Where to Eat and Stay
You won't find a great choice of dining establishments here, particularly when it comes to fine dining, as Grahamstown is largely a student town. There are a number of cafés on High Street that are reasonable.
Grahamstown Accommodation Central Booking Office. Your best bet for help with lodging, especially at festival time, is the Grahamstown Accommodation Central Booking Office. Grahamstown. 046/622–5777 or 071/316–574. www.grahamstownaccom.co.za.
137 High St. Conveniently located right on High Street, this warm, friendly coffee shop is popular with students, and there's outside seating in a pretty, sunny courtyard. It serves the usual pastas, sandwiches, and salads—and arguably the best coffee in town. The seven-room bed-and-breakfast ($) upstairs has fabulous yellowwood floors in the residents' lounge. One room has a tub; the others have showers only. There's a self-catering one-bedroom flat, too. Accommodation is a little on the basic side, but the place has plenty of charm. 137 High St., Grahamstown, 6140. 046/622–3242. www.137highstreet.co.za. No dinner Sun.
The Cock House. Over the years, this charming building, a National Monument built in 1826, has been the home of distinguished citizens, most notably academic and novelist André Brink, so it's fitting that the individually decorated rooms are named after previous owners. The small hotel suffers from (or is blessed by, depending on how you look at it) the rather haphazard improvements that have been made over time. The spacious reception rooms have beautiful wooden floors. The dining room ($–$$) is large and somewhat gloomy, but the food is fantastic, and it's worth staying here just for that. You can also book a table for breakfast, lunch, or dinner if you're staying elsewhere. Try the delicious lamb shank, served in a thyme-and-rosemary sauce, or feta-cheese soufflé with peppadews (a cross between a sweet pepper and a chili). Dinner is usually à la carte. The next-door building has four self-catering apartments, which are good value for a longer stay, though they are cold and lack atmosphere. The rooms in converted cottages in the garden are the most attractive. Pros: a small, lovely garden in the back; good restaurant; plenty of character. Cons: rooms are on the small side; no air-conditioning in the hotel. 10 Market St., at George St., Grahamstown, 6140. 046/636–1295. www.thecockhouse.co.za. 9 rooms, 4 apartments. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, business center, parking. Breakfast.
High Corner Guesthouse. This popular, quaint, and centrally located guesthouse is in the oldest cottage in Grahamstown (built in 1814) and is just a few paces from the main entrance to Rhodes University and most of Grahamstown's shops, cafés, restaurants, and bars. It's got plenty of charm, beautiful wooden floors and staircases, original pine paneling, antique furnishings, local artwork, and lots of light. There are visible remnants of its former life as the Grahamstown Gentlemen's Club, including granite plugs in the floor in the reception area, where the billiard table once stood. As well as the standard en-suite rooms which all have air-conditioning and satellite TV, there are also two newly renovated self-catering apartments available. There's a pretty vine-covered patio and pool area at the back. Pros: free Wi-Fi throughout the property; prices are reasonable; great breakfast. Cons: it's popular with visiting professors and businessmen, so it can be hard to get a room; the rooms are not the biggest around; no meals apart from breakfast available. 122 High St., Grahamstown, 6139. 046/622–8284. www.highcorner.co.za. 5 suites, 2 apartments. Breakfast.
Haricot's. Centrally located with a pretty outside courtyard area, Haricot's simple, bright, and clean decor and its good array of reasonably priced and very fresh fare has helped it become a local stalwart since it opened a few years ago. More café and deli by day, it's popular with Rhodes University students and professors thanks to its great coffee, homemade cakes and baked goods, and good lunch menu. By night it's a little more sophisticated and has a decent local wine list to accompany the à la carte dinner menu, which changes weekly. There's a traditional French or Italian twist to many of the dinner offerings, and to the feel of the place, but portion sizes remain distinctly South African and student-friendly, and so do the prices. Order three courses at your peril! 32 New St., Grahamstown. 046/622–2150. www.haricots.co.za.
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