Review: île de païn is a buzzing street-side café and artisan bakery that’s dog-friendly

Fast facts 

Address: 10, The Boatshed, Long St, Thesen Island, Knysna

Phone number: 044 302 5705

Operating times: 8am – 3pm Tuesday – Saturday

Food type: cafe and bakery 

Best for: catching up with friends and family


île de pain brings a touch of character to the manicured streets of Thesen Harbour Town. It’s the ideal meeting place for breakfast and lunch, but also perfect for grabbing a coffee to-go (good luck leaving without bread or some pastéis de nata)!


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The menu is creative and wholesome, clearly put together by people who love food and experimentation. Flavours of tahini and za’atar, or the Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk offer a subtle eastern feel.

The bakery has a wide selection of interesting breads and mouth-watering pastries on display. You can order a bread tasting basket to sample some of the artisanal breads baked in the wood-fired oven. The serving is generous, and they are very happy to wrap it up for you to take home. The ‘Fougasse’ with olive oil and sea salt – and hearty, rustic ‘Vollkorn’ comes highly recommended.

The brioche French toast arrives topped with a scoop of melting Mascarpone cream, berry compote and crispy bacon, reminiscent of waffles and ice cream.


There is a comprehensive list of unconventional teas and brews, both hot and iced. The wine list offers some delightful options from wineries like Steenberg, Chamonix, Thelema, Bouchard Finlayson, Rijks and Creation – many more than you would expect from a breakfast and lunch café.


The staff are attentive and welcoming. Between the sound of the barista and the locals, there’s a lovely buzz even in the ‘off-season’.


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Corner shelves are stacked with tasteful wooden crafts, olive oils, spreads, and other edibles, creating a feeling of abundance. The outside area is lovely under the trees with blankets set aside on benches for colder days. It’s child-friendly and you can bring your dogs too.

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

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