Cape Town’s rich cultural heritage means that we have a wealth of culinary options waiting to be explored. The Cape’s historical position on the spice route to India has meant an incredible influx of influences to our culinary heritage.
With Indian, Cape Malay, Middle Eastern, North African, and Thai residents of our beautiful city we’ve been blessed with a host of curry options; from Indian Tandoori to traditional North African wot, a spicy stew or curry from Ethiopia. Whether you’re a vegan, a carnivore, or something in between there’s something to satisfy your taste for spice.
If you’re looking for modern South Indian cuisine then Masala Dosa on Long Street is a sure-fire hit. This intimate, Bollywood-themed joint on Cape Town’s famous nightclub strip describes its food as ‘aromatic cuisine’. Try the Thali—small servings of curry and a sweet dish on a large platter. It’s perfect for sharing with friends before a night out.
Bukhara is an Indian fine-dining experience that will appeal to the curry connoisseur. It’s the perfect venue for a business lunch or romantic date. There are some uniquely South African items on the menu, like the ostrich tikka, and the classics like butter chicken or creamy lamb korma. If you’re looking for an intense flavour experience, then you can’t go wrong with the prawn curry from the seafood section of their menu.
If you’re a sucker for authentic Thai curry then Yindee’s is your spot. It’s been open for twenty years and still consistently offers great food in a relaxed, cosy environment. Take your shoes off (wear good socks) and sit at low tables while the friendly staff attend to you. All the food is good, but the green curry is a particular favourite.
This opulent dining experience evokes the sensibility of the British Raj, which is no coincidence since this elegant dining establishment is modelled on the Bombay Brasserie in London. Situated in the upmarket Taj hotel near St. Georges Cathedral, the Bombay Brasserie aims for a remarkable dining experience that draws on flavours from across India. Take a special someone here if you’re looking to celebrate an occasion.
Erawan popped up in Wolfe Street Wynberg and quickly became one of the most talked about Thai
restaurants in Cape Town. It’s easy to see why—they’ve put special emphasis on Thai hospitality, making you feel at home the moment you walk in. Their massaman curry is fantastic and is a good option if you don’t like things too spicy.
Authentic tandoori is the name of the game at Bihari in the leafy suburb of Newlands. The restaurant uses real tandoor ovens to give a true Indian experience. The restaurant prides itself on presentation and uses heated clay plates and pots to serve food. The restaurant is big, but still manages to create a cosy atmosphere with clever lighting and great service.
If you’re a foodie then Cape Malay cooking is a worthy topic to explore when you’re in Cape Town. The special blend of spices, and the focus on hearty comfort food makes for a satisfying dining experience. The Bo-Kaap Kombuis serves a great selection of dishes including a traditional Cape Malay fish curry. Although they don’t have the official certification, the owners say they are strictly halaal and have a letter endorsing their halaal status from the Muslim Judicial Council.
Hidden behind an unassuming facade, Biesmiellah is another option if you’re looking for traditional Cape Malay food. It’s a popular stop after a long day of sightseeing and it caters for the tourist while still staying true to its Cape Malay heritage. There’s a lot of food to choose from, but the mutton curry and kingklip curry are firm favourites.
Eastern Food Bazaar
This walk-through canteen in the heart of the CBD is a one-stop shop for Eastern takeaway. It offers large portions at an astoundingly low price. This is a great place to grab lunch as you’re exploring the city with every Eastern-inspired option you can think of on offer. The food is all halaal, and we recommend trying the Veg Curry or the Lamb Rogan Josh.