Having been declared a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy (an honour already savoured by Cape Town and Durban), Hermanus is the perfect place for a glorious gourmet experience. Taste wines and craft beers from microbreweries; sample artisanal cheeses and olive oil; visit small producers at markets; and enjoy simple takeaways from working harbours or fine feasts in gracious farm restaurants. This is how to eat your way through Hermanus.
The most important meal of the day is breakfast, setting the tone for the rest of the day and kickstarting your engine. Workday brekkies don’t have to be austere caffeinated affairs with fumbled, hand-held slices of toast. In Hermanus, every day starts with a rainbow of colourful, healthy breakfast bowls, loaded pancakes and freshly squeezed juices at Betty Blue Bistroin Hermanus Old Town. You can also get your coffee kick, of course.
Cafe Burgundy enjoys a view over the cliffs of the Hermanus Old Harbour to rival all other Hermanus views, and al fresco breakfasts on the terrace can easily lead into lunch, afternoon tapas and cocktails, and even dinner under the stars. This prize location allows you to enjoy great service, the best of local wine routes, whale spotting and the buzz of the tourist strip.
This charming café housed in a Victorian building is well-loved and frequented by locals. Set back from the buzz of the tourist strip, focusing its energy on friendly service, simple breakfasts and lunches, Tulip Coffee Roasting is a great spot for a meeting or a catch up over coffee.
The Moody Lagoon Restaurant at Benguela Cove outside the village of Fisherhaven brings fine dining to families. The elegant restaurant, chandeliered wine cellar, champagne lounge, protected courtyard, pirate putt-putt and stunning views over the Botriver Lagoon all make Benguela an all-in-one destination.
Alongside the Hermanus Old Harbour, at the bottom of a plunging staircase, lies Bientang’s Cave Restaurant, perched against the terraced rocks and grey boulders that line this part of the Walker Bay coastline. If you don’t mind being spritzed by a bit of sea spray, you can sit right on the rocks as you enjoy fresh sustainably sourced seafood, burgers, salads and a selection of local wines and creative cocktails as you look out for whales, seals and seabirds. Also look out for the dassies that go about their daily foraging near the cave.
Further up the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley lies Creation, a wine farm that pushes the envelope of the dining experience. The sensory celebration of wine with every course and the exuberant experimentation with textures, flavours and presentation of locally sourced ingredients show that the chefs have plenty of fun at this restaurant. Taste as much as you can.
Wildekrans is a wine farm set on the outskirts of the Overberg wheat and canola fields at the bottom of the Houw Hoek Pass. For country accommodation, mountain bike trails, wine tasting and good clean country air, you can’t go wrong. There are two restaurants at Wildekrans – one is a more family friendly, al fresco café, while the other is a more elegant fine-dining restaurant. The latter, Forage, showcases simple ingredients and breath-taking chef magic. Prepare to be blown away by local flavours and excellent service.
This country market is an excellent choice for Saturday lunch, bringing the best of the smaller food producers and food trucks together in one place at the Hermanus cricket grounds. Come early so that you can find parking, grab a kickstarter coffee, and then settle in to taste your way through deli products, prego rolls, pancakes, charcuterie, vegan products, baked treats, local craft beers, cocktails and so much more.
The menu at this iconic thatched farmhouse on the Voëlklip circle is wonderfully Moroccan- and Asian-inspired. Come for breakfast, lunch or afternoon Aperol spritzers, and stay for dim sum and Vietnamese spring rolls as the sun sinks behind the Fernkloof mountains. From the veranda, you’ll be close enough to smell and hear the ocean.
Meander up the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (by MTB, if you’re of the sporty persuasion) and soak up the beauty of wine farms clinging to mountain slopes while still enjoying the sea breeze at your back. Moggs Country Cookhouse will welcome you with a wisp of smoke coming out of the chimney, a cosy restaurant with a pine cone ceiling, and a swing in the garden, where children play as you savour delicious home-style cooking.
Pear Tree is a superb ocean-front spot for a light, summery lunch of tacos, seafood, loaded burgers or salads. Order tasting bowls and a bottle of bubbles to share as you spend all afternoon wondering if you should pack up and move to the seaside. Vegetarian and vegan options make this a real crowd-pleaser.
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This is a full-throttled steakhouse that celebrates the best of South African beef. The menu is playful and the service is great, bringing steam punk drama to the table. Butchery and blockwork are used to showcase steak, and the glass-walled chiller gets centre stage. Be adventurous and order something other than rump – you won’t be disappointed.
This family-style pizza and pasta restaurant is a firm favourite among locals. Tucked away in a little lane opposite the stone church, this street-front restaurant serves pizzas and homemade pastas that will satisfy those looking for authentic Italian fare, as well as those looking for South African-style pizzas.
This popular seafood and steak restaurant enjoys an upstairs panoramic view over Walker Bay and a fun, modern menu including farmed abalone, seafood and steak. The stacking windows are thrown open when the weather is perfect, letting in the afternoon and evening breezes. Bright, fresh interpretations of classic meals are served by friendly staff.
Origins Restaurant at the Marine has made this beautiful, grand oceanfront hotel feel welcoming to guests, families and dining walk-ins alike. The bright, cheerful space and modern menu with seafood, salad and venison options is fresh and elegantly simple.
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