5 great restaurants with magnificent gardens in Cape Town and the Winelands

Much as we enjoy getting out the secateurs and gardening gloves, we’re pretty chuffed that Garden Day – taking place on 15 October – is all about inviting folks to check out the result of your hard work as they celebrate in your garden. Can’t fit all your friends onto your balcony? These eateries will do quite nicely.

The Company’s Garden Restaurant (City Bowl)

For many Capetonians, breakfast here is an institution, featuring the shade of lush trees and the view of acrobatic squirrels leaping between branches. Woven nest chairs and a lawn chess set are only a couple of the quirky extras that make this such a whimsical retreat. While the eggs Benedict (R80) is fabulous, you might find yourself wanting to indulge in a bit of nostalgia by ordering a chicken-mayo toastie (R60), which this joint was famous for in its heyday.

The Company’s Garden Restaurant is an institution. Photo by Jan Ras.

Greenhouse at Babylonstoren (Franschhoek)

While snagging a table inside the gorgeous glass conservatory is first prize, with its gently trickling water features, rambling creepers and potted plants, a seat beneath the looming oaks outside is almost as wonderful. Snack on dishes starring ingredients that were harvested literally a stone’s throw away earlier in the morning. The sandwich of the day, served on bread baked in the resident woodfire oven, features cheese, garden greens and chutney (R85). It’s always a winner, as are the kaleidoscopic jar salads (R75).

Seats inside or outside the conservatory are worth it. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Table at de Meye (Stellenbosch)

The sprawling vegetable garden here is so spectacular and of such central importance to The Table’s food philosophy that owner-chefs Luke Grant and Jess Shepard have been named this year’s Garden Day ambassadors. Settle in at one of the wooden tables beneath the pin oaks for a lazy 3-course lunch (R325 per person), which almost always includes one of Jess’s amazing veggie tarts. Then take an amble through the source of all that amazing produce – 800 square metres of artichokes, heirloom tomatoes, eggplants and more, expertly laid out and maintained according to permaculture principles.

The Table at De Meye’s vegetable garden. Photo: Garden Day SA.

The impressive Stables at Vergelegen. Photo by Dawie Verwey.

The Stables at Vergelegen (Somerset West)

If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat on the back stoep, you’ll be rewarded with a view of the beautifully manicured gardens on the estate, which include the infinitely Instagrammable rose gardens and magical camphor forest, where you can picnic during the summer. Staying on theme, you should definitely order the garden plate, starring homemade labneh, hummus, berries, seeds, home-baked bread and noodles of beetroot and carrots (R85).

The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal (Franschhoek)

Check your weather app while booking to make sure that it’s going to be a sunny day – you’re going to want a seat on the back stoep, overlooking resident horticulturalist Megan McCarthy’s handiwork. The Werf’s garden – with neat, raised beds, geometric wooden trellises and quirky insect hotels – really is a sight to behold, as are the majestic Drankenstein mountains beyond it. Expect elevated country cooking starring loads of garden produce, like the 16-hour sous vide lamb leg and roast lamb rib with spring greens and broad beans (R210).

The Werf’s garden is a sight to behold. Photo by Jan Ras.

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