Family-style weekend food adventures in the Stellenbosch Winelands

On a recent family weekend away to Stellenbosch and looking for something a bit different from your normal sit-down à la carte menu or multi-coursed fine dining establishments, we decided to venture off the beaten track to try out some unique eateries in the Winelands. And we were delighted by what we discovered.

Friday evening – De Vrije Burger

We had just driven from Cape Town, having left straight from work, checking into our accommodation late, with a tired toddler, so we were in no mood for a long drawn-out dinner, but being in foodie heaven we also didn’t want to simply settle for the big chain fast-food options.

Enter De Vrije Burger.

De Vrije is not your average burger joint and it is definitely not a fast-food outlet when it comes to quality. They have a keep-it-simple approach with just three burger options on the menu with a choice of how you would like your patty done. I recommend the juicy option. They also have fries, onion rings, and a variety of soft drinks and wine you can help yourself to out of the fridge.

The restaurant is set up in a self-service style where the menu is displayed on a board behind the counter where you place your order. You then have the option of takeaway or sit-down with both inside and outside seating. And all this is housed in a beautiful, traditional Cape Dutch heritage building.


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Actually, the restaurant originally came to life as a tiny shop in Stellenbosch’s famous Plein Street, but the doors there simply couldn’t contain its popularity, which is why it moved to this historic building, right across the road from the church where the owner Bertus Basson (of The Ultimate Braai Master fame) got married.

Saturday lunch braai at Middelvlei

After a lazy start to the weekend, our next dining venue of choice would be Middelvlei Wine Estate for Saturday lunch. The road leading to the farm takes you through the heart of Stellenbosch and one of the oldest residential areas in town, but once you have passed through the gates, you instantly feel like there is nothing else around you for miles.

Here we were set to indulge in a traditional South African braai but first, we decided to enjoy the estate’s wine-blending experience to make our own bottle of wine, a unique experience not just for couples but also suitable for birthdays, hen parties, and other celebrations. Whilst we were there a group of ladies at a nearby table were really getting stuck in, challenging each other to various fun competitions.

During the blending, we were presented with three red wines – a shiraz, pinotage, and merlot, along with a big jug, funnel, and a variety of beakers. Feeling a bit like mad scientists, we measured out the wines, calculated the percentages, mixed, tested, tasted, and finally poured our blend of choice into a bottle, corking, sealing it, and even adding our own label.

Finally, it was time to settle down to a very traditional South African Boerebraai-style lunch. As born-and-bred South Africans who have grown up with this style of food, we can certainly say they definitely got it right. All the food is cooked over an open fire which is on display for you to go and see if you wish. The food is presented in traditional tin pots and the menu consists of lamb chops, boerewors, honey and mustard chicken sosaties (kebabs), braaibroodjies (toasted sandwiches), pampoenkoekies (pumpkin fritters), potato salad, and green salad. A great, authentic, and homely meal!

Sunday picnic on Vredenheim Wine Farm

The final establishment on the list is Vredenheim Wine Farm which we visited for lunch on Sunday.

Vredenheim has its own onsite restaurant called Hudson’s which offers an à la carte menu for breakfast and lunch, but if you are looking for something a little bit different, they offer a pre-packed picnic that can be customised to your tastes with a variety of meat, cheese, and fresh homemade bread.

While picnics are a dime a dozen in the Cape Winelands, what sets Vredenheim’s apart is that it can be enjoyed anywhere in their beautiful gardens, down by their own private little lake, or even inside their family-friendly animal petting farm. Plus a delicious variety of affordable wines to choose from just makes it that much better.


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What a treat and a unique experience to have been sitting munching on delicious cheeses, cold meats, and farm-fresh breads while the turkeys gobble-gobbled around us and children ran around in hot pursuit of goats and pigs. A fun, family-filled, and friendly end to a weekend of great food in Stellenbosch.

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