Our guide had mentioned the day before that this restaurant was a wonderful place to have lunch. We did not realize that it would be such a great culinary experience as well as beautiful. Since we did not make a reservation in advance, we had to wait for about 1/2 hour. Still it was oh so enjoyable. You wait on benches in the garden and a staff serves you wine while you wait. We then had a lovely lunch on the outside veranda looking at the vineyard.
Favorite Dish: I had the chicken breast which was lined with almonds on a lemongrass skewer with creamy lemon polenta and marmalade and thyme butter. Oh sooo yummy. Joe had the fillet of beef that was served with spicy pomme frites, sherry caramelised pearl onions, and a mustard and rosemary cream sauce. If we were staying longer we would have come back another time to sample other things on the menu. Also- the desserts were divine!!! They also have a great wine list.
Klein Oliphantshoek, tucked away behind the High Street in Franschhoek, is one of the most charming and personal restaurants I've ever been to. (It also has some lovely rooms to stay in but can't comment personally on those.)
You start your meal on the verandah, overlooking the lavender-filled garden. The first two courses are served here, along with local champagne. If it's not too chilly, you can stay out in the fresh air or, as everyone did on the windy night we were there, move back into the dining room for the next seven (!) courses.
The whole meal is wonderfully themed. The dining room is decorated with paintings by local artists, and the food presented on plates and bowls from the brilliant potter/designer round the corner. And, of course, all the wines are local as well.
Every day sees a different menu (by husband Camil) matched to wines by his wife Ingrid. Our meal included: tapas of wildebeest and springbok, lobster consomme with grilled prawn, quail, and beef tenderloin. All exquisitely presented by the staff. Camil cooks everything on a wood stove, and if you are seated with a view of the kitchen you can watch the preparations and the stove being fed with logs!
This is probably the most expensive restaurant in Franschhoek, and locals have complained about the price hike which went with the change from a five course to a nine course menu, but you get whay you pay for and I think this was worth every penny.
When I return to South Africa, this restaurant will be high on my list. It was voted Best Restaurant in the Middle East & Africa by Restaurant magazine in 2005. We tried to get a reservation but found out they were booked months in advance (during the high season). We did go inside and look around.
The restaurant is separated into two sections: iCi, not as fancy as The Tasting Room, is a bistro-style restaurant that serves simplier meals (i.e. grilled rib eye with fondant potato, organic baby vegetables and tomato lacquer or wood-roasted pork chop served with apple relish and a cannelloni bean and chorizo ragout). We had the opportunity to get a table at iCi- but as we were craving a meal at the main room we decided to pass. The Tasting Room is the award-winning room with a set menu. It has been voted one of The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants 2005, 2006, 2007. Here the dinner-only menu changes daily, and guests can choose from a four- (R240/$36), six- (R400/$60), or eight-course meal (R600/$90).
Favorite Dish: Award winning chef Margot Janse loves working with local ingredients for their freshness and variety. Some variety of wild game from springbok and impala to warthog and wildebeest is always on the menu.
The origins of the restaurant are steeped in the history. The original buildings were labourers’ cottages, which were upgraded and used as different forms of accommodation until the first restaurant on this site was opened. Known as “1688”, it was a simple country restaurant.
A very upmarket restaurant, with a rather stiff atmosphere on the Grand Provence wine estate. The French cuisine is outstanding. Prices are quite high, but so is the quality of the food.
You can only have wines of the wine estate with the same name.
A Gastronomic Experience not to be missed. This restaurant has won multiple awards. The food is innovative (Adrian Buchanan). It is rated as one of South Africa's best and serves an inspired fusion of Western and Eastern influences.
Favorite Dish: There are many great dishes to choose from!
Dieu Donné is a great place for lunch. As well as being a wine cellar there is also a micro brewery on site, but the main reason for going there is the view overlooking the town. The food is good, the venison pie I had was very good.
Rueben’s is currently “the place to eat” in Franschhoek. The meal I had there was superb and the service fantastic. The problem is getting a table. Their web site suggests booking 2 weeks in advance. However, the concierge at Le Franschhoek did get Jan and me a table for the same day. Also, I noticed that although they were turning away walk-in customers there were about 40-50 seats available in the indoor area. Rueben’s, as with many other restaurants in the area has an indoor and outdoor dining areas. Jan claimed her blue cheese tart starter was one of the best things she had ever tasted. The springbok was cooked perfectly and tasted great.
Eating at Haute Cabrière is truly a wonderful experience. The restaurant is situated in a cellar in carved into the mountain side with a wonderful view overlooking some of the most beautiful valleys in South Africa. The cellar also produces "premiere Methode Champenoise and classic cultivar wines". The ambience of the restaurant is described as classic elegance and it is constantly rated as one of the top South African restaurants.
Favorite Dish: The first thing I feel I just must mention is the fact that the chef, Matthew Gordon, has a unique talent for combining the most wonderful South African flavours to form something even better and very special.
The other thing that makes this experience even better is that there are no starters or main meals. Simply a list of wonderful creations from which you can choose to have either a half portion or a full. This means that you can try three different recipes in one sitting... As long as you leave some space for dessert...
I really enjoyed the fresh kingklip served on saffron mash and other goodies. Also there were chocolate spring rolls served with turkish delight parfait and ice cream that completely blew my mind.
It cost us about R500 for 5 half portions, a dessert to share and a bottle of wine, so that is more or less what the price per person is aimed on although I am sure it is possible to spend more than US$41 per person!
Rueben's has been in the top 10 restaurants for the past few years. Mostly he wins the no 1 position. a very creative chef that comes up with interesting, tasty and colour bursting food that makes you wanna come back for more.
Favorite Dish: I love his breakfast, especially the salmon tartare.
We ate here on our first night in Franschhoek - a great introduction to the quality and value for money which typifies South African gourmet cuisine (at least, for those used to London restaurant prices!)
Le Bon Vivant isn't as well known as the 'stars' in Franschhoek such as Le Quartier Francais or Klein Oliphantshoek, but I would say the cooking is of almost as high a standard. They have a five course tasting menu, but, knowing we would be facing nine courses the following night, we went for the carte. The selection of prawns, each cooked in a different way, was exquisite and beautifully rpesented - one balanced on a little stick on top of a ceramic holder!
We then had steak, and asked for a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to go with it. There must have been a good half bottle in each glass! It's not surprising the restaurant atmosphere was so pleasant and relaxed, if everyone had their wine poured so generously!
It's in a converted house with a large glass plate window onto the kitchen so everyone can see their steaks being grilled. Decor is ummm .. 'understated', but then with food this good, you don't need distractions.
We paid 400 rand total (about £35, including a generous tip) for two courses, coffee and a great deal of excellent wine!
A very cozy "koffiekroeg" coffee shop/lunchroom. Very friendly staff, good food, everything fresh and home-made.
Favorite Dish: He: giant hoenderslaai (salad with chicken), homemade wholewheat bread
Me: the same!
Drinks: 2 glasses of Chardonnay
Dessert: no dessert - cappucino + coffee
Price: 105 ZAR (excl. tip)