Venues

Gaaitjie Restaurant

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

Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
While the views and beachfront setting is what draws many diners to Gaaitjie, the food from chef Jaco Kruger certainly doesn’t disappoint. As you’d expect, the focus here is firmly on fresh seafood, married with contemporary and Asian influences. Expect the likes of succulent West Coast rock lobster served simply with garlic and butter, or perhaps crispy salt-and-pepper squid. The snoek salad is another sure-fire dish, as is the sesame-crusted tuna perfectly seared to pink. The plating is simple and without pretension, focusing instead on good-quality ingredients cooked well. Meat-lovers aren’t left out in the cold either, with the likes of springbok carpaccio, beef fillet and slow-cooked lamb shoulder making an appearance.

Drinks
There's a small selection of well-priced wines focused on West Coast producers. Good choice of whites, to suit the seafood.

Service
Friendly and efficient service, even when the restaurant is fully booked.

Ambience
A comfortable blend of rustic cottage and charming seaside bolthole. The views from the terrace tables are superb and worth phoning ahead for.

And…
Arrive early for a sundowner with a sea view from the cosy cocktail tables above the beach.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • 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.

  • 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

  • The best restaurant on Paternoster From the presentation.of the food the taste..The delicious homemade bread The stunning desert 1 word: Fantastic
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Excellent dining experience. Highly recommended
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  • 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.

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  • 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...

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  • Great place to eat but I am unable to find a contact telephone number or email address on their own website. I am trying to ascertain when they will be closed (dates) this winter. Thanks.

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  • Outstanding restaurant with great service and brilliant food. Wine is very well priced with good variety.

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  • Gorgeous setting, beautifully prepared, inventive and delicious food, and excellent service. What a gem!

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  • What a pity about the portion sizes of this restaurant because it would be great otherwise. The bread brought to start with is fun and the tapenade/anchoiade is delicious. The starter portions are good, the pickled fish was ok.
    But when the mains arrived, we could just not get ourselves to start eating it was so big, actually visually off putting.
    Great location, great waitress but not sure we will go back!

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  • Really special eating experience and fabulous service to boot. The food is probably the best I have had in the Western Cape and that is not an exaggeration. Excellent preparation and presentation, decent portions and perfect spicing. Have been there twice in a week and can't wait to go back.

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  • What a shocker. The food is kind of ok, but after an error on our order (6 people including 2 overseas guests) I was told in a very rude way to buzz off and accept what was in my plate by the chef owner. The error? After ordering extra roasted potatoes for our fish, our meal was replaced by a side, tiny salad of watermelon (where did that come from?) The service was also non existent, that with 4 waitresses for 3 tables only. No food can justify the attitude of the owner.

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  • It's all you could ever wish for from a beach restaurant and more. The setting is unparalled and the food simply mouth-watering. You often see on the food channel programmes how chefs talk about respecting food and there being sincerity in the preparation. Well Suzi at Gaatjie delivers this and throws in an abundance of soul into her food as well.
    Thank you to all at Gaatjie!

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  • Booked for 5 guests. Table set with 5th guest sitting at a solid table end with no where to put her legs, knees and feet. How could that happen? Bad management. Food very tasty, but yellowtail over-cooked beyond acceptance. No sauce or gravy with the pork belly - dry. Espresso coffee less that 1cm at the bottom of the cup. When we queried it, the waitress took it away, added one to the other and made a new and very weak second cup. We were past complaining. Very very expensive for what you get. What a pity as our first visit there in April was brilliant.

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  • Visited Gaatjie on Sat 5 Feb. To start, I had the pressed tongue (probably Enterprise) with Melon and the smallest scraping of red horseradish for R45. My partner had the Stumpnose fillet starter as his man (R120), which was good, especially for a starter portion. For mains we both had pork belly (R120 each), we received a piece of meat the size of a matchbox. We both feel horribly cheated!
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  • One of the top restaurants! The food was amazing, the staff was excellent and the chef exceptional. Even my 2 year old cleaned his plate. I would definitely visit Gaaitjie again!
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  • What a great place. Paternoster was lacking a nice restaurant. All round great menu, but the sole was outstanding and so was the frozen lemmington (try it). The views only add to the enjoyment.
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Facilities

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

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