Cape Town’s increasing popularity as a film location and holiday destination for the well-heeled and the stars of stage and screen means rich pickings if you fancy a bit of celebrity-spotting. The city and its surrounds have a vast array and variety of restaurant, watering-holes and wine-farms, so if you’re on the lookout for Charlize, Kanye, Taylor or Halle, you need to pick your venue right. Here are a few favoured venues:
• Societi Bistro in Gardens has an acclaimed Italian/French menu that’s drawn the likes of Meryl Streep, Kenneth Branagh, Katie Holmes, as well as Claire Danes and the rest of the cast of Homeland, who regularly ate there during filming;
• The Planet Restaurant & Bar at the Mount Nelson Hotel is a favourite for its extensive cocktail menu and canapés, and has reportedly attracted Pierce Brosnan, David Bowie, Iman and Samuel L Jackson;
• Café Caprice: Leonardo di Caprio, Prince Harry and Zac Efron have been spotted at the busy Camps Bay sundowner spot;
• La Perla in Sea Point is a favourite of Graham Norton and Elton John, both of whom have homes on the Western Seaboard. The eatery is arguably Cape Town’s oldest, serving Italian food, with an emphasis on seafood. It’s been recognised as one of the world’s top 20 Italian restaurants;
• Orphanage Cocktail Emporium bills itself as “a humble, experiential cocktail house” with DJs, drinks and dinner. A portion of proceeds go the St Francis Children’s Home, founded after the flu epidemic in 1918. Cuba Gooding Jr was spotted there recently;
• Mzoli’s Butchery is a popular township butchery and braai (barbecue) spot in Gugulethu that also offers live music. Jamie Oliver, Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington and the cast of the TV series Black Sails have all been seen enjoying shisa nyama (literally, hot meat);
• Sea Point promenade isn’t a restaurant, but offers wonderful views of Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, Robben Island and the Atlantic Ocean. Reported sightings include Shakira, Kevin Spacey and 50 Shades of Grey star, Jamie Dornan;
• The hearty, unpretentious Portuguese fare at the Dias Tavern in Cape Town’s East City Precinct is apparently a favourite of Sean Penn, who was back filming in the city this winter. He’s also been seen at Truth Coffee, recently voted the world’s best coffee-shop by The Telegraph;
• The Twankey Bar at the Taj Hotel is a favourite hangout for local politicians and businesspeople and is well-known for its champagne and oysters;
• Other likely places to spot famous people include Koi Restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay, Beluga restaurant near the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and the Leopard Bar at the 12 Apostles Hotel on the Western Seaboard.
With the exchange-rate favouring visitors from Europe, Cape Town is likely to keep seeing celebrities around town. The Mother City is a mere 11-hour British Airways flight from London Heathrow Airport, so theoretically you could rub shoulders with Samuel L Jackson and Emma Watson in the shadow of Table Mountain one evening and attend the premier of Sir Ian Mckellan’s new movie, ‘Mr Holmes’ in London the next.