Review: Helena’s Restaurant at Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel in Stellenbosch

Helena's interiors

Helena’s Restaurant dining room. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Helena’s Restaurant at Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel in the historical heart of Stellenbosch delivers exactly what it promises: to make the familiar spectacular, says Eat Out critic Hetta van Deventer Terblanche.


The compact menu choices are by no means boring, offering a balance between vegetarian, fish, fowl, beef, pork and lamb dishes. Expect to find well-known and much-loved dishes – lent a scintilla of South African food nostalgia – such as chicken-liver pâté with sherry macerated grapes, or a biltong salad with spiced grapes, red onion and avocado for starters.

Helena's dish

A dish at Helena’s Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

For mains you might find more long-standing restaurant favourites on the menu; for example, rack of lamb served with classic Cumberland sauce, which Helena’s serves to perfection with krummelpap for a distinctly South African touch.

Also in evidence are scrumptious slow-food dishes such as cider-braised pork cheeks, and risotto with wild mushrooms from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Consideration is given to provenance, incorporating locally sourced artisanal ingredients, Karoo-certified lamb and Chalmar beef.

A homely citrus-flavoured baked dessert called Japie se gunsteling (Japie’s favourite), adapted from S.J.A de Villiers’s Kook en Geniet (Cook and Enjoy) circa 1951, the classic South African cookbook with more than 1 million copies sold, is beautifully presented, leaving a lingering memory to a refined meal.


They offer a nicely selected wine list.

Helena's croquettes

Croquettes at Helena’s Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.


Warm, personal service by the entire front-of-house team is a Coopmanshuijs signature. They really go the extra mile.


Expect classic elegance, with old-world charm, although it is leaning towards the more formal side of things. The restaurant is situated in the historical heart of Stellenbosch, within walking distance of many other restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, delis and bakeries. Enjoy lunch or dinner on the shaded front stoep or leisurely sip a glass of wine while sharing in the colourful sidewalk culture that this vibrant university town offers.

Helena's ice cream

A sweet ending at Helena’s Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.


Breakfast is totally delicious. The attention to detail – for example, a beautiful small knob of butter, stamped with their logo, and custom-made creamers – adds a special ‘good morning!’ to the day.

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

Have you soaked up the South African heritage at Helena’s Restaurant yet? Let us know what you thought by writing a review.

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