The Mother City’s famously flat mountain looks great from all angles. You’ll get a magnificent view of its attendant Twelve Apostles from The Roundhouse or Rumbullion in Camps Bay, a surprisingly good vista of Lion’s Head from NV-80 in Sea Point, and a superlative sidelong view with Devil’s Peak in the foreground from The Pot Luck Club in Woodstock. But it you’re after the full-frontal view, from which Table Mountain looks most like its namesake, you’ll need to make sure you’re on the Table Bay side of the city. For the classic postcard shot with the sea in the foreground, you’re probably best off in the helpfully named Tableview or Blouberg (blue mountain, for the out-of-towners), but the City Bowl also offers some spectacular views of its table from surprising angles. Here are five restaurants with knockout views – and great food to boot.
Located at the upper end of the city bowl’s bustling Kloof Street, Café Paradiso offers an unexpectedly good view of the Cape Town’s looming mountain from its garden. Liquidambar trees offer shade and beautiful colours in summertime, and the slightly raised position of the garden helps to create an oasis right in the centre of the city. Part of the Madame Zingara group, the café is child-friendly (ask about the kiddies’ baking classes) and they offer a great value lunch special in winter. Tuck into a plate from the selection of home-style bakes, winter salads and rich homemade soups for just R49 per plate, or R59 with a glass of wine or lemonade.
Several restaurants at the Waterfront offer excellent views of Table Mountain, but there are few that also offer great food. Located right next to the Waterfront’s luminous yellow photo frame, this cosy brasserie offers the best of both. To take advantage of the view, which includes the harbour in the foreground, request a seat on the mountain-side of the restaurant next to the windows. The Eat Out team has a soft spot for the Cape seafood risotto with prawns, fish, mussels, calamari, tomato, garlic and basil (R185), but the Wagyu cheeseburgers with umami ketchup (also available as a takeaway from the Burger hatch around the other side) is also a triumph of the genre at R130.
There are several restaurants in Tableview that offer a Table Mountain view, but for something a little different, enjoy breakfast or a delicious brunch at this Blouberg outpost of Petit Fours. The seats next to the windows offer the classic postcard view, while you tuck into the double-Swiss delight of asparagus and ricotta fritters with lemon, plus smoked salmon, poached eggs, lemon-herb mayo and tempura asparagus (R85), or a savoury chicken cheesecake with mushroom sauce and a broccoli salad (R75).
If you’re looking for the design-award-winning outlet of this hip coffee shop, you’re better off at the Buitengracht branch, with its steampunk machinery and waiters in top hats. But if it’s mountain views you crave, this branch on the fan-walk offers a pretty special vista from its outside tables. Coffee is the thing these fellows do best; expect a powerful brew with a sweet, bright acidity and chocolatey notes.
Hobnob with the glitterati at Sol Kerzner’s luxury hotel at the Waterfront. The Vista Bar, with its double-volume plate-glass windows, offers a pretty glorious view of Table Mountain, with the Waterfront’s leafy canal development in the foreground. Service at the bar is five star, and there’s an impressive selection of cocktails. Alternatively, book a seat at a table for the afternoon tea, which includes a dizzying array of patisserie from gold-leaf éclairs and pastel macarons to buttermilk scones with clotted cream (R195 per person). There’s also a Lindt chocolate fondue for two, which includes a platter of morsels such as marshmallows, fruit and shortbread sticks to dip in the molten chocolate (R185 per person).