The Eat Out road-trip pitstop guide

This article first appeared in Rapport in December 2019.

Here are a few recommendations to encourage you to veer off the highway for a bite when you’re on the road this holiday season.

Along the N1 between Johannesburg and Cape Town

Karoo Padstal (between Hanover and Richmond)
Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Sunday from 8am to 5pm.

This farm stall next to the N1, between Hanover and Richmond, is a relaxing spot where tired travellers, children and pets can stop to stretch their legs and grab something to eat before continuing their journey. The former sheep-shearing shed has been beautifully renovated to offer a wide variety of fresh products, deli favourites, mouth-watering pies, jaffels and exquisite baked goods.

Along the N10

True Living (Cradock)
Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm, and Saturdays from 8am to 1am.

My Kitchen Rules South Africa semi-finalist Lani Lombard’s passion project is a restaurant and shop in the Cradock area that celebrates the Karoo community and its farming region. Here you can get, among other things, well-known farm favourites such as game pies, malva pudding, rusks and old-school custard cookies. There are also homemade burgers, Karoo lamb pies, roosterkoek and even salad for those who prefer something lighter for lunch.

Along the N3

Sagewood Café (Pietermaritzburg)
Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Saturday from 8am to 4pm, and Sundays and public holidays from 8am to 1pm.

Sagewood Café is situated at the Blackwood’s nursery and is a good choice for both old and young to enjoy an outdoor meal together in a wonderfully relaxing environment. Opt for a delicious breakfast or a tasty lunchtime pizza. There’s a variety of freshly baked goodies for those craving a tea-time snack.

Along the N2

101 Meade Street (George)
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday to Friday from 7am to 9.30pm; Saturdays from 8am to 9pm; and Sundays from 9am to 9.30pm.

This eatery offers a unique dining experience on the Garden Route at any time of the day, and is therefore popular with both local residents and visitors. The owners have a passion for local produce and there are always interesting seasonal dishes on the menu.

Start your day with poached eggs served with anything from fish to pork, or fruit such as papaya with Karoo honey and roasted nuts. Lunch dishes include mushroom risotto with truffle oil and Parmesan, pan-fried line fish with Malay potatoes, or perfectly cooked creamy mussels. In the evening, candles placed on the table add a more romantic, formal ambience. The beef with red-chilli chorizo, boontjiesmoor and cumin crème fraîche comes highly recommended for meat-eaters, and there’s also a variety of vegetarian and vegan meals from which to choose. Don’t miss the desserts with a cup of locally roasted coffee or speciality tea.

Grain Mill Organic Bistro (Knysna)
Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm, and Saturdays from 8.30am to 1.30pm.

At this mill and eatery in Knysna’s town centre, you’re guaranteed delicious food, much of it made from the flour produced on the property. It’s a good place to stop for a healthy breakfast or lunch, and it also sells pasta, organic vegetables and other local products.

Enjoy a continental breakfast, omelette or crispy pizza made with Grain Mill’s own flour, with delicious toppings such as goat’s milk cheese, nuts, caramelised beetroot and crème fraîche. Vegans can enjoy one with olive tapenade, mushrooms and roasted veggies. Other options include burgers, pasta and salads, all made from local and – as much as possible – organic produce. The covered terrace is child-friendly and a lovely place from which to soak up some sun.

The Tasty Table (Jeffreys Bay)
Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Saturday from 7.30am to 4.30pm, and Sundays 7.30am to 2.30pm.

This is the kind of place to which you’ll want to return over and over. The location is outstanding. You can sit and eat at the breakfast counter while watching the surfers tackle the waves or enjoy the sun from one of the outdoor tables. It’s the perfect place for family and friends to meet for a proper breakfast, a light lunch or coffee with cake or tart.

Visitors are always impressed by the wide range of breakfast options. Lunch options include the Jalapeño Burn burger and a variety of toasted sandwiches. You’ll also find delectable baked goods like fresh croissants, savoury tarts and other tarts displayed along the back wall.

InFood Bakery & Deli (Jeffreys Bay)
Open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Saturday from 7am to 4pm.

At InFood you can sit inside, where you’ll smell the freshly baked bread and their own roasted coffee, or you can relax outside, where children and dogs always feel at home. It’s no wonder people from Port Elizabeth drive here for breakfast and to purchase their baked goods. For breakfast, choose from items like a traditional English breakfast, a Mexican-flavoured omelette, a parfait of muesli, fruit and yoghurt, and InFood’s version of French toast (a decadent croissant dipped in egg, filled with bacon and roasted banana, and topped with maple syrup). Toasted sandwiches on their own ciabatta, rye, wholegrain or banting bread – filled with all sorts of deli treats – are just the thing to satisfy a craving between breakfast and lunch. Their flatbreads are popular for lunch and there are also burgers, pastas, fish and chips, and salads from which to choose.

Visit the bakery for freshly baked ciabatta, cake or one of their renowned pies, which are wildly popular with surfers from all over the world, and pop into the deli for olives, oil, cheese, coffee and other local products. The service is friendly and helpful, in a relaxed J-Bay style, and the staff will gladly offer any advice for things to try. It’s a local gem catering to the whole family – even dogs.

Coffee is king here, and you can choose from many variations, including iced coffee. The wine list is limited, with a few everyday wines that can be ordered by the glass. There are also some sundowner options, beers and spirits.

This article first appeared in Rapport in December 2019.

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