Darren badenhorst head chef lecoin francais

Our favourite restaurants in the Winelands

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Byron Thomas profile
Byron Thomas

Where to eat in the Winelands

Given neighbouring Cape Town’s world-famous dining scene, it’s little surprise that the spectacular Winelands’ historic vineyards, rich farmland and the charming towns of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl are the setting of some very special restaurants.

With such great wine and produce, it’s hard to go wrong here but here are some of our favourite restaurants in the Winelands. Please chat to your Travel Designer if you’d like us to book a table for you for your upcoming trip to South Africa as many of these popular spots get booked up in advance during the summer months.

Oku

Asian inspired

Franschhoek’s first Asian-inspired restaurant offers a calming and refined dining experience. The chef duo of Ryan Shell and Darren Badenhorst have over 30 years of culinary experience between them inspired by the Gili Islands in Indonesia. Expect a thoroughly conceptualised, authentic and flavour-packed food and beverage offering.

eat-oku.co.za | Heritage Square, 9 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek

Delaire Graff Restaurant

Contemporary bistro-chic

Take your seat in the elegant fire-warmed Delaire Graff Restaurant or dine al-fresco on the oak-shaded terrace with extraordinary views of the Banghoek Valley. Inside the restaurant is graced with the delights of Laurence Graff’s personal art collection. The ingredients are all Hand-picked directly from the Estate’s own greenhouse, the fresh vegetables, herbs and micro-greens incorporated into each dish change with the seasons.

delaire.co.za | Delaire Graff Estate, Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch | +27 21 885 8160

Chefs Warehouse at Maison

Casual fine dining

Chef David Schneider joins Liam Tomlin in transporting Chefs Warehouse’s style of casual fine dining to a refined country setting. Maison, on the edge of the historic Franschhoek village, offers a contemporary set-menu lunch or dinner. It’s a riff on traditional tasting menus and small plate sharing experiences served in four courses. Sample their award-winning wines as a precursor to a meal here, or order appetisers like oysters, charcuterie or cheese boards and treat the tasting as an outing in itself.

chefswarehouse.co.za/maison | Maison Estate, R45, Franschhoek | +27 21 876 2116

La Petite Colombe

Drama and flair

Set amidst the vineyards and manicured gardens of Leeu Estates, La Petite Colombe, which translates to ‘little dove, is a restaurant that never shies away from whimsy and drama. The interiors are based on the exteriors of the land, with a concept that transforms raw materials into beautiful man-crafted objects, much like the chefs do when cooking. Expect sensational ingredients from the Franschhoek valley and its surrounds: line-caught fish and seafood, estate olives and the freshest imaginable produce masterfully prepared in menus that will surprise and delight you.

lapetitecolombe.restaurant | Leeu Estates, Dassenberg Rd, Franschhoek | + 27 21 202 3395

Tuk Tuk Microbrewery

Casual dining and craft beers

If you are ever feeling a little ‘wined out’ you are now able to “Park off for a pint” and indulge in the new and exciting cuisine offering at Tuk Tuk Microbrewery. The all-day dining menu is globally inspired offering showcasing casual regional favourites from Italy, Germany, India, Mexico, USA and Great Britain. Specialties include incredible tacos, traditional eisbein, wood-fired pizzas, classically made mutton rogan josh, beer batter fish and chips, just to name a few. But it is the beer that steals the show. The Tuk Tuk craft beer range of five specially crafted brews that are unique to the microbrewery. Closed Tuesdays.

tuktuk.co.za | 14 Huguenot Rd, Franschhoek| +27 214922207

Epice at Le Quartier Français

Intimate and inspired fine dining

Derived from the French word épice meaning spice (and is pronounced eh-peace) - Epice is an intimate fine dining restaurant located at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek. Headed by chef Charné Sampson (previously sous chef at La Colombe), Epice features a flavour-packed menu inspired by the team’s culinary expedition to India, as well as memories of travels through Spain, Japan, Mexico, Denmark and the US. Closed Mondays & Tuesdays.

epice.restaurant | 2-14, Huguenot Road, Franschhoek | +27 21 492 4044

Protégé at Le Quartier Français

Innovative local fare

Also at LQF, Protégé aims to keep it casual and comfortable - but it still hits all the right spots. Zane Soutar heads up the kitchen team and is mentored by former head chef of La Colombe Scot Kirton. Protégé gives up-and-coming young chefs a space to experiment and show off their skills which comes across in the innovative menu choices. The restaurant offers diners top-quality, seasonally driven comfort food, superb local wines with attentive service that will make you feel right at home. Closed Mondays – Wednesdays.

protege.restaurant | 16 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek | +27 21 492 4048

Le coin Français

French finery

Chef Darren Badenhorst’s first solo project after eight years at Grande Provence, Le xoin Français “takes diners on a nostalgic food journey of flavours, textures and interactive creations.” The airy space is decked out with contemporary furniture and features French elegance in cuisine, a carefully selected locally themed wine list to showcase the best local wines, a French sommeliers selection, and an ever-evolving collaboration of art in the theme of photography. Closed Mondays.

lecoinfrancais.co.za | 17 Huguenot Rd, Franschhoek | +27 74 126 0022

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