A wooden table laid for lunch under the trees, a blossom-filled garden on the edge of a meadow, or a cosy whitewashed interior: relaxed, country-style dining can be just the thing to rejuvenate you.
This year at the Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards we announced a brand-new award to recognise the best country-style restaurant in the land. The Table at De Meye, the Stellenbosch country kitchen owned by chef Camilla Comins and photographer Russel Wasserfall, took home the honours for their simply scrumptious cuisine.
If you’re heading off the beaten track, here are some more ideas of where to find excellent country-style meals around South Africa.
The gorgeous country venue, filled with beautiful flowers and welcoming log fires in winter, has made this restaurant a Gauteng favourite. Herbs, fruit and vegetables are organically grown in their own gardens.
Die Ou Pastorie
With a philosophy that food should be cooked slowly and ingredients sourced locally and seasonally, Die Ou Pastorie produces meals from their own garden. Located in Skeerpoort, Magaliesberg, the restaurant is built around an original 1880’s pastoral home.
Situated in Forum Homini Boutique Hotel on the Letamo Game Estate, Roots is the perfect country setting complete with a sun deck overlooking a dam and game reserve.
Find homemade country fare on the menu of this Nottingham Road restaurant inside a country shed. The garden offers a perfect setting for the country-style café.
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse
This five-star lodge is located in the heart of the Kwa-Zulu Natal Drakensberg Mountains. Fresh ingredients are taken from the gardens to ensure quality cuisine.
The Western Cape
Eight at Spier
‘Farm-to-table’ cuisine is the mantra on a menu where every ingredient tells a story of its origin. Situated on the Spier estate outside Stellenbosch, the herbs and vegetables are harvested fresh from Spier’s own biodynamic vegetable farm.
Paul Cluver Estate is home to Fresh and also the ‘Garden of Elgin’ which chef Andreas created in order to supply the restaurant with vegetables and herbs. The menu is wholesome and flavourful.
The Goatshed Restaurant
Located on the Fairview Wine Estate, the farm is perhaps most famous for its goat tower. Traditional farmyard style and hospitality is incorporated into the venue with its long trestle tables and rustic feel. The main feature is an array of freshly baked breads that complement 25 different cheeses produced by Fairview.
Johan’s at Longridge
Located at Longridge Wines in Stellenbosch, Johan’s biggest feature is the organic garden. The vegetables and herbs are planted seasonally and the garden also provides a beautiful setting for the restaurant.
Mogg’s Country Cookhouse
This cottage is situated at the end of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley on the Nuwe Pos Farm. The blackboard menu changes with the seasons and the chef’s whims.
This winelands eatery is located on the Marianne Wine Estate in Klapmuts. It offers a fresh Mediterranean menu with sweeping vineyard views.
Orchard Farm Stall
This farm stall offers a laid-back country feel with high ceilings, wide lawns and a jungle gym for the children. The menu features freshly made light meals and baked pies.
Sofia’s Restaurant at Morgenster
Sofia’s is situated on the edge of a meadow, with a vine-covered stoep and views of Morgenster’s vineyards, olive groves and cellar. Fresh produce, including wines, olives and olive oil from the Estate is used daily in the menu.
The Table at De Meye
The Table is located on the De Meye Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Serving simple, country food, The Table produces a weekly menu that is prepared using seasonal local ingredients.
The Knorhoek Wine Estate is home to the Towersbosch restaurant where wholesome country fare is designed to recreate old memories of traditional country food.
Warwick Gourmet Picnics
The wide-open lawns and shimmering lake on the Warwick Wine Farm make it a tough place to beat in summer. The picnic pods dotted around the gardens are a stunning feature.
Situated 20km east of Plettenberg Bay in a mountainous area called The Crags, The Bramon Wine Estate is the only wine farm this far east of the Western Cape. The restaurant is set in the vineyards and overlooks the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Elephant Sanctuary.
Tasty country food suits the location in McGregor. Much of the fresh produce comes from the gardens on site. There are beautiful views of gardens, olive groves and mountains.
Die Rooi Granaat
This South African style restaurant delights Yzerfontein locals and visitors with its fresh ingredients and friendly South African hospitality.
Once you’ve found this charming farmhouse in the middle of the peaceful countryside in the Tsitsikamma, you won’t want to leave. On lovely days you can feast right under the trees.
This farmhouse restaurant is located just outside Stanford and has a regularly changing menu. Views of the rolling hills and meadows also add to the rustic country feel.
Hilda’s Kitchen at Groote Post
Hilda’s is housed in a Cape Dutch farmhouse on the Groote Post Wine Farm in Darling. You’ll find honest country cooking at this restaurant that pays homage to Hildagonda Duckitt, one of the country’s first cookbook authors.
Robert Stanford Estate in Stanford is home to Madre’s Kitchen, where the blackboard menu offers the best of homemade country meals. Fresh vegetables are taken from the traditional country garden and local produce is sourced to ensure the very best country meals are served.
Ingredients are sourced locally or straight from Mariana’s own herb and vegetable garden. The country cooking complements the quaint home-style setting well at this Stanford eatery.
By Katharine Jacobs and Kelly Pluke