, perfectly balanced with modern-day comfort, when you stay at the Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge right next to Cape Town’s fabulous V&A Waterfront.
The Queen Victoria Hotel is set apart it’s awe-inspiring design. The attention to detail was given by the passionate creative team responsible for its development.
The Commodore Hotel
The Commodore Hotel offers spectacular views of Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Harbour, and the Atlantic Ocean. The 5-star luxury hotel caters for your every need.
The PortsWood Hotel
Originally built as holding cells for prisoners bound for Robben Island, today the PortsWood Hotel is the type of place where you’re far more likely to want to extend your stay. The elegant PortsWood hotel not only offers superior accommodation and a relaxed atmosphere, but a uniquely personal approach to service.
The Table Bay
The Table Bay is cosmopolitan, gracious, and relaxed—the sum of all that is good about its home town. And at dusk the hum of V&A Waterfront’s restaurants, bars and clubs beckon you from your luxurious room. Be it business or pleasure, The Table Bay is a journey like no other.
Victoria & Alfred Hotel
You can feel the ambience of colonial Cape Town as you step into the foyer, sense the past of shipwrecks and storms that colour every corner, then relax in the elegant contemporary bedrooms and savour the atmosphere of the world’s most famous working harbour.
Tsogo Sun Southern Sun Waterfront
Wonderful sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean help make the Southern Sun Waterfront Cape Town a preferred business and holiday destination. A mere 5 minute walk from the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and within walking distance to the V&A Waterfront, this hotel is superbly located to offer every guest easy access to the sights and sounds of Cape Town.
Enjoy the privacy of your own luxury waterfront apartment with 5-star service and facilities. Mountain Marina offers one, two, and three-bedroom luxury apartments and penthouses with spectacular views over the yacht basin in the Waterfront Marina.
Lawhill Luxury Apartments
Lawhill Luxury Apartments offers a luxurious ‘home-away-from-home’ experience to the discerning traveller. It offers privacy, yet is within walking distance from the Waterfront shopping malls, cinemas, the Aquarium and the Cape Wheel, museums, and other tourist attractions, including some of Cape Town’s finest nightspots and restaurants.
Village ‘n Life: Waterfront Village
Waterfront Village, situated on the water’s edge next to the Cape Grace Hotel and One&Only, offers guests luxury serviced apartments offering superior services and facilities.
The Cape Town City Sightseeing bus departs every few minutes from the Aquarium, offering a chance to explore the whole city from this base. Book tickets to take in all that Cape Town has to offer from the double-decker open-air bus.
Keen on taking to the water? Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a rookie wanting to learn the ropes, Adrenalised Boardsports offers lessons for SUP, surfing, kiteboarding, and wakeboarding and runs certified diving courses. They are also a one-stop shop for all your gear needs.
If you’re looking for a healthy, practical, and green way of seeing the Mother City, Up Cycles – the city’s first drop-and-go bike rental company – needs to be your port of call. Cape Town has long been a city deeply committed in its love of bicycles and part of Up Cycles’ plan is to help promote the bicycle culture in the Mother City. Up Cycles has a pick-up point right by the Clock Tower and it is a great starting point for wherever your bike ride might take you.
Historical walking tour
Step back into a bygone era with a historical walking tour that will enlighten you of the history of the Cape’s oldest working harbour. Booking is essential, and the tour includes the Clock Tower, Swing Bridge, Bertie’s Landing, African Trading Port, and many more historical check points.
Chavonnes Battery Museum
The Chavonnes Battery Museum showcases a unique cultural journey commencing from the original shoreline which has been buried for 140 years where the ruins of the Chavonnes Battery rest. Built in 1724, the first in a range of VOC coastal defences to deter sea-borne aggressors and named after the Governor, its stable firing platform with 16 large cannons enabled gunners to bring accurate fire to bear on hostile ships from its perch as watchdog of the bay.
Nobody knows Cape Town better than a local. When you’re at the Waterfront be sure to pop into the VIC where you will get the lowdown on all you need to find out.
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