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The 15 best restaurants in Franschhoek

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In the Western Cape’s own French corner, there are almost too many options for mouthwatering meals. We’ve narrowed it down to the 15 spots to cross off your Franschhoek bucket list first.

This selection comprises all the Franschhoek restaurants that made the cut for the 2019 Eat Out 500, the list of best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2019 edition of Eat Out magazine (on sale now). But we know there are many more great spots in the area. Please tell us about your favourites in the comments at the end!

Big Dog Café (Main Road)

The menu is a mix of classics and fresh, healthy options. Look forward to an all-day breakfast featuring dishes like mushrooms on toast (a Big Dog favourite, with sautéed mixed mushrooms on toasted sourdough, white bean and truffle hummus, poached free-range eggs, ancho chilli and coffee hollandaise with crispy onions and dill). Other highlights include the Togarashi fried chicken and waffles with a labneh, ginger and orange pickle and a daikon and honey miso sauce; lamb burger with radicchio and citrus salad, feta yoghurt, jalapeno sauce, crispy onions and hand cut twice-fried potato chips; and a treat of buttermilk red velvet sweet waffle, strawberry cheesecake semifreddo and lemon butterscotch sauce.

Bread & Wine (Môreson Farm)🍽 

Look forward to options of uncomplicated seasonal two- or three-course menus. Starters could include tender chargrilled octopus with XO sauce or chicken rillettes. Also go for the Boschendal beef short rib with bone marrow, or eryngii mushrooms with polenta, parmesan custard and baby leeks. Finish off with pink grapefruit cheesecake or Paris-Brest with apple, ricotta and heavenly toffee ice-cream desserts. Chef and charcuterie master Neil Jewell and Tina Jewell have left their post at Bread & Wine after 19 years at the restaurant. They’re teaming up with chef Liam Tomlin of Chefs Warehouse to open a new restaurant in the Winelands.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

Bistro BonBon (La Petite Dauphine Estate)

Situated at the beautiful La Petite Dauphine Estate, Bistro BonBon (formerly Café BonBon), offers a mix of seasonal bistro classics and traditional South African favourites. Expect classics like the English breakfast with two eggs, bacon, pork banger, mushrooms, caramelised onions, tomato smoor and potato rosti. Also enjoy a wholesome lunch and dinner menu with dishes like steamed West Coast mussels, toasted ciabatta, white wine and cream sauce; free range chicken with a bacon and sweetcorn risotto; and malva pudding with crème anglaise and a roast apple puree.

 

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Join us for a warm winter breakfast……

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Café Des Arts (Reservoir Street)

The extensive food menu at this rustic and relaxed restaurant in the heart of Franschhoek features a light meals section, as well as more substantial menu items for those who come hungry. Start with the springbok carpaccio with truffle mayonnaise, cracked black pepper and parmesan before moving on to the stuffed baby squid with a feta, sundried tomato and fresh herb filling in a zesty lemon butter sauce. Else go for the highly recommended chef’s signature line fish. Dessert options include salty caramel cheesecake or the flourless chocolate cake with crème fraiche and espresso syrup.

Chefs Warehouse at Maison (Maison Estate)

Expect a fresh, seasonal and signature tapas-inspired menu prepared by dynamic chef duo David Schneider and Liam Tomlin. Highlights from the menu include the MCC-and-honey-infused duck liver parfait; cauliflower risotto; and Karoo lamb ‘sout-ribbetjie’ with braaied cauliflower, spiced red-pepper glaze, smoked celeriac and tahini dressing, feta yoghurt, pine nuts and a wood-fired blini crisp.

A tapas dish from Chefs Warehouse at Maison. Photo by Claire Gunn.

The Dining Room at Leeu Estate (Leeu Estate)🍽 

This restaurant offers diners the choice between a two-course and three-course menu. Highlights include a pan-seared beef, baby marrow spaghetti and wakame broth starter; the highly recommended slow-braised Karoo lamb shoulder served with cauliflower three ways, curried lentils and mebos atchar; and a decadent chocolate fondant with chocolate soil, honeycomb ice cream and candied orange for dessert.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

Manor House at The Dining Room at Leeu Estates. Photo Supplied.

Foliage (Huguenot Street)

The menu at Foliage could include delicious dishes like smoked snoek ravioli; a bramble berry vinegar and quince jelly-glazed lamb sweetbreads with cep puree, fiddlehead fern and pine needle toasted ragout; or a myrtle and wild sage foam with pea shoots and bitter sorrel. Finish off with a vegan chocolate mousse, apple-and-basil gel, molasses granola, caramelised banana ice cream and apple chips for dessert.

A dish from Foliage. Photo supplied.

La Petite Colombe (Huguenot Road)

Situated at Le Quartier Français Hotel in Franschhoek, La Petite Colombe offers a variety of menus, like the gourmand and reduced menus (both have vegetarian variations). Highlights from the gourmand menu include caraway sourdough bread with home-churned butter, sesame and roasted yeast; yellowfin tuna with aubergine, miso, naartjie and avocado; rich gochujang-glazed pork with scallops; or celeriac with wild garlic and horseradish. It’s a must-try.

A dish from La Petite Colombe. Photo by Andrea van der Spuy.

Le Coin Français (Huguenot Road)

Lunch kicks off with a delicious bread course of cheese puffs, served warm with soft butter. This is followed by an amuse bouche of porcini cured springbok tartare accompanied by a palate cleanser of fresh beetroot. The butter-poached langoustine starter, served with a cheese-and-snoek velouté, is sophisticated in appearance and flavour. Mains comprise an 18-hour confit Karoo lamb enrobed in a deep and rich sauce enriched with marrow. For dessert, opt for the speculaas-and-pumpkin dessert offering, before the meal ends with a dramatic dry ice presentation of a truffle flavoured with grape jelly. The wine list consists of a selection of local Franschhoek wines.

An elegant French-inspired dish from Le Coin Français. Photo Supplied.

Le Petit Manoir (Huguenot Road)

The à la carte menu features six starters, six mains and six dessert options. The braised and pickled vegetable starter is highly recommended: braised and pickled vegetables served with potato gnocchi and a parsnip and ginger puree. For mains, try the braised beef short rib with celeriac discs, or have the poached kingklip dish with a spinach-and-lemon puree and pickled shimeji mushrooms. Desserts are a highlight. The chocolate log with almond and charcoal ash, beetroot tapioca and liquorish ice cream is a must. Or try the whiskey tipsy tart or goat’s milk cheesecake. An amuse bouche, bread board and after-dinner treats come standard. There’s also a wide selection of wines, spirits and cocktails.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

Marigold (Huguenot Road)🍽 

Indulge in chef Vanie Padayachee’s spot-on north Indian cuisine, starting with the palak chaat, a delectable dish of crispy spinach leaves in gram flour batter and topped with sweetened curd, tamarind, chilli and onion. Then order the thali taster featuring tandoori lamb kebabs; palak chaat; cucumber and tomato raita; cucumber, tomato and onion salad; basmati rice; murgh makhani (butter chicken); dal tadka (yellow dal); and naan bread. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the trio of kulfi (Indian ice cream made with boiled milk, sugar, fruits and fragrant spices). Flavours could include cinnamon, fennel coconut and mango. The wine list is extensive and priced very reasonably. Make sure you try a lassi – mango, plain sweet or savoury.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

Pierneef à La Motte (La Motte Wine Estate)

Chef Eric Bulpitt has infused a new energy into Pierneef à La Motte with a brand new offering of a seasonal garden menu featuring dishes like flavoursome wood-fire roasted cauliflower served with flavours of curry, raisin and parsley. Enjoy Iberian pig served with quince chutney and charred greens or free-range sirloin with herb-crusted confit shallots, parsnip and sauce bordelaise. Desserts are divine: go for the vanilla buttermilk  cheesecake or savour the wood-fire roasted guavas with a raisin ice cream. A varied selection of wines is available, with ample options of cultivar, origin and price range.

Inside at Pierneef à La Motte. Photo supplied.

The Restaurant at Grande Provence (Grande Provence Estate)

Led by chef Marvin Robyn, the menu is a testament to South African heritage. The ox tongue starter is served with sweet mustard and pickled butternut is a pleasant surprise. Main courses include the signature butter-poached crayfish served with grilled cos lettuce and orange hollandaise. Desserts include malva ice cream with a cheesecake mousse, plum jelly and nut marzipan.

 

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On today’s menu @grandeprovence deconstructed sushi bowl #resturants #sushi #winelands

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Reuben’s (Daniel Hugo Road)🍽 

The fare here is the most triumphant return to form for chef Reuben Riffel. There are so many great options that ordering a wide selection for the table seems like the only sensible thing. Some starters could also be ordered as the main, such as the yellow fin tuna tataki served with a ponzu dressing, pickled mustard, avocado and wasabi. You’ll be itching to get stuck in the soft herb risotto with English spinach, sautéed mushrooms, roasted butternut and balsamic cream, but none will quench your venison craving like the springbok steak with walnuts, butternut honey, pancetta candy and preserved cherry gastrique. On top of the famous gooey chocolate fondant there’s also a fresh seasonal dessert of the day and dulce de leche créme brûlée. There’s a decent scope of wines, with emphasis on Franschhoek farms, plus brandies and gins.

🍽 Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.

The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal (Pniel Road)

This is modern dining with a light and local touch. It probably doesn’t get much more seasonal and local than this – unsurprising, considering The Werf is the winner of the 2018 Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award. Up to 90% of the items on the menu are either produced on the farm or sourced from the valley. The dishes are designed for sharing, but you may find that difficult. For mains, a beautifully grilled Angus steak served with red onion and pickled kale. On the sweet side, Jersey milk mousse is served with dulche de leche, and malted milk sorbet is a wonderful combination of tastes and textures. The wine list is on the expensive side; it features the wide range of Boschendal wines, as well as other local heavy-hitters.

This selection comprises all the Franschhoek restaurants that made the cut for the 2019 Eat Out 500, the list of best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2019 edition of Eat Out magazine (on sale now). But we know there are many more great spots in the area. Please tell us about your favourites in the comments below.

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