Pam’s favourite Cape Winelands Restaurants

Pam’s favourite Cape Winelands Restaurants

The winelands are blessed with some of the finest restaurants the Cape has to offer.  As such we strongly recommend that you make a plan to spend a few days in our wine region.  Note that these regions are very close to Cape Town – so it is very easy to do a lunch in any of them even if you are Cape Town based for your holiday.   Every one looks for different restaurants based on their interests and their needs.   As such below is a wide list of options.   To make it simpler for hardened foodies, here follows a short list of my top 5 restaurants in the Cape Winelands that should not be missed:

  1. Overture – Stellenbosch
  2. Delaire – Stellenbosch
  3. Babel – Paarl
  4. Jordan Restaurant by George Jardine – Stellenbosch
  5. Spek & Bone – Stellenbosch

FRANSCHHOEK:

  1. La Petite Colombe – NEW – opened winter 2017 – this is the sister restaurant to the famous La Colombe Restaurant.   It promises a talented team of chefs offering fine dining tasting menus.  La Petite Colombe has taken the space at Le Quartier Franscais that was home to legendary chef Margot Janse for many years.
  2. Foliage – is home to the talented and passionate Chef Chris Erasmus.  He is like a mad professor having endless fun! Behind him in the kitchen are endless jars……….what is he up to??  He is foraging in the mountains and drying his own ingredients – hence all the jars!  The menu is small and changes all the time dependent on what he has found while foraging and what is seasonal.  It is a small menu – so perhaps don’t take fussy friends – simply take adventurous souls. The decor is lovely and intimate and the new restaurant is located across the road from Le Quartier Franscais on the main road through Franschhoek.  I highly recommend Foliage for a dinner if you are staying in Franschhoek.  Make sure you go and chat to Chris and his team in the kitchen.   They are inspirational and their passion is infectious!
  3. Marigold – NEW – awesome addition to Franschhoek!!   Talented local Chef Vanie Padayachee has returned to Franschhoek to open this wonderful North Indian inspired restaurant.   If you are a fan of Indian cuisine – this will be one of the best you have tried.  Wonderful contemporary decor and located in the heart of the Franschhoek village.
  4. La Petite Ferme – Highly recommended for excellent wholesome country cuisine and the best view of the valley. When booking always request a terrace table which will allow you to have the vest view of the Franschhoek valley and the vines. On arrival always ask to sit in the garden and order your meal from there. When the food is ready, they will call you through to your table. The menu boasts good old fashioned dishes cooked in innovative ways. It is always a treat to spend the afternoon here – and if you have the time, do not plan to leave, just relax and take your time, after lunch you can retire back to the lawn and the view. They are now open for dinner Thursday to Sunday.  Book well in advance (for bookings for December – end Feb) as they are extremely popular. Open for lunch daily & dinner Thurs – Sunday. Tel +27 21- 876-3016 Note I would highly recommend combining the lunch with a cellar tour of this boutique winery.  * Note that the Dendy Young Family have sold La Petite Ferme – it is now under new ownership –  I go regularly and it is still as good as it always was! 
  5. Pierneef at La Motte – A visit to the La Motte wine estate is wonderful experience.   The estate is owned by Hanneli Rupert.  The Rupert family are one of the most wealthy families in South Africa and have always had a love affair with art.  Here you can visit the art gallery and view some local art which includes a fairly large collection of one of our most famous artists – Pierneef.  The estate also boasts great sauvignon blanc (one of which is organic) and shiraz.  In the tasting room you are welcome to walk around the barrel maturation cellar and enjoy a very civilized wine tasting. The staff are extremely professional in the tasting room and focus on elegant presentation in a beautifully appointed room.  I love the lovely touch of bringing the glasses on a silver tray with either a ciabatta bread roll or crackers to clear the palate between tasting.  Located between the gallery and the tasting room is the beautiful Pierneef restaurant.  If you are a slightly larger group – make sure you try and secure one of the rustic wood tables under the oaks – if you get it, you will not want to move for the rest of the day.  The legacy of the founding Chef Chris Erasmus, has been continued by Chef  Michelle Theron, who has been there since the restaurant opened.  She is passionate abouttraditional flavours and local sourcing.   Note that La Motte also has a deli/shop that is well worth popping into – it has everythingfrom barrel wood chopping boards to the most delicious looking mini cakes such as lemon meringue and cheese cakes. (Location: on the R45 Franschhoek).
  6. Ryan’s Kitchen – this is a beautifully designed intimate space at the entrance to Franschhoek on the main drag.  The establishment focuses on incorporating local flavours into many of the dishes. It had to  relocate from Rusthof Guesthouse after is was sold and has opened up again closer to the entrance to Franschhoek village. Chef Ryan is a really talented chef and his dishes are beautifully plated with wonderful flavours. Note that the concept is more focused on fun and innovative tapas to share versus the fine dining dishes he served up in his last location. I love the fabulous decor at the new Ryan’s Kitchen.   Open Monday to Saturday for lunch & dinner. Tel no 021-8764598 Address: 1, Place Vendome (it is a small shopping centre on your left hand side as you enter Franschhoek), Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.
  7. The Kitchen – The Tasting Room @ Maison Wine Estate – this restaurant is owned by Chris Weylandt of Weylandts furniture design fame.  It reflects his style – simple, beautiful, stylish and the perfect spot to relax in summer.  It is built in a Victorian architecture farm cottage, they have simply added a stoop and some nice long tables out of the oak trees.  With the view of the lawns and the vines – it is just lovely!  They have a talented team of chefs working in their kitchens.  The menu is innovative, has a great variety of flavours, promotes good local country cuisine – and everything I have ever eaten there is delicious and fresh.   I love the food, I love the setting, I love the chilled out gorgeous simple decor.   In fact I love everything about the place!   The wines are good – I love their chenin, their viognier and their shiraz.   The food matches the decor – expect beautifully plated taste sensations.  Nothing beats sitting at the long table in the garden under the oak tree – so make sure you take friends and book one of the two long tables – bliss!! Maison, Main Road, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-2116. Open: Wed – Sunday 10h00 – 17h00.  (Note – the name of the restaurant is confusing!! So close to sooooo many others in the Cape!)
  8. Reubens in Franschhoek relaxed fine dining with innovative combinations, good size portions and something on the menu that will appeal to most tastes.   Reuben worked at a number of restaurants in this town working his way up in the kitchens,  before departing for a stint overseas.  The town people lured him back and he opened his first restaurant to much acclaim.  In summer dine in the outside courtyard and plan to stay for three delicious courses.  Reubens has now also opened in the One & Only Hotel in Cape Town, in the small Country Hotel in Robertson and also in Paternoster.  There are fears that he will spread himself too thin – but things seem to be going well at the moment. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Tel  +27-21-8763772 Cost $$-$$$
  9. Grande Provence – To me, this is one of sthe most beautiful restaurant in the winelands.  The decor is elegant and modern.  If dining there in the evening – dress up a little and turn the night into a special occasion.  Chefs seem to turn over every couple of years here and the current executive chef is  Darren Badenhorst – who seems to have staying power! Reports are that he is doing a fantastic job.  He is a South African local from Natal and enjoys cooking French cuisine with an Asian twist.    Grande Provence is also home to a wonderful contemporary art gallery that propotes South African and African artists – it is well worth a browse around while you are there. Open daily for lunch & dinner.  Closed on Sunday nights during winter.  Tel  +27-21-876-8644 Price: $$$
  10. Bread & Wine on Moreson Wine Estate-  is a relaxed venue on a wine farm near Franschhoek offering interesting innovative dishes at reasonable prices. Spend the entire afternoon on the outside terrace enjoying their feta stuffed bread with rocket or pap gnocci or carmelised corn biltong accompanied by chilled Franschhoek wine. The aim is to produce simple food with heaps of flavour.  They bake their own bread daily and chef Neil Jewell has his own Charcuterie on the estate.  The meats are also available for sale from their deli.  He is the inspiration behind the seasonally influenced and locally inspired menu. Moreson Wine Farm Franschhoek.  Open daily for lunch.  +27 21-876-3692 .  Note that they also offer cooking classes on bread making and charcuterie on specific datesso check out their website for the dates. 
  11. The main road in Franschhoek has many wonderful little restaurants on the pavement – chose the one that you fancy most – nearly all of them are really good.  It is wonderful to sit on the pavement in Franschhoek with a great glass of wine and enjoy the world go by.  One of my favourites is the French Connection Bistro on the main road – excellent and relaxed with great mountain view. Tel:  +27-21-876-4056. On my last visit I had the steak and it was excellent and excellent value for money!

STELLENBOSCH REGION:

For years, Franschhoek was the main gourmet hub in the winelands.  Stellenbosch is now giving it a good run for its money and now has many award-winning restaurants.

  1. Overture @ Hidden Valley estate – Stellenbosch: Wow – these guys definitely have the best view out of any restaurant in the winelands.  Combine this with gorgeous contemporary architecture and a great chef and you have a winning combination.  Chef Bertus cooks in an open plan kitchen for all to view.  You can pop in to chat to him as you progress through the delicious tasting menu.  On offer is a tasting menu from three to six courses (ie don’t come here if you are not hungry – there is no option of doing just one course! The idea is to come and spend the afternoon with them!).  This menu changes daily based on what is seasonal and what is fresh; as well as by what inspires them to try out each day.  The focus is on having fun in the kitchen and being creative.  The portions are generous and I found that 3 courses was more than enough for me! The prices are good and offer great value for money.  Presentation is beautifully done.  Each morsel is a taste sensation and part of a tasting journey.  Book well in advance if you are coming in summer – this is one of our top restaurants.  It is a gem! Open daily for lunch (in summer), dinner Thurs & Fri nights. Tel +27-21-880-2721.   Click here to read my blog on Overture
  2. Delaire Graaf Restaurant (on Delaire Graaf wine estate – Hellshoogte Mountain pass Stellenbosch) – I watched them build the new drive way into this estate for a year and a half and must admit I was very curious to go and check out what the end result was. The Graaf family are diamond dealers and the budget for the revamp of Delaire was extremely high. The end result is quite simply gob smacking. This estate always boasted one of the best views of the wine region. Take the stupendous view and add innovative modern architecture, a cellar enclosed in glass for the public to view, a refined tasting room, a glamorous restaurant with plenty of outdoor seating and a high calibre local art collection with sculptures dotted around the garden – you have a winery that is now a destination that must be included on a visit to the wine region. The restaurant is not cheap – starters at around R100, mains from R160 plus! The setting (panoramic mountain views) and the décor are unbeatable! This is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon. It is gob smacking in terms of the views and the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. The current chef at Delaire is rocking my world (Michael Deg) – there is a great emphasis on freshness (he has his own veggie patch to harvest from) and the dishes are more simple, the flavours fantastic and his plating is quite simply beautiful. You feel like you are royalty and living the good life by simply spending an afternoon here. Tel: +27-21- 8858181 or info@delaire.co.za Note that as we go into summer, I would highly recommend booking in advance. Open for lunch & dinner daily. Tip – book for an early table or you don’t get a table with a great view! Tip 2 – Delaire has a second restaurant called Indochine which is located in the main hotel – it offers dishes with an Asian inspiration and the same fantastic view from their terrace.   This is a great back up plan if you experience any difficulty getting into the main restaurant – or have done the main restaurant on a previous trip.   The space is smaller and more intimate then the big main restaurant.   Update: One can now only book 6 months in advance for lunch for the Delaire Restaurants.   
  3. Rust en Vrede Restaurant is located on the multi award winning Rust en Vrede estate.  The estate is best known for its red blend which has been listed by US Wine Spectator magazine as one of the top 100 wines in the world for many years.  The restaurant has coverted the old wine cellar to create a beautiful space for a fine dining restaurant.  Note that this restaurant is only open at night – which means – it is best to experience it if you are staying over in the Stellenbosch region.  There is  huge attention to detail – they had plates made specially for their dishes, only use Riedel glasses and even have Laguiole knives to make the experience unforgettable!   The chef is John Shuttleworth who took over as head chef in 2011, his wife Andrea is running the front of house (both have worked at Michelin starred restaurants abroad) and the Sommelier Joakim Blackadder (one cannot help but smile at the surname!).  Together they craft a memorable food and wine journey.  There is the choice of a 4 course a la carte menu or a 6 course wine and food pairing menu.  In summer you would need to book well in advance as this restaurant has been listed as one of our top restaurnts in the country since opening. Open Tues – Sat for dinner only.  Tel no: +27 21 881 375 Cost $$$$ Note that they have a lighter option on the estate for lunch – you can either have a steak or a piece of salmon – this is in the winery section and is a separate offering from the main restaurant which is only open at night.
  4. The Restaurant @ Jordan by George Jardine – Chef George Jardine is one of South Africa’s top Chefs.   His open plan restaurant has a view of vines and mountains in the distance.  It must be an inspirational space to work in!  Chef George has a loyal following of foodies and is known for his creativity.   The Jordan restaurant represents fine dining in a tranquil setting with gentle rolling hills in the distance.  Jordan has a well deserved reputation for excellent red and white wines and an almost cult like following for their 9 yards chardonnay (I too am a groupy!).   The concept is fine dining with a menu that keeps changing based on what is fresh.   One has the option of doing 2 courses or 3 courses.   This is a fabulous combination of great innovative dishes,  an extremely beautiful setting with views of the valley, vines and mountains in the distance combined with beautiful simple relaxing decor.   It is a must do for “foodies” when in the Cape region as it is one of our top restaurants.  TIP:  Keep space for the cheeses at the end – they have an amazing variety of cheeses in a special cheese fridge and you get to go and chose the ones you want in the fridge – great fun and really delicious assortment.  Location: Jordan Wine Estate Stellenbosch. Open daily for lunch &  Thurs, Fri & Sat night for dinner Tel021-8813612 Food Style: Fine Dining    Note:   Jordan Bakery has closed down and been taking over by the Jordan Wine Estate – as such the lighter food option is still on offer on the estate – but this is not being run by George Jardine.   Note 2:  George has now opened a new restaurant in Stellenbosch Town called Jardine – it is open Wed – Sun for lunch and dinner 
  5. Jardine Restaurant in central Stellenbosch Town – NEW – this is a really exciting new opening as Stellenbosch town has lots of fun and funky relaxed places for dinner – but very little fine dining in the town itself.   Chef George Jardine is one of South Africa’s top chefs and originally had a Jardine Restaurant where foodies made endless pilgrimages to in Cape Town.   He then moved to Stellenbosch and opened the Restaurant @ Jordan.    This promises to be a great fine dining experience.  It seems well priced too!   Open Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.   Click here for booking details. 
  6. Middelvlei Boere Braai – Daily for lunch & for dinner if there is a group of more then 15 – this is an absolute must to try and include if you find yourself in Cape Town or in the Cape Winelands region over a weekend.  This is your opportunity to try a very local experience of enjoying a traditional Braai (BBQ).  On Middelvlei wine estate (45 minutes from Cape Town) they offer a three course braai on the lawns in front of their tasting room.  Plan to come and relax for the entire afternoon.  It is very kiddy friendly.  We would highly recommend the experience so that you have an opportunity to taste and enjoy one of our local experiences.  Booking essential:  +27 21 883-2565 or  info@middelvlei.co.za.  www.middelvlei.co.za Read more about the experience on our blog. Note that on a Saturday you can also book to do the combo of the cellar tour plus trying your hand at wine blending – it takes about 1.5 hours – book it at the same time as you book for lunch.  Cost: $$ #authenticsouthafricancuisineexperience #braai
  7. Terroir – Terroir is home to the talented chef Michael Broughton who was tempted down to the Cape from Johanessburg.  This restaurant chalks up its menu every day on a black board and bases its daily dishes on what is fresh and what the chefs are inspired to create.  It is always a delightful experience and the food represents a wonderful culinary journey.  The setting is lovely and relaxed – I esspecially enjoy sitting outside at this spot – it has a real country like feel to it – fabulously fussy food (fine dining), in a relaxed setting with friendly knowledgeable staff.  Location: Kleine Zalze Wine Estate, Stellenbosch.  Open daily for lunch and dinner. Tel no: 021 880 8167 Cost $$$
  8. Delaire Graaf (on Delaire Graaf wine estate – Hellshoogte Mountain pass Stellenbosch) – I watched them build the new drive way into this estate for a year and a half and must admit I was very curious to go and check out what the end result was.  The Graaf family are diamond dealers and the budget for the revamp of Delaire was extremely high.  The end result is quite simply gob smacking.  This estate always boasted one of the best views of the wine region.  Take the stupendous view and add innovative modern architecture, a cellar enclosed in glass for the public to view, a refined tasting room, a glamorous restaurant with plenty of outdoor seating and a high calibre local art collection with sculptures dotted around the garden – you have a winery that is now a destination that must be included on a visit to the wine region.  The setting (panoramic mountain views) and the décor are unbeatable!   This is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon.  It is gob smacking in terms of the views and the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous.  The current chef at Delaire is rocking my world (Michael Deg) – there is a great emphasis on freshness (he has his own veggie patch to harvest from) and the dishes are more simple, the flavours fantastic and his plating is quite simply beautiful.     You feel like you are royalty and living the good life by simply spending an afternoon here.  I would highly recommend booking in advance.  Open for lunch & dinner daily. Tip – book for an early table or you don’t get a table with a great view!  Update:  One can only book 6 months in advance for lunch!
  9. Cuvee on Simonsig Wine Estate – This is a delightful addition to the Stellenbosch region – gorgeous décor and fine dining. The restaurant offers all courses as either a starter size portion or a full size portion and offers a wine pairing with each.  My recommendation is to order the starter size portions – this way you can sample more of their delicious dishes.  Additionally, although the décor is beautiful inside, the view of the vines surrounding the restaurant is restricted  – so either book for a table next to a window with a view or for an outside table.  I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch and would recommend a trip to Simonsig.  Tip: Simonsig was one of the first estates to make champagne in South Africa and as such it is definitely worth doing a wine tasting while you are there, and ordering a few bottles of champagne to take home.  We fell in love with the Simonsig Brut Rose. Location: Simonsig Wine estate, Kromme Rhee Rd, Stellenbosch wine region.  Closed on Mondays.  Open for lunch Tues – Sun.  Open for dinner Friday nights. Tel +27 21 888 4932.
  10. Tokara –is the domain of Chef Richard Carstens.   Carstens has for some years followed the El Buli style of deconstruction cooking.   In his former career he headed up the kitchen of Lynton Hall in Natal, next, he teamed up with the guys at Monolo and then launched his own restaurant in Cape Town.  There is no doubt that he is an excellent chef.  Tokara restaurant boasts one of the loveliest views of Stellenbosch from its terrace, as such to get the best enjoyment out of the visit, it is recommended that you book on the outside terrace.   The restaurant is relaxed, there is no need to dress up to visit.  Note that the service is formal and that the food is fine dining at its most complicated.  For the average person, you would need to have extensive foodie knowledge to understand the menu!    Despite the challenge and lack of any idea of what is coming once you have ordered – the food is extremely good and the dishes highly creative.  Address:  Tokara Estate, Hellshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch For reservations, call +27 21 885 2550 or email reservations@tokara.com   Open Tues – Sat for lunch & dinner.
  11. Tokara DeliCATessen – Tokara have two restaurant options – the fine dining restaurant located in the same building as the winery and tasting room and DeliCATessen next door.   One can simply park at the main restaurant and do a walk through the olives and art to get to the deli side.   This is a wonderful space to visit if you want a lighter lunch, if you have kids traveling with you or if you are an art lover.   It is located in its own contemporary building and has a variety of sculptures on display in the garden (which are all for sale – so they swop around a lot!).   This is a deli where you can taste the estates oils and stock up on everything from parma ham to chocolate to take home with you.   The menu offers a delicious assortment of lighter dishes that are all delicious – simple with a gourmet twist of fabulous flavours.   The garden area has fantastic creative items in for the kids to play – a birds nest to climb in – a wonderful funky wooden jungle gym for climbing and many toys that can be taken inside or outside.   However during the week one sees few kids there – it is a tranquil space and one I spend a lot of time at!   It is very well priced and offers great value for money.
  12. Overgaauw Restaurant – Their signature is relaxed food served like you are in someones home – big bowls of veg and salads to help yourself and only enough food prepared according to the bookings for the day- so that there is no waste. Fresh and artisan produce rule – and they spend lots of time sourcing locally grown produce and artisan locally made products. They only open on weekends and  shut for winter as most of their seating and magic is about sitting in the garden for lunch.  It is a mystery menu every weekend – as such it may be best to leave fussy friends at home – however with platters of dishes at each course – usually everyone finds something they love! They are open Thursday to Sunday for lunch (closed until September 2016). The restaurant has been sold by Camilla and Russel to Camilla’s brother Jason Comins. Jason was already involved with them as a partner and as the Chef.   He was trained at Ballymaloe Cookery School by Darina Allen. The Ballymaloe Cooking School focuses on farm to table  and local sourcing – which is exactly what this restaurant reflects.  Note closed for winter – open again September 2016.   Open Weekends only in summer

 

TIP WHEN STAYING IN STELLENBOSCH TOWN:  Head out to the “big” restaurants on wine estates during the day and then have a light dinner in the old central area of Stellenbosch at night.  There are loads of quirky places either on Kerk/Church Street or just off it.  Some of my favourite places that I have discovered are:

  • Spek & Bone – NEW – Not to be missed by foodies!!!   Fabulous small spot.  Relaxed. Vibey.  Great Chefs.   Wine bar with small plates of food for sharing.   Every dish is a taste sensation!  Order as many small dishes as you can for a proper experience.   This is the new baby of Chef Bertus Basson of Overture.   They have an amazing wine list – this is an absolute treat for me as a local wine fanatic as there are so many wines on the list that I have not only not tried – but not even heard of!   There is a talented team of creative chefs in the kitchen.   Note this is not a fine dining spot – it is simply the perfect place to head to with a group or friends to spend a fun afternoon or evening.   Do not miss the peppermint crisp ice cream cones at the end of the visit.   This is my new favourite soul home in the town of Stellenbosch.   I would highly recommend a visit.  Note – it is hidden behind Oom Samie se Winkel on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch Town.
  • Craft – a wonderful beautifully decorated  craft beer and tapas bar.  Fabulous vibe and a celebration of simple delicious flavours.  I loved every bite and can highly recommend the tomato and mozzarella flammkuchen.  Andringa Street – just off Church Street (Note they have to close by 10pm!)
  • Brampton Wine Studio – A wonderful concept of having a wine bar to showcase your own wines – accompanied by light eating options.  We loved the vibe here and the lovely friendly staff.  Admittedly we only drank wine – so I cannot comment on the food!
  • Bartinney Wine & Champagne Bar – this is more of a spot to have a drink and to enjoy the beautiful setting!  I love the old vines that they have used as part of the decor.  The bar showcases the Bartinney Estates wines – which are fabulous! Make sure you do not miss having a glass of chardonnay – it is my favourite chardonnay from the region.  We tried the cheese plate – which was tiny pieces of cheese!  If you nibble – head elsewhere for dinner.  They closer really early – I think 7pm – so start the evening here!  It is just off Church Street.  Entrance Bird Street.
  • The Big Easy – This is owned by Ernie Els the famous South African golfer and the Rupert family, one of South Africa’s wealthiest family.  It showcases both the Ernie Els  and Rupert family wines.  This is one street up from Church Street and is located in the beautiful historical Cape Dutch style homestead called La Gratitude in Dorp Street.   I have only had the burger here – and it was fabulous!
  • De Stomme Jonge – quirky little bar with some delicious eats.  This is a fun spot to pop into for a drink and to people watch.  It is frequented by lots of friendly locals! 3 Ryneveld Street – just off Church Street.
  • Jardine has opened a fine dining spot in Stellenbosch town – Wed to Sat Lunch and dinner

PAARL REGION

  1.  Babel on Babylonstoren Estate– this is still one of my absolute favourite  resaurants in the Cape Winelands.     Their emphasis is on freshness – they harvest from their own organic garden a few hours before lunch  – fabulous!  Babylonstoren is a new wine estate and boasts fantastic 5* farm style accommodation which is both rustic and modern and perfectly suited to those who are foodies!   They have been cultivating their organic garden for the last four years and it now boasts over 300 types of vegetables, herbs and fruit. Note you can also book to do the Garden Tour with the Botanist (highly recommended!).  For lunch at Babel,  I would highly recommend you start by ordering the freshly harvested salads – I love the theme of Red, Yellow and Green salads – as a foodie you need to order all Babel RED SALAD GOOD SHOT3 when you go!!  Book for this immediately if you are going to be anywhere in the area – during season it is very difficult to get a booking – especially on weekends.   Note that they have now opened a 2nd little restaurant on the estate called The Greenhouse.  This is take care of those who want to just come for a coffee or tea or light meal in the garden.  It offers a choice of different sandwiches on home baked bread in their coal oven, as well as cakes and sweet things.  It is delightful and well worth combining with a booking for the organic garden tour with the botanist at 10am.  The Greenhouse does not take bookings and is on a first come first served basis.  Open Wed – Sun for lunch and now daily for dinner. To book Babel or the garden tour, email enquiries@babylonstoren.com Or call them on +27 (0) 21 863 3852For more information on Babylonstoren and Babel Restaurant check out  my blog on Babel  Note this spot is now very popular – Bookings open TWO MONTHS in advance. Now one has to diarize the date to send the email to book the Babel restaurant – and if you are a day or two late on booking – you are unlikely to get in – even in winter!   Note it is easier to get in for dinner then for lunch.
  2. Bertus Basson at Spice Route – Highly recommended – Top Chef Bertus Basson opened a relaxed restaurant offering traditional South African dishes with a contemporary twist.   This restaurant boasts wonderful winelands views and a talented team in the kitchen.   It is well priced and everything is delicious.   He has a talented team of chefs that work for him!    Tip – pre-book for the South African wine and food pairing experience if you are visiting from overseas – it is a wonderful journey through our local flavours.   Note this experience needs to be pre-booked.   Tip – plan to spend a morning or afternoon at Spice Route estate once you are there.   It is an artisan playground of fun – you can do wine tasting, beer tasting, chocolate tasting and grappa tasting on the estate!
  3. Cosecha @ Noble Hill Estate “Cosecha” is the Spanish word for “Harvest” in Spanish.  It reflects their location in the middle of the vineyards. This is a delightful addition to the Cape Winelands for a number of reasons.  The farm owners are from California and as such they have introduced their favourite cuisine – Mexican to the wine region.  This is unlike any offering we have had previously in South Africa.  The dishes are a celebration of fresh flavours and they strive to try and create the authentic dishes.  This is a challenge as some items such as Mexican cheese are not found here.  To overcome the challenge of using the correct chillies – they are now growing their own.  The restaurant offers extremely good value for money – in fact it is actually cheap for what you get.  As such it works for locals and foreigners! We completely over ordered – as we assumed the “Light and Fresh” section would be starter size portions and ordered 3 of these and 1 of the “Warm and satisfying” section between the 3 of us – what arrived was a feast! The portions are substantial and each dish was delicious.  My two favourites were the Tiger Prawn Taquitos  and the Beef Enchiladas.  The mouthwatering description of the Tiger Prawn Taquitos was “A traditional Mexican street food from the coastal regions: sauteed prawns mixed with chillies, lime and coriander, wrapped in flour tortillas and served with fresh guacamole……..it was so delicious I am going to have to sneak back there very soon! Note that they also do picnics for those who wish to have slightly less adventurous food! Location: Paarl wine region. Child Friendly:  There is a lovely play area for kids and one can order a kids picnic – the kids get their own picnic pack and blanket.   As it is an outdoor restaurant you can watch the kids play while you relax – perfect family restaurant and yet completely peaceful for the non-kiddy people who are enjoying lunch!  Tip: They are very close to Glen Carlou & Backsberg wine farms – so it is a good idea to combine a tasting at these two estates with a visit to Cosecha.  Note that you must head into the Noble Hill Winery tasting room to taste their wines and their innovative flavoured olive oils.  Tel +27 21 874 38 44 www.noblehill.com Note closed on TUESDAYS (also on Mondays during winter)
  4. Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grande Roche Hotel (Paarl Town) – this is the quintessential fine dining experience of yesteryear.  Here you can order from the a la carte menu or go with the tasting menu’s (recommended if you are a foodie!)  Prices vere towards the high end of the scale, but then it is located in a grand old five star hotel – so it is too be expected.  Dress is smart (but no ties and jackets required).  There is something super stylish about going to dinner at the Grande Roche – but try and take someone with a business expense account to treat you!! Location: Grande Roche Hotel, Plantasie Street, Paarl.  Reservations essential: Tel 021 863 5100

SOMERSET WEST REGION:

  1. Vergelegen – has two new restaurants on the estate.  Stables – lighter meals – gorgeous
    Camphors Restaurant
    Camphors Restaurant

    setting and perfect if you have rugrats as the play area is right there.  The chef does innovative light meals with an emphasis on freshly sourced ingredients – this may be the cheapie restaurant on the estate – but the decor is gorgeous!  The second restaurant is called Camphors.   It is named after the historical camphor trees on the estate that date back to the early 1700’s.   The decor is beautiful – so it works for sitting inside in winter and outside during the summer.   The cuisine is fine dining.   The chef PJ Vardis has now moved on – and the website is not giving any clues as to who is heading up the restaurant now……….I will have to do more research and update this page soon!

  2. 95 at Morgenster this is a great new addition to the Somerset West area.  It is a joint venture between Giorgio Nava and Giulio Bertrand who owns Morgenster.  Morgenster produces some of the world’s best olive oil and as such their oils and wines are showcased in the restaurant.   The art on the walls is the art of Giulio’s daughter and the setting and decor are lovely overlooking the dams with sweeping mountain views.   Giorgio is famous for his upmarket Italian restaurants in Cape Town – 95 Keerom and Carne (there are a couple of Carne restaurants – which are Northern Italian style steakhouses).   Expect an upmarket Italian Restaurant with a focus on Northern Italian style cuisine.   Open Tuesday – Sunday for lunch.   Thursday to Saturday for dinner
  3. Imibala Restaurant– 18 Bright Street Somerset West.   The Imibala Restaurant is part of the the Imibala Trust, a Gaynor Rupert philanthropic initiative started 15 years ago. The charity raises money from a variety of sources and uses the money to provide scholarships, uniforms and supplementary educational training to children in financial need. It comprises of the restaurant, a shop and a gallery.   As such the visit to this lovely restaurant and deli leaves a footprint towards this project.  They also host theme dinners and welcome donations towards the initiative.  I went to an Italian event hosted at Imibala  – the force behind the restaurant initiative and events is Cape Town Foodie Ian Downie – and let me tell Ian knows how to do things well and in complete style!   I would highly recommend a breakfast or a lunch or coming to one of Ian’s foodie events! To book or for more info call: 021 851 2364