For me, 2017 was a year of discovered foodie gems and even since the beginning of this year, I’ve unearthed a few more restaurants and bistros well-worth checking out in 2018.
From elegant Winelands’ bistros and excellent Northern Suburb gems to inner city speakeasy-meet-tapas spaces, there is something on the list for every kind of food lover to enjoy.
My best eateries to visit in 2018:
No. 1: La Paris Bistro
Located at the beautiful La Paris Estate – famed for its weddings and event functions – this still-new addition to Franschhoek is arguably one of the loveliest places we’ve eaten at in recent years.
The bistro offers elegant, airy and chic indoor spaces, as well as gorgeous outdoor seating on the porch and beneath protective, sprawling oaks. Inside, it is tastefully decked out with lush plants, soft colour tones, wooden and wicker furniture. Aside from the standard seating inside, there is also both a suave, well-stocked bar and corner lounge area for guests to enjoy.
The food, made up of sizeable, quality portions, tastes as good as it looks and the service throughout is polite, efficient and quick, making for a pleasurable experience all-round. I had the well-priced gourmet The New Yorker artisanal sandwich (R95) on sourdough bread with wedge-like chips, and both my boyfriend and I opted for the oh-so-fresh, squeezed orange juice (R20).
On weekends, bookings are strongly advised, though it’s a good idea to book ahead whenever you plan to visit.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the adjoining deli, which offers plenty of mouth-watering treats (their cakes look absolutely divine and are available for order online), fresh produce and bottled gems too!
And it really is a stunning venue for weddings and events – I can promise both the setting and the catering would be sublime!
Contact details: (021) 867 0171, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times: Monday and Wednesday – Sunday, from 08:30 am – 17:00 pm.
Physical address: La Paris Estate, R301, Franschhoek, Western Cape
Facebook: La Paris Bistro Facebook
Instagram: La Paris Bistro Instagram
No. 2: Sentir Tapas and Spirits Space
Please note: Regrettably, Sentir is now closed.
If you’re looking for elegant, small plates dining-meets-bespoke drinks, then look no further than Sentir! This walk-in-style speakeasy and tapas space offers glorious tapas and amazing drinks in a soothing, quality dining space. Sentir is complemented by owners Rickma Coxon and chef Ciska Rossouw’s combination of tasteful, carefully curated interior designs and fine cooking.
You unsuspectingly enter Sentir through the famous and well-love micro-bakery, Loaves on Long, where chef Ciska is also the talented Madame baker.
Sentir Tapas and Spirits Space does everything well and with extreme quality. Sentir boasts a taste experience of note, whether its through their on tap Drifter Brewing Company Buchu G&T or tantalising tapas dishes.
The food menu at Sentir is divided up into well-defined sections of salty, spicy, sour, sweet, bitter and umami. Because of this, the meals and menu here are both playfully fun and intriguing, as they collectively take your palate on a culinary trip!
Overall, Sentir offers a relaxed, intimate dining experience, providing you with both sensational food and drinks.
Contact details: (021) 422 3353, email@example.com
Opening times: Wednesday – Saturday, from 16:00 pm – 22:00 pm.
Physical address: 33 Long Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
Facebook: Sentir Tapas and Spirit Space Facebook
Instagram: Sentir Tapas and Spirit Space Instagram
No. 3: The Stone Kitchen (Dunstone Country Estate and Winery)
Found on the ultra-gorgeous Dunstone Country Estate and Winery in Wellington, The Stone Kitchen is a beautiful country bistro with a modern, airy feel. Much like the rest of Dunstone, the rustic restaurant space offers panoramic mountain vistas, despite lying tucked away through the orchids.
This vibrant, well-run bistro is modern, especially with its eye-catching spotlights and floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors, which open out onto its expansive, quaint porch.
Inside, the bistro explodes with a creative and tasteful combination of furnishings, wall blackboards (with humour and fun quotes) and striking coloured walls. Every inch of the bistro echoes nuances of its wine background, from its small tasting bar area and barrel-style fittings, to the fun wine quotes and mounted wine bottles lined up against a main wall.
Aside from the main inside and porch seating, guests can also dine outside under the trees, in a walled off garden space. It also offers indoor and outdoor play areas for kids, making it extremely suitable for children. (As a bonus, they also cater to baby showers, kids’ parties and kitchen teas.)
The Stone Kitchen has a good selection of classic, country-style food, with everything from gourmet toasted sandwiches to yummy burgers or desserts. Add to this great coffee and some of Dunstone’s fine wines and it’s the perfect food-and-wine match, made in the popular Cape Winelands.
The service here is professional and welcoming and the food and drinks are great, providing visitors with a wonderful dining experience, no matter when you dine here. And given how it’s on one of my now favourite places, I can’t recommend a meal and stay at Dunstone enough!
Contact details: (021) 873 6770, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times: (summer, November – April), Monday – Sunday, from 08:30 am – 16:00pm
(winter, May – October), Wednesday to Sunday, from 08:30 am – 16:00pm.
(dinner, Friday and Saturday) open till 22:00 pm but booking is essential.
Physical address: The Stone Kitchen, Dunstone Country Estate, Bovlei Road, Wellington, Western Cape
Facebook: Dunstone Country Estate Facebook
Instagram: Dusntone Estate Instagram
Twitter: Dunstone Estate Twitter
No. 4: Devils Peak De Oude Bistro
Important update: Please note this restaurant has since changed ownership and is now known as De Oude Social Club. Contact info and other details have changed – however, my review is based on the old establishment, formerly run by Devil’s Peak Brewery. And while I am sure it is still just as lovely – I have yet to visit since the rebrand. And thus cannot comment on the new developments.
This tranquil, family-friendly spot, found in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, oozes country elegance and laidback charm. Situated in Welgemoed suburbia, Devil’s Peak De Oude Bistro is a calm, pleasant and cosy space, perfect for enjoying their delicious, wood-fire pizzas.
The food, which is mainly pizza-orientated, is enhanced by their own famous beer and some local Cape wines. The bistro’s pizzas are delicious, generously topped and well-priced. They also offer some inventive toppings, like Italian sausage or broccoli, made even more intriguing by the simple, yet interesting pizza names… think: The Pig or The Italian.
Service at Devil’s Peak Bistro is efficient and friendly. They especially handle their online bookings (which are advisable, given how busy they get) with slick professionalism, ensuring that you never have to wait or explain your reservation, like at some restaurants.
The interior atmosphere, while minimalist, is tasteful and homely, and especially at night, the bistro is particularly romantic… But whether you’re visiting with friends, family, a business partner or your special person, meals here are an effortless pleasure.
The heritage building, in which Devil’s Peak De Oude Welgemoed is housed, dates back to 1677, meaning it is full of plenty of charm and character. As you can expect, this only adds to the lovely Cape dining experience.
The restaurant is fronted by head chef Michelle Fourie, who recently returned to SA shores after a long stint in the UK. Before this, she cooked in some of London’s best restaurants. She has (quite literally) partnered up with her husband, Jacques Fourie, who is the Executive Chef for the Devil’s Peak group.
Perhaps best of all for younger families, the Devil’s Peak De Oude is hugely child-friendly, with lots of outdoor space and a cool kiddies’ play area, found near a 300-year-old oak tree.
We will definitely be returning to try the restaurant’s De Oude Manor section – and we’ve also heard good things about the Alpha Beer Hall, where Devil’s Peak beer naturally reigns supreme.
Contact details: (021) 200 5802, email@example.com
(De Oude Manor) Monday – Saturday, from 08:00 am – 23:00pm; Sunday, 08:00 am – 18:00 pm
(De Oude Bistro); Sunday, from 08:00 am – 23:00pm, Sunday, from 08:00 am – 18:00pm.
(Alpha Beer Hall) Thursday – Friday, 17:00 pm – 23:00 pm; Saturday, from 11:00 am – 23:00pm; Sunday, from 11:00 am – 18:00 pm.
Physical address: 1 Pandoer Street, Welgemoed, Cape Town, Western Cape
Facebook: Devil’s Peak De Oude Facebook
Twitter: Devil’s Peak Brewing Company Twitter
Instagram: Devil’s Peak De Oude Instagram
No. 5: Arugula Bistro and Bread
Update: Arugula has since changed hands – but I feel it stays true to Neil Swart and Anouchka Horn’s vision (just with a slightly new spin and fresh look). They have since successfully gone on to launch Belly of the Beast, which is making ripples in the foodie scene.
This elegant, chic restaurant was born out of the desire to create a fine dining family establishment. And in Arugula Bistro and Bread, chef-owners Anouchka Horn and Neil Swart have created precisely that.
Inside, Arugula – uniquely situated above shopping complex, Welgemoed Forum, in the Northern Suburbs – is lovely and polished, offering leather seating and dark wooden tables throughout. There is also some outdoor seating but mainly for good, wind-less weather.
Arugula is a great restaurant space, which has all you need for a quality dining experience, without it ever feeling over-the-top. In fact, this bistro feels comfortable and cosy, despite its show-stopping views and efficient open kitchen.
The menu provides everything from gourmet breakfasts through to romantic, quiet dinners and while Arugula is quite meat-centric, there is something here to please ever palate, even children (note: the kids’ menu is for children 13 years and under).
The staff are friendly and attentive, even at the eatery’s busiest, and the kitchen operates with quiet, speedy efficiency and supreme cooking professionalism.
Arugula offers delicious meals, which are filling and wholesome, as much as they are flavourful and artful. In particular, their sticky toffee pudding dessert, served with ice-cream and vodka custard, is absolutely divine.
Arugula cost us roughly R500 (including our drinks and the tip) for two mains and two desserts, with a lovely complementary bread starter thrown in. This made it a well-priced and impressive fine dining experience in the sleepy Northern Suburbs. Unsurprisingly, most of its customers are regulars… and it’s not hard to see why!
Contact details: (021) 913 6906, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times: Monday – Friday, 07:30 am – 21:00 pm; Saturday, 08:00 am – 21:00pm
Physical address: Arugula Bistro and Bread, Shop 18, Welgemoed Forum, Cape Town, Western Cape
Facebook: Arugula Bistro and Bread
No. 6: Mama Cucina
Located in the magical and quirky town of Riebeek Kasteel, Mama Cucina is one of the best eateries in the Cape Winelands.
And, as word of mouth hails it, Mama Cucina is far more special than your usual Italian-inspired South African eatery… That must be the reason why there’s an almost constant stream of food lovers exiting with takeaway pizza boxes, too full (as we were) to gobble everything up!
Mama Cucina is a treasure trove of wonderful contrasts: it’s quaint, yet quirky; rustic, yet romantic and intimate, yet buzzing!
Above all, this Italian restaurant is celebrated for its family atmosphere and mouth-watering wood-fire pizzas – understandably so! For, although there is a good selection of Italian meals, desserts and wonderful drinks too, people generally opt for their pizzas… And with such generously topped, delicious thin-based pizzas, it’s not hard to see why.
Food and drinks are well-priced and lovely; service is good (even at its busiest – and trust me, this town favourite heaves with contented customers, especially on weekends!) and the atmosphere offers a charming setting, whether you sit indoors or out… Even from the street, this well-loved Italian restaurant catches your eye, with its flowery, green oasis feel. It is well and truly a Winelands’ gem!
Contact details: 022 448 1676, email@example.com
Opening times: Monday – Sunday, from 08:00 am – 10:00 am (breakfast); 12:00 – 16:00pm (lunch); 20:00 pm – 22:00pm (dinner)
Physical address: Mama Cucina, 20 Sarel Cilliers Street, Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape
Facebook: Mama Cucina Italian Restaurant Facebook
Twitter: Mama Cucina Twitter
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.