A new mom shares her top picks for where to dine with a baby in the Winelands

In October last year, I became a first-time mom. Looking back, I can say “what a remarkable journey”, but during those first two weeks, when I was frantically googling “how to get a baby to sleep”, I thought my husband and I would probably never leave the house – let alone dine out again. As you can imagine, this was devastating to me, a member of the Eat Out team! Luckily, December was around the corner and my family and friends who were visiting from out of town had other plans in mind.

So, feeling very brave, my husband and I figured out the car seat, learnt to pack a baby bag speedily, and loaded the baby and the bag into the car, ready to explore our neighbourhood as newbie parents. But we no longer headed for restaurants that had the best-sounding set menu with a wine pairing to match. Instead, we searched for places where the staff sounded genuinely welcoming when they heard we were coming with a baby in tow and the changing facilities were clean and neat. And as our family and friends joined us, with more babies and toddlers, we expanded our search to find restaurants with baby-friendly menus and playgrounds.

After a few months of dining out as a FTM (that’s first-time mom to those who are new to parenting lingo), here are my suggestions for where to dine in the Winelands and Helderberg with a baby.

Babette’s Eatery (Somerset West)

The very first time my husband and I ventured out we found ourselves at Babette’s Eatery. The plan was to get a takeaway coffee and walk around the block, just to ease ourselves into being a family of three. However, when we arrived at Babette’s, the staff encouraged us to take a seat at a quiet table and said we could always change our minds if our baby wakes up. (Of course, Nate had finally fallen asleep with minimal fuss now that we were out of the house!) Cautiously, we agreed and, for the first time in two months, felt like our old selves as we tucked into delicious gluten-free chocolate cake.

Post & Pepper (Stellenbosch)

Although Post & Pepper doesn’t market itself as a “fine-dining restaurant”, it may still surprise you to see such a smart spot on this list. However, I will never forget when I phoned Post & Pepper to let them know we would be coming with a baby; the staff didn’t hesitate in letting me know that of course Nate would be welcome! In between eating some of the most delicious dishes the Winelands has to offer, my husband and I took turns holding and rocking the baby, and no one batted an eyelid. In addition, the restroom included a beautiful and clean changing mat that matched the restaurant’s décor and Nate was so fascinated by the wallpaper on the ceiling that he didn’t fuss at all while being changed.

Stables at Vergelegen (Somerset West)

Vergelegen is definitely one of the most well-known child-friendly wine farms and Stables is their iconic family restaurant. The food may be a bit basic, but it’s a beautiful spot to relax at and the staff are always welcoming and friendly. There’s also a play area for older kids and more than enough space for parents to find a quiet spot. I remember sitting underneath the trees, breastfeeding Nate in a private area, and thinking that I was finally living the life I’d envisioned when I became pregnant.

Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery (Stellenbosch)

Look, Spier is basically like Disneyland in the Winelands. On any given Saturday, you’ll find parents and grandparents relaxing on the grass while the kids run around freely. If you want to sit at a restaurant, though, head on over to Vadas, where good food is always guaranteed. Our antenatal class (about eight moms with our babies) had lunch here on one particularly hot summer’s day and the trees provided some welcome shade. The open area also means when a baby gets a bit rowdy there are numerous spots for a concerned parent to remove themselves from the crowd. I’ve been here often since then and I always spot a parent rocking their baby to sleep under the trees.


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The Grille Shack (Gordon’s Bay)

The Grille Shack on Clarence Drive is always busy, but when you do find a seat, it’s definitely a top pick for families. When there’s live music, it can be a bit loud, but on a quiet day, it’s the perfect spot for good fuss-free food. Our one gripe is that the pebbled car park is difficult with a pram, but a definite plus that I haven’t seen at any other restaurant is family restrooms. For many reasons, I’ve always been opposed to gender-specific restrooms and, since having a baby, I’ve become even more aware of it, given that the changing facilities are always in the female restroom! At The Grille Shack, dads have no excuse: the family restrooms can be used by anyone, allowing tired moms to finally put their feet up.


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