There’s just something so incredibly exciting about entering a food market for the first time. Immediately your senses go into overdrive, trying to identify all the gorgeous smells wafting across the stalls. Your eyes start scanning each colourful offering, hoping to spot your favourite spring roll, burger, dim sum or home-made ice cream vendor.
Cape Town is the perfect venue for gourmet food markets. There has been a recent surge in the commitment to produce and purchase local food items in the larger Cape Town area, and the result is a boom in artisan food markets, aimed at not only sharing quality produce, but also to offer an al-fresco dining experience for those looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, or the routine of domestic life!
I’ll proudly admit that I’m a food market addict, and in my very humble opinion, these are the three best Cape Town food markets. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, these should be at the top of your bucket list.
Bay Harbour Market | Houtbay
Tucked into a repurposed warehouse in the old harbour of Hout Bay in the South Peninsula, this bustling indoor market is hot property in Cape Town! Not only does the Bay Harbour Market entice with gorgeous delicacies, but also boasts with an impressive selection of local curios, art and decor items.
The food court itself is a beautiful sight to behold; a checkerboard of food stalls flank rustic tables where groups of people share all sorts of titbits from the various world cuisines on offer. From oysters and champagne, to venison burgers and deliciously sweet baklava, you’re guaranteed to find something for every taste.
No visit to Bay Harbour Market is complete without a handful (or two!) of The Pickled Popper’s gourmet stuffed jalapenos, or a plate of dim sum from Tao’s Chinese Kitchen.
31 Harbour Rd, Hout Bay, Cape Town, 7872
Fridays 5 – 9pm, Saturdays and Sundays 9.30 – 4pm
Bluebird Garage Food & Goods Market | Muizenberg
This little gem holds a very dear place in my heart. This is my regular Friday-afternoon-on-the-way-home stop for food. But often, it becomes the place where I catch up with friends after a long week at work.
Humbly situated next to the railway lines just off the main road in Muizenberg, this indoor food market is nestled in an old, grungy airplane hangar, and that only adds to the charm of this Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole. With exposed wooden roof rafters and meters of fairy lights dappling the huge space in soft downlight, it’s an enchanting event, to say the least!
Every Friday evening this market fills up with people who appreciate good vibes and wholesome food. There is a jungle-gym play area at the back of the market for the kiddies, with ample seating all round for hungry visitors. The little bar in the corner serves craft beers, wine and other refreshments.
My personal favourite treats must be the authentic Spanish empanadas, with a jaw-dropping selection of fillings on offer. I also enjoy the spanakopita from the Greek stall next door, and although the portions are generous, it doesn’t mean you have to share! For something sweet – try The Donut Workshop for your fix of warm, mini rounds of sugary fried cakes, with all the toppings your heart desires. I promise you, you’ll feel like a kid at a birthday party!
39 Albertyn Rd, Muizenberg, 7945
Fridays 4 – 10pm
Lourensford Market | Somerset West
My biggest indulgence on a warm summer’s weekend is to hit the road to the winelands towards Somerset West and the Lourensford Wine Estate. Situated on this picturesque and historic wine farm, the food market is really an experience I wish everyone to have at least once in their lives.
This trendy market is sheltered in an uber-modern structure, with loads of large umbrellas and rustic tables scattered around to create cozy, shady spots for visitors and even your furry friends.
Boasting with more than 70 permanent stalls, they also throw in a handful of pop up stalls to keep the mix interesting and inviting. Here you need time to peruse all the beautiful displays, to drink an ice-cold bottle of Lourensford wine; to savour; to laugh with a loved one. Here time stands still, and your troubles seem to melt away under the African sun.
There’s a dedicated play area for children under adult supervision, so don’t feel too bad about dragging them away from the PlayStations and Xboxes. After lunch, have a meander through the perfectly manicured gardens. Put a whole day aside for this love-affair with food; it is a good way to spend your time!
Lourensford Wine Estate, Lourensford Rd, Somerset West, Cape Town, 7130
Fridays 5 – 9pm and Sundays 10am – 3pm