It’s with good reason that Cape Town is known as the culinary capital of Africa.   Across the city you’ll find award-winning chefs crafting world-class fine dining, but also authentic home-style restaurants informed by the heritage cuisine of the Cape, and intimate bistros where passionate chef-patrons serve up ever-changing menus that celebrate the city’s bountiful seasonal produce.   And nowhere is that produce on more prominent display than in the city’s colourful markets, which over the past decade have blossomed into vibrant hubs of culinary creativity, attracting city chefs filling their shopping bags as much as hungry locals in search of fine produce and few inspired plates.   Weekend is prime time for markets in Cape Town, with most coming to life on Saturday and Saturday morning, and winding down by mid-afternoon.

Various spices at the market

The Oranjezicht City Farm Market (or OZCF for short) is perhaps the city’s most popular market, filled with both fresh produce stalls selling delicious charcuterie, cheese and sourdough, alongside a mouth-watering collection of pop-up kitchens and vendors serving everything from fragrant pho (try Yen’s Vietnamese) to the city’s best pasteis de nata (Vadas Bakery).

“The Oranjezicht City Farm Market has the best of everything,” says Kieran Whyte, Head Chef at Ellerman House. “There’s Sepial’s Kitchen with amazing Korean Fried Chicken, and I love the Woodstock Bakery for their fantastic sourdough and a really good potato loaf. In season, you’ll also find fantastic cut flowers from Adene’s, a local flower farm.”   Once you’ve made your choice, grab a seat at one of the tables set overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It gets busy quickly, so get there early to grab a prime spot.

Various fruits at the market

In the gentrifying suburb of Woodstock, the Neighbourgoods Market was the trailblazer that started the trend in the city, and remains one of Cape Town’s most popular markets. The Market pops up on weekends in the Old Biscuit Mill Precinct, bringing a contemporary industrial aesthetic to this hugely popular market filled (mostly) with stalls and vendors serving dishes to enjoy on-site.   Once you’ve sipped on fine wines or local craft brews, and sampled the array of local plates, leave time to browse the collection of design-led boutiques and studios in the surrounding Biscuit Mill precinct.   For more laid-back local flavour look to the southern peninsula. The Blue Bird Garage is a popular local gathering in the bohemian seaside suburb of Muizenberg, while from Friday to Sunday the Bay Harbour Market – just off the quayside in Hout Bay, near scenic Chapmans Peak drive – is filled with vendors selling wood-fired pizza and grilled seafood to a soundtrack of local musicians.

“Bay Harbour Market is great,” adds Whyte. “It’s a wonderful Sunday outing, with the beautiful drive to Hout Bay and a market full of great food at the end.”


But easily the most exciting opening this year is the Time Out Market Cape Town, which has made its home in a historic building on the Portswood quayside in the V&A Waterfront.   Modelled on similar markets in Lisbon, New York and Montreal, the Time Out Market brings 13 of the city’s top chefs together under a single roof to offer a snapshot of the city’s culinary creativity. There’s a colourfully eclectic menu of flavours on offer, from the complex noodle bowls at Ramenhead – a project by Ellerman House culinary director Peter Tempelhoff – to the proudly African flavours on the grill at MLILO Fires of Africa.

Food in bowl

Certainly don’t miss the seafood-focused small plates at The Melting Pot, or the fluffy Asian buns at How Bao Now. To drink? Look no further than Culture Wine Bar, with more than 30 of the 100 bottles on the list available by the glass.   The Market has seating for over 700 guests, so this is no cosy or intimate night out, but for a vibrant market-style taste of the best food the city has to offer, look no further.

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