Can you feel the love tonight?
It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but actually – if you strip away the commercialisation and soppy messaging associated with modern-day Valentine’s Day – its third-century origins are rather lovely.
One possible version is that 14 February pays homage to Saint Valentine, who secretly married young lovers when matrimony was outlawed in Rome in 200AD. Another portrays young Valentine sending a message, from prison, to a damsel he fell in love with, and signing it “from your Valentine”. Enough to entice even the most jaded sceptics, right?
So, whether you’re celebrating a new romance or time-tested love, or simply celebrating the beauty of the Cape with your loved ones, here’s a list of things to do on 14 February.
How will you be celebrating? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Fuss-free Valentine’s Day brunch at V&A Food Market
A gorgeous view of Cape Town’s picture-perfect harbour and a huge selection of artisanal deliciousness make the V&A Food Market a great destination for a casual Valentine’s Day brunch. Delicious breakfast options include Yoko’s vegan-friendly coconut yoghurt bowls topped with fresh fruit or a decadent banana crepe drizzled in chocolate from Wicked Waffles. (And yes, the caffeine fiends will be sorted, thanks to The Coffee Power Station and Truth Coffee!) If you’d prefer to pop in for lunch, the world will figuratively be your oyster as the market serves cuisine from around the globe. Think 100% plant-based mushroom baozi from The Ugly Dumpling, Columbian-inspired ice lollies at Las Paletas, fiery Mexican fusion from Dos Banditos, Korean fried chicken from Plucky’s and sage butter-smothered ravioli at The Little Pasta Factory.
You could also enjoy a taste of Africa at Seven Colours Eatery or Cape Malay House. Try the masala steak baguette! Last, but not least, finish with chocolates from Hippolytas, handmade in Cape Town with Belgium chocolate. Their bestselling champagne truffles and artisanal chocolates are the kind of Valentine’s Day gift that will surprise and delight.
Good to know Check out all the stalls online before you visit.
Times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Contact 021 418 1605, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it The Old Power Station Building 19, Dock Road, Pier Head, V&A Waterfront. (Opposite Noble Square & Victoria Alfred Hotel.) The closest parking is the Portswood Parking Garage.
Garden picnic + lunch at Cellars-Hohenort
Not limiting love to 14 February, Cellars-Hohenort is taking advantage of Valentine’s weekend by offering picnics for two from Friday through till Sunday, and a five-course lunch on Saturday and Sunday in The Conservatory. The picnic, which includes a selection of tapas, cheese and charcuterie, will be enjoyed on the manicured lawns; while the five-course lunch will be held in the elegant restaurant surrounded by ancient camphor trees.
View the lunch menu
View the picnic menu
Cost R600 (picnic basket for two)
R565 per person (five-course lunch)
When 12 – 14 February, 11am – 6pm (picnic)
13 & 14 February, 11am – 4pm (lunch)
Contact 021 794 2137, email@example.com
Where to find it 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia, Cape Town
Alfresco lunch at The Kraal in Stellenbosch
Steeped in history, Joostenberg Wine Estate in Stellenbosch is home to The Kraal – a beautiful countrified restaurant famous for its home-style lunches served in a wonderfully laidback setting. A stone-walled courtyard, once the farm’s cattle kraal, is the setting for these alfresco feasts, where charming tables dotted among wild olive and fruit trees invite revellers to settle in for a farm-fresh meal with friends and family.
To celebrate Valentine’s weekend and the coming harvest, a Greek-themed feast is being prepared. Think free-range organic goat from Lowerland, prepared with fresh, flavourful, summer herbs and served on a table groaning with vegetables, grains, honey and fruit.
View the Valentine’s menu
When 13 & 14 February 2021, 12pm – 2.30pm
Cost R385 per person (three-course lunch)
Contact 079 641 1320, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Joostenberg Wine Estate, Hoopenberg Road, Muldersvlei, Stellenbosch
Book through DinePlan
Dine at Grub & Vine
Romance is alive and well at this intimate innercity bistro, the lair of Michelin-trained chef Matt Manning. Over Valentine’s weekend, guests can expect to be wooed by Matt’s six-course Summer Romance menu. Expect a decadent dining experience worth leaving home for. Canapés to begin, followed by heirloom tomato, aubergine and saffron tortellini; seared rainbow trout; and beef sweetbread or a pan-roasted scallop dish for the middle course. Mains is a choice between pan-roasted West Coast hake or braised lamb neck, before ending with a classic lemon tart or a selection of South African cheeses. Not to mention all the accompaniments that tie this modern-European cuisine together!
Good to know Staying in for Valentine’s? Order Grub & Vine’s Virtual Dining Box, an interactive five-course experience to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. Three of the five courses have already been prepared, all you’ll need to do is plate them and enjoy!
View the Valentine’s menu
Cost R645 per person (six courses)
R1 150 per person (six courses with wine pairing)
When Saturday, 13 February (dinner, from 4pm)
Sunday, 14 February (lunch, 12pm – 4pm)
Contact 076 256 8654, email@example.com
Where to find it 103 Bree Street, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan
First-class dining + spa treatments + a stay at One&Only Cape Town
Luxurious lodgings aside, One&Only Cape Town is host to an array of attractions, including an award-winning spa, excellent restaurants and, of course, beautiful surroundings – all of which are yours for the taking this Valentine’s Day.
From a Private Dining Experience set-up on your balcony, to a sensational six-course set menu of superlative Japanese-Peruvian cuisine at Nobu, or a romantic three-course dinner at Vista Bar & Lounge. There’s even a Shimmering Valentine’s Tea – a special gemstone-themed variation on the iconic high tea – accompanied by a wide selection of luxury full-leaf teas (perfect for family, friends or significant others).
Stay Host to some of the most spectacular suites in the city, each of which has a private terrace or balcony with breathtaking views of surrounding waterways and greenery, the hotel is, not surprisingly, a bucket-list must-do for discerning travellers (and celebrities, too). Check availability and book here.
Good to know The Bali-esque spa offers partners side-by-side treatments in the luxury Spa Suites, complete with access to his-and-hers Thermal Suites, a vitality pool, steam room and ice fountain, among other relaxing spaces to enjoy.
Cost Rooms: From R7 620 per room per night (depending on room type)
Nobu six-course dinner: R2 200 per person
Vista Bar & Lounge three-course dinner: R895 per person
Private Dining Experience: R1 100 per person
When 12 – 14 February 2021
Contact 021 431 5888, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it One&Only Cape Town, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Picnic or candlelit dinner at Nederburg
Let good food and wine take centre stage at The Manor this Valentine’s weekend. With breathtaking views of the Drakenstein mountains and the farm’s vineyards and gardens beyond, the beautifully reimagined manor house is the perfect spot to treat yourself and your loved one(s) to a laidback picnic or a dreamy candlelit dinner.
Or opt for the Journey of Flavours dinner – either inside the restaurant or on the stoep – where you will be treated to canapés on arrival, followed by three lavish courses.
Good to know Should you choose to picnic, the hamper includes a selection of local cheeses, charcuterie, olives, pickles, nuts, hummus and freshly baked rolls to start, with roasted baby chicken, caramelised new potatoes and a crisp salad for mains, and a deliciously decadent chocolate brownie for dessert. A bottle of Nederburg Première Cuvée Bru is included to toast the occasion.
Cost R460 (picnic basket for two)
R650 (three-course dinner for two, excluding canapés on arrival and petit fours)
R900 (three-course dinner for two)
Times Dinner: 12 & 15 February 2021
Contact 021 862 3104, email@example.com
Where to find it Nederburg Wines, Sonstraal Road, Dal Josafat, Paarl
Book through DinePlan
An alfresco affair at Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel
When it comes to Cape Town icons, few come close to this majestic hotel. In the vibrant heart of Cape Town, at the foot of Table Mountain, a tranquil oasis that inimitably combines old-world hospitality with modern creature comforts awaits.
And, this Valentine’s Day, the hotel invites guests to stay overnight, enjoy afternoon tea (with pianist Henry Dike setting the scene), or partake in a gourmet picnic by the pool or under the shade of timeless trees.
The hotel’s picturesque terrace also beckons, where chef Rudi Liebenberg concocts a series of gastronomic lunches and dinners. And then there’s the perennially chic Planet Bar, whose refreshed menu includes tasty bites, such as Madras-roasted lamb rib, brinjal biltong and cauliflower and mini puri balls, to be enjoyed with classic cocktails.
Times Afternoon tea: 13 & 14 February 2021, 12pm & 3pm
Picnic: 13 & 14 February 2021, 12pm – 4pm
Terrace dining: Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 4pm; 6pm – 9.30pm
The Planet Bar: Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 9.30pm
Cost Afternoon tea: R550 per person; R275 per child, 4 – 11 years
Garden picnic: R550 per person; R275 per child
Pool picnic: R750 per person; R475 per child
Stay From 12 to 15 February 2021, take advantage of the following Valentine’s packages: one night’s stay and a choice between dinner in the Lounge, a garden picnic or an afternoon tea for R4 050 per couple; two nights’ stay with a choice of two of the dining experiences for R7 700 per couple. Book here.
Contact 021 483 1948, firstname.lastname@example.org (restaurant bookings)
email@example.com (accommodation bookings)
Where to find it 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town
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