Venues

Terra Mare

Terra Mare
Write a Review
  • Phone Number 021 863 4805
  • Location 90A Main Street, Paarl, Western Cape
  • email info@terramare.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Monday to Saturday 11am to late

Is this your venue?

Claim it now!

Please or signup in order for you to claim this venue.

Cost
R180 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance, Comfy & casual, Contemporary cool, Family friendly
Food
Fine-dining food, Italian, Mediterranean, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
This landmark of the Paarl restaurant scene continues to draw in loyal locals and curious tourists with its wide-ranging menu that blends local flavours and ingredients with a distinctly European approach. That could mean a trio of wild mushrooms in risotto, home-made gnocchi with parmesan and (more) mushrooms, or beef carpaccio in a heady truffle vinaigrette.

Look out for daily specials on the chalkboard: perhaps ostrich fillet with spätzle or fillet on the bone with a pesto mash. Even with these heartier dishes the plating is elegant; there are no unnecessary flourishes here, and the food is all the better for it. There’s an appealing flexibility on the menu too, with many dishes available as starter or main portions.

Desserts are reliably traditional, from the excellent tiramisu to a more local malva pudding and classic crêpe Suzette. Can’t decide? The cleverly-named ‘Non merci’ platter offers a selection of bite-sized sweets.

Drinks
An excellent well-priced wine list that offers both tasting notes and guidance on wine pairing. Only a small selection offered by the carafe, but in two sizes (250ml and 500ml).

Service
Well-intentioned and efficient, but somewhat rough around the edges given the elegant surrounds.

Ambience
Classic and upmarket, like the menu itself. Tables are spread across two levels, but ignore the ground floor in favour of the first-floor main section where artworks line the walls and the ambience is more convivial.

And…
The terrace tables in the back offer top-notch views of Paarl Mountain. Be sure to book ahead on balmy evenings.

(September 2016)

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

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche

    Food
    This is a Paarl landmark, celebrating 10 years of consistently excellent food. They’ve built a reputation as one of those eateries where you have the comforting assurance that you know what to expect. Having said that, a substantial specials menu with lots of exiting options to choose from is on offer daily. Choose from scrumptious seafood starters such as spicy calamari and chorizo salad, mussels in a white wine sauce or a trio of tuna, all beautifully presented. More starter options include delicious Mediterranean-inspired starters, antipasti, gnocchi with blue cheese and Parma ham or tomato risotto with ricotta and pickle onions for starters. The mains offer a variety of meat, vegetarian, fish, pasta and poultry dishes in generous portions. The duet of duck – confit leg and seared breast, served on a bed of egg noodles with an orange syrup – is as good as it gets. Desserts are sweet and comforting. Expect restaurant favourites like tiramisu and malva pudding or even the classic crêpes Suzette. Limoncello sorbet is boozy and refreshing, perfect for a balmy Paarl summer’s day. Terra Mare is a good choice for any occasion, celebration or family meal.

    Drinks
    The wine list shows good local representation, with an excellent choice of different wine styles and varieties. The wine prices are reasonable, with the option to order good quality wine by the carafe.

    Service
    Friendly and eager to please. Staff members are knowledgeable and well-informed about the daily specials and how they are prepared.

    Ambience
    The back terrace offers shaded tables with a beautiful view towards Paarl Mountain. Inside, there's dark wood, leather and white linen, brightened during the day with plenty of light coming in through the large windows; at night, a cosy atmosphere awaits.

    And…
    If you’re finding the choice of which dessert to order too tricky? Succumb to a platter of divine, bite-sized desserts called Non Merci.

    (October 2015)

  • Greg Landman

    Food
    Olivier Jeaggi-Wright, the owner of this Paarl gem, is of Swiss heritage, so expect some Swiss nuances, comfortable in their African Paarl setting. Starters include a delicious crispy rösti with Parma ham and brie with a splash of truffle oil, served with a baby mixed salad, and smoked salmon done the same way, but without the brie. There are three kinds of carpaccio, all excellent: tuna with a lime soya dressing, beef with confit tomato and truffle vinaigrette, and springbok with chakalaka cheese and delicious spicy Malay-style oil.

    Various risottos and pasta dishes can be ordered in starter or main size portions, like gnocchi with blue cheese and Parma ham, and shrimp risotto infused with prawn bisque and pecorino shavings. Mains of flesh, fish or fowl include a superb pan-fried ostrich fillet with spaetzle, and fabulous beef fillet on the bone served with a pesto mash. The best dessert is the one they call Non Merci: bite-size tastes of chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, limoncello ice, chocolate hazelnut tart, and tiramisu. Such a good idea!

    Drinks
    Being in the heart of a Winelands town, the restaurant's list is impressive, with some wines made especially for them by people like Charles Hopkins and Creation wines. Wine by the carafe like those from De Grendel and Boland make it possible to indulge.

    Service
    On the ball, with staff that can answer questions on how the food is made.

    Ambience
    Professionally relaxed with no fussy edges. Plenty of light comes in from the windows, revealing crisp, clean linen, some leather and the glint of sparkling glasses. A favourite place for local winemakers.

    And...
    In summer, the back terrace is tented and becomes a favourite meeting place for the locals in the sultry Paarl evenings.

    (July 2014)

  • This spot has a well-deserved long-standing reputation. Expect to find consistent food (that ever-elusive ingredient to success) and friendly, efficient service thanks to the personal care of the owner, Olivier, and his family team. Stand-out dishes: Karoo lamb; Amarula crème brûlée; steak tartare; three-mushroom risotto; and limoncello sorbet. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    This popular Paarl restaurant offers an intriguing mix of European-style dishes with the best that this area has to offer. The owners, Olivier and Delenia Jaeggi-Wright, he being Swiss and she of Italian descent, bring a European sensibility to a cuisine that is never precious, but concentrates on maximum flavour in generous portions – the kind of cooking that has made it a favourite with the locals for many years. Helping Olivier with the cooking is Thabo Nqadie, who has been at Terra Mare for seven years, adding his very own African touch to the Swiss style of the house.The three-mushroom starter with mascarpone is just about one of the richest dishes you will come across in a month of Sundays; each mushroom has its own character, which adds so much to the dish. Gnocchi with blue cheese sauce has real Parma ham slivers on top, running a close second to the risotto for knockout flavour. If that all seems a bit much, try the antipasto platter with meat, marinated vegetables à la Grecque and cheese to get the taste buds going. These starters are available in main portions as well, though I really don’t know who would be able to eat that amount! Springbok carpaccio with chakalaka cheese and Malay spiced oil, and tuna carpaccio with lime soya vinaigrette are also great, but the pièce de résistance is the vitello tonnato which nestles pinkly on a bed of mixed greens, including baby beetroot leaves, which is a nice touch. Here the tonnato dressing does not smother the dish as if it had something to hide, but rather is piled in the middle of the plate to show off the colour of the meat. Delicious. Mains range from flesh to fowl with a nod to the ocean, with grilled tiger prawns, seared sashimi tuna with avocado and five sauces, and pan fried-sole with cherry tomatoes and avocado sauce. The ostrich fan fillet with truffle mash potatoes and mushroom sauce, and the duo of duck with orange syrup will satisfy the most eager of appetites. If you can tear yourself away from the lightest, richest tiramisu this side of the grape curtain, try the limoncello sorbet, which is ice-cold and anointed with shots of limoncello liquor. The combination of tangy lemons, sugar, and alcohol is irresistible.

    Wine
    As befits an establishment frequented by many of the local winemakers, this is a formidable (if somewhat pricey) list, very carefully chosen to complement the food. Some of the wines have been specially made for, and are exclusive to, Terra Mare. The list has intelligent descriptions of the varietals and wines clearly written by someone very knowledgeable, which is such a pleasure. Most of the wines are from this area and Franschhoek, but there are treasures from further afield. If you want Dom Perignon 2000 vintage (at R2000 a bottle), they have it.

    Service
    Comfortable and knowledgeable. The eye of the waiter is always on the customer, yet not breathing down their neck.

    Ambience
    The room itself is coolly modern with wood finishes, leather and chrome, and the occasional African touch just to remind you where you are. Overlooking the famous vineyards of Paarl, the outside deck, which is tented, is wildly popular when the weather is good, managing to achieve that indoor-outdoor ambience. The cosy bar is just the place to meet for before- or after-dinner drinks.

    And...
    Off-street parking is available behind the building, but it is limited, so phone ahead or park in the road outside.(Greg Landman, March 2013

User reviews

  • First visit and we were impressed with quality of the food and friendly staff! Superb all around - this is now top of my list!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We had a wonderful meal at Terra Mare! Glad to have such a wonderful restaurant in Paarl, with amazing ambience! Keep up the good meals for many years to come.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Have been to Terra Mare quite a few times and have never been disappointed. Excellent restaurant!

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Best place for lunch or dinner in Paarl. Constant good quality, knowledgable and friendly service. Well trained and responsible staff.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • The first thing I do after landing in Cape Town is the reservation of a table at Terra Mare for my friends and I!
    Olivier's food is worth flying in from Zurich!

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Super restaurant - good food and exellent service.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • What a great evening my family and I had at Terra Mare. I ordered the rösti with the Parma ham and the truffle oil – it was lovely.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We had great food and service, and it’s cosy and warm because of the fireplace. There’s a to say about the place, but you have to see for yourself!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Second time around great as the fist time.The staff are so welcoming that I feel I`m at home by Terra Mare Restaurant.Great place indeed.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Wonderful experience all round.Fantastic service and delicious food.We are so coming back.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • I fist want to say great food, service and above all it`s nice and warm because of the fireplace. There is lots to say about the place but you have to go and see for yourself.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • What a great evening my family and I had at Terra Mare. I had the rosti with the parma ham and the truffle oil - lovely; and the veal with the rissoto, veggies and horseradish sauce was special. Great service, will be back for sure.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Success has its price. The waiters are not that alert. No cutlery with dessert. Forgot about the extra bread. Pity the tent is blocking the view, it feels cramped. Tuna is excellent.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • I had a lovely saterday evening at Terra Mare. Great service and the outside setting is nice. My friend loved the springbok carpaccio with chacalaka cheese. As soon as we are back in the winelands of Paarl, we will be back at the restaurant to have another enjoyable evening.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • I went to Terra Mare many times and I must say that its always a pleasure. The food is constantly delicious. I love the tuna and the non merci dessert! Last time we had a great evening on the terrace. Glad there was a tent, as it was a windy evening!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Never lets us down! Imaginative and tasty food with a great welcome from Oliver. Eat with the eyes first, then enjoy with your mouth. Lovely every time.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Best restaurant around! We have had lunch and dinner at Terra Mare several times and it was always delicious! New Years Eve menu was awesome. Great wine selection as well. Congratulations to the Swiss owner, keep up the good work!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • What a find! Had our end of year function at Terra Mare. Food wonderful - tasty, well presented - yummy! Service excellent - we were a group of 22! Thank you for making our special function so memorable!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We had butternut soup, and beef fillet. Everything was very tasty and delicious. Value for money. Nice cosy place with welcoming fireplace. Will go back definitely.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • As a Paarliet albeit an inkommer Ive been going to Terra Mare since its inception. Ive yet to have a disappointing meal. Some would say that I order the risotto 2 out of 3 times but this is not entirely true although it is a huge favourite. I can vouch for most items on the menu - the very innovative and very classy salad starters(such as prawn and chorizo) deserve a special mention. In winter the osso buco is hard to ignore; for a light lunch the antipasta is an absolute winner, not least because its served in such an innovative way. Fore-go Franschhoek for a change and step onto Terra Mares soil - without a doubt the best restaurant in Paarl.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Weve had friends staying with us in Paarl for two weeks. Last night, they wanted a night out on the town, so we sent them to Terra Mare. They came home raving about the great meal they had - their best in South Africa! It was so good, we all went back tonight. The kudu with blueberry reduction was the absolute hit of the table, though none of us wanted to share our salads or soups . The gazpacho was the best of our starters, with a close second being the rosti/avocado/parma ham salad. All told - the food just cant be beat!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We went to Terra Mare for our 11th anniversary. There is always a little bit of apprehension on a big day like this, as it was MY turn to choose the restaurant. The food was sublime, with original combinations and fresh ingredients. I had the gazpacho, which was fresh, clean and quite spicy (which perhaps they could say on the specials board, as some diners might not be expecting this...I like spicy though!). My husband had the mussel soup, which was subtle and tasty. I then had the ostrich fillet. WOW. Tender and tasty, as sometimes restaurants DONT know how to tackle ostrich. My husband had the rib-eye steak, which he said was better than a fillet. The wine was reasonably priced, although I think there should be more cheaper options available.All in all, a great evening. Thanks!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Restaurateur, Olivier and hands-on chef Thabo, make music in the kitchen of this eatery in the main road of Paarl, with views towards the mountains and vineyards that make this town so special. Consistency, presentation and yummy food, that eats as good as it looks, is their secret - that gets our big and fussy family eating there throughout the year, throughout the week, when we want to celebrate and when we simply want to eat. My most favourite dish - the seafood pasta - to my mind rates as the most moreish dish there is on any menu. Thank you for the friendliness and thank you for fine eating at prices that one can afford.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • At last, a true gem for beautiful Paarl. Terra Mare has a friendly, cosy, upmarket atmosphere. The staff are friendly and their service is superb. Their chef, Thabo is excellent and his genuine approach is welcoming and inviting. The portions are good and tastes even better. The owners are visible and have a hands-on approach, which makes a repeat visit pleasurable and welcoming. A perfect venue for the family, business meetings or to enjoy a little time out. Great food, great wines and safe, free parking. Open lunch and dinner, Tuesdays - Saturdays. Good venue for a small wedding.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • This is just the best restaurant I have been visiting till now, worldwide. For over 3 years, every week, I could not resist to its lovely food and of course its wonderful people, which makes THE difference with any other restaurant. Just try it and you will see. Now I am back in Switzerland and can only dream about it.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • As an experienced Head Chef of a 5* Hotel in Switzerland (Wellness & Spa Hotel Beatus), Id like to congratulate Olivier for a fantastic evening. We had several menus as we stayed over 3 weeks in South Africa. Everything is prepared in an excellent manner which shows the culinary skills of Olivier and his team. Even our little daughter which was served a child portion of really fresh Kingklip asked for more. Not to forget the service which was always perfect -polite, attentive and knowledgeable about what theyre serving! We hope to come back soon!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Great food and service - one of the best in the Western Cape region. Olivier is an excellent host and the meun is wonderful. Cannot speak highly enough on this restaurant. A must visit for everyone.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We live between Franschhoek and Paarl and out of sheer habit, tend to head towards Franschhoek automatically for a great meal out. Not any more! We have had a number of meals at Terra Mare and they have never disappointed. Consistent quality is extremely difficult but Olivier pulls it off, no problem. TM is firmly on our favourites map! Great food, great service.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Service is EXCELLENT and the FOOD especially the Creme Brule is exquisite.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We had a business Lunch there and I was very impressed. Only about 4 tables where occupied, hence no real ambience. Food was fantastic. Olivier is a great host and I can really recommend this place. I Joburg this place would be packed lunch time and for dinner!!!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dancing
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Smoking
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

Write a review

Featured restaurants

Eatout