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R750 per person for seven-course lunch and dinner tasting menu
Groups, Special occasions
Seafood, South African
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Seth Shezi

Just two hours away from Cape Town lies the alluring yet rugged West Coast and its shining jewel is the quaint town of Paternoster. Wolfgat is perched atop the Wolfgat cave, which the restaurant is named after. The intimate 24-seater heritage cottage enjoys unimpeded views of the gently cresting surf. It is here where chef Kobus van der Merwe beguiles diners with his artful creations, using hyper-local produce that put him on the map as the pioneer and reviver of the Strandveld philosophy of cooking.

Strandveld means beach vegetation, which refers to the fact that this type of foraged vegetation grows along the coast. That’s exactly where chef Kobus sources his ingredients to craft his out-of-this-world seven-course menu of hand-picked dune spinach, seaweed, soutlaai and many other indigenous plants and herbs detailed in his book, ‘Strandveldfood – A West Coast Odyssey’.

Chef Kobus’ embrace of Paternoster and its unfamiliar vegetation has set him apart as one of the most important and relevant chefs working today. Wolfgat is fast becoming a destination restaurant sought after by forage enthusiasts from all over the world, creating a phenomenon not unlike Sweden’s Fäviken.

Although the menu is seafood-leaning, the bread course of homemade breadsticks, served with a pan of searing hot farm butter infused with bokkoms – salted and dried mullet – is an inextricably addictive beginning to a meal that will have you fighting over the last breadstick to slurp up the salty buttery goodness.

The best way to enjoy Wolfgat is by suspending your preconceptions and opening your mind to exploring new taste and texture sensations, because the best dishes will likely read like nothing you’ve ever heard. An obvious highlight for most is the Saldanha Bay mussels dish with cauliflower and dune celery, while the smoked angelfish with slangbessie, soutslaai and spring flowers will have some doing a quick Google search to understand what the course entails. It’s a beautiful dish, plated like a blooming shoreline with bursting flavours of light sweetness offset by the tartness of the soutslaai.

End on a proudly South African trip down memory lane with a dessert of mabele, Black Eagle Brewing Co weissbier and strandveld honey-topped winterweizen.

The drinks offering is worth spending a night in Paternoster to ensure no one has to be the designated driver, because the pairing is worth it. It’s an education and discovery of unusual and some garagiste wines and craft beers from the area and greater Swartland.

For a restaurant run on a skeleton staff of five, the service is exceptional. All dishes are personally presented by chef Kobus, which lends to a richer experience as you can often ask him a few questions about some of the unusual ingredients, which he is very well versed in.

The restaurant is located in a 130-year-old whitewashed fisherman’s cottage on a hill, overlooking the bay of Paternoster. After a long drive from Cape Town, this is the first sign that things are about to gear down – between courses you won’t help casting an eye and being bewitched by the gently crashing waves.

Best for…
A gastronomic experience that marries West Coast traditional cuisine with the celebration and exploration of the indigenous vegetation.

(August 2018)

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

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User reviews

  • Lunch experience of the year! Worth every cent AND the drive to Paternoster. Kobus is an incredibly talented chef and he has curated a dining experience at Wolfgat that is honest and authentic, sophisticated, yet unpretentious and totally unique. Every course was a work of art, interesting, beautiful to look at and utterly delicious. The 7-course menu is built around seafood (you see, smell, hear and taste the sea when you dine here), but ours also included a beautiful springbok course. It's an exciting culinary journey and one can't wait to see what the next, beautifully presented course will bring. Diners get to discover locally sourced ingredients that include strandsalie; his homemade strandveld vermouth; duinespinasie; kruipvygie; slangbessie; lemoenboegoe masala, kiesieblaar (all with botanical names listed too). The winelist is equally interesting, listing top quality, relatively unknown wines from the region - we loved the Cape Rock Asylum 2018, Carinus Chenin Blanc 2018, and Teubes Chenin Blanc 2017. This is a special restaurant and a highly recommended dining experience!
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  • True genius. No wonder why he was 2018 chef of the year. Delicate flavors using different ingredients and combinations tied perfectly together with passion for food and flavor.
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  • We absolutely LOVED our dining experience at Wolfgat. Unusual combinations that worked together beautifully. Loved the locally foraged fresh produce used in the dishes and the fact that Kobus explained the dishes himself. A sublime fine dining experience (without a “snobbish” atmosphere, which is a big positive in my book). Kobus is a brilliant chef and his “Strandveldy” food impeccable. Next level “veldkos” and wonderful wines from the West Coast to go with the dishes. One of my favourite places. We have been to Kobus a couple of times (since his days at Oep Ve Koep) and have never been disappointed. One for the bucket list if you haven’t been to Wolfgat yet.
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  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Lunch

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