This post is the last one (for now, at least) in a series of favorite places in and around Cape Town. I shared the most amazing boutique hotels, restaurants and spots for breakfast, coffee or lunch. And in this post I’m sharing my favorite delicious spots in the winelands around Cape Town, with places like Pearl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. To me, this is one of the most beautiful areas in the world (and I’m not even exaggerating) and it’s definitely a must to visit sometime. And definitely make sure to drop by:
The recently opened restaurant Faber is located in Paarl, on the Avondale Wine estate. Chef Eric Bulpitt – who worked for famous The Restaurant at Newton Johnston before – started this restaurant in 2016 and it’s therefore not that well known yet. Which means: reservations usually aren’t a problem and the prices are more than friendly. In my opinion, this won’t take long, because this place is incredibly good! From the best bread platter ever (with chickpea crackers, warm and slightly sweet honey glazed rolls and pumpkin fritters) to the dessert of cherry pie with white chocolate and milk sorbet: everything is prepared on such a high level and presented with finesse, but most importantly very, very delicious. Bonus points for the local wines, attentive service and amazing views. You probably understand why I definitely want to return here someday.
2. Babylonstoren + Babel
A spot that I had wanted to visit for such a long time now was Babylonstoren in Simondium. A historic farm in Cape Dutch style, with one of the most impressive farm gardens in South Africa, which attracts visitors from all over the world. Sometimes it’s high expectations that can lead to disappointments, but not in the case of Babylonstoren. Not. At. All.
Babylonstoren isn’t just a farm with an enormous garden, but also offers two restaurants, several shops, a bakery, vineyards and a hotel. To enter the grounds, you have to pay a small fee that goes directly into their trust fund (spend on education for the farm workers’ children). Make sure not to miss the guided garden tour, where you’re given all background information about the vegetables, ingredients and necessary activities needed to keep the garden in its state. I’ve rarely seen someone with such passion as our enthusiastic guide Gundula, who explained all about ‘gardening with stories’ and the inspiring philosophy behind Babylonstoren.
After the garden tour, we sat down for lunch at Babel, the most well known restaurant and a perfect example of farm-to-table cooking with a large focus on vegetables and herbs from the garden. In the gorgeously decorated and bright restaurant (with the familiar cow wall in the back and a lovely terrace), I enjoyed an array of dishes. Like three seasonal salads, all color-coordinated and an interesting mix of structures and flavors, with the rosewater poached quinces being my favorite. I tasted a perfectly cooked kingklip (fish) with romanesco sauce and crispy black rice. Dessert was ‘sweet, sour & bitter’: a gorgeous plate of lavender meringues with coconut ice cream, berries, fennel sorbet and rosewater candy floss. What an impressive and special place this is!
Winery Spier in Stellenbosch might be a familiar name, but not everyone knows how the Spier grounds are a lovely place to spend an afternoon. With wine tastings, but also with a delicious picnic in the park. The well-known Eight restaurant is definitely nice, but I loved the fact that the next-door Eight To Go-deli offers many similar dishes in a more casual way. At this deli, you can pick up a complete picnic basket, but also customize your own. With fresh ciabatta breads, amazing labneh with sweet chili dip, homemade chocolate sweets, mini cheese platters (genius idea!) and countless savory pies with all kinds of fillings. Bring your own blanket (or rent one) and stay for the rest of the day.
Restaurant and coffee spot Meraki in the centre of Stellenbosch seems to be invented for Instagram: with large windows, antique pink pillows, copper accents and marble counter tops (perfect as a photo background). Meraki is the perfect place for an elegant breakfast, coffee or lunch with dishes like shakshuka, porridge with honey and roasted nuts, power bowls or chicken rolls with aioli, tomato relish and pickled cucumber. Make sure to have a cup of coffee with a little extra, because the homemade sweets are just too good to miss.
I first visited Boschendal in Franschhoek years ago and I’m still very much in love with this place. This well-known winery is located on a large estate (perfect wedding location, by the way) with several restaurants, picnic spots and herb gardens. Although everything is manicured to perfection and elegance seems to be the magic word, the vibe is remarkably relaxed and no-nonsense. I had lunch at The Farmshop Deli and can wholeheartedly recommend the burger with caramelized onions and cheddar, even more so combined with the homemade vanilla milkshake. Afterwards it’s time to relax on the lawns and when you’re lucky, there will even be some live music involved.