Venues

Gaaitjie Restaurant

Gaaitjie Restaurant
Write a Review
Cost
R160 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Contemporary cool
Food
Contemporary fare, Modern
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500

Critic's review

Greg Landman

Food
Talented young chef, Jaco Kruger, and his father Theuns, are the new owners of this well-known Paternoster spot. Graduating at the Prue Leith School in Pretoria, followed by spells at the Cape Grace and The Saxon in Johannesburg, and a year in Vietnam, have ensured Jaco is more than ready to make the place his own without re-inventing the wheel. The result is food that is interesting and great to look at, without being too precious for its own good. The menu has some delicious starters like superb fat Saldanha mussels, steamed in beer and herbs, served with fries and great garlic aioli, and calamari seasoned with salt and pepper and fried to crunchy perfection, served with a delicious herb mayo. Local crayfish tails, three of them, split, are served with a fresh salad with a nice light dressing and the same mayo as the calamari. If you are hankering for meat, try the rich lamb shoulder confit with grilled polenta, interesting mint and pea purée, roasted baby onions, and sugar snaps. The Bazaar pudding, ystervarkies (lamingtons) with heavenly double thick ice cream, yskastert crumble and chocolate sauce, pays homage to local sensibilities and is a knockout to boot.

Drinks
A small but well priced list of some great wines, particularly from the West Coast.

Service
Very on the ball and knowledgeable about the cooking, a pleasure.

Ambience
This tiny cottage, right on the beach, has been extended somewhat with the addition of tables on the veranda with drop down clear plastic blinds to shield one from the wind, when necessary. Sitting there on a warm summer evening taking it all in is an experience to be treasured.

And …
At the moment they are only open from Thursdays to Monday lunch and dinner – bookings are absolutely essential.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Jeanne Calitz

    Food
    Located right on the rocks overlooking Paternoster beach, owned and run by the inventive chef Suzi Holtzhausen, Gaaitjie serves some of the best food on the West Coast. It’s simple, honest food without any pretension, but with lots of interesting local flavour twists. My excellent, very fragrant starter of black Saldanha mussels is steamed in cider and served with a cheesy mustard muffin, while another starter of springbok carpaccio is adorned with pickled gooseberries, and a baked bobotie frikkadel comes with a piquant tomato relish.

    As one would expect of a restaurant with this location – close to the colourful fishing boats resting on the beach – there are quite a few seafood options on the menu. Those looking for something more meaty will, however, not be disappointed, with options like grilled sirloin, pork belly with baked apples, and lamb and waterblommetjiebredie.

    If you are in the mood for fish with a gourmet twist, then you’ve hit the jackpot. My dish of angelfish, baked in vine leaves and served with cauliflower hummus and sousboontjies, is simply fantastic; with the sweetish beans offering a nice contrast to the tender fish and salty hummus. The smoorsnoek pie with biltong parsley mash and the tandoor-style chicken (with a truly exceptional side of pumpkin spiced with moskonfyt) also get fervent nods of approval from my companions.

    Dessert continues to live up to our expectations. The crustless milk tart is highly recommended, served as it is with some crunchy coffee praline and smoky brûléed banana. The chocolate macadamia butter cake with roasted pears and the orange almond torte with granadilla curd also hit the spot. The standout, however, is the baked local goats’ milk camembert, served with cassia-scented poached guava and shavings of fudge. It’s easily the best dessert I’ve had all year, a wonderful blend of textures and flavours, the salty cheese melding wonderfully with the spicy, fruity guava. What a treat this was – I cannot wait to dine here again. Note that the menu changes regularly according to what’s in season and available.

    Drinks
    In the interest of reducing waste and mileage, the wine list is sourced from cellars close to home, including the likes of Groote Post, De Grendel, Kloovenburg and Cederberg. The range is small but sufficient, with some of the lowest markups you’ll see in a long while.

    Service
    Friendly and attentive service from a bunch of spunky local women. Lots of character here, in perfect sync with the food. Suzi also pops by every now and again to make sure that everyone’s happy.

    Ambience
    The setting is truly exceptional. It’s quite a novel experience to park at the small harbour and cross the beach barefoot to reach the restaurant. The place to be, if you can get it, is on the stoep overlooking the beach. There are worse things in life than spending a Sunday afternoon here, lingering in the sun, enjoying a bottle of crisp white wine and a delicious meal.

    And...
    There’s a small bar inside the restaurant, which offers an interesting list of the stronger stuff with quite a few nods to local producers, like Boplaas Potstilled Brandy, and unusual additions like fig mampoer and Rooibos Sweet Vermouth. Lots to discover here, especially an item listed as “Noena’s special dessert coffee”, which I only notice on the paper menu after we’ve left, to my disappointment. Oh well, there’s always next time.

    (August 2014)

  • Signature West-Coast comfort food with chef-patron Suzi Holtzhausen’s flair. Expect innovative artichoke and mussel soup and seafood mains served
    with wildflowers. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Suzi Holtzhausen has long been a household name in Paternoster, and her signature style of innovative yet homely West Coast cooking never fails to please. Fresh-baked pot breads start things off, and starters could include springbok carpaccio or a life-changing soup of white mussels and artichokes, before generous mains like grilled sole with anchovy butter and suring wildflowers.

    Wine
    Local is definitely lekker with this small, but well-priced selection of dependable Swartland and West Coast wineries.

    Service
    The service is more efficient than expected, but happily so.

    Ambience
    This charming beachfront eatery rivals Voorstrandt for sea views… but only if you’re on the sought-after balcony. Cosy fireplace tables are better in winter.

    And...
    Suzi closes Gaaitjie for a month or two during the slow winter months. Phone ahead to confirm. (RH, October 2012)

User reviews

  • This weekend (21.02.15) that past - I just had to show my friend this beautiful restaurant that I have been to before (where I was also shown away previously ) but nonetheless, I had to go back and show him. I asked the host/manager politely if it was possible to only have a drink as the waiter told us when entering, they were getting ready for a function, but might I add the restaurant still being 80% full, with food still on its way to some guests. I was asking nicely and hoping for the exception of which I knew would be 50/50. The host then came around to me almost attacking, and telling me abruptly that “it wasn’t going to happen” and that “I did not book and that I MUST book” displaying, or more like shoving their business card in my face. I understand capacity problems, I understand getting ready for a function - I have worked in the restaurant industry myself. But never have I come across such a rude and ill suited, untactful host/manager in a long time. Belittling a potential customer and chasing them away! If she had handled that better, I would have gone back - definitely. But her attitude and obnoxiousness created that I will never go back there ever again. You may think you have a great restaurant, but what goes hand in hand with the experience is the service (with a smile). There was sadly none, but only a sour taste was left in my mouth. And even more so - my friend will never go back there either.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • This weekend was our third time in Paternoster and I cannot be happier that we spent our entire Saturday afternoon enjoying the food at Gaaitjie. The food is absolutely amazing and the service is friendly, honest and warm. Defnitely the best spot in Paternoster. Cannot wait to go back.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Excellent dining experience. Highly recommended
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Had been so looking forward to eating at Gaaitjie with all the great publicity but very disappointed. The complimentary little loaf of hot bread with a tapenade and oil and balsamic was promising. A starter of Brandade was too salty to enjoy, served in an overly buttery pastry shell with nothing to cut the flavour except a dull stripe of pesto. My main was an exhausted angel fish floating in bland butter served with 'verlep' julienne vegetables and a few under seasoned potato wedges.The desserts sounded wonderful but I lost my nerve. My poor vegetarian partner had to suffer through a strange artichoke starter which was ridiculous to eat (no finger bowl came).This was followed by what seemed like all the vegies mentioned on the menu turned into a curry. A tasteless liquid in a little cup with what looked like bits of overcooked mielies perhaps? And other bits turned out to be a dahl to accompany the dry basmati! We drank a bottle of 2011 something and our bill was R550 before the tip. Oh dear. Not up to scratch.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • My husband and I came down to Paternoster for my birthday and had dinner at Gaaitjie - such a divine treat. The most delicious, imaginative food I have had in a while. The restaurants in Joburg could learn a thing or 10 from Suzie! Can't wait for the next trip down...

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

Write a review

Featured restaurants

Eatout