There are our top culinary experiences in the Cape Winelands. With the Aussie dollar strong against the Rand, you’ll eat like royalty! That’s what we intend to do when we return in just a few weeks!
The Winelands is the culinary capital of South Africa offering stunning dining experiences. We are often asked for recommendations. So please find just a handful of our favourites here. Remember it does change frequently, so if you find a hidden gem please share the love and let us know! We’d love to hear your gourmet experiences!
OUR TOP TEN DINING EXPERIENCES
1. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais (Franschhoek)
Perhaps our favourite because it’s right in the town of Franschhoek, offers an extensive menu list that changes with seasonal produce and chef Margot Janse’s daily whim. Expect a sensual taste experience in a beautifully designed room with subdued colours of wine, mushroom and taupe framed with pale wood finishes. With great service, exceptional food and of course South Africa’s finest wines, what more could you want?
2. Jordan Restaurant, Jordan Wine Farm (Stellenbosch)
One of the top winelands in the region known for spectacular meals by chef George Jardine. Meals here are really delicious and change with seasonal availability. Consider this a really ‘accessible’ experience with open plan kitchen allowing you to see the chefs hard at work! On those warm days, sliding doors are thrown open and the tables are positioned onto the deck with views over a lovely dam and the stunning Stellenbosch mountains on the horizon.
3. Overture, Hidden Valley Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)
Don’t think you’ll be in a restaurant nestled in a valley… you’ll be sitting on top of a hill with inspirational views to Table Mountain, Stellenbosch Valley and Robben Island (on a clear day of course). The focus here is also on seasonal ingredients and original dishes.
4. Rust en Vrede Estate (Stellenbosch)
The beautiful setting with quintessential architecture and lovely gardens is just the entree! Experience a wonderful lunch showcasing seafood, poultry and meat. Vegetarian dishes are available on request. Chef John Shuttleworth’s combination of elements makes each dish simply delightful. It’s here we like to linger longer of another bottle of wine!
5. Terroir, Kleine Zalze Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)
This place is simply breathtaking! We love the terraced dining, garden setting and Master saucier Michael Broughton’s Provencal-inspired chalkboard menu that is dedicated to seasonal, organic produce from the region. Eat Out South Africa calls it ‘dressed down country chic’. We’d drink to that!
6. Babel, Babel Wine Farm (Klapmuts)
Not just a great restaurant – also a huge food garden that you can tour. It provides a vast majority of the fruit, vegetables and herbs used to create quite unusual dishes. You sit either inside or outside under the courtyard trees, either way it’s a lovely experience.
7. Tokara, Helshoogte Pass (Between Stellenbosch & Franschhoek)
On the road between the two main towns in the Winelands is a lovely restaurant and Winery with a heavy French influence. Richard Carstens’s imaginative take on cooking keeps things interesting. We come here for the unbeatable views (Delaire Graff also spectacular) to False Bay and Table Mountain.
8. Delaire Graff, Helshoogte Pass (Between Stellenbosch & Franschhoek)
Chef Christiaan Campbell creates appealing food with a real focus on fresh local flavours. Combine sensational food, spectacular views of Helshoogte Pass and magnificent architecture for the ultimate dining experience. We love it for the lavish artworks that impress and surprise visitors.
9. Ryan’s Kitchen (Franschhoek)
Another one in Franschhoek, Chef Ryan Smith has created an intimate and elegant dining experience with food always high visual impact and delicious of course. Set in the lounge of a stunning old guest house, the feeling is one of dining with friends.
10. Pierneef a la Motte (Franschhoek)
This is no longer a hidden gem… Chef Chris Erasmus is the master behind the magic. He smoothly combines Cape Dutch, Flemish and French Huguenot fare to produce perhaps the most original menu in the country. For us it’s about the learning of lost heritage and food techniques!
So make sure you include at least 1 or 2 nights in the Winelands so you can sample some of South Africa’s finest wines and restaurants. Plus don’t miss the new Franschhoek Wine Tram.
FRANSCHHOEK WINE TRAM
This hop-on hop-off narrated combination of open-side tram and open-air bus will transport you around a loop of stops in the picturesque Franschhoek valley allowing you to experience wine tastings, cellar tours, lunches or simple a stroll through the vineyards at your leisure.
What you need to know: Adult ticket price includes complimentary wine tastings at Rickety Bridge, Dieu Donne and welcome drink at Grande Provence; closed Christmas and New Year’s Day; the tour starts and ends at the Franschhoek Wine tram office in the village; allow at least 3 hours to explore some of the stops; tour departs every 45 minutes between 10:00 and 2:30pm; children of all ages welcome under parental supervision.
How to book: Book in advance with Encompass Africa due to high demand.