Sam Linsell on Cape Town

Sam Linsell on Cape Town

The food blogger and cookbook author on the best fishmongers and meat suppliers in Cape Town.

I’m a classic “slashie”: I do a lot of different things, which gets to be a bit of a mouthful. I’m a food stylist/ food photographer/ food writer/ cookbook author and food blogger.

I was born in Johannesburg and spent my early childhood there. I lived in Cape Town from age 11 until I finished high school.

I’m at that age where I’d like to start forgetting the number of years I’ve been alive.

Cape Town is the culinary capital of South Africa, so there is no place I would rather be! It’s also phenomenally beautiful, and I marvel in its beauty every day that I am here. I love living in a place with such easy access to mountains, beaches, rivers and forests. I think it’s the perfect-sized city: big enough to offer an urban lifestyle, but not that big that you feel like you are in a concrete jungle. I love the art, the edge, and the creativity that oozes out of every corner of this place.

When out-of-towners come to town, I take them to Kalk Bay Harbour – I love everything about this little seaside suburb: the fishermen intermingled with restaurants, which are situated so close to the sea. Olympia Café is one of my favourite restaurants in Cape Town, and I love to wander around the secondhand shops.

Kirstenbosch Gardens is another place I love taking visitors because of the beautiful views of the shady side of Table Mountain and the exquisite gardens. I love to picnic there and attend concerts in the summer. I think it must be one of the most beautiful concert settings in the world.

A trip to Franschhoek and Stellenbosch is a must for out-of-towners. I have a long list of restaurants in these areas that visitors should eat at, including Overture, Terroir, Tokara, Delaire Graff, Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant and The Tasting Room. On the way to Franschhoek, stop at Babylonstoren for lunch and/or a stroll around the stunning gardens.

A drive to Cape Point with a stop at Boulders to see the penguins gives a wonderful all-round impression of the beauty of the southern peninsula.

I love to hike up Lion’s Head in the morning or evening. It’s magical on a full moon but I find it too crowded. If I do go to see the full moon, I’ll go a day or two afterwards.

Noordhoek Beach on a wind-free day is wonderful for long walks, and I recommend popping in at The Foodbarn and Noordhoek Farm Village.

If you are into food, and happen to be in town on a Saturday, get to the Neighbourgoods Market on a Saturday morning for the fabulous food and vibe.

The best restaurant meal I’ve had recently was at The Greenhouse at The Cellars Hohenort. Every ingredient was inspired, interesting and had a story. The components all had a sense of place, were exquisitely prepared and presented by Peter Templehoff and his team, and above all it tasted so damn delicious. It was a very special and memorable meal.

My other favourite restaurants include:
Olympia Café – I always order the Linguini di Mare.
The Foodbarn – I am one of Franck’s biggest fans, and always order something different, depending on what’s in season and what’s best on the day.
Bistro Sixteen82 – Wonderful for tapas in the evening. I order as much of them as I can eat in one sitting! The Truffled Grilled Cheese (mushrooms, taleggio and hot tomato oil on a toasted sandwich) is straight out of food heaven.
Chefs Warehouse & Canteen – It’s serving up some of the best food in Cape Town right now. The tapas for two is world class!
The Pot Luck Club – Amazing, if you can get in! Once again, I order as much as I can manage to eat.
El Burro – My favourite Mexican restaurant. I always order the ceviche and fish tacos and drink a mescal or a Paloma cocktail.
Weinhaus + Biergarten (formerly &Union) – I love the Bree Street Burger here.
Planet Restaurant – I love Rudi Liebenberg’s style of cooking and this is an ultra-luxurious fine-dining restaurant for a spoil.
The Test Kitchen – Just brilliant in every way.
La Colombe – This has always been one of my favourite relaxed fine-dining restaurants. I look forward to seeing  its new location at the top of Hout Bay.
Overgaauw Restaurant – Fabulous for a rustic and homely meal in the country.
A Tavola (in Claremont) and Il Leone (Green Point) – For excellent Italian.
Col’cacchio – For pizza.

I shop for produce at all the main supermarket chains, as I shop at least five times a week. I love to buy fresh produce at the Biscuit Mill or Hope Street Market if I go on a Saturday.

I buy most of my meat from Taste of the Karoo. I love their free-range farm chickens, springbok fillets, ostrich steaks and kudo biltong. If Ryan Boon had a shop in Cape Town, I’d buy all of my meat from him.

I buy my fish from various fishmongers. I love Ocean Jewels in Woodstock and Fish4Africa in Hout Bay and Woodstock.

An annual Cape Town event I always attend is the Constantia Fresh Wine Festival.

Among my favourite weekend getaways are Franschhoek, Tulbagh and Robertson.

On my bucket list to still do in the Cape is fly over the peninsula in a helicopter and tandem-paraglide off Lion’s Head.

My best walks are the Lion’s Head hike, long strolls on the Sea Point Promenade and the Pipe Track in Camps Bay.

A good red wine for a special occasion is Steenberg Nebbiolo – it’s an outstanding wine; I’m in love with it.

I’m currently busy shooting a feature for a food magazine, and I’ve been finishing off the last bits on my book, which goes to print around 10 November.

To be a good cook, I’d say you need natural intuition with food and flavour, good all-round technical skills to back that up, and a massive amount of passion for the craft.

On Sundays I love to go hiking.

The Banting diet is a laughable and silly fad.

Money is something I’d like to have more of, but it’s not something I’m too stressed about.

Straight after this, I’m going to grab some supper.

When I wake up in the middle of the night I immediately check my social-media timelines.

One day I want to stay in New York and work there for a bit. I also want to spend a lot more time in Italy and learn how to speak Italian.

To view Sam’s delectable recipes, check out her blog.
Follow her on Twitter.


The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 01 January 2015

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