Review: Rykaart’s – The new date-night spot in Stellenbosch

Tucked away on the corner of Bird and Dorp streets in Stellenbosch, Rykaart’s combines intimacy with delicious food and wine, making it the perfect spot for your next romantic night out.

Fast facts:

Restaurant name: Rykaart’s

Address: Corner of Dorp and Bird streets, Stellenbosch

Phone number: 061 545 1465

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm to 9pm; Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 3pm

Average price of a main course: R175

Parking situation: On-street parking – this being Stellenbosch, parking can be challenging

Food type: Small plates for sharing and bistro-style mains

Best for: A romantic night out

The food

Rykaart’s offers a small menu with regular adaptations to keep diners intrigued. One thing you’ll always find on the menu is their cheese gougères. These make the perfect appetisers before the meal commences or they can be enjoyed along with other snacks and a bottle of wine. The 12-month matured Klein River Gruberg ensures a perfect pop of cheesiness in every bite. If you’re not quite ready to move on to mains, they also offer a range of small plates for the table to share. Think flatbread served with the likes of black mussels or pea and goat’s cheese, Cape linefish ceviche, a Caesar salad, and Vietnamese-inspired braised beef cheek roll. The dishes are simply presented and the portion sizes also work well for starters.

cheese gougeres from Rykaarts

For the main event, you can’t go wrong with the grass-fed ribeye, which is enjoyed with the flavoured butter or sauce of the evening. If you feel like something other than red meat, the poached hake is a definite winner. Warming and filling, this everyday fish is given new depths by the technique of poaching. The lemon risotto, white wine sauce and crispy calamari that accompany the hake beautifully enhance the heartiness of the dish (although perhaps it could do with a touch more acidity). Another superb option to look out for is the confit duck, which is given an Asian-inspired twist with the addition of miso roasted aubergine and a tamarind-and-ginger sauce. Both the hake and the duck are presented in plain white soup plates, which make for beautiful pictures for the Instagram fans out there, but provide limited space when cutting into food.

poached hake on lemon risotto at Rykaarts

And save room for dessert – especially if the black fig semifreddo is on the menu. It’s deliciously creamy and light, with a subtle sweetness from the fig. Other dessert options include a raspberry-and-orange crème brûlée, and on any given night you may find a pavlova or chocolate mousse to round it all off.


Like its food menu, Rykaart’s wine list is also select, with a range of varietals available and only a few carefully selected brands available. Six wines are also available by the glass, so you can freely explore a few different options. If you need some help deciding, the staff are more than happy to provide suggestions. For those who prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, a range of teas and coffees are available, as well as flavoured spritzers. The latter also come in 1L jugs – making them perfect for sweltering summer days.


The service is friendly, welcoming and unobtrusive. Hand sanitiser is available at the door and the staff all wear masks. The owner regularly comes around to ensure that all is to your satisfaction, and they are happy to make accommodations like providing “doggy bags” if needed!

Rykaarts interior


Rykaart’s is small and inviting, with limited seating inside and a few more tables outside. Whether you opt to dine al fresco or choose to sit inside next to one of the large windows, you’ll get a prime viewing spot of the residents and students of Stellenbosch as they go about their evening activities. Bird Street is home to several wine bars, so sitting outside is also a great way to soak up the student life. Inside, the setting is more intimate. The kitchen is partly open and, combined with the select seating, gives one the impression that you’re simply dining at home with a personal chef. At first glance, the vibrant artwork by local artist Arabella Caccia would appear to be at odds with the Persian rugs and dark furniture, but all together they create an eclectic setting that adds to the intimate at-home ambience.

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

Leave a comment

Promoted Restaurants