Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)

$

Birds Café
“Very arty but informal gathering place.”—Patrick Farrell, editor, Cape-I magazine. Delicious cooking, including homemade pies and strudels. Eclectic mix of restored Cape Dutch building, milk bottle crate seats, and handmade pottery. 127 Bree Street, City Bowl; tel. 27 21 426 2534.

Vida e Caffé
“I love their freshly baked four-cheese muffins—they are delicious.”—Lee Harris, Africa Travel Centre. Original in ever expanding chain of stylish cafés serving killer coffees, freshly squeezed orange juice, melting Portuguese custard tarts, and chunky sandwich rolls. 34 Kloof Street, Gardens; tel. 27 21 421 3974. www.caffe.co.za

$$

Rafiki’s
“Cape Town’s most laid-back locals meet here to graze on their fiery [hot chili topping] ‘inferno’ pizzas and legendary ‘pile of prawns.’”—Marc Zandhuis, editor in chief, CapeTownMagazine.com. Funky decor and panoramic views from its wraparound balcony. Nicholas Cage hosted his mid-shoot party here during the filming of Lord of War. 13b Kloofnek Road, Tamboerskloof; tel. 27 21 426 4731. www.rafikis.co.za

Manna Epicure
“Creative menu. Brilliant food such as their coconut bread with scrambled egg, avocado, and smoked salmon, and very snappy service.”—Patrick Farrell. Freshly baked breads accompany a great range of dishes. Trendy crowd matches the cool white decor; quirky touches include zany silicone pattern walls in the restrooms. 151 Kloof Street, Tamboerskloof; tel. 27 21 426 2413.

Noon Gun Tearoom & Restaurant
“Run by the friendly Wisbach family, with breathtaking views of Table Mountain.”—Marc Zandhuis. Classic Cape Malay dishes, including bredies (pot stews) and dhaltjies (deep fried savory batter balls). 273 Longmarket Street, Bo-Kaap; tel. 27 21 424 0529.

Olympia Café & Deli
“An institution. Always full, so get there early.”—Patrick Farrell. Delicious bakery and café that alone is worth making the trip down to Kalk Bay. Its main dishes—salads, pastas, grilled fish—are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. 134 Main Road, Kalk Bay; tel. 27 21 788 6396.

Royale Eatery
“Young, edgy crowd. Where all the film and graphic students hang out.”—Patrick Farrell. Gourmet burger bar with a relaxed friendly vibe. Try a Big Bird ostrich burger with a mega milk shake. 273 Long Street, City Bowl; tel. 27 21 422 4536.

$$$

Five Flies
Sophisticated setting in 18th-century Dutch Club building with intimate dining rooms arranged around a central cobbled courtyard. Menu features top-quality local produce, seafood, and meats, including ostrich. 14-16 Keerom Street, City Bowl; tel. 27 21 424 4442. www.fiveflies.co.za

Ginja & Shoga
“Their food is always a surprise, such as salt and pepper prawns dipped in coriander foam and sprayed with coriander perfume.”—Lee Harris. Inventive molecular gastronomy-inspired dishes served in a groovily renovated warehouse. 121 Castle Street, Bo-Kaap; tel. 27 21 426 2368.

Paranga
The ideal choice for a crowd with diverse palates; menu runs the gamut from hearty breakfasts to late-night cocktails and sushi. Hosts a beautiful crowd. Cushioned seating on the deck provides a ringside seat for all the beachside action. Shop No.1, The Promenade, Victoria Road, Camps Bay; tel. 27 21 438 0404. www.paranga.co.za

Savoy Cabbage
Sweetbreads and a divine tomato tart are the mainstays of a menu that always offers interesting recipes using local game. Classy brick, glass, and concrete interior with open kitchen. 101 Hout Street, City Bowl; tel. 27 21 424 2626. www.savoycabbage.co.za

Wakame
Nothing blocks the sweeping coastal views from balconies on two levels. Sushi platters are popular but try some of the local grilled seafood, too. Downstairs is the delicious Newport Market & Deli packed with ingredients for an impromptu picnic or home-cooked meal. Corner of Beach Road and Surrey Place, Mouille Point; tel. 27 21 433 2377. www.wakame.co.za

$$$$

Africa Café
“The Technicolor African designs everywhere are a bit cheesy but great fun, especially for Africa first-timers.”—Gemma Pitcher. Set menu of 15 dishes—such as Ethiopian chickpea fritters, Egyptian-style steamed fish—takes you on a tour of the continent’s cuisines. 108 Shortmarket Street, City Bowl; tel. 27 21 422 0221. www.africacafe.co.za

Aubergine
German chef Harald Bresselschmidt is one of Cape Town’s finest. Choose the degustation menu to sample signature dishes such as aubergine soufflé and rabbit strudel with porcini and poppy seed sauce. Excellent service and homey ambience with extensive wine list. 39 Barnet Street, Gardens; tel. 27 21 465 4909. www.aubergine.co.za

La Colombe
Fine French-style dining in the leafy, luxurious surrounds of a historic wine farm. Signature dish is Kudu tartare, with pickled ginger and creamy soy mayonnaise, topped with coriander pesto and a Chinese hoisin dressing. Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate and Spa, Spaanschemat River Road, Constantia; tel. 27 21 794 2390. www.constantia-uitsig.com/

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