South African Winelands Food Fix

Don’t miss these recommended venues for tasty treats to accompany your Cape wine tasting, from full-service gourmet meals to best places to grab a bite for the road.

Make no mistake: South Africa’s Winelands are vino-centric. Of course, foodies will have a field day, too, since the region is home to many of the country’s top tables. From sophisticated, multicultural takes on local cuisine to casual spots where you can grab cheese, olives and bread to pair with that precious bottle, dining opportunities (of the very best kind) abound. Some emphasize local produce, while others hit global notes morning, noon and night.

The key is to know where to go and what to eat. Here are a few destination-worthy locales that showcase the Winelands’ alternate allure.

High-End Restaurants

Rust en Vrede

You know a place means business when it converts its original cellar into a kitchen and offers a prix-fixe menu focused on meat from the Kalahari. Settle in—you won’t be sorry—and score braised pork belly with sticky pine kernel glaze and Asian slaw (it goes great with a glass of Paul Cluver Gewurztraminer). Next up? A filet of olive-crusted Chalmar beef with aubergine and tomato stew and light tarragon jus. For a more intimate experience, arrange to sit in the private dining room, which is nestled between the present-day cellars. Stellenbosch, tel. +27-21-881-3881.

La Colombe

Dining here is a magical experience, what with its pebble-lined, fountain-frocked courtyard filled with tables, beyond-elegant menu and gracious service. Point and pick from the hand-written, chalkboard menu. It’s all good, from the beet tart with goat cheese ice cream to the wild game tartare. Constantia, tel. +27-21-794-2390.

The Tasting Room

Four-, six- and eight-course meals are highly sensory at this gracious restaurant at boutique hotel Le Quartier Français. Whether you’re enjoying a foie gras tasting or tackling pig’s trotter with veal sweetbreads ballotine, expect nothing short of an ethereal experience. Franschhoek, tel. +27-21-876-2151.

Grab and Go Grub

Olive Boutique

Immerse yourself in olive culture at this spot that’s dedicated to olive-centric ingredients and products. Snag marinated, roasted Kalamata olives with lavender and white truffle oil, sun-dried olive paste and green olive whole-grain mustard to slather on bread, but do not leave without a bottle of cold-pressed house olive oil from olives grown in Swartland. Riebeek Kasteel, tel. +27-22-448-1368.

Eikeboom Butchery

There’s a vintage feel to this small, quaint butcher with a gleaming case filled with marinated meats. Not to say this bounty should be ignored, but the biltong—a jerky-style, dried, quintessential South African meat treat—cannot be missed. Just be sure to grab the more flavorful, spicy variety—and ask for it to be fresh-sliced. Stellenbosch, tel. +27-21-886-5731.

Klein River Cheese Shop and Dairy

See cheese-makers in action—and enjoy a tasting—at this sinful spot that’s earned a following for tangy Gruyére, Danbo, Gouda-like Leiden, Havarti and Raclette. While you’re at it, have a luxurious picnic prepared. With options like fig pâté with sweet-sour pepper jam and rocket salad with Klein River Grana, garlic croutons and sweet chili dressing, you’ll be on cloud nine. Standford, tel. +27-28-341-0693.

Casually Upscale Eateries

Reuben's Restaurant and Bar

Tables at this cool-but-comfortable brasserie are in high demand, so plan ahead and make a reservation. The menu feels traveled, so expect dishes like prawn, scallop and avocado tempura or duck breast with orange-honey sauce and seared greens. And do save room for the summer berry parfait. Franschhoek, +27-21-876-3772.


This café-style restaurant is also at Le Quartier Français. Ask for a seat on the flowery terrace—it’s the perfect place to dive into a first course of herbaceous, house-made gnocchi or a charcuterie platter with pickled baby beetroot. The bistro’s signature wood-roasted, free-range chicken is a sight to behold; prepared for two, the comforting dish comes with a massive salad dressed in zingy vinaigrette, hefty roasted potato wedges and plenty of gravy. Desserts continue the comfort-centric theme, with offerings like coconut, lemongrass and white chocolate cheesecake with pawpaw salsa. Franschhoek, tel. +27 21 876 2151.

Tokara Restaurant

Situated at the Tokara Wine Estate overlooking the vineyards, this glass-walled stunner makes the most of fresh, seasonal ingredients with offerings like roasted tomato and herb soup and poached mussels with banana and orange cream. The beat goes on with quail in Calvados cream sauce and salmon with seafood pesto and coriander-lemongrass vinaigrette. Game gets play, too, so try springbok with lobster sauce and mint oil. Of course, there’s no shame in sticking with seafood: Kingklip with green fig balsamic is a winner. Even kids feel the love, with choices like mini chicken burgers and grilled prawn and calamari kabobs. Uniedal, tel. +27-21-808-5959,

Le Café

Once the slave quarters of Filander, Karlien and Kandas on the Bossendaal estate, this spot—known for its tree-canopied patio—is the perfect place to recharge over a glass of house-made lemonade and a baguette and salad. Of course, the winery’s vintages can be savored here, too: Sip a few after taking a cellar tour. Stellenbosch, tel. +27-21-870-4282.

Destinations: South Africa

Themes: Culinary

Activities: Eat, Wine Tasting

User Comments

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