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Where to eat in Riebeek-Kasteel

Riebeek-Kasteel may be tiny, but it boasts more than its fair share of great restaurants. Long known for great olives and spicy shiraz, this sleepy spot has become something of a gourmet destination thanks to the abundance of charming country-style eateries, quaint wine bars and glorious bakeries. Here’s your guide to eating out in this darling of the Swartland.

Colourful Short Street in Riebeek-Kasteel. Photo supplied.

Colourful Short Street in Riebeek-Kasteel. Photo by Nikita Buxton.

For a wine pit stop

The Alchemist
This true hidden gem is tucked away at the bottom of Short Street. The handsome wooden bar is stocked with the best of the Swartland with local wines by the glass and bottle and cocktails and craft beer. There are also cigars available for the discerning bar hopper, and bar food, charcuterie and Wagyu steaks for hungry patrons.

alchemist1

The entrance to The Alchemist. Photo supplied.

ONE Wine Bar & Bistro
This breezy spot boasts panoramic views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Find a seat on the sunny patio or next to the fireplace on cooler days. The wine list offers the best of the area, while the simple food menu keeps things fresh and seasonal with bistro-style eats. There is also an eclectic gift shop adjoining the restaurant for those looking to do bit of post-lunch shopping.

For beer tastings

Flagship Brew
Visit this brewery and tap room and enjoy beer tastings and cheese and charcuterie platters in the beer garden. The range of beers is all brewed on the premises and features a crisp, refreshing lager; a blonde ale; an amber ale; and a delightfully hoppy IPA. They also do non-alcoholic iced tea on tap for teetotallers.

Garagista
Located on the charming Short Street is this quirky boutique microbrewery. Guests sit on the tiny deck and sip on stouts, American pale ales, ciders and even craft lemonade. It buzzes on weekends and is a welcome break from the summer sun.

The views from Garistiga. Photo supplied.

The views from Garagista. Photo supplied.

For soulful Italian

Mama Cucina Italian Restaurant
This is the place for wood-fired pizza. Toppings are unusual (think salmon or pulled venison) but also include simple favourites like bacon, goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. There is also a chalkboard with hearty dishes like prawn-and-saffron risotto, or artichoke ravioli with creamy basil sauce. The wine list is small but features beautiful wines from the area. Be sure to grab a spot outside in the shade.

The Sofia Loren pizza at Mama Cucina. Photo supplied.

The Sofia Loren pizza at Mama Cucina. Photo supplied.

For bakes, shakes and cakes

The Comfy Chair
Located in the centre of town, this relaxed eatery offers fresh food in a beautiful shade-covered tea garden. Enjoy good coffee or Oreo milkshake with a slice of carrot cake or freshly baked cinnamon rolls, or pop in for a morning pancake fix.

Shake & Bake
This pretty little milk bar and bakery is located at the bottom of vibey Short Street, next to the Alchemist. On Wednesdays and weekends beautiful, fresh sourdough loaves as well as ciabatta, rye bread, sweet pastries and croissants emerge from the oven. Be sure to try the smooth soft serve in sugar cones or one of the creamy milkshakes.

Shake & Bake in Riebeek-Kasteel. Photo supplied.

Shake & Bake in Riebeek-Kasteel. Photo supplied.

Wicked Treats
This coffee shop and bakery offers a range of light breakfasts, brunches and lunches. Get there early to grab one of the fresh loaves of bread, or nab a spot on the patio and enjoy comforting toasted sandwiches. The eatery also offers a catering service and makes wedding cakes on request.

For laid-back breakfasts or lingering lunches

Café Felix
Expect French country food, a good wine list and a relaxed Provencal-style garden. Sit under the giant oaks in summer or cosy up next to the fire on cooler days and enjoy chalkboard bistro fare with French soups, quiches, lamb dishes, homemade pies, and beef fillet with pommes frites.

breakfast at Cafe Felix

A breakfast spread at Café Felix. Photo supplied.

Kasteelberg Country Inn & Bistro
This beautiful Cape Victorian building is situated next to the busy village square. Always busy, it’s popular with locals and tourist for a menu featuring brasserie-style classics. The Secret Garden is a favourite watering hole amongst locals with its stone-built pub under a massive oak tree.

The Green Lounge
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast or lunch with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains at this laid-back café. Well-made cappuccinos, homemade iced teas, a selection of fresh sandwiches, carrot cake and other baked goodies are on offer. The venue is also available for private functions.

Eve’s Eatery
This quirky, intimate eatery charms with its eclectic décor and alfresco seating in the quaintest courtyard around. The seasonal menu features tapas for two, paella, hearty pastas, curries, steak and chips, baguettes, and fresh seafood. Everything is made fresh using local produce from surrounding farms and suppliers.

Dining under the trees at Eve's Eatery. Photo supplied.

Dining under the trees at Eve’s Eatery. Photo supplied.

For cocktails on the stoep

The Royal Hotel
This grand old hotel offers breakfasts, teas, lazy lunches and elegant dinners, but it’s the 151-year-old colonial bar that’s the real drawcard. Grab a spot on the fan-cooled stoep and cool off with the hotel’s legendary G&Ts made with your choice of local or international craft gin.

G&Ts at The Royal Hotel. Photo supplied.

G&Ts at The Royal Hotel. Photo supplied.

For local-is-lekker pub grub

The Red Tin Roof
Expect boerekos with a twist at this gastro pub. The seasonal menu features slow-cooked food such as pulled-lamb burgers and creamy chicken pie. There’s also biltong pizza, homemade chutneys and jams, and Swartland ploughman’s platters. The well-stocked bar is great spot for sport-watching.

For good coffee

Beans About Coffee
This speciality coffee roaster offers a range of coffees made with single-origin Guatemalan, Brazilian and Colombian beans. The house roast, the Black Gold Roast Master Choice, is a medium-dark roast with a hint of sweetness, making it excellent for cappuccinos. This spot is ideal for a cuppa after taking a morning stroll around the town.

Outside at Beans About Coffee. Photo supplied.

Outside at Beans About Coffee. Photo supplied.

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