Cape Town's best food markets

Delicious and fun, Cape Town’s vibrant food markets offer fresh produce and gourmet delights, explains Lizzie Williams. With fashion and craft stalls, sociable communal seating, bustling atmospheres and excellent live music, they are a great way to mix with the locals and enjoy authentic South Africa cuisine
At the Neighbour Goods Market. Photo: Alex Havret/APA
At the Neighbour Goods Market. Photo: Alex Havret/APA

1. Bay Harbour Market

Housed in a former fish factory at Hout Bay Harbour overlooking Chapman’s Peak, Bay Harbour Market is always alive at the weekend (Friday evenings 17.00-21.00; Saturday and Sunday 09.30-16.00). With over 100 entrepreneurial small traders, food vendors serve up tasty plates of everything from Mexican and Tunisian-inspired fare, seafood platters and oven-fired pizzas to gourmet sandwiches, specialty soups, sushi and artisan confectionery; all washed down with craft beer, cocktails, sparkling wine or fresh juices. There’s also live music, often from well-known South African musicians, and other stallholders sell everything from high-end jewellery and soft furnishings to funky clothing and kid’s toys.

2. The Neighbourgoods Market

Located in the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, to the east of Cape Town’s city centre, this Saturday market (09.00-15.00) features over 100 specialty traders. Established in 2006, it creates a platform for organic farmers, fine-food purveyors, bakers, fishmongers, butchers, artisanal producers and celebrated local chefs to showcase and sell their delicious food. These include home-cooked stews, soups, salads, wraps and sandwiches, artisan breads, fresh oysters, micro-brewed beer and glasses of organically-produced bubbly. Eating is at communal tables, a live band plays, and other stalls sell fashion and lifestyle items from local designers. 

3. V&A Food Market

Found in the historical Pumphouse building off Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront, this is Cape Town’s only daily food market (10.00-20.00). Over 50 vendors have street food-style stands selling a wonderful array of dishes from around the world – think German pretzels, pulled-pork Dixieland sandwiches, Thai sweet-and-sour tom yum soup, Belgian waffles and South African spicy Durban curry. With a bar serving local craft beer and wine, communal tables inside, and picnic benches outside with views of Table Mountain, the fresh, wholesome and well-priced food is a fine alternative to eating at the fast-food joints at the V&A Waterfront.

Insight Guides' local experts can add a stop at any of these food markets to your Cape Town trip itinerary. Browse suggested holidays online now or submit a trip request to begin planning your adventure today. 

Neighbourgoods Market in the Old Biscuit Mill in the heart of the Woodstock district of Cape Town. Neighbourgoods Market in the Old Biscuit Mill in the heart of the Woodstock district of Cape Town. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Oranjezicht City Farm Market

Held every Saturday (09.00—14.00) under tents and trees in the Granger Bay section of the V&A Waterfront, is the weekly market of the Oranjezicht City Farm, which works to promote their own and other small-scale food producers in Cape Town’s urban areas. Pick up organic fruit and veg, herbs, bread, dairy products, free-range eggs, honey and ethically-sourced meat and seafood. Sample delicious cooked and raw snacks; there's something for all palates and preferences from carnivores to vegans and those wanting wheat, gluten, sugar and dairy-free alternatives. Communal tables are provided for visitors to eat at and there are plenty of activities for kids such as lessons on planting and craft-making.

5. City Bowl Market

This Thursday evening market (16.30-20.30) on Hope Street is well-loved by Cape Town's residents as an alternative to cooking at home. It's the city's ideal location to catch-up with friends and listen to a live band in a relaxed setting. Housed in a historical building, the 30 or so stallholders serve up street food, alongside specialty produce like cheese and chocolate, arts and crafts, and vintage clothing. For a tasty supper think bacon-and-egg rolls, nachos, Indian curries, sushi, gourmet burgers, and filled bagels, ciabattas, and croissants, all washed down with craft beer and wine.

6. Blue Bird Garage Food and Goods Market

Located in an old postal plane hangar on a back street of Muizenberg on the Cape Peninsula, this lively Friday market (16.00-22.00) offers delicious food such as steaks, burgers, vegan and Thai dishes, and homemade baked goods. Local beer and wines are sold at the bar and there’s a selection of décor and clothing stalls. This community-driven market with a regular line-up of local bands and a dedicated children's play area (complete with climbing walls and jungle gym) is popular with the south peninsula’s crowd for a laidback Friday night under one eclectic, creative roof.

Spend Day 1 of Insight Guides' South Africa: Cape Peninsula to Victoria Falls holiday exploring the markets mentioned above; review the full trip itinerary online now

Vergelegen - one of South Africa's best wines.

Vergelegen - one of South Africa's best wines. Photo: Werner Bayer/Flickr

7. Stellenbosch Slow Market 

With over 100 stalls, this Saturday market (09.00-14.00) in Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands is a popular choice. Surrounded by vineyards and oak trees at the picturesque Oude Libertas Estate, it sells items that have been grown, raised, harvested, caught, preserved, handmade or transformed by the producers themselves. The ethical standards of the Slow Food movement are respected by all traders: no cold storage is used to bring food to market, no chemicals are used in their production, no excessive food miles are wasted, and no dubious production methods are employed. The market features specialty food, wines from boutique cellars and slow-brewed beers and ciders, as well as clothing, jewellery and designer décor and crafts.

8. Blaauwklippen Family Market

At the beautiful Blaauwklippen Vineyards estate between Stellenbosch and Somerset West in the Winelands, this fun market is held on Sundays (10.00-15.00). It offers a wide range of mouth-watering food and creative arts and crafts, but there’s also music from local musicians and plenty of space for kids to play and go on pony rides. Stalls sell the likes of Banting burgers, Greek kebabs, German flammkuchen (thin-crust pizza), Chinese dumplings and more; all paired perfectly with Blaauwklippen wines and enjoyed from the shade of the estate’s ancient wild fig trees. The small producer’s section sells cheese, charcuterie, olives, freshly-baked breads and pastries to take home.

Lizzie Williams is a guidebook writer based in Cape Town and spends a considerable amount of time on the road exploring Africa; stay up-to-date with her adventures on the Insight Guides blog.

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