96 Winery Road

Cost
R130 avg main meal
Ambience
Authentic culture, Comfy & casual
Food
Bistro fare, Burgers, Country-style fare, South African
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Food
96 Winery Road seems to have been part of the Winelands landscape forever. This sort of longevity doesn’t happen by accident. The mix of regulars and newcomers that is needed to sustain a restaurant for decades takes hard work and passion to achieve. Both are present in spades at this address. A visit here, whether it’s for the first or the 60th time, feels like dropping in on an old friend, who just happens to have the ability to whip up something delicious in the kitchen, ‘seeing as how you’ve popped by’. The menu is inspired by Nigel Slater’s definition of Real Food – ‘good ingredients made into something worth eating; simple food cooked with care and generosity.’ And that’s what you get here, time after time. Absolute bankers on the starter menu include the deep-fried calamari, crispy and tender, livened up with coriander and chilli cream; and pork belly strips, cracklingly good, served with caramelised sweet potato and homemade tomato chutney. On the mains, the duck and cherry pie, a dish that made its way down south from the legendary Gatrile’s with restaurant co-founder, Ken Forrester, is an absolute must. The combination of the sweetly tart cherries with the dark richness of the duck meat, and the fullness of the port sauce under perfectly cooked puff pastry, is a winner every time. And this establishment was one of the pioneers of serving long-aged meat. Their steaks remain legendary. Their burger is a burger in the way that a Ferrari is a motorcar. Finish off with their benchmark crème brûlée – another Gatrile’s transplant and unchanged since 1974. Why change what works?

Drinks
This is one of the best wine lists in the Cape – local and international wines of distinction, with very reasonable mark-ups. There is an excellent by the glass selection, and the suggestions for wine pairings are sometimes surprising, but always spot-on. Some regulars choose the food after they’ve decided on the wine.

Service
Many of the waiting staff have been at 96 for years; they are helpful and knowledgeable. And always ready with a laugh and a cheery word.

Ambience
It’s a large space, but the inter-leading rooms mean it retains a cosy feel, especially in winter when the log fire is roaring. The art on the walls is always worth looking at.

And …
Book the private table in the wine cellar for special celebrations.

(August 2015)

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  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    96 Winery Road has built its reputation on offering solid country-style cooking, with just a touch of upmarket bistro. Generous portions of beef seem particularly popular with the winelands crowd, with the pepper fillet fairly flying out the kitchen. The gourmet burger – available in a gargantuan 500g portion for the hungry – is also a failsafe choice, topped with caramelised onions, black mushrooms and a sliver of brie.

    The main courses are more accomplished, with roasted quail, lamb rotolo with wild mushrooms, and Chinese-style beef short-rib on offer. If all else fails, the famous duck and cherry pie won’t disappoint. Generous portions and unfussy cooking continue to define one of the better winelands bistros.

    Drinks 
    On offer is a superb wine list focused on Stellenbosch estates, including the wonderful chenin blanc and red blends from co-owner Ken Forrester. However, there are plenty of local discoveries to pique your interest, alongside German rieslings, Argentine malbecs and French chardonnays. There’s an exceptional selection available by the glass or carafe, too. There’s simply no reason to BYO here.

    Service 
    Welcoming, friendly and efficient: perfectly pitched to suit the homely feel of this Boland favourite.

    Ambience 
    The cosy interior is perhaps best suited to winter, when the two fireplaces – book ahead for a table close by – lend an extra layer of warmth to this country-styled bistro. In summer the handful of terrace tables overlooking the small play area are popular with families.

    And… 
    The table in the separate wine cellar makes a wonderful location for celebrations or private events.

    (July 2014)

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  • Genuine, delicious, home-style food with a South African flavour and consistently good, friendly service. Ideal for a lazy, long lunch. Stand-out dishes: crispy pork belly; cheese straws with caramelised baby onions and biltong; Hollandse fillet; crispy pork belly strips with tomato chutney; duck and cherry pie. For something lighter, the salmon served either in a French or Asian style is a good bet. (EO mag 2014)
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  • Food
    The menu showcases seasonal ingredients with some favourites having been on the menu since 1974. Each dish is thought-out and perfectly complemented by the sides and sauces. Vegetarian options are unique and tableside service is an amazing experience. Side dishes include roasted butternut with honey and garlic, tempura greens and, the favourite, mushrooms. You can choose between four sauces, three butters and a salsa. I’d recommend the Madagascar peppercorn cream sauce or the wholegrain mustard butter. For vegetarians there is a roast vegetable tarte tatin, and Norwegian salmon for the pescetarians.

    Wine
    This top South African wine list (according to Diners Club and Wine Spectator) offers a good choice of local wines, which are well priced.

    Service
    Attentive, well-trained staff are always on hand. A sommelier service is on offer at night.

    Ambience
    Tables are well-spaced to allow for comfortable dining, and the quiet background music provides a lovely ambience. The fireplaces add to the rustic, open-ceilinged setting.

    And...
    Book the private table in the wine cellar for special celebrations. (TS, October 2012)
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  • Janine Walker

    A vibey bistro with a South African flavour and consistently good food and friendly service. Recommended for a lazy, long lunch. The crispy pork belly strips, served with a tomato chutney that cuts through the richness, are unctuous. The duck and cherry pie is a signature dish going back decades that remains rich and tasty. For something lighter the salmon served either in a French or Asian style is a good bet. (July 2013)
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User reviews

  • Any visit to this area should in my opinion include a meal at 96 Winery Road. For the best burgers, steak and crème brûlée! A great selection of craft beers and single malt whiskys are available. They have one of the best wine lists in town. And if you are a group of 10 or so, take advantage of dining in the wine cellar.
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  • This restaurant has been our safe place for over 18 years now, so what more to say than delicious comfortable food, efficient service and fabulous winelist! Why go to chain restaurants, when you get such true food!
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  • last Sunday we met with friends at 96 Winery Road for lunch. We managed to sit outside for while until the sun gave up against the cold air and the outside heater wasn't working. But we all enjoyed our lunch, having ordered everything from Shortbread to Steak and everybody was happy with their choices. Because of "don't drink when driving" we couldn't do justice to the extensive winelist but there will be other times.
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  • This is my favourite restaurant on earth! The service is always wonderful. The waiters are always prompt and extremely attentive - they anticipate your every need before you even realise you have a need. The waiters are also very well informed about the menu, and are happy to take the time to explain each item.

    The food has always been wonderful. The only thing they could do differently is to offer more vegetarian options.

    Their famous duck and cherry pie is to die for!

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  • Always fantastic and reliable.

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  • Have dined here every visit we have made to Stellenbosch and each time the food, service and ambience are spot on. Looking forward to our next visit, table is already reserved!

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  • Always the best steaks (including lamb steak) and the absolutely incredible chocolate tart for dessert. Our favourite restaurant for our whole family.

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  • I received an end of summer specials list from a friend and saw that
    96 Winery Road had a special offer to celebrate their 15th birthday.
    It seemed too good to be true - anyone born in May gets their choice
    of main meal for free. No strings attached. I was somewhat cautious as
    I have been conned into so-called special offers on more than one
    occasion (in one instance a well-respected restaurant promised a half
    price 6-course tasting menu where the first two courses consisted of a
    shot glass of warm apple juice and a bowl of Knorr cup-a-soup,
    respectively). Nevertheless, as my boyfriend and I are both May
    babies, we decided we had nothing to lose.

    As we stepped inside from the wintery Stellenbosch wind on a Saturday
    afternoon, we were greeted by warm smiles and an even warmer
    fireplace. The old thatched farmhouse was cosy and inviting and
    buzzing with happy chatter. Our waitress assured us that we could each
    order any main meal from the menu - we were not limited to the cheap
    options. Being a ravenous carnivore, I ordered the Hollandse Pepper
    Fillet - 200g of aged beef fillet rolled in crushed peppercorns and
    served with a brandy cream sauce. My steak was cooked to perfection
    (or rather seared briefly - just the way I like it) and flambeed at
    the table. It was juicy, succelent and perfectly complemented by the
    rich, creamy sauce, crunchy rosemary roast potatoes (that rival my
    grans) and home-style veggies. I washed it down with a couple of
    glasses of the extremely reasonably-priced Ken Forrester Petit
    Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot. My meal was unpretentious, unfussy, simple,
    delicious, and, for want of a better word, huge! I walked out, three
    hours later, with my jeans button undone, my bank balance relatively
    unharmed, and a big smile on my face.

    We were welcomed like close friends and the attentive service did not
    falter when we mentioned were there for the May birthday special (and
    we essentially going to spend next to nothing). I will definitely go
    back - for the delicious food, the warm, homely ambience and the
    friendly service...and next time I will be more than happy to pay for
    my meal!
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  • What a lovely last night we had at 96 on Winery Road. Cosy by the fireplace, excellent Hollandse Pepper Fillet with posh french fries (home made fries with truffle oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, tempura mushrooms and a lovely Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc to start and a Laborie Shiraz. Romantic, good food, good company. What else to wish for!
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  • We celebrated Mothers Day here with a long and leisurely lunch. The service was a bit hit and miss (wine way over there, never topped up), can we have napkins please, etc. But the food was top notch and its clear why this restaurant remains one of the classics in the Winelands. I can recommend the Cape Salmon & risotto and the duck and cherry pie. Also very kiddie friendly. A great, cosy winter venue (we sat outside). Will definitely return.
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  • From a happy customer, Good day winery 96 team,
    I wanted to write a quick mail just to say how much I enjoyed eating at your restaurant on Tuesday night.
    I have eaten there often but must say that your waiters, / managers and kitchen staff are really doing you proud, as it was the best service I have ever had.
    The food was also awesome and along with a great wine list youll definitely see more of me.
    Thans again for such a great evening and keep up the good work.
    Kind regards
    A very happy customer
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  • The service we received was warm and friendly. The Hollandse pepper fillet was cooked to perfection and extremely tasty. I did not indulge in a dessert, but my daughter had the whisky cheesecake and refused to give me a bite! I rather enjoyed the coffee, as did everyone else at the table. Perfectly brewed. Perhaps the strong delicious flavour of it is too much for the Ricoffy or Nescafe drinker! All in all, the meal and service was fantastic! I will most definitely be returning.
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  • Set in the heart of the winelands, this beautiful house is home to a restaurant very close to my heart. I was treated often, as a child, to Gatriles - and, with the same owners and the same signature dish on the menu, 96 Winery Road is more than special. You can have an intimate dinner for 2, a birthday party for 8 in the wine cellar or even a Christmas party in the separate dining room. The tables are spacious and set far enough away from each other that you do not feel like you are encroaching on other diners. We were warmly greeted by Alan and his team and the service, as per the norm, was exceptional. The wine list is extensive and we chose a bottle of Raka Barrel Select Merlot (R150). This was brought to the table by the sommelier at the perfect temperature for the South African climate. Unfortunately, the menu seems to have lost the something special and is a bit lacklustre, with not one chicken dish on it. If it is meat you are after, this is the place to go. A tasting menu is now on offer at R410 per person, including wine, and R290 per person excluding wine. This is only an option if the entire table orders it. The seasonal menu was not extensive with only 4 starters and 2 main courses. Out of a choice of 6 starters, from R50 - R65, I originally chose Crispy Pork Belly Strips (R50). But, as this is a fatty dish and the waiter warned me that my choice of mains was fatty, I changed my mind and ordered the Thai Style Fish Cakes (R50). These were very fish but not very Thai, being served with a balsamic reduction and what tasted like an aioli. Dave ordered the Fresh Green Asparagus (R58) and the only criticism he had for the dish was that the poached egg was done in a container and was not free form. Being our wedding anniversary, the camera was pushed aside and so there are no photographs of our starters. The meat selection consists of fillet, rump, sirloin and prime rib on the bone - served by weight - and 6 other dishes, ranging from R90 to R110. Side dishes are separate and cost R18.50 per side. Butters and sauces are also to order at R18. Dave chose the Roasted Loin of Gemsbok (R110) which was tough and sent back and swapped for the Norwegian Salmon. This was handled professionally and without any problems and I must commend the staff for the way in which they handled the complaint. I ordered the Beef Short Rib (R95) which was not too fatty and was extremely tasty. The vinegar beans helped cut through the rich sauce and there was far too much on the plate for me. I managed to taste one of the tempura vegetables and they were fantastic. Dave was brought a fresh bowl of vegetables with his second main course which was a great attention to detail. The other attention to detail that impresses me is the fresh bread before you order and the quick change of cutlery after you order your meal. Someone is always around to top up your wine, but the service is not intrusive. Desserts include a cheese board and tasting platter and, out of the 8 choices (R45 - R70), I used my bench mark crème brûlée (R45) to taste test the chef. Here I was not disappointed. This recipe has been used since 1974 at Gatriles and it was silky smooth with just the right amount of sugar on top. I was so full I could have done with half, but even under normal circumstances, the dish is enough to share if you are feeling generous. We ended our meal with a port and what I think was Heaven on Earth - a little gift from Alan for our wedding anniversary.
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  • This is the third time this year that I have been to 96 Winery Road and been served served burnt coffee. I had hoped that this time, after complaining the last two times, that maybe they had taken me seriously. Clearly not. Bad coffee ruins a meal. It leaves me angry and now, after the third time, I will never return. On top of this, the waitress was stroppy and when I told her that my coffee was burnt, she took it personally. If you are having a bad day, waitress, dont take it out on me. Get someone to take over your shift, or get over it.
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  • This restaurant was a disappointment. Although the meat was good, the sauces were not great and the starters and desserts were poor. We had a great private room in the wine cellar, so the ambience was good. I went there to eat though and was disappointed by the same old steakhouse mentality which I thought would not be a part of this establishment.
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  • Most consistent restaurant in the Cape Winelands, super friendly service to match the hearty food.
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  • We opted for the tasting menu with wine pairing. Seems the wine was added after the menu was set and no thought was put into actual pairing. Service was shocking - we waited every time for our wine for more than 5 minutes after our food was served. Not an experience Id like to repeat.
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  • We have neglected Stellenbosch over the last 5 years, but the ONE place I have missed is 96 Winery Rd. And I am happy to report that its still as good as I remembered it. I had the tuna carpaccio which was fresh, light and incredibley tasty in a mirin and ginger dressing. The other starter was a brie tartlet( I think) which was rich , but lovely and the 2 men shared the ox tail potjie as a starter. They RAVED about it and it was served with creamy polenta. The mains were stunning. I had the duck and cherry pie. It was rich and full of duck, but I couldnt finish the pastry lid. The veggies on the side were delicious (try the tempura greens...I could have them as a meal in themselves). Other starters were the kabeljou with brie and obviously the steaks are always done to perfection and came rare as asked.We brought our own wine and werent made to feel cheapskates like other places. The only downer was the margarita which was NOT a true margarita ( I dont even know what the barman put in it)At the end of the evening Ken Forrester joined us for a chat and was as amusing as ever.BRAVO 96 WINERY RD...We will be back!
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  • It was with mixed feelings that I booked dinner here, after much reading of various reviews. My fears were mounting as we were shown to our table - a fairly nondescript corner next to the entrance, and seemingly the most un-romantic spot in the restaurant. (I blamed myself for having booked on quite short notice.) However, the pleasant bustle of the restaurant soon spilled out into the outskirts of the main seating area.The service was commendable - excellent and friendly. I paged longingly through the wine list, wishing I had rather forgotten mine at home, only to try at least one of the many great wines on offer. But, our BYO was special to us, and instead of being frowned upon, they even offered to decant it for us.The menu had some great combinations, and the ‘special’ menu offered more seasonal items, diversifying from the mainstream menu. We both opted for fish and our dishes were excellently prepared. I felt the trout portion was a little less generous than my yellowtail, but it was plenty for me, with just enough space for some dessert. We chose to share the trio of tarts which were small, but delectable, though I feel not much thought went into the ice-cream.Well done, it was above expectation and I would definitely recommend it to others.
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  • We love eating out at 96 Winery Road, but we think R18 for a sauce is a lot of money for the amount of sauce you get. You can not cover a sirloin or fillet with that amount. I wrote to management and unfortunately they came back that the quality/quantity ratio is right. But we disagree!
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  • Well done! I especially liked the Champagne on the house to wish me well for my birthday celebration dinner. On the house for the table. Thanks ,-)
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  • I have a problem with restaurants where no one greets you at the door? No one fills your water or wine glass, and where you sit 10 minutes waiting for a waiter. I experienced some of the worst service at 96 in a long time. The waiter never made eye contect, was offish and rude. When I asked him why they had red stumpnose on the menu and are they part of the SASSI initiative he was not even sure what I was talking about.The menu has classic combinations, which hardly seem to change with the seasons, or in fact with the years.The food was average, The rissotto slightly over cooked with terrible, flavourless chorizo. My first choice main - prime rib - was not available, so I settled for a flavourless sirloin and technically badly made bordelaise, though tasty.A few years ago 96 was a mid-week winner in the area, not anymore.
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  • My partner and I recently tried out the winter special, truly a winter warmer with plenty of choices from the menu. Every course was sublime, not usually one to go for pork belly I gave it a shot and was well rewarded.Lovely complementary wine and pleasant service.Well worth a try.
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  • I recently treated my mom to a birthday lunch at 96 Winery Road. I made a point of making the reservation 6 days ahead of time. At the time of making the reservation I was informed of the winter special. At no time was I made aware of the fact that the winter special was not on offer on Sundays. Imagine my surprise when we arrived for Sunday lunch and was told that the special is not on offer. After explaining to the floor manager (Liesle) that I was misinformed and very dissapointed she came back to our table and offered the winter special to us. It made my day as it showed that there are still restaurants out there that care and go the extra mile. The food was fabulous and we were the last table to leave. I will definitely go back again and again.
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  • A great setting to enjoy a well thought out and appealing menu. The dishes were all clever combinations of familiar ingredients making choosing one a challenge - there are no foams of raddish and other such pretentious cheffy bits to distract you.The calamari, fishcakes and scallops was a ideal match for the unique and brilliant wine Ken Forrester FMC Chenin and the corn fed beef my dining partner had was both cooked to perfection and did what it said on the tin - fantastic flavour and perfectly marbled beef! We had the stunning Ken Forrester Three Halves red with the mains and its a wine worth not missing out on. Overall the wine and the food were perfectly matched and the food and wine recommendations given by the restaurant staff were spot on and faultless. A winelands restaurant to ensure is on your list - well be back!
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  • There is no category for honesty but in this case there should be! With keys and cell phone on the table I walked out leaving my handbag on the back of the chair. Back in Cape Town, I realised my stupidity and called to enquire on the whereabouts of my handbag. It was there and in a secure office, awaiting collection. It was collected by my reliable taxi driver and returned within an hour. Nothing disturbed and over a R1000.00 still safely in my wallet. Thank you Ken and the team. My last visit to Winery Road was slightly disappointing but this was a lunch of note. We worked our way through a selection of starters and I must say the kitchen is truely back in form and such favourites as the tuna with hot sesame oil have returned to delight us again. A really fabulous and memorable lunch, reasonably priced (pity about the taxi!) and all with a bottle of Pax Vionier to really add to a wonderful relaxed afternoon on the terrace. Not put off by the wind we asked to sit outside and despite inside being busy, we were never neglected as far as service is concerned. It was friendly, capable and informed.
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  • After dinner at 96 Winery on Friday evening, I can only echo the sentiment of previous reviewers - what a disappointment!While the service was friendly and extremely efficient, the food was not up to scratch.The calamari starter was bland with its piquant sauce lacking any zing what so ever. The duck and cherry pie did the memory of that once renowned establishment, Gatrille’s, no favours. The sickly sweet sauce overpowered the duck to such a degree that it was like eating pudding for mains. More than half of the dish was sent back. While I can’t fault the gemsbok, a generous portion cooked exactly as ordered, the overall dish left no tasty impressions. Of everything we ate, only the side portion of butternut (R18 for veggies?) was delicious.Judging by the number of diners and the convivial atmosphere, 96 Winery is a bit of an institution in the area but sadly, they won’t be seeing our custom again.
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  • Altyd PERFEK!!!!!
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  • I have been eating at 96 Winery Road since 2002. In fact, I spend so much time there, that I know all the staff by name and I am greeted and treated like an old friend or a member of their 12 year old family.I dine there with my family, and sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, Ill enjoy a delicious lunch in the company of my two year-old daughter.The staff are so accomodating with her and they take turns to spoil her and keep her entertained. We are both so grateful to have a place to go to where a todler is treated as such a valued customer!I entertain clients there on a regular basis and the feedback from ALL of them has always been the same! Their taste buds fall in love with the food - from starters to desserts. Natasha Wray and her team in the kitchen are an inspirational bunch and always seem to come up with the most delicious and original flavours on their fresh and Seasonal page in the menu.Allan Forrester? Well all I can say is, the man is a genius! He always knows how to pair the best wine with whatever it is youre eating. Whatever youre looking for, hell find it, and if youre like me and can never decide what to order, hell pick the perfect variety for your taste buds! His winelist is his canvas! He gives you about 300 wines to choose from!Well done 96 Winery Road Restaurant!And thank you in advance for many, many more years of great times!
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  • What a disappointment. from the intial meeting at the door..not...to trying to get the bill it was an expensive failure. Booked but the booking could not be found by two of the staff, the third eventually did as I remembered the name. All this while the overseer looked on! our guests had specific requests for the steak, medium to wll done. we wanted medium rare. it took two attempts from both sets to get it right.I could go on.Will not be going back having been a regular.
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  • I heard alot about this restaurant and had to go there myself. But I was very dissapointed! The service was bad, the waiter didnt know the menu and couldnt suggest a wine to go with what we ordered. They should have more wines from Somerset West on the Wineslist too. When the food arrived my meat was not medium rare but medium to well and I my wifes food was cold and had to be reheated. The experience we had there was not pleasant and they will not see us again.
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  • Total disaster! We were extremely disappointed with the level of the food. The prime rib was totally undercooked and tough and when sent back the waitresss only comment was, the chef said that he misjudged this one. In addition, the service was so poor that we had to call the waitress several times, unfortunately without success. No apology was ever given and I ended up eating alone after the others had already finished their meal. The quality of the food offerred was below standard.
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  • At 96 we do strive to get it 100% right all of the time.However we are human and do fail from time to time. This is where our true passion for what we do comes out, because no one feels as bad as we do when we do get it wrong.We do our best to rectify any mistake and make our diners happy before they leave, and when the feed back from the guest is that the steak was 200% better than the first, hopefully we have done well to rectify the mistake.
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  • We had a lovely, lovely meal on Sunday afternoon. From the starters (duck livers, quail and calamari) to the mains (kabeljou and seared tuna) to the yummy chocolate desserts, everything was so flavourful and beautifully prepared. The service was professional and accommodating and the waitress (I think her name was Marsha) didnt flinch when we made some unusual requests. The kids loved running around on the strip of lawn.Definitely a new favourite of ours.
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  • Unfortunately I have to agree with the previous review. I too have often enjoyed a visit to this country restaurant but my last two visits have been very disappointing. Service remained pleasant and obliging, if a little slow, but the cooking, I am sorry to say, was simply poorly executed. I shall not risk a third poor meal.
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  • Very disappointing. Been going to this restaurant from when they opened, and has always been one of my favoutites, notably for their excellent wine list as well as their food. Sadly their food is on the wane, as Ive heard from numerous friends but felt I had to tery for myself,The seared foi gras was ice cold in the centre, and obviously been refrigerated for too long, also slightly rancid. The duck breast was overcooked and extremely tough, an opinion shared by the table next to mine.Apparantly a new chef, but unfortunately just not good enough
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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