Airport food is typically pretty terrible. There is a distinct lack of creativity and the prices are often ridiculous. So it was with a great sadness that we realized we would be stuck in Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport over dinner. But the airport gods were looking favorably upon us on this day, as they guided us to KEG & Aviator. KEG is a pub chain in South Africa and each one has a cutesy name reminiscent of its location, hence the aviator thing.
Faced with the undesirable need to stay in Johannesburg for a night, my lady and I stayed at a place Emperor’s Palace nicknamed “The Vegas of Africa.” We weren’t interested in the gambling aspect, but we were happy about the fully-enclosed nature of the place in a city we had heard could be treacherous. As for the Las Vegas part, our hotel was a part of a large complex of hotels and there was a single Caesar’s Palace-esque casino in the middle of it all. It’s replete with a fountain, partly-cloudy skies painted on the ceiling, shopping and a variety of restaurants. Except that it’s tiny. Like slightly bigger than an average mall food court. Nonetheless, it has the look down and had some good-looking restaurants.
On our last night in Cape Town, we were thinking Italian and headed back to The Waterfront to find Meloncino. The restaurant might just have the greatest view of any pizza place in the world, but I must admit I have not seen every pizza view in existence. While great views are available all over Cape Town, I was more curious if great pizza existed as well.
Africa kind of has a stigma attached to it regarding the people, the food and the culture. The stigma is a bit ridiculous considering it’s a whole damn continent, but it is what it is. One restaurant in Cape Town’s Waterfront blows the food stigma to smithereens. It’s called Sevruga, and it not only fancy-pants, but also tasty.
After a few days in Cape Town, we had eaten dinner every night on the Waterfront and were eager to try somewhere and something new. Fortunately, before leaving home I had looked up places to eat crazy meats in Cape Town and came upon Arnold’s. Since we still had a car for the day, we sought the place out and found it pretty easily.
You don’t often get the opportunity to drive one of the coolest roads in the world, and when you do it is important to seize it. The Chapman’s Peak Drive between Cape Town and Cape Point in South Africa is is one of those roads. I could go on and on about the views, but I’ll let the picture of the drive below do the talking while I write about the delectable squid of the Chapman’s Peak Hotel.
If I had to guess, I’d say there are probably fewer than three restaurants in the world that allow you to watch wild penguins while eating. I literally have no basis for this statement besides the knowledge that the majority of penguins are in places no one wishes to eat. The penguins at Boulders Beach, however, are of the African variety and enjoy the beautiful sunshine just outside of Cape Town in Simon’s Town. Some genius built a creatively named restaurant called Boulders Beach Restaurant nearby with an awesome ocean view and occasional penguin sighting.
On the first day of our safari, we spotted something strolling around the hotel grounds. To an untrained eye like mine, I thought it was a deer. But hey, I was in South Africa and deer are boring. It turned out to be an antelope called kudu. Kudu are pretty common, which is why, when I found myself being served kudu a couple days later I was only somewhat concerned that it was the kudu I had seen bumming around the grounds.
One of our guides in Cape Town remarked at how great The Waterfront was and wondered why anyone would leave it. There was certainly something to what he said, and in our continued, easy search for meals, we found ourselves at Mitchell’s Scottish Ale House. Now, I’ve never been to a British resort town, now do I know if such a thing exists, but if I had to picture a microbrewery in such a quintessential town, Mitchell’s would be it. The atmosphere was festive, yet subdued. The beers covered a wide range and the best-looking food was…well…curry.
A friend of mine likes to check out McDonald’s every time he leaves the country, because he is amazed that a burger can be made the exact same the world over. I like to visit McDonald’s to see what sort of regional specialty it might have, but in the case of South Africa, there was no regional specialty to be found (come on, meerkat burger!). Instead, I found a fast food burger chain called Steers.