The food and wine capital of South Africa, it’s no surprise why Franschhoek is the best place to be when in need of a culinary road trip or a scenic tour.
Franschhoek is where you’ll find the best gourmet dishes in the country. It’s also where you get to dip your nose in a fine glass of wine and relish in the aromas. There’s a guideline to exploring the culinary treasures of the French influenced town of Franschhoek.
6 Amazing Restaurants in Franschhoek
1. Foliage Restaurant
Foliage Restaurant is well known for its interesting flavour combinations and contemporary take on local ingredients and classical dishes. Of course, behind every great restaurant there’s a brilliant chef. Head Chef Chris Erasmus’ brilliance reflects in the dishes served at the restaurant. What’s more, he leads roughly 16 cheflings in an open kitchen buzzing with creativity and innovation – one of a kind.
Look and feel
The look and feel of the restaurant is in line with the dishes on the menu, an interesting combination of details paired. A split between an urban bistro and a farmhouse restaurant, the Foliage Restaurant has a unique interior. The service is impeccable, you can rest assured that all your foodie needs will be attended to and done well.
Foliage Restaurant proudly uses local ingredients so you can only imagine (until you try) the kind of freshness and deliciousness that comes with the dishes at this restaurant.
While the menu may change according to season, a common thread remains – the food is always surprising and delicious.
Reading through the menu I found it challenging to pick a dish, as the dishes had unusual combinations of ingredients. My advice is to leave the thinking to the chef as clearly by the restaurant’s accomplishments and my personal experience, the thinking, creativity and execution is done exceptionally. I’ve come to realise that the best way to fully dive into the creativity and greatness of the food served at the restaurant is to go with an open mind and clean pallet.
2. Haute Cabriere Restaurant
Located literally at the side of the mountain, the Haute Cabriere Restaurant overlooks the valley of the Winelands. During summer guests get to enjoy the estate’s vistas. The restaurant presents a menu dedicated to showcasing the true “marriage of food and wine”, and easily sits on the list of the top restaurants in South Africa.
Look and feel
An elegant, sophisticated and warm setting, the Haute Cabriere Restaurant has a spectacular view overlooking the Winelands valley and the arches of the winery below. What’s more, the interior has hints of the French heritage of Franschhoek.
While great attention goes to the fine wines and beautiful location of Haute Cabriere Wine Estate, the restaurant’s special menu celebrates the “marriage of food and wine”, which has earned the restaurant a name for itself. Expect a fusion of contemporary, French and South African flavours and textures in the dishes along with the classic and high-quality wine from the wine estate.
Haute Cabriere Restaurant uses ingredients that are locally produced as well as on their very own farm. The unique touches and creativity of the chefs mean that you can always anticipate a well-balanced meal that strategically revolves around the wine produced by the estate.
3. Le Quartier Francais | The Tasting Room
A breath-taking setting, The Tasting Room has regularly featured on the World’s Best Restaurants list. If you’re on the lookout for a gastronomic experience, there are so many reasons why you should visit this restaurant.
Look and feel
Dining at The Tasting Room is not an experience to be rushed, expect to spend at least three to four hours at the warm setting of this highly accomplished restaurant. The ambience of the restaurant exudes from the smartly constructed interior showcasing style and elegance.
The kitchen is lead by Margot Janse, the Head Chef who has spent just over 20 years cooking at Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais. Through her tenacity and creativity to create classical African dishes, along with the support of former owner Susan Huxter, it’s no surprise why The Tasting Room has made it to the list of the World’s Best Restaurants for four consecutive years.
The menu comprises of local ingredients found in Franschhoek. The inspiration behind the dishes comes from classical South African dishes, which are known for having intense flavours. Expect interesting ingredients with a local spin.
4. Le Bon Vivant
Established over a decade ago, the Le Bon Vivant Restaurant has worked its way towards becoming one of the most popular eateries in Franschhoek, and deservingly so. Here’s why you should add this fabulous restaurant to your list of restaurants to visit while navigating Franschhoek.
Look and feel
The restaurant is located in a converted house. Wooden floors and an open plan space with lots of different wooden browns and dim lights to warm up the atmosphere. A glass wall separates the guests from the buzzing energy inside the kitchen. What’s more, during warmer days there’s an option to have lunch or supper outside on the shaded porch.
Head Chef Patron Pierre Hendricks, who is also the owner of the restaurant, is well known for his years in fine dining. Originally from The Netherlands, you’ll see hints of his heritage feature on the menu. However, these flavours do not take away the spotlight of the South African flavours that he marries so well. It’s clear that Chef Hendricks knows how to pair flavours together without compromising the entirety of the dish.
5. Grande Provence | The Restaurant
With more than 300 years of history under its belt, the Grande Provence is a household name in the valley of Franschhoek. Lush vines spread across 47 acres and ragged mountains set in the background of the Grande Provence Estate. During the summer afternoons guests get to dine under the oak trees and during winter embrace the warmth of the log fire at the Tasting Room.
Look and feel
The restaurant has an exclusive and modern feel; starting from the outside of the restaurant, the shaded trees make for a great summer’s lunch outdoors. What’s more, the interior is very comfortable while still stylish with its high back chairs.
Head Chef Darren Badenhorst brings a playful spirit to fine dining as he frequently experiments with different flavours and textures; remarkably he knows when to stop. The playfulness features in the menu, as it is a fusion of cuisines from around the world. The wines accompanying the dishes are exclusively from the Grande Provence portfolio.
6. Dutch East Restaurant
Located along the main road of Franschhoek, the Dutch East Restaurant offers a comfy ambience while upholding a classy dining experience. If you need a break from the usual fine dining experience in Franschhoek, the bistro vibe at this restaurant has the perfect atmosphere to sit back and still indulge in mouth-watering dishes.
Look and feel
Naked bricks, Oregon pipe detailing and slate floors, the Dutch East Restaurant has a cosy urban feel that is family-friendly. The shady patio makes for a great spot for people watching during the day while you enjoy a meal. What’s more, throughout winter the Dover stoves do a great job at keeping the dining area cosy and warm, so rest assured that dining at this restaurant is a fantastic choice all year round.
The restaurant uses ingredients unique to South Africa, and with that produces amazingly delicious flavour combinations. While the menu is inspired by local-Dutch and Eastern cuisine, there is so much more to that. All menus are subject to season and availability of ingredients and so it can change daily. The Dutch East Restaurant’s menu focuses on all sorts of meats and so it comes as no surprise that their most popular dish is steak, which is considered to be one of the best in Franschhoek.
The Dutch East Restaurant is well known for serving the best steak in Franschhoek and so it comes as no surprise seeing that the menu focuses on all sorts of meats.
Travel tip shared by Anthea Adams