This venerable place has been part of the fabric of Stellenbosch for so long that they must be doing something right. The many people who love coming here just love the country flavours and generous portions as well as the decades-old favourites. One never gets tired of the classic and fabulous duck-and-cherry pie with a cherry-and-port sauce and cauliflower cream.
A starter of excellent steak tartare, with all the trimmings like pickled shallots, can be upped into a main course with chips, as can the steamed mussels with fresh cream, plenty of garlic and gremolata sauce. The Hollandse pepper fillet has a long line of devotees who come for the rich cream and brandy sauce as well as the flambéeing at the table.
The classic desserts come in tiny portions.
An award-winning list with some of the very best wines the country has to offer, as well as excellent Ken Forrester wines. You can order very reasonably priced but excellent wines or break the bank with something really serious.
Wonderfully warm and friendly, in the country manner.
Outside is nice, when the weather is good, overlooking the lawns of the farm, but the interior is warm and comfortable, with plenty of wood to make it feel really homely.
Bookings on the weekend are absolutely essential.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Happy is the restaurant that passes the tests of time, weathering tides and trends to remain not only relevant but also reliably excellent. 96 Winery Road has now been operating for more than two decades, and remains a perennially popular country bistro. They’ve become known for their duck-and-cherry pie (still excellent, still hearty) and their crème brûleé (still a light and creamy knock-out). They’re also known for their quality cuts of meat and offer a very good beef tartare, which can be served as a main course with chips.
The bobotie spring rolls, served with a sweet chilli sauce, are right on the money, although the grilled baby leeks they rest on can be on the stringy side. The steamed mussels, drenched in a light and creamy curried sauce, makes for a very fragrant and satisfying meal. Here and there you’ll find trendier touches, like a panko calamari steak with black beans and ancho mayo, but overall the focus is on the tried and tested favourites that have kept their customers content and coming back for more.
A very nice wine list indeed, with a good variety also available by the glass. In fact, it is clear from all the framed pictures on the walls of other local winemakers, listing their awards, that this establishment respects and celebrates other estates. The mark-up isn’t bad and the offering has been sourced from far and wide locally, and there are also a few fine overseas selections.
Easygoing but efficient. You never lack a friendly face to help when needed. Dishes are brought out at a swift and steady pace – this venue operates like a well-oiled machine.
Look, you won’t come here for the décor, a simple and rather retro combination of tiled floors, thatched roof and wooden furniture. But there’s a huge fire burning in the hearth and there’s a happy buzz of conversation from what appears to be very satisfied customers, young and old; families big and small. In short, the vibe is extremely pleasant and contributes greatly towards the meal.
If you love the idea of a fine country meal (and a glass or two of lovely wine) but hate the thought of driving back to town, keep in mind the accommodation available on the wine estate itself, just a sprint up the road. You’ll have to book ahead, but fortune rewards those who come prepared.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.