The purpose of this post is to curate my favourite meals in South Africa. The standard of restaurants there is amazing – the produce are fresh; South African wine are pretty decent and relatively inexpensive; there are more poultry options such as game meat.
Popular restaurants often require prior reservations. Winter is the off season and some restaurants are closed for winter break. If you are a foodie, do bear this in mind when planning your trip.
#1: La Colombe
After a harrowing drive along the dimly lit road to Silvermist Estate at Constantia, we secretly hoped that dinner would better be worth the effort. Constantia is the vineyard estate area at Cape Town and naturally, there are a few notable restaurants located there. I managed to get a booking at La Colombe, which started their Winter menu not too long ago prior to my visit.
Even reaching Silvermist Estate was a little troubling for my weak little heart because I had difficulty spotting the main gate and missed it! Finally, after driving past some slopes and winding road within the estate in the dark, we finally reached the restaurant. Thankfully, the drive was totally worth it because this was one of our best dining experiences in South Africa.
We selected the classic tasting menu which comprised of about 6 items. The portion was just right – we were feeling full from overeating at lunch. The service staff were very friendly and the restaurant had a soothing, relaxed ambience.
Most importantly, I enjoyed the delicious yet innovative menu by chef Scot Kirton. It is no wonder why the restaurant was awarded one of the Best Restaurants in the world by S. Pellegrino.
#2: Delaire Graff Estate
Delaire Graff Estate, a vineyard estate at Stellenbosch, was in the recommended list of many friends who have visited South Africa. It is not difficult to see why this place is a must-go. This is one of the larger vineyards in Stellenbosch with elaborate architecture and stunning interiors. Set in a breathtaking surrounding with lush, manicured greenery, you could instagram the heck out of this place with your fancy #ootd.
In terms of the food, the plating itself felt like an artform. Each dish resembled a painting.
You could also take a walk around the vineyard and do some wine tasting. While we really enjoyed our food, we didn’t think the wine from Delaire Graff was spectacular, compared to other wine we tasted at Stellenbosch.
So, moral of the story: Budget your alcohol intake at Delaire Graff. You could taste spectacular wines at other estates if you intend to do some vineyard hopping at Stellenbosch.
#3 The Burgundy in Hermanus
After all the fancy eats, it seems weird that The Burgundy made it to my Top 3 list. What happened to the famed oysters at Knysna? Or the game meat at the safari?
Hermanus is a small town where visitors pop by during the whale watching season. It is otherwise a popular retirement town. There are not that many restaurants in this small town but till today, I still remember that delightful ostrich meat at The Burgundy.
It was a weird choice to order poultry instead of seafood, given that Hermanus is by the coast. You could admire amazing view like this while seating at the verandah area of the restaurant.
And today, I am kicking myself for NOT taking a perfect picture of that memorable “Ostrich served on mash and butternut croquette with vegetables and port reduction”.
In short, if you go to Hermanus, do visit The Burgundy. If you visit South Africa and you are game for game meat (!!), don’t forget ostrich.
Are there any restaurants that are overhyped?
Yes! One disappointment was Daniela’s Restaurant at Leisure Isle Lodge Knysna. Besides the amazing view in the day – you can’t see the river at night – I didn’t think that the food was fantastic.
Any other restaurants that are recommended but you didn’t manage to try?
Naturally, there were quite a few in my list that I didn’t manage to visit. Some of them were either fully booked or closed for Winter.
I would save this for the next trip:
- The Test Kitchen, Cape Town: This is one of the top restaurants in town but unfortunately it was closed during the period I was there.
- The Roundhouse, Cape Town: The restaurant is located along Camps Bay, which boasts a majestic ocean view.
- Restaurant Rust En Vrede, Stellenbosch: Rust En Vrede makes quality wine, and apparently their restaurant in their Stellenbosch estate is renown too. I was told that one should go there before sunset to enjoy the breathtaking view of the vineyard.
La Colombe at Silvermist, Cape Town
Silvermist Wine Estate, Constantia Main Rd, Constantia, Cape Town, 7848, South Africa
Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch
Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Burgundy, Hermanus
Marine Drive, Hermanus, 7200, South Africa
You may also wish to refer to the following posts:
- Destination Guide: Self Drive in South Africa
- South Africa Safari: Private Game Reserve or Kruger?
- A Visit to a Township at Knysna, South Africa