Franschhoek accommodations...advice needed..

Sep 5th, 2007, 05:48 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,172
Hi Patty - so glad to hear you're enjoying Akademie Guest Houses - we had such a nice time there! Where are you dining?

Cyn
cynstalker is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 08:11 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6
Oh wow - what a area.

there are so may options it all depends on you budget I suppose.

- Le Franschhoek Hotel
- Klein Genot
- Franschhoek Country House

are my personal favouites.

Do want to get thought of as a spammer but a quick search on google (franschhoek accommodation) gave me the following result

- http://www.uyaphi.com/accommodationwcwinelands.htm
- http://www.sa-venues.com/accommodati...ranschhoek.htm

I think it is best to do some research once you settle on a few establishments e.g. search for bad reviews on an establishment and also ask on a forum like this what people who have stayed there think.

Cheers and have a stunning time, enjoy the wine, mountains and food

GavinAfr is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 02:27 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 92
ekscrunchy, weren't you over in the amalfi thread? Too funny, we have the same taste in travel. We were in SA for almost 3 weeks for our honeymoon this May. Franschhoek is far more scenic than Stellenbosch, and I actually thought Paarl was quite cute (more of a "real town") as well. (There was a Relais-Chateaux property in Paarl that looked great.) We stayed at Le Quartier in FH, and were somewhat disappointed. The suites were rather tired for the price point. Some of the things we enjoyed the most while there:

- Lunches at La Petite Ferme and Moreson (reservations required)
- Dinner at the Tasting Room at Le Quartier
- Picnic at Boschendal - very pretty tasting and picnicing areas (opposite ends of the estate)
- Petting the cheetahs at Spier - Spier is a bit corporate, but playing with the baby cheetahs was one of the coolest things I've ever done!
- Having our own rental car so we could meander as we pleased

Have a blast!
abcdc is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 11:01 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,038
Hi Cyn,
So far we've eaten at the Tasting Room and Boullaibaisse(sp?). The Tasting Room was definitely a mixed experience for us and we thought Boullaibaisse was great! Will post more details when I return. Tonight we're dining at Le Bon Vivant.
Patty is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 04:44 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,172
Patty - Hope you're experience at Le Bon Vivant is as good as ours was! We sat in front of the kitchen window -fun!
cynstalker is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 05:33 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 355
Patty, We will be in Franschhoek in about one month. I am a real foodie and have scouted out the restaurants- with help for another forum. I did make resevations at the tasting room even though I generally like to eat at more casual places. Could you write soon about your experience ?- leaving on Sept 22. Why spend the money if the food- most important aspect is not good! I have also reserved at Reubens and French Connection. Any thoughts? Thanks
zinfanatic is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 08:27 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,038
Hi zinfanatic,
We thought the food at the Tasting Room was quite uneven. I had the 4 course and my husband had the 8 course and out of those, we thought there were 2 that were absolutely outstanding (a white bean soup and a gorgonzola/red wine/walnut trifle), but many others were rather unremarkable and/or overly salted. I had the duck breast for my main course which was a little too tough. They also forgot to bring the wine pairing for my husband's 7th course. A few people we spoke with here thought that the food used to be better. I'd also read mixed reviews on this board prior to my trip but decided to try it out anyway. I wouldn't refuse to eat there again, but I wouldn't go out of my way to do so either. FWIW our dinner was 1200 rand which is not expensive by US standards.

I didn't dine at Ruebens or French Connection so can't comment on those, sorry. I did strongly consider Ruebens but thought the menu looked a little on the heavy side. Our guide thought that both Ruebens and French Connection were still very good (in comparison, he didn't have a high opinion of the Tasting Room). Particularly, he thought that French Connection was an underrated restaurant and couldn't understand why.

Hope that helps a little. I'd be very interested to hear where you end up dining and your thoughts when you return.

Have a great trip!
Patty is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 08:51 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
I agree with Patty about The Tasting room and Le Quartier in general.

While living in Stellenbosch, we visited Franschhoek often and at first were blown away by The Tasting room but it has not been the same since. Our last visit there in 2006 was very ordinary considering the harvest of restaurants to pick from.

We stayed at LF and did not enjoy that either as I reported here 2 years ago.

LF is suffering from too much exposure and support from especially UK Travel agents who are either getting good agent rates there or know little about the area in general.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 12:08 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097
I want to get this tongue in cheekish mail ;-) onto the board before Patti comes back from Les Bon Vivant this evening.

In my opinion the biggest problem that I sometimes find on all travel pages, inclusive of Fodors, is how travelers can get taken in by hype. When it comes to hype Franschhoek and its restaurants take a lot of beating because they are in my opinion much better at marketing the food that they make than making the food itself. As a matter of fact when it comes to marketing Franschhoek as a town beats any town in South Africa hands down.

I used to visit LQF when it was run by its originator Adri van Schalkwyk who was a marvelous cook. Unfortunately Adri has passed on but her memory remains. Did she ever advertise? No! Word of mouth did it for her and guess what one could never obtain a reservation in her very simple but classy restaurant. We are talking about the late 70's and Franschhoek was very far from what it is today restaurant wise. At the same time Le Petit Ferme was making its name as a lunchtime venue. Did the Dendy Young family who were and still are the owners of LPF ever advertise? No! In those days to obtain a reservation at LPF one needed to book 4 weeks in advance for a Sunday lunch which if one considers the times was quite something.

As the years progressed more and more restaurants started up in Franschhoek. With this came the early 90’s which opened the tourism markets to SA after our wonderful political changeover. With this came what I deem as being public enemy number one viz. the so called Top 10 lists of every Tom Dick and Harry. The problem with this is that everybody suckered for the hype of these lists and just believed everything that they heard or read. There were so many that one never knew where to turn. If there was one or two competitions based on some common tasks and values then I could possibly believe in these lists but with the plethora of lists coming out each extra list simply diminished the value of the previous one. Word of mouth started to take a backseat while restaurants in Franschhoek like Reubens and LQF, now called The Tasting Room, all moved to the fore with glitzy marketing campaigns and tons of top 10 listings. With this came another concept viz huge price hikes . After all if you ate at a Top 10 venue you paid a Top 10 price

When it came to all these Top 10 lists it was not a case of a restaurant could enter to be on a competitive list; it was a case of some expert just called out his top 10 and with it went the fact that everybody suckered for these results. hate to say this but I have seen a number of Fodrites sucker for this concept.

Today Franschhoek is laden with many restaurants. I loved the way that Ann H described this concept on the Fodors board when she so correctly said that “the Franschhoek Main road resembles the equivalent of one long restaurant.”. On this road you will amongst others find Reubens, The Tasting Room, Bouillebaise and I might also add French Connection. If you walked into these restaurants and sampled the clientele you would find that in all the aforementioned only French Connection would be packed out with locals while the “main contenders for the top 10 prize” all had clientele speaking with funny accents. What happened to the well used phrase of so many shrewd travelers viz. “listen to the locals”.

I believe that French Connection is one of the best value for money restaurants in Franschhoek. It does not offer gourmet foods but it offers tasty, well prepared and well priced foods. It is very rare that one sees an advert for French Connection and they don’t vie for the top 10 lists. I feel that Bon Vivant is probablyt the best restaurant in Franschhoek if not in South Africa. Ho\rror of all all horrors is that it is not even on the main road. I had heard of this restaurant from locals many moons ago but somehow also got suckered into the top 10 lists during thios period. Then along came Kavey (whom I regard as being a very, very shrewd and savvy traveler) who literally screamed “visit Bon Vivant”. I took the bait and have never looked back. Nothing touches Les Bon Vivant in Franschhoek and the wonderful part is that Pierre’s food is not only well priced but every plate is worth a picture that will be unique because nobody in the world, let alone Franschhoek, presents food in the manner that Pierre Hendriks does. Does Pierre advertise? No, as a matter of fact he does not have a website nor does he have calling cards. Is Pierre busy? Not at lunchtime but he recently had to enlarge his restaurant so as to accommodate his growing dinner clientele. Suggestion: Get in before you cant get in. ;-)

Other hidden lunchtime secret non top 10 eateries in Franschhoek are La Grange and Bread and Wine. Well worth visiting at lunchtime.

Anyway I don’t suppose my writings are worth it all because on the winefarm Vrede and Lust, which is 20 Km from Franschoek, the delightful eaterie of the past viz Cotage Fromage is being broken down and rebuilt into a glitzy place that I have been told is going to be run by none other than the top 10 man Reuben! Guess where Fodorites will be flocking to next.

So lets have some fun and see what Patti has to say when she comes home tonight and tells us all what Bon Vivant was like in her opinion?

“Over to you Patti. Either nail the place or hail the place! ;-)

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 01:22 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,576
Although I noted this thread is rather old, thought I'd chime in by saying we stayed at the Franschhoek Country House a couple of weeks ago and thought the room was great and the restaurant was good but not remarkable. Lovely property though.

I guess my view of Franschhoek is that it's getting close to the twee stage. Watch out. I agree that (on surface impressions) Paarl is attractive too and I still prefer Stellenbosch for its energy.
Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 6th, 2007, 01:38 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Glad I bullied you into visiting Le Bon Vivant and glad it's still as good as it was when we ate there back in 2004...

Sorry to hear Cotage Fromage is closing (though their spelling of cottage still narks me). Are they replacing it with something more upmarket (i.e. higher prices)?
Kavey is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 01:52 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097
Kavey,

Yes it looks as if it is going to be a pretty upmarket venue. All the charm of the old place is disappearing as the building is renovated and made much larger. What a pity!

See you in a 3.5 weeks. I will send you and update mail soon.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa


Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 02:12 PM
  #33  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,049
Two weeks and counting before we leave. Bon Vivant is firmly on my list and will also check out French Connection and Selwyn's other secrets....thanks to all who responded..I am in a bit of a tizzy thinking about packing but will start another eating thread about Capetown soon...
ekscrunchy is online now  
Sep 6th, 2007, 02:29 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
eks you'll have such a great time!

Selwyn, yes, please do drop me a line as would be good to get something in diary ASAP as need to put some other things in but want to slot those around you to ensure we don't miss out.
Kavey is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 05:25 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Since there are many sides to all restaurant recommendations, let me add my 2 cents about Franschoek restaurants. We ate in 4 restaurants there last Sept. Please don't shoot the messenger, but although Le Bon Vivant has been universally touted on this board, we found it mediocre and pretentious. It features what we (thinking of ourselves as widely traveled, somewhat sophisticated but not snooty diners who love a good burger joint as much as a 3-star room) call "tall food." This is where the chef piles up the food into architectural masterpieces that look impressive but don't taste very good. The dramatic platings produce ooohs and aaahs when served, but when you tuck into them the cooking and ingredients are lacking (and the chef was in the kitchen that night). It was practically empty on a Thursday night, and at first, after the Fodor's hype, we wondered why. Said our wine tour guide the next day: "Who recommended THAT place to you?"
On the other hand, Rueben's was great. Expert cooking, great ingredients (not heavy at all Patty), unpretentious, and the owner of one of the area's best wineries was dining there (need I say more)?
There's a French bistro right in the middle of town that we also liked (can't recall the name but it's obvious). Nothing serious, but good basic French bistro fare and you can watch the passing parade from the sidewalk tables at lunch. The other place was the restaurant Monneaux at the Franschoek Country House, where we stayed, about a mile from town. A bit formal, but quite good, tho not as good as Rueben's.
Just wanted to give another opinion so everyone doesn't get the idea LBF is a slam dunk in everyone's book.
Leslie
LAleslie is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 08:28 PM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,038
I'm sorry to say that I thought Le Bon Vivant was a very nice but not great restaurant. The food was beautifully presented and so reasonably priced. Mark had the 5 course surprise tasting with wine pairings which was only 275 rand. It's the type of place if it were in my local neighborhood, I might frequent it, but I do not feel that it can be considered a world class restaurant or maybe I just had the wrong expectations. I really, really wanted to love it after reading the reviews here.

In terms of food quality, Boullaibaisse was the best of the 3 we tried. Of course, we're comparing very different types of food so I guess it depends on what you like.

This is only my opinion FWIW.
Patty is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 08:34 PM
  #37  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,049
...the plot thickens!! Thanks for the recent reports..please keep them coming!
ekscrunchy is online now  
Sep 6th, 2007, 08:41 PM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 355
Thanks all, I will cancel my reservation at LQF. I was a pastry chef in the SF Bay Area and I am very particular about food. Why spend lots of money on pretention when it should be all about the food. Selwyn, thank you also for your informative addition. I love good quality local ingredients prepared simply- fresh and flavorful.
zinfanatic is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 01:40 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,038
zinfanatic,
Based on your last comment, I think you'd really enjoy Bouillabaisse. I felt it was simply prepared food with high quality ingredients and very well done. And there were plenty of locals dining on the night we were there.

I'm in JNB right now on my way to WDH so this is probably the last you'll hear from me for a while.
Patty is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 05:39 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,172
Patty-
cynstalker is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:30 AM.