The Western Cape Restaurants

The dining scene ranges from fine South African cuisine complete with silver service to local, laid-back, country-style cooking. Franschhoek restaurants attract some of the country's most innovative chefs, who aren't afraid to experiment with unusual ingredients or food-and-wine combinations, and offer up a very sophisticated di
The dining scene ranges from fine South African cuisine complete with silver service to local, laid-back, country-style cooking. Franschhoek restaurants attract some of the country's most innovative chefs, who aren't afraid to experiment with unusual ingredients or food
The dining scene ranges from fine South African cuisine complete with silver service to local, laid-back, country-style

The dining scene ranges from fine South African cuisine complete with silver service to local, laid-back, country-style cooking. Franschhoek restaurants attract some of the country's most innovative chefs, who aren't afraid to experiment with unusual ingredients or food-and-wine combinations, and offer up a very sophisticated dining experience in a gorgeous setting. West Coast fare is not as urban as what you find in the Cape Winelands, and coastal towns usually concentrate on seafood, often served in open-air restaurants. Farther inland the cuisine tends to be less trendy and the portions more generous. Be sure to try some Cape Malay cuisine, characterized by mild, slightly sweet curries and aromatic spices. The only places you're likely to be disappointed in the food are in smaller agricultural towns in the Overberg or up the West Coast, where overcooked veggies and an uninspiring and indistinguishable roast are still the norm. But this is changing from month to month as weary city slickers head out of town to open lovely restaurants serving high-quality food.

Country restaurants tend to serve lunch from noon and dinner from 6, and do not cater to late diners except on weekends. Because these areas rely heavily on tourists and local day-trippers, most restaurants in the Cape Winelands and seaside towns are open on weekends, especially for leisurely Sunday lunches, but may catch their breath on Sunday evenings or quieter Mondays. Dress codes vary as much as the dining experiences. Casual wear is acceptable during the day and at most restaurants in the evening. On the coast people pull shorts and T-shirts over their swimsuits before tucking into a plate of calamari and chips (fries), but some Winelands restaurants like their patrons to look as good as the cuisine they deliver. Even so, a nice pair of jeans or pants and a good shirt are usually enough; jackets and ties are rarely expected. If there's someplace you really want to eat, reserve ahead. In December and January, popular restaurants book up quickly, and reservations are advised at least a day or two in advance.

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  • 1. Babel

    $$$ | Eclectic

    Set on the grounds of one of the Cape's oldest Dutch farms, Babel and the Babylonstoren boutique hotel are a vision in white surrounded by lush...Read More

  • 2. Bosman's

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Set amid the heady opulence of the Grande Roche hotel, this elegant restaurant ranks as one of the country's finest. The level of service is...Read More

  • 3. Haute Cabrière

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Try to reserve a window table for views across the vine-clad valley at this restaurant atop a working winery built into the mountainside. The...Read More

  • 4. Rust en Vrede

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    When you arrive at this gorgeous old Dutch farmhouse, a staff member greets you outside the door, suggesting a pre-dinner drink on the rose...Read More

  • 5. Terroir

    $$$ | Eclectic

    The setting on a golf estate and wine farm is pretty, but it's the excellent food and service that really stand out here. Chef Michael Broughton...Read More

  • 6. The Tasting Room

    $$$$ | Contemporary

    You can't go anywhere in Franschhoek without somebody mentioning Margot Janse, Africa’s only female Grand Chef and the culinary genius behind...Read More

  • 7. Tokara

    $$$ | Eclectic

    At the top of the Helshoogte Pass with absolutely amazing views of the valley and mountains, Tokara is a Winelands must-do. Chef Richard Carstens...Read More

  • 8. 96 Winery Road

    $$ | International

    This relaxed venue is always buzzing with folk from the wine industry, regulars, and up-country visitors. Inside, burgundy walls are cozy for...Read More

  • 9. Bar Bar Black Sheep

    $$ | Eclectic

    This relaxed establishment offers rustic, slow-cooked country food with a twist; their dishes are hearty and big on flavor. Fresh, seasonal...Read More

  • 10. Burgundy

    $$ | Seafood

    In one of the village's original stone-and-clay fisherfolk cottages, the cozy Burgundy is one of Hermanus's oldest and best-loved restaurants...Read More

  • 11. Café des Arts

    $$ | Eclectic

    When Topsi Venter, doyenne of the Cape culinary scene, decided to hang up her apron and retire, it seemed appropriate that one of her former...Read More

  • 12. Camphors at Vergelegen

    $$$$ | International

    In summer you need to reserve a table weeks in advance at this idyllic restaurant on the Vergelegen Estate. In pleasant weather ask for a table...Read More

  • 13. Fraai Uitzicht

    $$ | Eclectic

    In a deeply rural setting between Robertson and Ashton, this 200-year-old fruit and wine farm is home to a rustic restaurant where the menu...Read More

  • 14. Harvest

    $$ | South African

    La Borie Wine Estate is nestled in the Paarl valley, with Paarl rock as its backdrop. Harvest, the on-site restaurant, offers elegant, relaxed...Read More

  • 15. Heaven

    $$ | Eclectic

    If you're keen to escape the crush in Hermanus, head to Heaven, situated on Newton Johnson Family Vineyards. It's up the picturesque Hemel-en...Read More

  • 16. Hook, Line and Sinker

    $$ | Seafood

    Owners Jacqi and Stefan Kruger can be a bit gruff, though they're well-meaning. Only the most obedient diners will escape unscathed, but the...Read More

  • 17. La Pentola

    $$ | Eclectic

    With a panoramic view of Walker Bay, La Pentola specializes in international cuisine with South African flavors. Drawing on French, Italian...Read More

  • 18. Marc's Mediterranean Cuisine & Garden

    $$ | Mediterranean

    Chef-owner Marc Friederich is a foodie with an instinctive feel for what will work. And work his restaurant does: it's consistently full,...Read More

  • 19. Miko

    $$$ | International

    Named after Mont Rochelle's previous owner, Miko Rwayitare, Miko is a contemporary fine-dining restaurant with seating indoors and out. The...Read More

  • 20. Muisbosskerm

    $$$$ | South African

    For the true flavor of West Coast life, come to the original open-air seafood restaurant, on the beach south of Lambert's Bay. It consists of...Read More

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