THE "BETTER" FRANSCHHOEK RESTAURANTS (In Franschhoek town and valley)
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House is in the heart of the "food and wine capital of the Cape". Many people visit just to eat at the famous Franschhoek restaurants, some situated on the wine farms, some attached to the hotels and some independent ones in the village itself. This means that particularly during the high season (1 October to 30 April) it can be impossible to get into the restaurant of your choice without prior booking. You might wish to book ahead using the e-mail addresses given. If phoning from outside South Africa leave out the 0 at the beginning and substitute +27 instead.
For your guidance we give an alphabetical list of some of the better restaurants (at least in our opinion). There are, of course, plenty of other places to eat for those who want to explore.
There are no taxis in Franschhoek. It is sometimes possible to organise transport but at fair notice. It is expensive and makes one very inflexible. So either one should drive oneself, as do most people, or else walk and eat in town.
It is even more difficult with the wineries, which, unless you are a major hiker, need to be got to by car, bicycle or horseback though there is now an open bus and tram that has a circular route to many of the close-by wineries.
VEGETARIANS – PLEASE LET RESTAURANT KNOW WHEN BOOKING TO ENSURE A BETTER CHOICE.
Our list below tells you to which restaurants you can walk from Akademie Street boutique hotel and guest house - most of them in fact. So why not dine and wine and then sink into an extra length, extra width king size bed at Akademie Street. Click here to book.
- Le Quartier Français - The Tasting Room : Easy walking distance. Margot Janse has been voted S.A.’s best chef and the restaurant rated in the top 50 restaurants in the world for several consecutive years by Restaurant Magazine UK. Often number one restaurant in South Africa (Eat Out Awards). A five-course or a nine-course "surprise" African-inspired menu, with or without wines to match, it is a must for people who like superb, out-of-the-ordinary food. Vegetarian option always available! Wine information, though very good, is not up to the same standard as the world class food. WONDERFUL TASTE EXPERIENCE. You need to book directly. They only take bookings one month in advance on their website. 021 876-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dinner & Lunch
- Café des Arts: Easy walking distance. Small, casual. Small menu on blackboard until dishes run out and are erased. Minimal wine list. VERY GOOD, STRAIGHT FORWARD FOOD. 021 876-2952 email@example.com
- Delaire Graff: Opposite Tokara, half way to Stellenbosch. A stunning situation with a large collection of contemporary South African art. A GOOD Thai restaurant, Indochine, is at the guest lodge. 021 885-8160 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dutch East: Easy walking distance. Great venue for sitting and watching the passing scene. 021 876-3547 email@example.com
- Foliage: Easy walking distance. Chef Chris Erasmus’s new restaurant (while head chef at La Motte it was crowned one of the Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa). VERY GOOD, SUSTAINABLE, LOCAL COMFORT FOOD. Monday to Saturday lunch and dinner, Sundays lunch only. 021 876-2328 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Franschhoek Kitchen: On Holden Manz formerly Klein Genot. Free restaurant transport for dinner bookings. Small dining area with stunning views but most of restaurant has no view at all so get there early or ask for table with view. 021 876-2738 email@example.com
- Fyndraai: At Solms Delta. Very interesting building, South African dishes. Museum – well worth a visit. Lunches daily, picnics, early dinners in summer - Local music on Saturday evenings in summer makes for a fun experience. 021 874 3937 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Grande Provence: Very beautiful venue especially in the daytime. GOOD FOOD. Very good red wines under the Grande Provence label. Avoid the Angels’ Tears popular wines. Interesting contemporary art gallery and sculpture garden. Can also eat al fresco. Wine tasting at the bar adjoining the restaurant. 021 876-8600 email@example.com
- Haute Cabriere: Romantic as it is in a wine cellar built into the mountainside above Franschhoek, but noisy for the same reason. On nice days try and get a table outside. 021 876-3688 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Le Bon Vivant: Easy walking distance. Can eat in the village garden at night. Guests of ours particularly fond of the 5 course "Surprise" menu. Lighter menu at Glenwood Farm at lunch time. GOOD FOOD. 021 876-2717 email@example.com
- Monneaux: At Franschhoek Country House and Villas. Free restaurant transport for dinner bookings. Good contemporary dishes. One can eat al fresco. 021 876-3386 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Racine: At Cape Chamonix. Another creation by Reuben and Maryke Riffel. About 45 minutes' walk some of it quite steep. THE FOOD IS VERY GOOD but the menu is limited. Worth a visit for the Cape Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines as well. They also have light express menu. Open for lunches all week and dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. 021 876-2393 email@example.com
- Reuben's: Easy walking distance. Fêted local lad and celebrity chef, Reuben Riffel’s brasserie. THE FOOD IS VERY GOOD. He also works at the One&Only Hotel in Cape Town where he has replaced Gordon Ramsay. It is necessary to book even in winter. Easier to get a luncheon booking - sit in the shady courtyard under the white stinkwood tree. Interesting pub section where the bar-counter is the wing of a Dakota airplane. 021 876-3772 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Roca: At Dieu Donné on the slopes of the mountain. Free restaurant transport for dinner bookings. (Also a micro-brewery). Magnificent views over the valley. The sense of place unfortunately destroyed by a marquee with a bar in the corner. 021 876- 3384 email@example.com
- Ryan's Kitchen: Easy walking distance. Now re-opened in his new venue at the other end of the village. Expect the same VERY GOOD FOOD. 021 876-4598. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pierneef à La Motte: On La Motte farm. South African dishes (some sourced from historical writings) with a contemporary twist. Stunning setting. GOOD FOOD. Wine tasting, an art gallery and also a small exclusive ( and hence pricey) shop. Breads, excellent pâtisseries and chocolates. 021 876-8800 email@example.com
- The French Connection: Easy walking distance. Bistro style. 021 876-4056 Fax 021 876-4036 firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Grillroom: Easy walking distance. Other dishes on menu besides grills. Good steaks. 021 876-2451 email@example.com
- Tokara: Half way to Stellenbosch. A state of the art restaurant / winery. Stunning views. Richard Carstens A WONDERFUL CHEF, is at the helm of the kitchen. Ask for a window seat at lunch time. 021 808-5959 Fax 021 808-5966 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Babel: At Babylonstoren. An old farm which has been redeveloped as an enormous vegetable and fruit garden based on an old French design. The garden is beautiful and well worth a visit (ideally not on a hot summer’s day, though.) Tours at 10 am and 3 pm. The restaurant is super-trendy and different, green salads go with a green dressing, yellow with yellow and red with red for instance. Ignore the colour schemes and go for the “proper” food on the menu. A nice tea room in the garden.021 863-1804. email@example.com
- Boschendal: Very beautiful farm to visit. New Owners renovating to refresh the rather tired old restaurant which at one time was one of the Cape's most famous dining places. The Werf restaurant will be open mid January 2015. Light lunches at The Farm Shop and Deli. In summer famous for their picnic lunches (at tables). Bookings for main restaurant and picnics necessary well ahead in summer. 021 870-4272 Fax 021 874-2137 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bread and Wine: On Môreson wine farm. In summer open 7 days a week. At other times always enquire ahead. (ARTHUR'S PERSONAL FAVOURITE LUNCH PLACE). Also named one of the top10 restaurants in South Africa (Eat Out 2008). Neil Jewell makes and sells wonderful sausages from the shop. Sit outside under the trees and umbrellas looking at the orange tree orchards and eat WONDERFUL FOOD in a very relaxed and informal atmosphere. 021 876-3692 email@example.com
- Café Allée Bleue: Just the place for a light lunch after visiting Boschendal or L’Ormarins Motor Museum. Good food, prize winning wines, particularly the Pinotage. Pick a day when one can sit outside on the patio under the shade of the giant blue gum trees. 021 874-1021 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Café Bonbon: Lovely views of the farms and mountains. 021 876-3936 email@example.com
- Cosecha: Lovely views. GOOD MEXICAN FOOD. On Noble Hill Wine farm. 021 874-3844 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hillcrest Berry Orchards: Open daily for teas and lunches. Can sit inside or out. Wonderful views. Emphasis on organic products and small producers. LOVELY TARTS and desserts made with their berries. Berry products for sale. Slow service. 021 885-1629
- The Kitchen at Maison: Small menu, nice view and GOOD FOOD and lovely clean style for a country restaurant owned by designer furniture retailer Chris Weylandt. 021 876-2116. email@example.com
- La Petite Ferme: One of the most popular restaurants in Franschhoek for the last twenty odd years. On the mountainside with lovely views. Friendly. Only open for lunch. In summer, need to book well in advance. 021 876-3016 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lust Bistro and Bakery: On Vrede en Lust farm. BEST BREAD IN THE VALLEY made in a wood fired oven. 021 874-1456 email@example.com
- The Rotiserrie at Leopard's Leap: Uncomplicated, fresh and seasonal food. Rotisserie-based lunches with farm breads and side dishes such as salads and roast vegetables. Can take lunch and picnic under trees. Wednesdays to Sundays from 10:00 to 17:00. 021 876-8002.
Some Other Places To Eat
It is normally not necessary to book ahead (at peak times, still not worth taking a chance):
- Allora: Italian food. GOOD PIZZAS. Very good value. Friendly service. 021 876-4375/6. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Col’ Cacchio: Easy walking distance. Pizzas and salads also a few so-so pasta dishes. Upstairs lounge bar. Live music sometimes. 021 876-4222 email@example.com
- Elephant and Barrel: Easy walking distance. English style pub. Sit inside or in the square. Music some nights. Kitchen closes at 22h00 (on Sundays at 21h30) 021 876-4127 firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Garden Room: At Le Quartier Francais. Easy walking distance. 021 876-8442 email@example.com
- Oude Slaven Huis: Easy walking distance almost across the road from Akademie at back of Huguenot Museum. Very good value for money. Nice food and staff. Open all day for breakfasts, lunches and teas. 021 876-2192 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Salmon Bar at the Yard: Easy walking distance. Specialise in salmon dishes but a couple of non-fish options available. Small and sophisticated. Good restaurant and deli. Breads baked throughout the day. 021 876-4591 email@example.com
- The Stall: Walking distance. Excellent thin-crust pizzas and burgers alongside the old railway station. 021 876-4497
Good Restaurants Further Afield in the Winelands
Should you wish to drive further for an excellent lunch* we list below some of the restaurants that in our view are particularly good. (They are 35 minutes to 50 minutes driving time from Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House).
- Bosman’s: at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl. 021 863-5100
- Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine: on the Jordan wine farm. 021 881-3612
- Overture: on the Hidden Valley wine farm. 021 880-2721
- Pomegranate: on the Vergenoegd wine farm. 021 843-3248
- Terroir: On the Kleine Zalze golf course. 021 880-8167
* After dinner we do not recommend the long night drive back to Franschhoek