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6 knockout restaurants on the West Coast and in the Swartland

Gaaitjie

Gaaitjie Restaurant. Photo supplied.

Heading out west from the Mother City this summer? These are the restaurants on the West Coast and in the Swartland in the Cape that were rated highly enough by our panel of critics to appear in the Eat Out 500, the best 500 restaurants in the country, as featured in Eat Out magazine 2017. Meet the critics here.

Gaaitjie (Paternoster)

In addition to the drawcard of the views and beachfront setting at Gaaitjie in Paternoster, look forward to the likes of succulent West Coast rock lobster with garlic and butter, crispy salt-and-pepper squid, and sesame-crusted tuna, perfectly seared. It’s a comfortable, charming and rustic spot in the seaside town. Do book a table on the terrace for the superb views, and arrive early for dinner to enjoy a sundowner.

 

The Noisy Oyster (Paternoster)

This much-loved fixture of the West Coast restaurant scene offers a diverse menu where you’ll be tempted to order one of everything. Highlights are oysters with lemon and Tabasco; mussels with garlic, white wine and a splash of cream; laksa of crayfish, prawns and line fish; and wild-boar sausage with juniper jus and polenta. Don’t miss the textbook crème brûlée to finish off. Who needs a sea view when you have a magical garden with fairy lights? (Bookings are essential.)  

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The Square Spoon (Paternoster)

There’s a laid-back Mozambican feel to the food here, from crispy prawn rissoles to prego rolls packing plenty of spice. The fish of the day is pan-fried or cooked in the wood-fired oven and served with coconut rice, wasabi mash or wedges. Terrace tables are the best for watching village life go by and enjoying distant sea views. Keep an eye on the blackboard menu of daily specials for fresh crayfish.

 

Wolfgat (Paternoster)

Former Nederburg Rising Star Kobus van der Merwe is famous for his hyper-local cuisine inspired by heritage recipes and produce foraged from the coast at Oep ve Koep. This new eatery continues the theme, with a seven-course tasting menu offering highlights like breadsticks with bokkom-infused butter; a soutslaai leaf ‘taco’ with cured angelfish; and baked oyster with local veldkool. It’s adventurous, delicious cooking that’s utterly unique. It’s a 130-year-old fisherman’s cottage, with superb sea views.  

 

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Mama Cucina Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant (Riebeek-Kasteel)

Reliable fare continues to keep locals and tourists happy at this spot, which is halfway between country bistro and charming trattoria. Go for a popular wood-fired pizza with delicious toppings like bacon, goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, or a chalkboard special of hearty home-made tagliatelle with roasted chicken, capers and olives, or gnocchi with pulled lamb shank. Portions are generous, with the focus on warm hospitality.

 

Restaurant at the Royal Hotel (Riebeek-Kasteel)

They’ve ramped up the formerly unfussy country cuisine and now serve the likes of triple-cooked fries and aged cheddar with the burger; kingklip on a bed of asparagus with lemon Hollandaise; and elegantly plated terrines of free-range chicken, confit duck and cured pork. Crowd-pleasing mains like pork belly and braised lamb shoulder arrive in generous portions. Swartland wines will keep the thirst at bay. The terrace is famous for its gin-and-tonics.  

 

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These are the restaurants on the West Coast and in the Swartland in the Cape that were rated highly enough by our panel of critics to appear in the Eat Out 500, the best 500 restaurants in the country, as featured in Eat Out magazine 2017. Meet the critics here.

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