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Le Bon Vivant

Le Bon Vivant Write a Review

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Cost
R150 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance, Family friendly
Food
Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Greg Landman

Food
Dutch-born owner and Chef, Pierre Hendricks, brings a European/ French sensibility to local ingredients, attracting many loyal fans to his well-established eatery. Through the glass windows one can see him and his team preparing the fare of the day, which can alter as various ingredients make their appearance on the culinary calendar. If you are up to it, there is Imperial Heritage caviar at R955 for 30g or fresh oysters a lot more reasonably priced. Or try the Dutch bitterballen, a treat you will not find everywhere.

The curry-cured tuna with wasabi crumble and green apple panna cotta is delicious, as is the goat’s cheese with beetroot cannelloni. One of the best mains is the excellent duck breast served with crisply fried duck's liver nicely off set by the sweet and sour notes of the apple and celery salad and the small kick the ras el hanout spice gives to the dish. The fresh line fish of the day with a herb crust, fried lemon risotto and mushroom tomato ragout is a sure bet. Or try the seared red sea bass, with squid ceviche and saffron pasta, for another take on ocean dishes.

Wine
Very good wine list with some of the region’s best, Chateau de Breuil calvados or Ragnaud Sabourin cognac to finish – a real treat.

Service
Friendly and efficient but further culinary training will be helpful.

Ambience
Outside on the veranda on a balmy Franschhoek summer evening is first prize but the interior is charming and cosy — an old converted house full of character.

And...
Booking ahead is essential, especially in the winter months, when they might be closed.

(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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  • Hetta van Deventer Terblanche

    Food
    Chef Patron Pierre Hendriks has, over a decade, built up his restaurant over to become one of the most popular local Franschhoek eateries. Born in the Netherlands, classically trained and with many years’ fine dining experience under the belt, he moved to South Africa to open Le Bon Vivant. He plates his food beautifully, without compromising on taste and flavour. Expect to find a good selection of fish, meat and vegetarian options on the seasonal menu. Although his Netherlands’ roots do show up on the menu, he marries classics with South African flavours in dishes such as a curry-cured tuna starter with a green apple panna cotta, or a tasty main course of crayfish and osso buco.. A few of the menu options feature two different cuts of meat on one plate, like pork rack and cheek, served with apricot and crackling, or beef fillet and short rib, served with madeira jus Haut Espoir. Classic desserts will have you swooning.

    Drinks
    The wine list has a strong focus on local wines from the valley, reasonably priced. Pierre consciously creates food that pairs well with wine, and also chooses wines that compliments his food.

    Service
    Staff are knowledgeable about both wine and food offerings. They’re warm, friendly and very eager to please.

    Ambience
    The restaurant is set within a converted house with wooden floors, and most of the interior walls knocked down. A large glassed wall allows diners a view of the busy kitchen preparations. The shaded porch and garden is very inviting for lunch and summer’s evenings.

    And…
    If you love foie gras, you’re in luck: there’s a good chance that it will feature on the menu, deliciously prepared.

  • Food
    You have to admire the skill of a classically trained chef. Dutchman Pierre Hendricks is an artist and loves pairing technique with local ingredients – such as poached ballotine of chicken partnered with duck confit, perched on curry rice and delightfully tart, freshly made apricot chutney. There are some perennial favourites on the menu: fish chowder, oysters three ways, soup surprise. If you're adventurous, leave yourself in the chef’s accomplished hands and opt for the multiple-course surprise menu – with or without accompanying wine for each dish.

    Wine
    Franschhoek-focussed but geared to showcase the dishes on the menu.

    Service
    Unobtrusive, well trained and very affable.

    Ambience
    Cosy and nurturing with its roasted butternut interior, particularly on a winter's night. And in summer, if it’s too hot outside on the shady garden patio, the converted cottage interior provides a cool respite.

    And...
    The vegetable salsa and anchovy sauces, which accompany the complimentary bread, are a highlight on their own. (FM, October 2011)

User reviews

  • We had dinner here on Saturday night. Quite simply, the best meal Ive ever had anywhere. Absolutely stunning, and Cheryline our waitress for the night deserves the same praise. Wonderful, we will be back.
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  • A magical experience!
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  • Wed eaten at most of the better restaurants in Franschhoek, or so we thought! We booked a table for nine at Le Bon Vivant, and had a wonderful evening. The food was great - we really enjoyed our 5 course tasting menu - and the service was very good! We received a call the next day from our waiter, Cheryline, as she wanted to correct a mistake on the bill which we had not noticed. Such service has to be commended!
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  • This restaurant can compete with the best restaurants in Europe.Based on my diners a few weeks ago I was quite surprised to find this excellent restaurant in a small place like Franschhoek. The quality of the food, the presentation of it on the plate and the friendly and superb service made these diners one of the highpoints of the holiday of my companion and me. It is a pity that not more people can enjoy the cooking of this kitchenmaster than some tourists that travel through this place
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  • This is the best restaurant we have been to in SA.The food is excellent, the service really good.Weve had the 5 course surprise menu including the wines, and everything really matched and the portions were not too much or too little. Delicious!!!In Europe we have the Michellin Stars (3 stars is the most) and this restaurant really deserves a star (and maybe 2).
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  • Beautiful presentation, excellent service and of course, delicious food! I loved the trio of soups - divine!
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  • What an artist this Pierre Hendriks is. Ive never seen such a great looking food, and the tasts are fantastic, whatever you choose. Eating is not only with your mouth, but your eyes as well. Put him in the TOP 10, he really deserves it.
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  • I keep travelling back to Franschhoek to eat at Le Bon Vivant - and I dont even live in South Africa! Not only consistently fantastic food, but also the best value for money. Im a choosy diner and if I dine alone even more so. Chef Hendriks had no difficulties in keeping me very happy with his surprise menu. Many chefs can pull it off once, but to do it so well, without repeating himself, several times in a week...For the life of me I cant understand why Le Bon Vivant is not in the top ten of eat out magazine!
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  • This guy (Pierre Hendriks) can really cook!! We have tried most of the restaurants in Franschhoek, but our best best best experience was eating at Le Bon Vivant, definitely not your mainstream Franschhoek restaurant - they all offer more or less the same - but something really special ! We can really recommend Le Bon Vivant.
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  • Excellent presentation and quality of the food.( fish of the day finally in a new version as all he others) Ambience warm and inventive ( kitchen tools as lamps etc).Very friendly and knowledgable service. Best value for money for this level in Franschhoek! Very good winelist with the least mark up I have seen for a long time.I will definately go back.
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  • As a dining experiance it was hard to equal. Fantastic imagination and flavours perfectly prepared and presented. Terrific value. Book early for a table with a view of the kitchen
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  • My wife and I have a small upmarket B&B in Franschhoek. Our guests are mainly from overseas and stay 2-3 nights. Of all the excellent resturants in Franschhoek they go to, Le Bon Vivant is, without doubt, the one they most consistently praise for the originality of its cuisine. for the painterly presentation (as described in The Lonely Planet) of its dishes, for the friendly service and for value for money.
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  • We had the opportunity to see chef-patron Pierre in action as we sat looking into his kitchen of glass. Food creations were artful and an interesting topic of conversation.The delicious a la carte menu ensured an evening of sheer tasting pleasure. Thank you for making our visit so special Pierre.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

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