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8 must-visit restaurants in Somerset West and Strand

This narrow band of land between mountain and sea is jam-packed full of culinary options, including two of our country’s Top 10 restaurants. Here are eight spots to try in Somerset West and Strand, as reviewed for the 2018 edition of Eat Out magazine.

96 Winery Road

This long-standing country bistro is still going strong with its classic duck-and-cherry pie. Bobotie spring rolls and steamed mussels drenched in creamy curry sauce also come highly recommended. The décor is simple and fairly retro, with a great fireplace.

The legendary duck and cherry pie from 96 Winery Road. Photo supplied.

Avontuur Estate Restaurant

This tranquil wine-estate restaurant boasts views of horses frolicking in meadows in front of glorious mountains. Head over for fresh, generous breakfasts and lunches. Think roast duck with Van der Hum sauce or a breakfast of griddle cakes with Franschhoek salmon trout. The terrace is the place to be to make the most of those views.

Avontuur Estate’s horses. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Benguela on Main

The fine-dining menu has recently been replaced by a daytime offering. Watch this space for more info soon.

A dessert at Benguela on Main. Photo supplied.

Camphors at Vergelegen

This Top 10 restaurant rose to number six this year, so expect to be blown away. The menu features South African flavours like Malay-pickled kabeljou with amasi, or coffee-roasted springbok. The outside tables are the place to be in summer, overlooking the lawns and rambling gardens. Precede or follow your meal with a stroll around the beautiful, historic Vergelegen Estate with its rose gardens, aging oaks and camphor forest.

A dish at Camphors at Vergelegen. Photo supplied.

Idiom Fine Dining Restaurant

Situated in the Da Capo Vineyards on Sir Lowry’s Pass, this lunch spot offers expansive views and lovely outdoor seating. Savour calamari-and-lime risotto and seared beef fillet with rosemary rösti, and don’t miss the signature salted caramel pot with orange segments.

Glass walls make the most of panoramic views at Idiom. Photo supplied.

Pajamas & Jam Eatery

This charming, whimsical spot is the place for astounding cakes. Breakfast on the likes of rich chicken livers and toasted ciabatta. Later on in the day, quesadillas and topped toasts are popular.

Strawberry cake

A decadent cake at Pajamas & Jam. Photo supplied.

The Restaurant at Waterkloof

Gregory Czarnecki’s restaurant held steady at number three in this year’s Top 10, so the experience is a must. Beautifully plated dishes include lightly smoked Saldanha Bay oysters and sea bass with tart gooseberries. Petit fours are perfection. Perched high up in the hills, the building is a modern glass box with stellar views out over the bay.

A dish at Waterkloof. Photo supplied.

SCHOON

Fritz Schoon’s iconic bakery has relocated from Stellenbosch to a hole-in-the-wall in Somerset West’s Bright Street. The bread and dishes here are as spectacular as ever. Breakfast on bone marrow on dark rye with blue-cheese cream and confit onions, or smoked salmon on rye with ginger-and-coriander ricotta, toasted chickpeas, mielies and a scrumptious Hollandaise sauce. Don’t miss the kouign-amann either, which tastes like a happy hybrid of a muffin, croissant and cinnamon bun.

 

A dish at SCHOON. Photo by Katharine Jacobs.

Update: This post has been updated to remove Imibala, which closed on 22 December 2017, and update the information about Benguela, whose chef has recently departed, resulting in a change in menu offering.

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