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Table at De Meye, Cape Town.
Photograph: Lina Mallon

The 11 best restaurants in the Cape Winelands

Stay well-fed as you tour the Winelands with a local’s guide to the region’s most showstopping restaurants

Written by
Richard Holmes

South Africa’s wine making may fall into the ‘New World’ category, but in fact its vinous heritage dates back more than 300 years. Many of the Cape’s greatest wine farms are less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, so it’s not hard to justify a day trip. But if you do need one more reason, here it is: scattered amid the vineyards you’ll find many of South Africa’s top restaurants, dishing up inspired bistro fare and elegant fine dining. Check your appetite (and the depth of your pockets) and tuck in.

😋 The best restaurants in Cape Town
🍳 The best breakfast and brunch spots in Cape Town
☕️ The best cafés and coffee shops in Cape Town
📍 The best things to do in Cape Town

Planning your next trip? Check out our latest travel guides, written by local experts.

Best restaurants in the Cape Winelands

La Colombe
Photograph: Lauren Mulligan

1. La Colombe

Befitting its namesake, La Colombe – ‘the dove’ – nestles amid the boughs of a eucalyptus forest on Silvermist Wine Estate. Taking its cue from the forests, the 11-course chef’s menu (there’s a vegetarian option and a reduced menu at lunch) melds flavours and textures from Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa, across a menu that’s interactive, quirky and creative at every turn. The same goes for the inspired pairings by sommelier Joseph Dhafana, who works cocktails, craft beer and boutique wineries into his repertoire.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia
Photograph: laire Gunn

2. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia

In the leafy winelands of Constantia, just 20 minutes from the city centre, you simply can’t miss Chefs Warehouse, set high above the vineyards at Beau Constantia estate, where chef-patron Ivor Jones turns out an unforgettable set menu of small plates. Expect four courses – with a choice of dishes per course – that are global in inspiration yet with plenty of local flair. The service is unfailingly good, the views are remarkable and the menu offers fantastic value. Be sure to request a window table.

The Melting Pot
Photograph: The Melting Pot

3. The Melting Pot

While many road-trippers speed through the Elgin Valley en route to Hermanus or the Garden Route, it’s worth stopping off to explore the region’s remarkable cool-climate Pinot Noir and chardonnay. Beneath the boughs on Oak Valley Estate you’ll find The Melting Pot, where chef John van Zyl turns out an inspired menu of small plates. Van Zyl has some landmark kitchens on his CV and brings those skills to bear on a considered menu of globally inspired dishes that run from snacks – perfect with a tasting of the estate wines – to ‘Big Plates’. But the highlight is the selection of five small plates, which champion seasonal produce with a thoroughly global approach. Order ‘One of Everything’ to share and you won’t be disappointed. The Melting Pot may be somewhat hidden away, but it turns out some of the finest food the Cape Winelands has to offer.

Photograph: Babylonstoren

4. Babel

Come for the gardens, stay for the food. That’s our advice when it comes to Babylonstoren, the idyllic garden estate near the Winelands town of Paarl. This remarkable estate draws its inspiration from French monastic gardens, turning the edible into art. Fruit trees line scenic pathways, while carpets of chrysanthemums throw their heady scent into the summer air. Be sure to book ahead for a table at Babel, the estate’s flagship restaurant, where the garden’s bounty is transformed into opulent breakfast platters and seasonal lunch menus that are hyper-local and intensely seasonal.

Brookdale Bistro
Photograph: Brookdale Estate

5. Brookdale Bistro

Executive chef Gary Coetzee brings an injection of fresh culinary energy to the town of Paarl at this elegant bistro on Brookdale Estate. It’s quickly made a name for itself thanks to Coetzee’s fine attention to seasonality and local suppliers. At Brookdale Bistro, the compact à la carte menu will evolve with the seasons, so expect everything from fresh line fish in summer to hearty winter risotto of cauliflower and shimeji mushrooms. It’s a gorgeous space to dine in, with triple-volume ceilings and exposed beams creating a contemporary farm feel, while tables flow out on to a wide terrace with views across vineyards and mountains.

Rust en Vrede
Photograph: Hein van Tonder (@heinstirred)

6. Rust en Vrede

Set on a manicured estate outside the historic town of Stellenbosch, Rust en Vrede has long set the bar high for elegant fine dining. With tables laid in the farm’s original wine cellar, chef Fabio Daniel offers a six-course set menu each evening. Expect global cuisine rooted in French techniques. The wine pairing explores some of the Cape’s leading boutique cellars, as well as wines from the estate. During the day, the much-loved Winemaker’s Lunch makes the most of the sun-splashed terrace, with a simple menu of steak or salmon, served with fries, salad and a glass of estate wine. Cheers to that!

Photograph: Arkeste

7. Arkeste

Richard Carstens is one of the unsung stars of South Africa’s culinary landscape, and for more than 30 years has delighted and challenged diners at a succession of Winelands restaurants. His latest is Arkeste, on Chamonix Wine Farm in the bucolic Franschhoek Valley. His time-honoured fascination with fusing European and Asian ingredients and techniques endures here, dovetailing neatly with a more contemporary focus on wellness. Expect precise cuisine with no detail left untouched, in a glorious Winelands setting. Local tip? Don’t leave without a taste of his signature baked alaska.

Gåte at Quoin Rock
Photograph: Gåte at Quoin Rock

8. Gåte at Quoin Rock

Under new owners Quoin Rock has seen a dramatic transformation over the past decade, and the highly conceptual culinary experience at Gåte first helped put the estate on the map. Today, under chef Paul Prinsloo, the focus is more on refined fine dining than molecular mysteries, and that’s no bad thing. Expect a multi-course tasting menu – reduced and vegan options are available – that taps into his own cultural heritage and the seasonal produce of the Winelands. It’s all served up in a deeply elegant space of bespoke furniture and floating fireplaces, accompanied by dramatic views of the Simonsberg Mountain.

The Table at De Meye
Photograph: Lina Mallon

9. The Table at De Meye

If there’s a laid-back country eatery locals swear by, it’s The Table at De Meye. This farm-to-table favourite is just a 40-minute drive from central Cape Town and serves up a three-course family-style feast from Wednesday to Sunday, lunches only. It’s a seasonal menu, so expect anything from traditional waterblommetjies in winter and spring to savoury tarts and fresh garden salads in warmer months. It’s especially idyllic in the summer, when tables are laid on shaded lawns beneath the oak trees, while winter offers rustic dining rooms and wood-burning stoves.

Photograph: Tokara

10. Tokara

Wine. Art. Views. Fine food. There’s little reason not to add Tokara to your Winelands itinerary. Set atop the Helshoogte Pass, this eyrie amid the vineyards offers stellar views that reach as far afield as Table Mountain. Take a seat and you’ll be just as impressed by chef Carolize Coetzee’s menu of contemporary Winelands cuisine. Four- and six-course set menus, paired with wines from Tokara’s award-winning cellar, are available in the evening.

The Werf Restaurant
Photograph: Claire Gunn

11. The Werf Restaurant

Boschendal’s vast estate encompasses vineyards, orchards and farmlands, and a cornucopia of that fresh produce makes its way to the country-style eateries set in and around the historic manor house. While the Farm Shop and The Deli Restaurant offer more relaxed fare, at The Werf Restaurant you’ll find elevated cuisine that makes the most of the bountiful vegetable gardens laid below the terrace. Respected chef Eric Bulpitt helms the kitchen and takes a ‘micro-seasonal’ approach to his menu, with a strong focus on vegetable-driven dishes.

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