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 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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Boschendal Restaurant

    $$$$ | South African

    Reserve well in advance for the buffet lunch here at one of the Cape's most beautiful and historic wineries. A wide selection of soups, quiches...Read More

  • 5. Die Strandloper Seafood Restaurant

    $$$$ | Seafood

    For a no-frills lunch on the beach, book a table at Die Strandloper. Bring your own drinks and games, and expect to linger for the afternoon...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Overture

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    At the end of Annandale Road, Hidden Valley Estate perches on a mountain ridge, flanked by the splendor of fynbos-covered hills and a silvery...Read More

  • 8. Waverley Hills Estate

    $$$$ | South African

    If you're looking for a day trip, Waverley Hills Estate is a 20-minute drive from Tulbagh. This 320-acre estate is known for its organic wines...Read More

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