So I went to South Africa with the wife and a friend and hit some of the following places, good times all in all, delicious food everywhere and despite the tanking dollar, still a great value. Id like to give a Chowhound shout out to Ilana for her great tips.
Den Anker, Cape Town, waterfront
A Belgian place in the very touristy waterfront area of Capetown. Though I dont think touristy necessarily equals bad food as much here as elsewhere in the world (though certainly it still equals more expensive). Despite their list of Belgian beers I opted for a very good glass of the Jordan Syrah and the Soupe de Poisson Normande to start, I was thinking itd be a white chowder-ish soup as it was described as being made with a roux with some cheese, but it was a tomato-y red with strong hints of anchovy, it was a puree so I wasnt able to tell what kind of fish they used. For entrée I got the Kingclip Beurre Blanc. Apparently Kingclip is from the eel family (and arguably not a fish), but very flavorful and without any bones. Its firmer than most whitefish, closer to monkfish than a flakey white. It was served under a well-made crust with a very tasty Beurre Blanc sauce. It was sort of chilly out so this really hit the spot.
Oh, the mozzarella here is bad. Very odd tasting and lacking in flavor. Wife had the mozzarella tomato appetizer and we were surprised at this. We split the crème brulee for dessert and it was very good as well.
Wang Thai, Cape Town, Green Point
Eh. Thai food was nothing special. Pad Kee Mao noodles were cooked in beef broth and not the wide flat noodles were accustomed to. Nothing special really. The chicken/coconut milk soup was too overpowered with fish sauce. Here we discovered that, prawns means shrimp in Cape Town. Interesting. Kind of a waste of a meal.
Piccata, Franchhoek, wine country north of Cape Town
Wed been drinking wine all day in Stellenbosch (Ill post about the wine trip separately) and needed to sober up and eat some hearty fare. Little else is heartier than an immense lamb shank on top of a stew of lentils with a glass of a good red, the Porcupine Cabernet Sauvignon from Franchhoek (good but not great, wed been spoiled by this point). Lamb was wonderful, tender, flavorful and exactly what I wanted. Again, weird mozzarella here.
Theos, Cape Town, not sure if this is considered Waterfront though its across from the water (maybe Sea Point?), near the Radisson.
This stop was to appease my repeated demand on my fellow travelers for, a steak the size of my face. I started with the Roquefort salad which was a big mushy blob of Roquefort that was perhaps more dip-like than salad like, but delicious all the same. Friend got the calamari, which was also very good, lightly fried and good texture. The African steak terminology confused me and I think fillet might be an unusually thick strip, and Ive got no idea what a rump is. The server said that a fillet isnt too flavorful but is tender so I thought it was filet mignon, which is clearly wasnt when served. Also, they recommend sauces on all the fillets and my Nebraska blood curdles at the thought of saucing a good cut of meat. The fillet was very tasty, very thick, though perhaps underdone (I ordered medium rare and it arrived closer to rare, dining companion ordered same and hers was correct). Tried some of the blue cheese sauce and though it wasnt bad, it was just extraneous.
For the record I hated Merlot before it was cool to hate it. I think once I read it described in GQ by Alan Richman as, an insipid wine, I agreed immediately. In my efforts to be diplomatic I ordered a bottle of the KWV Merlot 03 and it was too young with too much alcohol, it needed to hang out for another year or more to soften up. For dessert I tried the toffee pudding (cake) and it was tasty though my dining companions werent wild about it. Fine. More for me.
Though we werent in Camps Bay, there must be more than one, because this is definitely the same menu and such
Bukhara, Cape Town, City Centre? 33 Church Street I believe
Again, virtual high-fives to Ilana. Probably the best Indian Ive ever had and Ive even been to Indian weddings though not yet to India. Garlic Naan was a hymn in my mouth. Lamb Vindaloo was quite literally as spicy as it could be at the utter threshold of where spice loses complexity. The wifes dish might have put this place over the top, some sort of vegetarian dish in a creamy yogurt sauce that made us want to literally gobble. For dessert we had the soft bread pudding with lots of raisins and nuts. Oh, I got a glass of Amarula a Baileys-like liqueur made from the Amarula fruit of Africa. To calm the spice we shared a bottle of the Simonsig Gewurtztraminer that wed tasted at their vineyard earlier in the week and it was the perfect fire hydrant for our mouths. Man, what a meal.