A foodie in Stellenbosch is as happy as a pig in mud. With more options than even the cuisine cornucopia of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch’s fine dining scene makes for one delicious restaurant bucket list. We’ve narrowed down the best of the best to get you started.
This selection comprises all the Stellenbosch restaurants that made the cut for the 2018 Eat Out 500, the list of best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2018 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!
Sometimes a restaurant doesn’t have to be complicated. This latest project from Bertus Basson is incredibly low key and that’s what makes it special. Your choice is between two dishes: a Wagyu cheeseburger with perfect chips or succulent fish and chips. (Or have both, we won’t judge!) Wash it all down in front of an amazing view with options of soft drinks, water, red and white Hidden Valley wines and bubbles.
This restaurant is a feast for your eyes as well as your palate. Savour the works of art, gorgeous gardens and the striking wine cellar before moving on to dishes like twice-baked beetroot soufflé with fynbos vinegar jelly. You’ll be sure to come across more bold flavours and interesting combinations, like the confit tuna with tomato jam and goat’s cheese, and the mushroom arancini with smoked pears.
Eight is a farm-to-table bistro and the produce is either grown on the farm or sourced from a nearby farm. The Farmer Angus pie arrives at the table with crisp vegetables, and the slow-roasted pork cheek is served with parmesan buttered corn, caramelised cabbage and prunes, and spinach. Desserts include orange cheesecake, rich chocolate brownie and flourless chocolate cake.
This cosy spot is perfect for a quick weeknight meal or leisurely lunch in the sunny courtyard. From the wide selection of tapas on offer, start with steamed edamame beans, takitori chicken or pork, tempura prawns, vegetables or fish. Mains include myriad sushi, tempura and platters.
If you’re here on a sunny day, grab a seat on the terrace. Kick off your meal with bread with bone marrow butter, truffle cream cheese and olives, spicy buffalo wings, plump arancini or bacalhau with curry aioli. Mains offer a selection of meat served in 100g portions, including brisket burnt ends and pulled lamb shoulder. Pork lovers will be happy with pork ribs, belly and miso pork neck – or a combination of the neck and belly on a bun, with coriander and pickled carrots. Pro tip: indulge in the sides. Go for roasted cauliflower with hummus, sumac red onion, labneh, za’atar and sultanas, harissa-roasted carrots, or coal-roasted sweet potato. Afterwards, head to the bakery for something sweet.
Located in one of the first grand residences in town (dating back to 1713), Helena’s is a stylish retreat from the busy street. Dinner here includes mains like beef fillet with potatoes cooked in lamb fat, carrots, roast cauliflower purée and bone marrow; smoked local pork loin with rooibos-infused potato purée, pearl onions, crispy Brussels sprout leaves and roast beetroot, and linefish with tomato-and-olive relish, baby spinach and pea purée.
Driving to Indochine is a little like entering a portal to the lost world. Chef Virgil Kahn nails the balance of heat and umami; richness and freshness. Go for the grilled line fish with galangal, ginger, garlic and green chilli relish, or the vindaloo. You won’t be at a loss to pair the spicy food with a wine – the sommelier has it all well in hand.
Breakfast offers classics such as croissants, croque monsieurs and madames, eggs Benedict, or different varieties of French toast. For lunch, try the peppered mackerel with a baked sweet potato, or a brisket burger with pickles. The array of delicious pastries to enjoy with a good cup of coffee is too good to miss.
The focus here is on seasonal flavours and local, organic produce on a changing menu. Earthy, smoky tastes and textures are showcased in smoked, acorn-fed pork with pease pudding, prawn boudin blanc, Williston lamb kidneys and roasted root vegetables. Vegetarians are also well taken care of, with dishes like the caramelised leek tart with truffled watercress and gorgonzola gnocchi with charred Brussels sprouts.
This spacious spot offers tasty bistro fare at affordable prices. Go for the slow-cooked pork neck steak with cauliflower purée, free-range beef steak with paprika potato wedges, or the Joostenburger with apple-and-bacon jam, pickled cucumber, pink onions and triple-cooked hand-cut chips. For dessert, try plum-and-almond tart with home-made vanilla ice cream, lemon drizzle cake with lemon curd and meringue.
The focus here is on two- to five- course food-and-wine pairing menus by chefs George Jardine and Kyle Burn. Don’t miss the yuzu-cured salmon with beetroots; warm gnocchi salad with crispy kale, smoked walnut and caramelised apple; and pan-roasted rump with potato-and-pancetta gratin, and caramelised onion. Desserts include honey-and-poppy seed soufflé or spiced churros with Valrhona hot chocolate.
This coolly modern restaurant is definitely worth the visit. Chef Lucas Carsten’s menu offers generous portions on small plates, with mains like butter-poached kingklip with black garlic and brinjal, or Chalmar sirloin with umami butter and crispy onions. End off with milk tart ice-cream sandwiches and passion fruit with meringue shards and coconut.
This is the spot for a small and intimate dinner. First, decide between two or three courses before being treated to dishes like oak-smoked salmon with horseradish crème fraîche and buckwheat blinis. Mains could include dry-aged beef fillet and springbok loin with root vegetables, and Cape Malay or paprika-dusted kingklip with baba ganoush and harissa beurre blanc.
The three-course set menu of simple but magical dishes at this country-style restaurant changes regularly based on which fresh produce is at its most delicious. Start with a tarte tatin of sweet tomatoes bursting beneath parmesan and fresh baby leaves. For mains, think roast Karoo lamb, served with buttery potatoes and glorious aioli.
This Top 10 restaurant makes any meal a decadent feast. Starters include smoked hake with pommes Anna, creamy fish stock and a soft egg. For mains, the hearty braised lamb shoulder is a must-try. The flavours are perfectly balanced: sweet gem squash pureé; salty, creamy Dijonnaise, and spicy hints of cumin and coriander. Dessert doesn’t disappoint, either – soft and light, the vanilla soufflé is served with a roasted sesame seed ice cream.
This warm and welcoming spots offers a chalkboard menu that changes daily. Enjoy dishes like tortellin ai ragù or pomodoro, lasagne, vitello tonnato, veal with porcini and simple yet tasty pasta alla salsiccia. Vegetarians are catered for with the likes of gnocchi with spinach and ricotta, or melanzane alla Parmigiana. Wash it all down with the Dalla Cia range of wine and grappa, plus imported Italian wines, apéritifs and beers.
Clos Malverne draws a loyal local crowd with its generous winelands-inspired cuisine. Expect nuance and artistry on your plate, from humble fish croquettes topped with poached quail eggs, to tender fillet steak enriched with a silky duck liver mousse. The estate’s wines cover everything from sparkling sauvignon blanc to full-bodied pinotage, all at cellar door prices. For something special, browse the list of older vintages and limited releases.
Expect fantastic service and elegance at this country-style favourite. Chef Fabio Daniel has taken over from John Shuttleworth and is adding his own flair to the menu, while still honouring the acclaimed heritage that came before. Tuck into the likes of a new-potato risotto with herb purée or the parmesan snow, herb-crusted lamb loin with asparagus.
Perfect for whiling away a sunny afternoon, this eatery offers a small, casual menu. Opt for their juicy beef burger served with crispy potato wedges; free-range baby chicken with garlic, thyme and lemon olive oil; wood-fired glazed pork ribs; or an aromatic Malay-style lamb curry. Also make sure to peruse the pizza menu. Pair your meals with a gin from their extensive selection.
Bertus Basson’s wine-and-tapas bar might be casual, but this food means business. Think maize tacos with slivers of radish, tangy pork shoulder and dollops of sour cream; gnocchi in a lemony froth with mushrooms and parmesan crumb; or roast cauliflower with macadamia nuts and crispy onions. Portions are generous: three dishes are plenty for two. (Or go hungry!)
Comforting fare has become the hallmark of this idyllic farm-dining restaurant. The menu is seasonally dependent but could include tomato tart, baby-leaf salad, sourdough or slow-roasted flat rib beef. Side platters arrive piled with the likes of potato Dauphinoise, baked quince and brinjals. Sit beneath the oaks in summer and be warmed by the wood-burning stove in winter.
There is no fancy entrance to this well-established wine farm restaurant, but the food delivers with refinement. The menu dips into French and Asian influences with dishes like brinjal with ponzu and bonito flakes; monkfish with emerald broad beans and smashed roasted potatoes; and beef fillet with buttery pommes Anna. No matter which way you go, the flavours are the highlight.
Subtle yet balanced dishes are the name of the game here. Earthy flavours are kept clean in seamless combinations with twists of umami – try smoky cured duck with pickled shiitake mushrooms, pears and black vinegar chilli, or signature fire-roasted beef with kombu cream and truffle jus. Be sure to leave room for fabulous desserts like orange-and-polenta cake with candied orange and orange crème.
Dining here is a treat. The food is festive, the views fantastic and the food excellent. The calamari with crispy fennel is absolutely scrumptious, as are the parmesan carrot fritters with preserved lemon. The burgers are very popular, and portions are ample. Finish with tiramisu and a glass of Tokara wine.
Expect country fare at its best. The Sunday country feast menu is always in flux, but might include tarragon chicken and aged roast sirloin with potatoes done in duck fat. During the week, the à la carte menu features a prawn risotto with sweetcorn and fennel, and a superb beef salad with pickled peppers anointed with aioli. You’d be smart to finish with the rich malva pudding spring rolls.
This selection comprises all the Stellenbosch restaurants that made the cut for the 2018 Eat Out 500, the list of best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2018 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.