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Karoo Art Hotel Restaurant

Karoo Art Hotel Restaurant
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Cost
R100 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Local cuisine, Quick meals, Special occasions
Food
African, Bistro fare, Cape Malay, Light meals, South African, Steak, Vegetarian
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Eat Out

Food
It’s an eclectic and authentic Klein Karoo bistro serving up delectable, honest food that’s made with care and served with love. It’s delicious, yet unpretentious.

The Klein Karoo springbok carpaccio awakens your taste buds, with rocket and parmesan wafers and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The smoked rainbow trout is a favourite and comes from the only trout farm in the Klein Karoo, situated just outside Montagu. It's served with capers, lemon and a dill-infused vinaigrette, as well as lettuce, cucumber ribbons and marinated mushrooms.

There are options that are a little different yet well thought-through, like the mushroom crushed wheat with a portobellini duxelles fried in truffle oil and combined with crushed wheat and parmesan cheese (paired with De Krans chardonnay or the excellent Joubert-Tradauw chardonnay). If you’re not too hungry, opt for one of the pastas like the one tossed with tomato, white wine, mushrooms, spinach and feta, with a dollop of basil pesto and grated parmesan cheese.

Vegetarian options are abound, like the lentil curry and vegetarian moussaka. The fillet is fantastic, too: a peppered matured beef rubbed with crushed pepper, grilled to your liking, draped with creamed brandy pepper sauce and served with potato wedges. The springbok pie is the house specialty house specialty – the Klein Karoo meat is slow-cooked with juniper berries, red wine, herbs and spices, then covered with phyllo pastry and served with a sweet-potato and herb gravy.

On the dessert front there’s a rich chocolate mousse; milk-tart crème brûlée; a basil, lemon and pistachio ice cream; and baked pears or apples.

Drinks
The wine list is beautifully curated, with a diverse range of boutique wine farms on offer. Each wine on the award-winning Diners Club list is paired with meals or dishes, and there’s a notable commitment to local Tradouw wine farms.

Service
The service is hands-on and fantastic. The restaurant is owner-run and you really feel it. There’s a lot of love and care that goes into the running of this restaurant and hotel.

Ambience
There’s both indoor and outdoor seating available, the latter being in the beautiful garden facing the Belanti Cinema where the most wonderful and interesting music concerts occur and artists perform. The interior is cosy, arty and unpretentious, featuring wooden tables and a wooden bar, tasteful décor and lighting, and a great wine display along the walls. It’s small, laid-back and welcoming.

Best for…
Romantic dinners, dinner with friends or gatherings for friends and families.

(August 2019)

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

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  • Lynda Ingham-Brown

    Food
    Plates here are simple but tasty and offer a welcome break from the R62 route through the Karoo. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the spacious gallery, whose walls are adorned with interesting artwork. For lunch, expect the likes of a seasonal soup of the day, Cajun chicken salad or the trademark springbok carpaccio. Mains include hake fillet with hand-cut chips, a chicken burger with bacon, cheese and chilli mayo, a beef burger with cheese and a deliciously sticky onion marmalade (both served with potato wedges), and a Cape Malay chicken curry with all the trimmings. Dinner options start with an interesting-sounding Japanese-style black bean soup with feta bruschetta, jalapeno poppers and ostrich carpaccio, while mains run the gamut from rump with blue cheese sauce to Malay-style lamb curry, osso bucco, slow-roasted pork belly and sesame-crumbed chicken with Asian noodles. For dessert, sago brulée with poached guavas and vanilla ice cream is an update on a nursery-pudding classic, while lemon-and-lime panna cotta and Cape brandy pudding will please both traditionalists and those wanting something light and refreshing.

    Drinks
    An impressively comprehensive wine list with many options for both red and whites, with a focus on local cellars, as well as some interesting varietals. Beers, soft drinks and spirits are also well-represented.

    Service
    Friendly and relaxed.

    Ambience
    The rambling old hotel has been tastefully transformed into an interesting, artistic space with many rooms worth exploring.

    Best for...
    Hearty home-style cooking with a modern twist while admiring works by local artists.

    (2018)

    Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Lynda Ingham-Brown

    Food
    Plates here are simple but tasty and offer a welcome break from the R62 route through the Karoo. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the spacious gallery, the walls adorned with interesting artwork. For lunch, expect the likes of a seasonal soup of the day, Cajun chicken salad or the trademark springbok carpaccio.

    Mains include hake fillet with hand-cut chips; a chicken burger with bacon, cheese and chilli mayo; a beef burger with cheese and a deliciously sticky onion marmalade (both served with potato wedges); and a Cape Malay chicken curry with all the trimmings. Dinner starters include interesting-sounding Japanese-style black bean soup with feta bruschetta, jalapeno poppers and ostrich carpaccio; while mains run the gamut from rump with blue cheese sauce and Malay-style lamb curry to osso bucco, slow-roasted pork belly and sesame-crumbed chicken with Asian noodles.

    For dessert, sago brûlée with poached guavas and vanilla ice cream is an update on a nursery-pudding classic, while lemon-and-lime panna cotta and Cape brandy pudding will please both traditionalists and those wanting something light and refreshing.

    Drinks
    An impressively comprehensive wine list features many options for both red and whites with a focus on local cellars, as well as some interesting varietals. Beers, soft drinks and spirits are also well-represented.

    Service
    Friendly and relaxed.

    Ambience
    The rambling old hotel has been tastefully transformed into an interesting, artistic space with many rooms worth exploring.

    And…
    Stay overnight in one of the quirkily decorated rooms.

    (August 2018)

    Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • i had a lovely time with my girlfriend at the Art Hotel , The staff were wonderful, the Sheff Derek was lovely and came to chat to us , We had Pork chops that were the very tasty and with crackling and veggies that were crispy, My girlfriend had the Chickpea burger with lots of nice Avo on the side that she was very impressed with, The Local wine was well priced per glass and the total cost of our dinner came to less than R400 Including a tip and Nicole had two glasses of wine , I atmosphere was homely with a roaring fire and beautiful artworks on the walls around us , The hotel itself has lots of charm and has a pool and a pool table and a movie house that shows free movies with popcorn on Fridays , I look forward to my next meal at the Hotel, Graham and Nicole
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  • We spent yet another sunny weekend off the best and track at the Barrydale Karoo Art Hotel. Our room was truly beautiful, with its own balcony and views over the vineyards towards the mountains beyond. Apart from over indulging in much food and drinking a tad to much bubbly, we had a fantastic time. For dinner the chef suggested the fig phyllo pastry which got my mouth watering - so delicious! That was followed by the fillet which was perfected grilled with a fresh side salad. We loved the Joubert Tradouw Syrah - a well known locally produced wine. The following morning I had a tough time deciding what to have for breakfast from the wide variety of options. I was tempted to have the kippers - but in the end I opted for the omelette with the works, which was an excellent choice. The fresh fruit and muesli offered a good dose of vitamins. We will be back for more.
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  • I have stayed at the Karoo Art Hotel on various occasions over the last few years, with Barrydale being a quiet place to spend a relaxing weekend. An important consideration in choosing the hotel has been the consistently good dining offering. My most recent visit, this past weekend, once again confirmed why the restaurant experience is an important part of staying at the hotel. The restaurant menu generally offers a good choice of meat main dishes, including steak and Karoo lamb chops, so I am inclined to select one of those. However, having found that it has become increasingly difficult to find pan-fried trout on restaurant menus, I was thrilled to see this as an option. I was even more pleased when the trout arrived and proved to have been perfectly prepared. Enjoyed with one of the excellent local wines (Joubert-Tradauw Chardonnay), the choice confirmed why I will try even harder to find this offering on menus when selecting restaurants. The informative and award-winning wine list is worth special mention. It includes premium wines from throughout the Winelands, but the selection of a good number of wines from the Klein Karoo makes this an enjoyable alternative. One of the pleasures of spending a weekend at the hotel has always been the leisurely breakfasts, this being an important reason I try to arrive on Friday nights rather than during the day on Saturday. When I go away for weekends I usually treat myself to Eggs Benedict as this is something I’ve never mastered at home. The hotel’s version, served on specially prepared muffins, continues to please, making it (for me) an obvious choice even though there is a wide and enticing range of breakfast options.
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  • What an awesome evening. The restaurant certainly lends itself to slightly larger but intimate gatherings, a feat that few restaurants actually manage. My partner and i were there to celebrate a good friends birthday along with 30 other people and by the end of the evening there was a definite connection, so thats ambience and atmosphere properly taken care of. I had a beef filet and my partner had a Karoo lamb curry. We have a habit of always sampling each others choices so i can only speak for 2 dishes but they were both so tasty that we went back the next day for breakfast, which was equally top class. I will definitely be returning there. The best food and the friendliest and most efficient service. You would be hard pushed to find anything to equal it even in a big city like Cape Town. Highly recommended.
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  • On Saturday evening I enjoyed what I consider to be the best ever pan fried trout I ever enjoyed in a South African restaurant. The trout was reared high up in the mountains above the village of Montagu. Dusted with maize meal mixed with almond flour an covered with flaked almonds, the inside filed with slices of lemon and dill. Panfried in butter with a few capers and a hint of dill. Served with the first baby potatoes of the season and wonderful broad beans. Simple and honest. In Michelin terms: worth the journey from Cape Town. Breakfast included Farmer Angus beef cippolatas and incredibly surprising sliced sun ripe tomatoes. I stayed in the garden suite -altogether a wonderful dinner, a refreshing breakfast and a jovial and entertaining chef. I will be back.
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  • We have just returned from another marvelous weekend at the Barrydale Art Hotel. The hotel offers a perfect retreat from busy city-life and a welcome break from cooking. Every meal is a culinary pleasure and, if one is that way inclined, there are wonderful options to pair your meal with wines from the award winning wine list with fabulous offerings from the region. The breakfast menu deserves a special mention: I have never seen such a variety of cooked breakfasts. The Eggs Benedict are out of this world. An absolutely scrumptious chicken pie is served over lunch - the burgers and sandwiches are equally delicious. Supper at the hotel is always memorable: start off with a cocktail in the bar, swimming pool or beautiful garden. Then move over to the dining room where you can relax in front of fire place with good wines and delicious food - the Karoo lamb chops, curry and steaks are a meat lover's dream. There are several delicious vegetarian options and the Montagu trout is a great new addition to the menu for pescatarians. Secret tip: try the scrambled eggs with trout for breakfast...
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  • Lately we were invited in our second home in Barrydale by some good friends to the Karoo Hotel Restaurant for dinner. Living partly in this lovely romantic village for a couple of years already, we subsequently usually don't book a room in this ancient hotel and so we also were not up-to-date of the present state of the kitchen of the Karoo Art Hotel including the ambience in the restaurant and the prevailing service ? The dinner invitation, which we followed, was a great surprise. Not really acquainted to starters, we right on went to the main course and enjoyed a lovely Karoo Lamb ragout with potato gratin, vegetables and a fresh garden salad. As a wine, we were very glad to get our favorite dinner wine, the Touring Nacional 2013 from the DeKraans Winery in Calitzdorp. As a desert, vanilla ice-cream with a hot raspberry sauce...delicious indeed. What a meal ? What a relaxed atmosphere- and very pleasant for having a deep conversation with our friends without any disturbance from any hectic personell nor nervous neighbores... in this stylish country hotel restaurant. We decided to make it a rule to regularly in the future dine in the Karoo Hotel also as the arts like exhibitions from local painters, jazz musician's performances and drama and even small festivals in the adjacent former cinema shall be planned by the owners, as we learnt, in order to make this place a focus in the Kleine Karoo and not just a hotel to stay one night only and then check out again to travel to Cape Town or the other direction to the East. We wish the hotel good luck and lots of success, which we as partly locals would also continue to enjoy in the future. Thank you for the chance of writing this little review. Klaus-Werner & Dorly Pusch
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  • My wife and I stayed at Karoo Art Hotel in 2018, and loved the whole experience. From the eclectic, colourful decor to the friendly, relaxed staff and our room overlooking the pool area, just delightful. I love mutton, and the lamb chops we enjoyed sitting outside beneath a tree in the courtyard were easily the very best I have ever eaten. Mindful that the lamb chops are one of the hotel’s signature dishes, I anticipated them being good, but this was a higher level of culinary excellence. If one wishes to enjoy Karoo lamb at its best, then I would unreservedly recommend Karoo Art Hotel.
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  • We love to drive along the R62, soak in the country side at leisure on the quieter back roads while travelling between Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay. Barrydale is a quaint and laid back town. We have had the pleasure of staying at the Barry Karoo Hotel for first time about 6 years ago and have enjoyed each return visit since. While retaining its old character, the hotel is very well maintained, the rooms are spacious and comfortable and unique in size, decor and proportions - we have stayed in quite a few. The restaurant offering is surprisingly impressive for a small town Hotel with unpretentious well prepared dishes and an excellent wine-list including but not limited to some choice "Karoo" wines. Generous Morning breakfasts with decent coffee are equally tasteful offering good value!
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  • Simply one of the best- an authentic Karoo scenery and an ambient vibe, leaves this restaurant nothing short of superb. The food is first class- i’ll leave it there. The Karoo Lamb chops are a must- perfectly prepared to your liking, and oh so tender. Absolutely order the jalapeño poppers, an experience on its own. Exceptional standards and a marvelous experience created by staff, leaves this restaurant matchless. Excellent!
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  • We are not an easy family to please! I am a vegetarian, my husband only eats meat, my teenager can't get enough of anything and my little girl can blow holes in any kiddy menu! Yet at the Karoo Art Hotel there are various delicious options for each of us and dinner time is a joyful occasion! There are plenty vegetarian options. I even had my very own menu made for me when I mentioned that I was a vegetarian! This in the heart of Karoo Lamb chop country! The wine menu is beyond extensive and the desserts to die for. We go back regularly to this gem of a place. We love it so much that I even had my wedding there! With plenty fussy guests, nothing was too difficult and 150 guests were served on time on warm plates (my darling husband's only fussy request!) Breakfast is an equal gastronomic pleasure with all the trimmings and then some. The staff are can-do and what a pleasure with a genuine smile! Bar staff included! Can't wait to back!
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  • I have been a regular client to the Karoo Art Hotel in Barrydale for many years, and over that time, I have always had the best experience. From a warm welcome at reception to brilliant service received from restaurant staff, I always feel "at home". The food, from preparation to presentation, is hearty, wholesome and great value for money. The waiters also have the right balance of friendliness and efficiency. Always a pleasure. Would highly recommend!
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  • On a baking December end of year day we impulsively decided to extend our stay in the Little Karroo, but alas, everywhere was full. However, kind and gracious staff at Karroo Art found a delightful room for us, we were thrilled and impressed! On arrival at the atmospheric hotel, redolent of a thriving past, we immediately jumped in the pool and enjoyed the most attentive poolside service... a simple champagne lunch in our cozzies. We were joined by Barrydale friends who were generously invited to use the pool by the management, and a happy respite from the 40C heat was had by all. The hotel is beautifully maintained and despite preparing for their grand New Year's bash and aftermath the next day, an exquisite fresh brunch was served, voile curtains on the stoep gently billowing in the breeze. Child tolerant and friendly, the staff were wonderful and the food delicious! Each year we return for a splendid taste of the Karroo from their ever innovative menu. The poolside bar service was the cherry on top - they stocked fabulous wines and craft beers, and of course good champagne..all served waterside. Its one of the best and last remaining nostalgic hotel dining rooms you will find in the country - surely due to the clever owners, in touch with contemporary urbanites needs and their longing for an escape from city chaos. Carol Kaufmann Bishop
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  • We visit this hotel frequently as our friends has a weekend house in Barrydale. We attended the Joubert brothers& cousin wine and food evening last Saturday evening. Organized by Peter Veldsman this foodie feast runs for almost 2 months. Well organized; excellent service and food by mother and daughter Rabie's was great pairing with the wines. Well done Theo and team!
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  • In a peaceful, quiet town, there sits a small hotel that's well worth the trip. The Karoo Art Hotel is a true gem waiting to be discovered by yourself. In the event of an emergency; the beautiful, art-filled restaurant boasts an exquisite wine list - one of the best in the country. It definitely has the awards to prove that! And if the wine doesn't satisfy your famished stomach, then fear not, the food is terrific. I've frequented restaurants promising fantastic dishes at exorbitant prices, yet this funky hotel presented me with some of the tastiest meals I have ever experienced. The restaurant easily outclasses some of the best establishments in Cape Town - home to many celebrated restaurants. The service was a tad bit disappointing, in that I found myself unable to complain about anything (I do enjoy recognising those small errors)! The capable staff will bring a smile to your face as they genuinely want you to enjoy your experience in their home town. Feel free to start a conversation with them, as they have incredible stories to tell. And fear not, if, after dinner, you still want entertainment, you can head to the hotel's classic yet classy bar. You can spend hours playing with their turntable or making conversation with the locals. The Karoo Art Hotel is something to write home about.
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  • Fantastic ambiance, lots of caracter and friendly service!
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  • A cut above the rest! I tried the Lentil & Butternut Curry on a cold winter's evening - it was the best I've ever had. Cozy log fires, friendly staff and colourful, uplifting decor make this hotel one of the best places to unwind and get away from it all.
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  • Charming!
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  • The Karoo Art Hotel is an ideal place to hold a weekend get-away for a group. I hosted my husband's 60th birthday party at the hotel, and we could not have selected a better venue. The hotel has many rooms in which to move the group around over the weekend, with a lounge area, dining room, bar area, games room outside, and even a small bioscope where one can choose movies and play them for the group. The food was good. We had a large group of 14, so that would be a challenge for any small dining room to handle. The service was excellent, as all orders came out at the same time, and correct. The highlight for our group was the springbok carpaccio. The lentil and butternut curry was also excellent.
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  • A gem in the middle of the beautiful Karoo. The restaurant is so tastefully and artistically decorated and the only thing that distracts from it is the incredible food. The menu is well varied and vegetarian friendly to boot. The staff were very knowledgeable about both the dishes served and the award winning wine list. It's an all around treat. Highly recommended!
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  • Fantastic restaurant with great menu and wine list. Not my first visit and certainly not my last. Very friendly staff and great service. Harley rider from Namibia
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  • We had the most wonderful time at the Karoo Art Hotel Restaurant. Our dinner was excellent, every dish was a specialty. The meal was accompanied by a lovely red wine which we enjoyed very much. The ambience is very unique. You enter a house that looks quite normal from the outside, but once you get inside, you will be really surprised by the great art that surrounds you with much love to detail. Also the service is excellent. The staff has a natural friendliness that we have not found any place else during our trip. Thank you so much for a memorable stay and the extraordinary food.
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  • Very pleasant place with incredible and so charming decoration. Cooking is really fine with interesting tastes and original associations. The staff is friendly and the bar so attractive. Sorry for my approximative english, I am French.
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  • Amazing food, as always. Thank you Chef Derek Louw.
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  • Exquisite food. Definitely worth a number of visits! Compliments to chef Derek.
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  • Good vibe. Excellent food. Great service. True country hospitality. Will return ... for sure!
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  • It is a great challenge to find any Vegetarian and Vegan food in Barrydale. We stopped at the hotel and we were pleasantly surprised by the welcome from Chef Derek Lowe. Although they had a private function he made an effort to accommodate us especially when he found out that I am vegetarian as there are no other options in town. Thank you for making us feel so welcome. The Cucumber soup was absolutely lovely and refreshing, however the Roasted Caramel Beetroot salad was a disappointment. It lacked taste and finesse and the beetroot was not roasted at all. We will give it another chance when we are in the area again.
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  • A weekend away AND in a small town is usually a challenge for us vegeterians and vegans. Not so at this eloquent and stylishly decorated restaurant in the heart of the Karoo. The Potato and Spinach Fritters were heavenly and although a starter portion they are more than enough as a main (especially with desert now firmly in sight). I settled for Old family favourite Peppermint Mousse, a classic presented with the 5 star touch! The atmosphere and friendly efficient staff made the whole experience one to remember and to be repeated.
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  • What a wonderfully stylish and relaxing spot situated right in the middle of one of our country's most beautiful locations, the Klein Karoo. The staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and extensive winelist. If you're vegetarian no problem, you'll be spoilt for choice. Our food was truly on a level generally associated with the very best of eateries in the city. I'd squeeze an extra star in for the food if I could but alas 5 will have to do :>
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  • Brilliant! Really lovely setting (very well curated art), friendly service - the chef came out for a chat! We're vegi and this was pretty much the best menu we've seen in SA outside one or two specialist restaurants in CT. Anyway, the home made pasta was wonderful and I happily recommend this place to anyone.
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  • Nice surprise had a fantastic meal
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  • What a treat ..the best food in the universe..keep up the good food and vibes.. Chef Derek ,you are just the best .. Highly recommended..10 out of 10
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  • What a treat ..the best food in the universe..keep up the good food and vibes.. Chef Derek ,you are just the best .. Highly recommended..10 out of 10
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  • A friend and I are doing a two week long road trip. We have found this wonderful gem in one of the most beautiful parts of our country. The interior of the hotel blew our minds, the food was excellent (we ate far too much) and the personnel was extremely well trained and friendly. I cannot remember the last time a chef actually came out to greet his patrons! What a memorable evening it turned out to be! Thank you to the staff (all of them!) for giving us wonderful memories to carry with us for as long as we will be able to remember!
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  • In simple words: Great team, great food, beautiful location. Highly recommended. By the way: besides a top restaurant, also the Karoo Art Hotel itself is a beautiful place to stay!
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  • We only stayed 1 evening but we had a fantastic meal - I had the lamb ribs - perfectly cooked my husband had chicken - which was cooked in the most tasty of sauces Excellent value and service. Breakfast was equally good with lots of choices
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  • We attended a special dinner at the Karoo Art Hotel at which their restaurant served a traditional Indonesian Rijstafel. The meal, which consisted of many small, interesting dishes, complemented by various sambals, was extraordinary! Every dish was delicious and the entire feast was a wonderfully spicy culinary adventure. Despite pulling off a most challenging dinner the previous night, the kitchen was on top form the next morning. Their breakfast was a treat! This is a food destination well worth the drive.
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  • The head chef was outstanding, the personnel followed suit. We had a wonderful evening, thank you so much!!
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  • There's a place away from home that please all the senses: the pre dinner drinks in the bar had good vibe going with a local band entertaining us with korsentina and all! Dinner was served with wines suggested by our host for the evening, Johnivan. I was fortunate to have the company of intriguing and humorous fellow guests. We all share a love for food, art and good wine - which this hotel have plenty of! We shared the hearty marrow bones and mushroom spring rolls. For mains I had the Cape Malay Lamb Curry with sambals, basmati rice and a poppadom. The home made sambals included a pineapple salsa and a ginger refresher. My companions for the evening, enjoyed other varieties of the "O, sooo good!" Karoo lamb, such as cutlets served with paprika seasoned potato wedges; and a proper greenbean stew. Dessert was tempting not because we were hungry, but rather because of the descriptions... And so as one do when good food and company meets: we shared all the deserts on offer! From a chocolate browny smothered in white chocolate sauce; plum stewed pudding with decadent homemade ice-cream; milktart créme brûlée; and a winter special crumble made with apples and pears from the region. All exceptional! But the experience was flawless due to good service and excellent timing. If you're looking for a get away with it all, be sure to include the Karoo Art Hotel in your trip!
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  • We have visited the restaurant a couple of times on road trips and destination travel. Recently we hosted an event at the hotel, my sister's 50th Birthday bash, and spent the weekend there with 25 friends and family. Chef Derrick was very accommodating and pulled together an incredible menu for us. This is authentic Karoo food, fresh and delicious - highly recommend breakfast, the picked fish for lunch or the butternut salad and lamb ribs for dinner, you will want the recipe for the ribs... If you can convince the chef to bake you a chocolate cake then this is the best chocolate cake you will ever taste, not too sweet with the right balance of texture and taste, we had guests asking for seconds, seldom happens at an adult birthday party!
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  • I was very welcomed. The staff were extremely helpfull. I also really enjoyed the food. The chef is a rockstar. I would recommend the Karoo Art Hotel to everyone.
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  • Absolutely superb food served in the most beautiful hotel! The head chef is incredibly versatile and catered for my vegan needs without hesitation.
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  • Just one thing to say.........Amazing.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways

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