Pam’s favourite Cape Winelands Restaurants

Pam’s favourite Cape Winelands Restaurants

The Cape winelands are blessed with many of South Africa’s best restaurants.    To make it simpler for hardened foodies, here follows a short list of my top 10 restaurants in the Cape Winelands that should not be missed.  We then provide a breakdown of some of our favourite restaurants in the Cape Winelands including Stellenbosch, Franschhoek,  Paarl, Somerset West & Durbanville.

Pam’s Top 10 Cape Winelands Restaurants:

OVERTURE

Chef Bertus Basson.   On Hidden Valley Wine Estate.  Stellenbosch.  Also do not miss his more casual restaurant SPEK & BONE.

JORDAN RESTAURANT

Chef George Jardine.  On Jordan Wine Estate.  Stellenbosch

BABEL RESTAURANT

On Babylonstoren Wine Estate.  Paarl

LA PETITE COLOMBE

Part of the La Colombe group. Chef John Norris Rogers. On the main road leading through Franschhoek Town – inside the Le Quartier Franscais Hotel.  Franschhoek

DELAIRE-GRAAF 

Chef Kevin Grobler.  On Delaire-Graaf Wine Estate.   Stellenbosch

THE LONG TABLE RESTAURANT AT HASKELL

Chef Cornell Minnie. On the Haskell Wine Estate. Stellenbosch

THE TABLE AT DE MEYE

Chef Brendan Thorncroft & Leigh Williamson taking over September 2019.  De Meye Wine Estate.  Stellenbosch

 THE KRAAL AT JOOSTENBERG

On the Joostenberg Farm.  Paarl

FOLIAGE

Chef Chris Erasmus.   In the town of Franschhoek

THE RESTAURANT WATERKLOOF

Chef Gregory Czarnecki.  Waterkloof Wine Estate. Somerset West

FRANSCHHOEK REGION:

La Petite Colombe

NEWish – this is the sister restaurant to the famous La Colombe Restaurant (Constantia, Cape Town).   Here a talented team of chefs offer a seasonal fine dining tasting menus.   La Petite Colombe took the space of Le Quartier Franscais Restaurant which was home to legendary chef Margot Janse for many years.  They are on the expensive side of our restaurant offerings – so this is a real spoil to one’s foodie soul! With a great team of talented Chefs, this is highly recommended for any foodie to experience while staying in the village!   I went for lunch at La Petite Colombe in August 2019.   The entire La Colombe Chef team had just been traveling for inspiration and they returned with lots of ideas, new ceramics and cutlery.    When one books La Petite Colombe – makes sure you book for the Chef  package (it is a tiny extra cost).  It is wonderful to have some of the courses introduced by the chefs.    Head Chef John comes out to chat to you over the first courses.   It is your first teaser that the lunch to come if going to be a beautifully visual journey.   There are beautiful plates and trolleys of growing plants that arrive…………..beautiful plating……….the creations feel like works of art.   There is also a marvellous sense of ceremony with each course.    The service is wonderfully warm and knowledgeable.   The staff are friendly and personable.    I loved every second of this meal.   The interesting thing is that the restaurant is quite neutral in decor……….perhaps deliberately so – as the contrast makes the food shine!   Note that you need a minimum of 3.5 – 4  hours for a meal.    As such this does not work for experiencing in the middle of a wine tour.   It does work for a relaxed afternoon with no plans or a long lazy fabulous dinner!

Chef John serving us our starter from his garden trolley!
Our starter served on the side of a garden themed ceramic pot. Loved the inclusion of snoek in the starters!
This was served just outside the kitchen. An absolute flavour sensation described as “scallop, pork, wild garlic & katsuobushi” (which was added after the pic was taken!)

Le Coin Francais 

Owned and run by talented Chef Darren Badenhorst -on the main drag in Franschhoek.  I popped in to have a look – gorgeous decor – it simply feels grand as you walk in, with wonderful attention to detail and decor.  They are are open for lunch & dinner.   For dinner you can choose between a 6 or 8 course tasting menu which can be done with our without wine pairing.   This looks really good! From their website – The newest edition to the Franschhoek scene is a restaurant really and truly for Franschhoek. Both in concept and in name, the aptly named “Le coin Français” , which literally means Franschhoek, will embody the essence of the valley in heritage, cuisine, art and wine. It will feature cutting edge methods meeting time tested French elegance in cuisine, a carefully selected locally themed wine list to showcase the best local wines, a French sommeliers selection, and an ever evolving collaboration of art in the theme of photography.  

Foliage

LEGENDARY CHEF CHRIS ERASMUS

Foliage is owned by 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! (Note in season you need to book for dinner here or you will not get in)

Marigold

Marigold was set up by the extremely talented South African Chef Vanie Padayachee, who was lured back to the Franschhoek Valley to launch Marigold, a North Indian Cuisine restaurant.  The restaurant is owned by Mr Singh who owns a variety of properties in Franschhoek, including the Leeu Collection.  If you are a fan of Indian cuisine – this one is for you!  Wonderful contemporary decor and located in the heart of the Franschhoek village.   Note that Chef Vanie Padayachee has left Marigold.    As Mr Singh is a hotelier from India – I believe that the food will continue to be excellent here.   Time will tell!

La Petite Ferme

Recommended as one of the prettiest locations with magical views the Franschhoek valley. When booking always request a terrace table which will allow you to have the vest view of the Franschhoek valley and the vines (or an outside table – depending on the season). 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. 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.   Open for lunch  & dinner daily

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 wealthiest 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.  Talented Chef Eric Bulpitt has moved from Faber to La Motte.  I am sure he will continue the legacy of including traditional flavours and of local sourcing – Chef Chris left an amazing vegetable garden behind when he left La Motte to open Foliage!   Note that La Motte also has a deli/shop that is well worth popping into – it has everything from barrel wood chopping boards to the most delicious looking mini cakes such as lemon meringue and cheese cakes.

Chefs Warehouse at Maison Estate

It is wonderful to see Chef Liam Tomlin growing his Chef’s Warehouse group in the Cape.   Chef Liam (who is Irish) had a top restaurant in Sydney called Bank.   When he settled into the Cape he had NO plans to ever open a restaurant again.  He started off by doing cooking classes and selling cookbooks and cooking paraphernalia.   He eventually buckled and opened Chefs Warehouse in central Cape Town.   This is a simple creative kitchen with very limited wastage – each day you create 8 dishes.   These 8 dishes come out for a couple to share.   The signature is a highly creative kitchen serving dishes inspired by seasonal cuisine at a fair price.  Over time Liam’s signature become one of training and empowerment.   Every talented young chef in the city wanted to work in his kitchens.  In turn he grew them and let them loose in his new restaurants as he opened new ones in Constantia & Franschhoek.     The talented Chef David Schneider (ex Singita, Chefs Warehouse CT, Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia) has been given creative license within the Chefs Warehouse Formula of 8 dishes per day in the Franschhoek Chefs Warehouse on Maison estate.    Note that the concept is 8 gourmet tapas style dishes for two people to share – no selection – you get what the kitchen is inspired to prepare.   They can handle vegetarians – but need advance warning!   Note that this Chefs Warehouse DOES take bookings.   I would recommend you book in advance for this one.  IMPORTANT TO NOTE – they are kid friendly – kids can have pizza or grilled fish & veg.  Note that the lunch is geared towards you staying for a lovely long and relaxed lunch – it is NOT rushed – so make sure you put time aside to relax and enjoy it.

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.  About a year ago Reuben bought his own property in Franschhoek and as such has re-opened in one of the side streets off the main drag in Franschhoek.   The restaurant is looking really lovely and is perfect spot for dinner or for a drink in their gorgeous bar.

Grande Provence

To me, this is one of the 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 this year is no exception –  executive chef Darren Badenhorst – has left to open his own restaurant in Franschhoek called Le Coin Francais.   The next Chef came with great credentials and has worked for many of our top Chef’s – Guy Bennett – and he has now moved on as executive Chef of Gorgeous George in Cape Town (my current favoruite roof top restaurant and bar in Cape Town!  So now I need to find out who replaced him……………….they seem to chose well – so I would recommend lunch when you are in the hood!     Grande Provence is also home to a wonderful contemporary art gallery that promotes 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.

Bread & Wine     

On Moreson Wine Estate-  has closed down.   The Chef has started his own restaurant on Spice Route Wine Estate in Paarl.  Chef  Neil Jewell has called his new restaurant JEWELLS.     Moreson will be launching a new restaurant soon.

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.  On my last visit I had the steak and it was excellent and excellent value for money!  We also LOVE Tuk Tuk Micro Brewery – they have a lovely buzz there at night and on weekends as most of the locals hang out there.   They do light dishes and for those beer phobes – they also serve wine!  They are located next door to Le Quartier Franscais on the main drag (across from Foliage)

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.

Overture   

Overture Restaurant is located on Hidden Valley Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.  They are located on top of a mountain – the venue boasts endless views.   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 is always more than enough for me! The prices are good and offer great value for money for access to chefs of this calibre.  The presentation is beautifully done.  Each morsel is a taste sensation and part of a fabulous 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 (from 2011 – when they opened!!)

Spek & Bone

This is one of my favourite summer restaurants!   I am in LOVE with Spek & Bone. This is the chilled offspring of the renowned top local Chef Bertus Basson.  It is located in a peaceful courtyard in the middle of the oldest part of Stellenbosch town.   It is a simple concept – take a lovely hidden courtyard in the oldest part of Stellenbosch Town and create a chilled wine bar with delicious shared plate dishes…….that are created by Bertus Basson and his  talented team of Chefs.  This is the perfect spot for a long afternoon with friends.   Note closed on a Sunday.   Otherwise open for lunch and dinner.   Tip – don’t miss the peppermint crisp ice cream cone at the end – for any South African it brings back happy childhood memories.                         

The Long Table Restaurant at Haskell Wine Estate

I am in love with the Long Table Restaurant.   It has one of the prettiest locations -on top of a hill – and you sit right next to the grape vines and enjoy a backdrop of dramatic mountains.     We visited on the first day of the launch of the new Chefs menu.   Who is the new chef – well………………….the head Chef of Babel at Babylonstoren moved to the Long Table – Chef Cornelle Minie.    Her concept is sharing small plates.   Being used to harvesting products before service – she has asked Haskell to add to their vegetable garden so that she can continue this practice here.    She has simply divided the menu into “cold dishes” and “hot dishes”  and “desserts”.     It was one of the most wonderful fresh flavour journeys.   None of the dishes were too complicated.   All were beautiful and each dish felt like a mini celebration of summer.    This may be my new favourite spot in the Cape Winelands!   Ps Locals also take note – as this spot has always attracted mainly locals they have kept the dishes well priced.   Note this is the perfect spot for a long summer lunch with a group of friends or as a stop on a wine tour of the Stellenbosch region. Highly recommended.         

Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery at Spier Wine Estate – Stellenbosch

Is owned by Chef PJ Vadas – who is one of South Africa’s most talented chefs – yet the concept is extremely simple – great locally sourced produce – cooked really well.  They focus on Smoked and BBQed meat.   If you are a carnivore with a sweet tooth – this spot is for you!   This is a group of friends working together.   They have a passion for sourcing the best local produce they can find – and that does all the way from the locally sourced meat and eggs from Farmer Angus on Spier through to the kombucha, the flour, the beer and the coffee.    This spot is family friendly and you sit out on the terrace under the trees.   It is also the perfect spot to relax and unwind with a group of friends – I would advise you to order portions of meat and sides to share – that way you get to enjoy lots of different flavours!   This was my first visit since the spot had been the Hoghouse Smokehouse – it is now Vadas Smokehouse – not much changed  –  same Chef – perhaps the ownership structure changed!   Verdict – an absolute favourite chilled lunch spot for real food with real flavour                       

 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 converted 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 a Brazilian with Italian Heritage – Fabio Daniel (married to a South African!!)   He literally worked his way up through two head chefs at Rust en Vrede and was made head chef in 2017.   Open Tues – Sat for dinner only.  Tel no: +27 21 881 375 Cost $$$$ Note that they have a light lunch option on the estate – you can either have a steak or salmon – this is served in the winery and is a separate offering from the main restaurant which is only open at night.

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 groupie!).   The concept is a small 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 (in summer) &  Thurs, Fri & Sat night for dinner  Food Style: Fine Dining   

Jardine Restaurant

Is located in the oldest part of Stellenbosch town.  It is an intimate smallish fine dining restaurant and fab addition to Chef George Jardine’s stable of restaurants.   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 Wine Estate.      Open Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.

Middelvlei Boere Braai 

This is an absolute must to try if you are an adventurous foodie who wishes to learn about our local South African cuisine and culture.  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.  Sampling a traditional braai is hard to do while traveling to South Africa – the reason is that it is a home activity and not found in restaurants. Read more about the experience on our blog.  We would highly recommend the experience so that you understand our favourite way of entertaining in Southern Africa.  It is very kiddy friendly. Booking is essential:  +27 21 883-2565 or  info@middelvlei.co.za.  Open daily for lunch.    #authenticsouthafricancuisineexperience #braai

Terroir

Terroir is home to the talented chef Michael Broughton who was tempted down to the Cape from Johannesburg.  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 especially enjoy sitting at their outside tables.  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. 

Delaire Graaf Restaurant

Located on the Delaire-Graaf Wine Estate on the Hellshoogte Mountain pass in Stellenbosch.    The Graaf family are diamond dealers and the budget for the revamp of the old Delaire Estate 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 View at Delaire

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.  Every year or two the chefs turn over  – and as such I once again need to dig to find out who the current chef is!   They however have a great track record of attracting a talented team to “man” their kitchens!     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!

Table at De Meye

On the De Meye Wine Estate.   The Table at De Meye is an absolute favourite of ours for weekend lunches with a group of friends!  They are only open for lunch Thursday to Sunday.   In summer you sit under the trees all afternoon  – in winter you sit in the cozy farmhouse.   If feels like going to someones home for a long Sunday lunch.   There is no choice on the menu – starters are brought to share, mains are served in big bowls to serve yourself like you would at home – eg a salad, roast veg and a roast chicken.   All ingredients are sourced from farms around them and every ingredient has a story.  They also have their own vegetable garden that they harvest for the weekend.    They do cater for dietary requirements – but they must be mentioned on booking!   This is a foodie journey at every step – and each mouthful is a flavour journey.   I would highly recommend a visit! (Note new owners taking over September 2019!  Same concept and I am sure just as much passion!)

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 as their wines are fantastic!.  We fell in love with the Simonsig Brut Rose and their chenin’s. Location: Simonsig Wine estate, Stellenbosch

Tokara 

Has been one of the Cape’s top restaurants for the last 10 years!  It was home to Chef Richard Castens for many years.   He was a huge fan of molecular gastronomy.   I began to move towards “real food”  and as such had not been to Tokara for years!  I am now watching the new Chef with great curiosity.   She is focusing on regional ingredients, bringing in flavours from her South African heritage and harvesting veg from the farm…………….she looks wonderful.  Her food looks fantastic and real!    You can feel her excitement on her instagram!   I cannot wait to go and try out Chef Carolize Coetzee’s food!  Address:  Tokara Estate, Hellshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch.  Open Tues – Sat for lunch & dinner. (Tip – the restaruant boasts a large number of William Kentridge artworks – so if you are an art lover – this is a great option as well!)   Tip 2 – book on the terrace for summer – this restaurant has one of the best views in the winelands – you are seated on top of a mountain above the grape vines!

Tokara DeliCATessen 

The Tokara Wine Estate have two restaurant options – the fine dining restaurant located in the same building as the winery and tasting room and the 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.

Restaurants in the TOWN of Stellenbosch:

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 

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 wonderful tasting journey.   This is the  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 enjoying wonderful food and fantastic wine (excellent value for money).   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.

TIP – it is hidden behind Oom Samie se Winkel in Dorp Street in Stellenbosch Town.

Jardine

George Jardine has opened a fine dining spot in Stellenbosch town called Jardine.  It is open Wed to Sat Lunch and dinner.   This is an awesome addition to Stellenbosch town as George Jardine is one of the countries most respected chefs.   This is a wonderful small intimate restaurant in the old part of town.   I would highly recommend booking in advance in season

Some chilled options in town:

  • The Fat Butcher – fabulous steak house!  Your are in a region that is obsessed with great red meat.   This spot is 100% passion about great meat.   Fantastic steaks – plus “real” burgers for the kids.  It is in a wonderful old building with a courtyard.   Highly recommended for the food.   Slow on the service and not brilliant on forward bookings – however perhaps if you book on the day you will have better luck!
  • Hudsons Burgers – great burgers.  Real meat.  No additives.   Wonderful location on Dorp Street.  Plenty of outside seating.   Hudsons is the creation of Cape Town owners – so it is a proudly Cape burger!   This spot attracts the students – and is great for people watching!
  • Die Werf
  • 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.
  • De Stomme Jonge – quirky little bar with some delicious light 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.

PAARL REGION

The Kraal Restaurant at Joostenberg Wine Estate

This is a very special spot.  It is only open on a Sunday for lunch and one has to book it in advance.   The concept is simple – a family Sunday lunch sourced from the farm (& the region) reflecting what is fresh and in season.   It has been created as a summer restaurant by the family who own Joostenberg Wine Estate.  It is a wonderful setting in an outside courtyard that was historically used to house the families animals! This lunch was a feast of seasonal freshness.  It is my favourite way of eating.   I believe there would have been enough food even is one has a fussy family member!   Below I have done a visual journey of our meal course by course.   However to see a little more check out – Drizzle & Dip Blog gives a wonderful taste of the lunch experience .   The cost is R360 per person for a 3 course menu featuring farm produce and recipes from childhood memories.          To book email: kraalrestaurant@joostenberg.co.za or call +27796411320            

Starters – lots of freshness – leeks &  courgettes – yummmmmmmmmmmyyy  – this meal was a wonderful farm feast of freshness!   Note Susan’s mom grows roses – so every table has a beautiful rose!
Pork Belly for our main dish – makes sense as the family are experts at Pork!    Delicious fresh sides from the farm
Dessert if you have space!

The seating is in the old animal kraal which is next to the wine cellar on the Joostenberg farm

Babel

Located on the Babylonstoren Estate– this is still one of my absolute favourite  restaurants in the Cape Winelands.     Their emphasis is on freshness – they harvest from their own organic garden a few hours before lunch!Babylonstoren is a 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 since 2010 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!) at 10am daily.  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 3 when you go!!  The main course is simply done – you chose your protein – fish/meat/veg and they then bring a wonderful bowl of veg and roast potatoes to the table.   The restaurant is an exercise in simplicity – little is done to distract from the freshness of the ingredients. Book for Babel well in advance – during season it is very difficult to get a booking – especially on weekends.   They accept a limited number of bookings on their website in advance.   The other alternative is to wait for the bookings to open two months before your date that you are looking to book.   Note that they have now opened a 2nd little restaurant on the estate called The Greenhouse.  This one is for 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.

Babylonstoren Bread
Babylonstoren gardens

Bertus Basson at Spice Route 

Has closed down.   It has been replaced by JEWELLS on the Spice Route Estate

Jewell’s Restaurant at Spice Route

New venture between renowned Charcuterie meat chef Neil Jewell, his baking wife – Tina and Chef Liam Tomlin.    This is an a la carte menu – wonderful views of the Spice Route estate from inside and out.   A fabulous feast of artisanal meat and local produce.    See more under our New Restaurants in the Cape Winelands section.

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.   Note closed on TUESDAYS (also on Mondays during winter)

Grande Roche Hotel – Viande

Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grande Roche Hotel has closed down and has been replaced by Viande under celebrity chef Pete Goffe Wood.   It looks like the hotel has done a fabulous revamp and relaunched this as a contemporary hotel restaurant that will draw both hotel guests and fans of Pete to its doorstep.

Noop

Located on the “main road” through the oldest part of Paarl – you find a magical homely spot called Noop.   From the second you walk in you feel a warm and welcoming energy.   Here they create “real” food.   They try to keep their dishes simple so the freshness of the ingredients can speak to you and tell their story.   Highly recommended local foodie favourite in Paarl.  Closed on Sundays

SOMERSET WEST REGION:

The Restaurant Waterkloof

Voted as one of our top 10 restaurants in the country for quite a few years.   This spot would be a magnet for foodies just to try Chef Gregory Czarnecki’s fantastic tasting menus!   However – this is an experience beyond the food.   This building is literally a contemporary architectural block of glass that juts out of the mountain with views of the vines and sea in the distance.   It is also built next to and on top of a gravity fed cellar.   The wine here is some of my favourite in the Cape and the estate is producing some of the best organic wines in the country.   They are a champion conservation estate and focus on biodiversity as well as using biodynamic principles.  Amazing wine.  An amazing space and energy

Vergelegen

Has two restaurants on this wonderful historic estate.

Stables – serves light meals.  It is perfect if you have kids with you as the play area is close to the restaurant – but not too close to disturb the other dinners!  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- 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 offer tasting menus – so this is not suitable for a “quick lunch” and is not suitable for children.

Picnics – this is one of my favourite picnics in the winelands!   You book and arrive!   They carry your picnic to your lovely table in the camphor forest.   Picture tables among the trees with along white table cloths!  For the kids they provide a blanket or a poof.   This is such fun for a long relaxing afternoon with a group of friends.   Great fun for the whole family too as the kids run off and play among the trees!

95 at Morgenster this is a great Italian addition to the Somerset West area.  It is a joint venture between Giorgio Nava and Italian Bertrand family who own 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

Schoon Bright Street

If you are a bread lover you have to track down Schoon.   It is great to see that he once again has outlets in both Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.   This is my favourite sour dough bread on the planet.   All the pastries rock too!   Find them for a sandwich, a pastry, a coffee and a cafe that is a foodie treat from heaven!!!  Perfect for breakfast or a light lunch.   Love this space.

New – Seven by George Jardine has opened in Somerset West.

DURBANVILLE:

De Grendel Restaurant (Durbanville Winelands – about 20 minutes from Cape Town central) – I cannot recommend this highly enough – gob smacking views of Table Mountain and the city makes this one to make sure you get to for an early booking to see the sun set.  Combine this with a fine dining experience that is great value for money – R255 for 2 courses or R300 for 3 courses.  Some background on those behind the food: Diners sensing Michelin-star excellence on the palate will be spot-on as De Grendel Restaurant is a culinary collaboration between De Grendel and Crown Hotels and Restaurants who owns the Michelin starred The Crown at Whitebrook (voted 2011 Best Restaurants in Wales) and Celtic Manor. My verdict: Book immediately – this is a really special treat!! I am in love with this spot.  The dinner blew me away, as did the view, the dishes, the presentation and one of the nicest sauvignon blancs on the planet!   Info: Tel +27 21 558 7035.  Directions: Head out of Cape Town on the N1 Paarl direction, Leave the N1 at exit 18; continue left down the Plattekloof Road for another 5 km, De Grendel is on the right (it has its own traffic light and is signposted)

 

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