The Best Restaurants in Franschhoek

The Best Restaurants in Franschhoek

Franschhoek boasts some of the finest wine estates and classiest restaurants in the land. We've hand picked our favourites, and hope you'll enjoy them as much as we have.

1. The Kitchen at Maison

Kitchen at Maison, Best Franschhoek restaurants
Everything at this farm bistro is the height of style: from chef Arno Janse van Rensburg’s perfectly pared-down dishes to the Scandi-chic interiors and beautifully merchandised deli.
The food Arno’s mantra is simple: the best ingredients, prepared with passion. And while all his produce is sourced from Maison (wherever possible) and nearby farms, there’s nothing parochial about his palate-popping plates. This is fine dining at its artfully stripped-down best. Echoing Arno’s transparent approach to food preparation, the pass opens onto the restaurant, so diners can watch him as he adds the final flourishes to every dish that comes out of his kitchen.
The menu has been designed to allow diners to experience as many flavours and textures as possible. As such, portions are small, and there are various à la carte options: R150 (1 course); R300 (2 courses); R395 (3 courses); R495 (4 courses); and R595 (5 courses).
We recommend the kreef (crayfish) tail, exquisitely topped with an oyster mushroom on a bed of butter and aioli; and the turmeric-and-ginger-flavoured beetroot and mushroom, with three elegantly sliced and perfectly cured slivers of tuna. The cauliflower, butternut, lime, lemon grass and coriander sounds ordinary, but it could’ve been the highlight of our meal for its unfussy, clean and authentic flavours and presentation.
The vibe Simple, stylish and sophisticated, rather like the furniture and homeware brand that’s also owned by Maison’s proprietor Chris Weylandt. From the Scandi-inspired wood panelling, “tentacle” lights, and the waiter’s artisanal-looking leather aprons, everything is tastefully buttoned up.
We love that the restaurant opens onto rolling lawns and vineyards, where couches and umbrellas beckon for after-lunch lounging.
Open Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm
Contact 021 876 2116, alice@maisonestate.co.za
Where to find it The Kitchen at Maison
TIG reviewer Nikki Benatar

2. GRANDE PROVENCE

Grande Provence
This is an essential culinary sojourn for any foodie worth their weight in gribiche. That said, you don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy all that’s on offer at this heritage wine estate. We were in Franschhoek on one of those magnificent 27-degree winter’s days, so we sat under the ancient oaks in the modern sculpture garden and drank in the views of the vineyards and the rugged mountains beyond, with the Berg River trickling past us.
The food Executive chef Darren Badenhorst creates inspired seasonal dishes (using foraged ingredients when available) that look as exquisite as they taste, thanks to his eye for colour and his commitment to bold flavours. The bread course alone is a thing to behold. Every single thing on the Winter Menu (R395 for three courses) appealed to me, so our waiter recommended the most popular dishes. The butter-poached barbeque lobster, with quinoa sea sand, kombu-pickled courgette, ponzu-infused cucumber and dill gel and sweet miron gribiche was a perfect starter – small and bursting with flavours. For mains, I unequicocally recommend the 18-hour sous-vide Karoo lamb neck served with toasted pearl barley, pickled butternut, local river cress and wild sprouts – tender and utterly delectable. And round off your meal with the hot fondant! The sommelier’s suggestion for every dish was the perfect accompaniment.
The vibe Chic, modern, laidback, stylish – this is contemporary winelands dining at its best. Take a post-prandial amble around the grounds, popping into the art gallery and shop for some inspiring browsing.
X factor Grande Provence is a delicious coming-together of centuries-old tradition and up-to-the-minute innovation, where the state-of-the-art cellar and contemporary restaurant are seamlessly at home on this 1694 heritage estate.
Open Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm; 7pm – 9pm
Contact 021 876 8600, restaurant@grandeprovence.co.za
Where to find it Grande Provence
TIG reviewer Nikki Benatar

3. FOLIAGE

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: Foliage
Image credit: Wide Angle

Recently opened by forager and nose-to-tail enthusiast Chris Erasmus, Foliage is a recent addition to the town’s gastronomic scene – and one of the most popular. The reputation Chris gained at Pierneef à la Motte (which was voted one of the Top 10 restaurants in the country by Eat Out in 2013) has followed him to Foliage and is reflected in his eclectic menu.
The food Locally sourced or foraged ingredients are the focus of Chris’s flavourful, contemporary dishes. The double-baked curried cheddar-and-golden-beetroot soufflé with mango achar purée and a pickled aubergine salad (R90) was heavier than expected, but so tasty. The Boekenhoutskloof’s Chocolate Block red was the perfect accompaniment for our mains: slow-roasted pasture-fed pork belly (with the tastiest and crispiest crackling you’ll find anywhere) with dandelion and pumpkin seed crushed potatoes, beetroot and baby carrots (R165) and forest-floor braised Spier beef brisket, sorrel, wild cress and potato purée, mushroom purée, and wilted wild greens (R170). We will be back to try one of his delicious-sounding desserts such as the geranium and honey nougatine with salted chocolate custard and hazelnut ice cream (R60).
The vibe The tastefully decorated interior (neutrals with pops of bright red), a fireplace for cosy winter evenings and seating on the stoep for overflow diners creates a welcoming vibe.
X factor The open kitchen dominates the inner area, breaking down the barrier between chefs and diners. Ask to sit there, as it’s a great evening’s entertainment watching Chris marshall his team of six cheflings. His attention to detail, and the timing of the procession of finely crafted dishes is extraordinary. Service on the night was impeccable: our every whim attended to effortlessly.
Open Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm; 7pm – 9pm
Contact 021 876 2328, restaurant@foliage.co.za
Where to find it Foliage Restaurant
TIG reviewer Jackie Lange

4. CAFÉ BONBON

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: Café BonBon

An imposing entrance with flags flying and a friendly security guard greets visitors to La Petite Dauphine, a working wine farm that was recently awarded top spot in New World Wealth’s 2015 Best Luxury Hotels in SA. In summer, tables are perfectly laid on the shady terrace overlooking the pond, while in cooler weather, the indoor dining room, filled with interesting objets d’art and flowers beckons. The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch (and dinner on selected evenings) and there’s accommodation for out-of-town visitors. It’s the perfect spot for a celebration – on the hot autumn day we visited, a long Provençal-style table had been set up under a tree for a group of 20 revellers.
The food Executive chef Juan Neethling combines tantalising flavours and textures using the freshest ingredients. We settled for the beef carpaccio with rocket, ricotta, cucumber, cherry radish, citrus segments and a light Caesar dressing (R90) and a refreshing gazpacho (R55) – perfect starters for a hot day. We don’t visit that often, so couldn’t resist the traditional lamb rump, served pink, with sweet potato Dauphinoise, roasted vegetables, olive tapenade and a rosemary jus (R160) and the chicken satay curry (R120) – both delicious. Occasional changes and specials are added to the menu to reflect the seasons and produce available. We considered returning the following evening for dinner for the starter of estate-grown figs, melon and Parma ham with a creamy Gorgonzola dressing (R75), the gemsbok loin with herbed rosti, baby vegetables and a peppercorn sauce (R160) or the best-selling roasted pork belly (R150) but with so much fine cuisine in the area, we decided to be adventurous…
The service Waiters welcome guests warmly, are knowledgeable and happy to discuss the menu.
X factor The excellent coffee and slice of the deliciously decadent chocolate cake merits a tea-time visit of its own.
Open Monday – Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Wednesday, Friday & Saturday, 7pm – 9pm.
Contact 021 876 3936, cafeBonBon@lapetite.co.za
Where to find it Café BonBon Country Restaurant
TIG reviewer Jackie Lange

5. LE BON VIVANT

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: Le Bon Vivant
Image credit: Safari Now

Just off the main road, in a converted house, this restaurant dishes up outstanding food by classically trained Dutch chef Pierre Hendricks. The cosy interior bursts with charm, thanks to whimsical touches (such as light fittings made of colanders and graters) and a cosy fireplace. A glass wall allows diners a glimpse into the working kitchen where Pierre and his team perform their culinary magic.
The food You’ll be impressed, as we were, with the unusual combinations on the à la carte menu. The chef’s modern take on traditional surf-and-turf is the scallops and bresaola (cured beef) with Parmesan, cucumber, cauliflower and celery (R125), while vegetarians will love the goat’s cheese with quinoa, pine nuts, parsley and baby vegetables (R90). Mains include crayfish and ossobuco – crayfish tails with shredded veal, tortellini and tomato (R175), and the popular springbok loin with beetroot, turnips and croquettes (R155). Our pick is the herb-crusted linefish of the day with caponata, fried lemon risotto and roasted tomato fondue (R155) – yum!
Don’t leave without trying a decadent dessert – such as crème brûlée or caramel soufflé. Adventurous diners should try the five-course chef’s surprise menu (R425 or R555 with wine).
Open Monday – Sunday (closed on Wednesday), 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 9pm
Contact 021 876 2717, lebonvivant@mweb.co.za
Insider info Booking is essential, as the restaurant does not accept walk-ins.
Where to find it Le Bon Vivant
TIG reviewer Jackie Lange

6. LEOPARD’S LEAP FAMILY VINEYARDS

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: Leopard's Leap Family Vineyards

A friendly and inviting family-oriented destination offering fresh food and affordable, easy-drinking wines. The modern glass building was designed by the talented team at Makeka Design Lab, and sophisticated interiors by Christiaan Barnard. As you would expect from any Rupert family-related project, the winery has exceptional tasting facilities set around an imposing tasting bar where you can sit and sample the wide range of wines, with friendly and efficient staff on hand to discuss your preferences and guide you through a tasting.
You must try Culinaria Brut Méthode Cap Classique – a zesty sparkling wine with subtle pink undertones (R125).
The food The rotisserie-based lunch includes a variety of meats prepared by chef Pieter de Jager and his team complemented by a selection of perfectly prepared side dishes, fresh salads and vegetables sourced from the organic vegetable and herb farm garden. The meats are charged at a set price, and the sides priced according to weight. Desserts such as cake lollies, mini cheese cakes and baby meringues will delight small fries.
Before you leave Stock up on farm-baked breads, pastries, cakes and take-home meals, so you don’t have to cook when you get home.
X factor On summer weekends, visitors laze on the sun-drenched verandah sipping sublime wine cocktails while watching the sunsets over the vineyards. Parents are happy, too, as their offspring play on the lawn or in the kid’s play area. Occasionally there’s even live music.
Insider info Serious foodies should consider taking one of the culinary classes in the state-of-the-art kitchen. There’s also a well-stocked gift shop that specialises in kitchen accessories, crockery and interesting recipe books.
Open Wednesday – Sunday, 11.30am – 3pm
Contact 021 876 8002, info@leopardsleap.co.za
Where to find it Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards
TIG reviewer Jackie Lange

7. CAFÉ DES ARTS

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: Café Des Arts

This rustic and relaxed restaurant is all about the grub, which is served from pan to plate – there are no table cloths, no silver service – if you’re lucky you may even get some cutlery! The chef Chef Chris Hoffmann trained under the legendary South African chef Topsi Venter, followed by a long stint at the outrageously popular Olympia Bakery in Kalk Bay before opening his own Café des Arts in Kalk Bay. There he met his partner Louise Rambert and they made the move to Franschhoek, where they opened the quirky Café des Arts.
The food Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant boasts a daily chalkboard menu of around 10 items, which change regularly according to availability, seasonal ingredients, and the chef’s mood.
For starters, try the duck empanada (R42), duck-liver mousse on bruschetta (R42) or the warm mushroom salad with brie, rosa tomatoes and spinach (R62). For mains, the mussels (R92), penne with tomato, chorizo, chilli, olives and basil (R80) or roast chicken with potato wedges and ratatouille (R75) won’t disappoint. The seared tuna, when available, is highly recommended, while the chocolate tart (R30) is the perfect conclusion.
Open Monday – Sunday, 7.30am – 3.00pm, 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Contact 021 876 2952, info@cafedesarts.co.za
Where to find it Café Des Arts
TIG reviewer Jackie Lange

8. CAFÉ FRANSCHHOEK

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: Café Franschhoek

If you’re attending the Franschhoek Literary Festival, we recommend this popular street café conveniently situated opposite the Town Hall within easy walking distance of all festival venues.
The food If you’re after a light meal, quick breakfast, or a glass of wine and a snack, you’ll find it at this casual eatery. Tables are placed close together, which is rather lovely at festival time, as you’ll find yourself chatting to fellow book lovers and making new friends. (You’ll also hear more foreign languages here than in other local cafés.)
You must try the creamy scrambled eggs and crisp bacon with roasted tomato, toast and marmalade served until 12 daily.
X factor Sit on the pavement and watch the passing parade. Keep a look out for international authors, politicians, and local broadcasters, as they walk from venue to venue. There’s a large dining area inside the restaurant and an outdoor seating area upstairs, where you can relax over a glass of bubbly and take in the beautiful Drakenstein mountain range.
Contact 021 876 4542, ilsjec@gmail.com
Where to find it Café Franschhoek
TIG reviewer Jackie Lange

9. Tuk Tuk Microbrewery

Tuk Tuk Microbrewery in Franschhoek
Image credit: Beverley Boswell Designs

Legend has it that The Singh (real name Analjit Singh) visited Franschhoek one day during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and ended up buying half the village (well, three hotels and their adjoining wine farms, five restaurants, a spa, a gym, a micro-brewery, a wine studio and a gallery… when we last checked). The Taqueria, housed in the above-mentioned brewery, serves Mexican-inspired ceviche, nachos and tacos, which go down beautifully with a craft beer or two.
The food The concise menu offers fresh and tasty tacos and nachos, and three desserts. We recommend the spiced tuna taco (but be warned, it’s hot!). It’s perfect for a spontaneous pop-in, or a light bar meal.
The vibe It shares space with a state-of-the-art brewery, so the look is industrio-cool: vaulted ceilings, exposed-brick and sandblasted walls, and copper and stainless-steel service pipes overhead, with Mondrian-esque pops of colour here and there. Sit inside and watch the distillers at work, or grab an outside table for the best view of the high street.
Open Monday – Thursday 11am – 10pm; Friday & Saturday 11am – 11pm
Contact 021 492 2207, info@tuktukbrew.com
Where to find it 14 Huguenot Street, Franschhoek, Western Cape TIG reviewer Nikki Benatar

10. Dutch East

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: Dutch East

Another gem on Franschhoek’s main road, Dutch East’s menu is inspired by local cuisine with a hint of Eastern flavours, resulting in familiar yet unique creations. Although it goes as bistro, we think “haute bistro” is a more accurate description – expect some (very) pretty and creatively presented plates.
Why you should go The ambience is upmarket yet laidback – no white tablecloths here – making this cosy eatery a good call for almost any occasion. Head chef and owner Pasch du Plooy – who previously worked at Bouillabaisse, Reuben’s and L`Ermitage – has done a good job crafting an exciting menu – brace yourself for a sensory affair that will leave you licking the cutlery in an attempt to savour every last morsel.
X factor In winter months a central fireplace keeps the cold at bay, while on balmy summer nights, the front terrace overlooking the main road is where the best people-watching in Franschhoek happens. Service on the evening was excellent and the servers were knowledgeable in their recommendations.
The food For starters we had the beef tartare, and the three-cheese tartlet with pear sorbet. Mains left us satisfied: roasted pork with pomme purée and mustard and peppadew caramel, and “The Best I Ever Had” mussels in white wine (to quote Drake). All highly recommended.
Open Monday to Sunday, 11am – 3pm; 6.30pm – 9pm
Contact 021 876 3547, info@dutcheast.co.za
Where to find it 42 Huguenot Street, Franschhoek
TIG reviewer Michelle de Bruin

11. RACINE

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: Racine

Celebrity chef Reuben Riffel returns to Chamonix, where he started his culinary career, with this casual, bistro-style eatery – a relative newcomer to the valley’s gastronomic scene.
The food In addition to the regular three-course menu, there is an Express menu that cleverly offers quick-service items, such as a sourdough sandwich with fries (R50), a charcuterie and cheese plate (R98) or the locally farmed trout plate (R78). Light lunchers can enjoy fried chilli-salted squid (R68), sticky roasted duck with Kung Pao dressing (R68) or the tapas-style prawn tempura with chipotle tomato chutney and jalapeño dressing (R58).
Those with healthier appetites can opt for the signature ginger and tamarind-glazed beef cheek (R140) or baked lamb ribs, biryani and lamb jus (R150). Plus, there’s a limited kids’ menu for the little ones.
Bonus Enjoy Chamonix wines and water (at cellar-door prices) with your meal.
X factor The location… set in a leafy paradise at the beginning of Franschhoek, the restaurant spills onto a wooden deck overlooking a canopy of indigenous trees – the perfect spot to enjoy long, leisurely afternoons savouring good food and wine in the sunshine.
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm
Thursday – Saturday, 7pm – 9pm
Contact 021 876 2393, marketing@chamonix.co.za
Where to find it Racine Restaurant
TIG reviewer Jackie Lange

12. The Tasting Room

Our best restaurants in Franschhoek: The Tasting Room
Image credit: Hotel and Restaurant

No restaurant list worth its salt would dare to omit Margot Janse’s award-winning restaurant at Le Quartier Français. The uber-chic eatery offers an eight-course African-inspired contemporary tasting menu – not exactly pocket friendly for locals (R850 or R1 335 with wine), but international visitors with a favourable exchange rate may consider it a bargain. A 2013 and 2014 winner on San Pellegrino’s World’s Best Restaurant List for Africa, The Tasting Room offers a unique South African dining experience with a menu that showcases local ingredients in a wide range of creative, well-conceived dishes.
Why you should go Having dined here regularly over the years, we were delighted to experience the newer dining options at this perennial favourite. The sunny Garden Room opens onto the gardens through wide glass doors where a mouthwatering breakfast buffet is beautifully set out. (Do try the sticky buns!) Cooked breakfasts made using ethically sourced produce (organic eggs, pasture-reared sausages and bacon) are available until 11am, and a tapas menu is available from 12pm.
X factor Set back from the main road, the stylish Lounge Bar is the perfect spot to lounge the day away enjoying artisanal beers, wines and craft cocktails. The tapas-style menu offers small plates of African-inspired dishes, such as prawn popcorn, wildebeest popovers, Mama’s meatballs and Gruyère Oreos, with prices ranging from R40 to R150 (for a charcuterie and cheese grazing board).
Open Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 11pm
Contact 021 876 2151, restaurant@lqf.co.za
Where to find it The Tasting Room
TIG reviewer Jackie Lange

13. village grill & butcher

Village Grill, Best Franschhoek Restaurants

There’s something familiar about this popular steakhouse, conveniently located at the entrance to Franschhoek Village, that’ll make you feel as if you’ve been here before, even if it’s your first time. It could be the friendly service, or the crackling fire… In any event, the elegant décor belies the fact that outside is an enclosed, well-kitted-out kiddies’ playground.
The food Though its name suggests you’re at a meatery, a quick skim over the varied menu reveals it’s anything but. Consulting executive chef Laura Truter recently tweaked some of the popular classics. The prawn cocktail is a classy take on an avocado ritz: prawn tails, avocado, garden greens, fresh dill and Sriracha dressing. Similarly, the calamari starter – deep-fried squid with paprika seasoning, toasted sesame seeds and lemon aioli – is an elegant version of regular calamari rings, while the crème Anglaise and cinnamon ice cream give the Malva dessert a posh edge.
The vibe Familiar, friendly, casual and comfortable.
X factor The steak! Sourced from Ryan Boon, a butchery in Paarl that specialises in pasture-reared and sustainably sourced meat, my 300g rib-eye steak with Madagascan green-pepper-and-brandy sauce was rich, flavourful and juicy. For sides, I chose hand-cut potato wedges (crispy and utterly moreish) and garden vegetables (cooked al dente, the way I like them). Delicious.
Open Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Contact 021 876 2344, info@villagegrill.co.za
Where to find it Main Road, Franschhoek
TIG reviewer Nikki Benatar

And, if you’re wondering why Bread & Wine is not on our list, it’s because its menu has changed since our last visit We will be sure to update this post soon.

 

 

Featured

Village Grill & Butcher
Main Road Franschhoek Cape Town

Dutch East
42 Huguenot Street Franschhoek Cape Town

The Kitchen at Maison
Maison Estate, R45 Franschhoek

Le Bon Vivant @GlenWood
Robertsvlei Road Franschhoek

Le Bon Vivant
22 Dirkie Uys Street Franschhoek

Café Franschhoek
46 Huguenot Street Franschhoek

Café Des Arts
7 Reservoir Street West Franschhoek

Racine Restaurant
Uitkyk Street Franschhoek

Café BonBon Country Restaurant
La Petite Dauphine, Excelsior Road Franschhoek

Foliage Restaurant
11 Huguenot Street, Corner Berg Street Franschhoek

Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards
R45, Main Road to Franschhoek

The Tasting Room
Wilhelmina Street Franschhoek

Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate
Main Road Franschhoek Western Cape

Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 23 April 2015

6 Responses to “The Best Restaurants in Franschhoek”

  1. annette

    waiting to hear from you 😉

    Reply
  2. Colin

    Based on this listing many of my favourite restaurants of 8 years ago have closed.
    Good to see the Tasting Room still going under Margot Janse.

    Reply
  3. Trish Heywood

    Foliage now has a liquor licence so if you take your own wine you’ll now be charged corkage. But they have a very good wine list. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Christo Barnard

    Many thanks!

    Reply
  5. Christo Barnard

    Just to let you know that Leopards Leap Wine Estates interior was not done by Makeka Design Lab but by Christiaan Barnard Interior & Design Stellenbosch.Please make sure about your facts before publishing.

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      Hi Christo

      Thanks for your comment. A post on the Leopard’s Leap website only mentioned the project architects. We’ve amended our review to include your information.

      Reply

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