What better reprieve from the rush of city life than a visit to a vineyard in the beautiful Cape Winelands? Slow, sumptuous food, seemingly endless views and, of course, delicious local wines. It’s no secret that the Western Cape has a great deal to offer in this department – be it a lazy lunch on the lawn or a decadent dinner beside a crackling fire. The Cape Weekender has made a list of nine truly special locations to wine, dine, and be refreshed whether on a solo adventure, on a romantic date, or with friends and family.
1. The Bakery at Jordan (Stellenbosch)
Beneath the shade of the oak trees on the award-winning Jordan Wine Estate, the Bakery at Jordan offers year-round al fresco lunch experiences overlooking the Stellenbosch valley. Guests are invited to purchase pre-made picnic baskets to unpack on the Estate’s ample lawn or book a table on the newly-renovated wooden deck. Charcuterie and cheese platters are a fixture on the menu, made up of locally-sourced meats and cheeses, home-made preserves and Jordan Estate olives, grown and prepared on site. The family-style a la carte menu is fresh and seasonal to include the best possible ingredients, and it always includes its own wood-fired breads, baked every morning. Pastries are made from scratch on a daily basis, best enjoyed with a cup of barista-brewed coffee. The estate’s celebrated wines are available by the glass or the bottle, along with craft beers by Den Anker Brew which are available exclusively at The Bakery.
Address: The Bakery at Jordan Wine Estate, Stellenbosch Kloof Road, Vlottenberg, Stellenbosch
Don’t miss: The winter special at the Luxury Suites at Jordan and the Restaurant at Jordan, valid until the end of August. More here.
2. The Pool Room (Grabouw)
Overlooking a pristine swimming pool beneath age-old oak trees, the Pool Room offers a reprieve from the rush of city life with pasture-to-plate dining in the beautiful Elgin and Grabouw valley. The pride of the Oak Valley Estate, Gordon Manuel’s menu is shaped by the exceptional produce ethically reared and grown on site and at the surrounding estates to provide free-range meats, small-batch, artisanal honey, cheese and olive oil and lovingly-grown herbs and vegetables. A weekly à la carte menu is available daily, with a food and wine-pairing menu to be added in the late spring. Summer sees the lawns abuzz with guests who have opted for the Pool Room’s picnic options. The tasting section of the restaurant showcases Oak Valley wines which are also available for purchase.
Address: The Pool Room at Oak Valley Wine Estate, 127 Oak Avenue, Grabouw
Don’t miss: The Wine 2 Whales Cycle Tour hosted by Oak Valley Farm on 26 to 28 October and 2 to 4 November. This coincides with the Elgin Open Gardens Festival. Both are highlights of the Overberg calendar.
3. The Manor Kitchen at Lanzerac (Stellenbosch)
With a 326-year history behind its name, Lanzerac Estate has secured its status as a top gourmet dining destination in the Winelands. The Manor Kitchen’s menu includes delicious farm-style classics re-imagined with contemporary influences. Sample flaked gin-cured salmon served with beetroot, avocado mayo, dill and edible flowers followed by citrus-cured pork belly, prepared with chardonnay and served with barley risotto, poached pear, leek and crisp sage. Vegetarian options are equally vibrant – ranging from a collection of cauliflower, served with beetroot gnocci, sesame granola and orange cream to a hearty root vegetable lasagne with wild garlic pesto and smoked celeriac cream. Guests can see dishes being prepared through the large windows overlooking the kitchen’s operations. Make a reservation for dinner or partake in the four-course Sunday lunch of decadent braised lamb croquettes, lamb shank, salted caramel fondant and much more.
Address: Lanzerac Manor Kitchen, 1 Lanzerac Road, Stellenbosch
Don’t miss: Four course Sunday lunch (booking essential)
4. Miko Restaurant at Mont Rochelle (Franschhoek)
Innovative, locally-inspired food and gorgeous interiors set Miko Restaurant apart as a particularly refreshing dining experience in the Franschhoek valley. Miko is perfect for lunch and dinner beside the crackling fire, cocktails overlooking the vineyard and world-class daily dining. The expansive menu offers options for a range of tastes and dietary requirements and specializes in South African favourites with a twist. Choose from curried butternut and cinnamon soup with roosterkoek croutons, Bobotie-spiced chicken, Cape Malay prawns and more. The Sunday lunch menu includes three courses for R350 and offers a choice of creative roasts, dishes and desserts with vegetarian options available. A huge range of local wines is also on offer. Until the end of September, guests are invited to treat themselves to the winter special: a sixty-minute spa experience followed by a three-course lunch.
Address: Miko Restaurant, Mont Rochelle, Dassenberg Rd, Franschhoek
Don’t miss: Live music nights with James Stewart on 22 August and 25 September
5. Glen Carlou Restaurant (Paarl)
Situated on a historic vineyard in the Paarl valley, Glen Carlou Restaurant is known for its exceptional menu, award-winning wines, and great special offers. Visit the restaurant on a Saturday and receive a complimentary glass of Glen Carlou wine from the Classic Collection with every main course ordered or make a weekday reservation and get a free dessert to complement your starter and main. The country-style Winter Set Menu includes fresh line fish and decadent ostrich fillet along with homestyle sticky toffee pudding, flavoursome blue cheese soufflé and Mediterranean-style roasted cauliflower. Wine recommendations are listed alongside each dish to guide your choices, and the menu – inspired by the seasons – changes four times a year.
Address: Glen Carlou Vineyards, R45, Paarl
Don’t miss: The weekday set menu special, available for winter only
6. De Grendel Restaurant (Durbanville)
Nestled on top of Tygerberg Hill, patrons at De Grendel can look out at the Estate’s gorgeous grounds with a glass of the estate’s prestigious wines in hand, and spot Table Mountain and the city beyond. The only vineyard in the country that is 350m above sea level and only seven kilometres from the sea, its uniquely elevated position forms an integral part of the micro-climate shaping De Grendel’s elegant wines. The contemporary menu is inspired by the Estate’s acclaimed range of wines and prepared with fresh local produce including honey and yoghurt, pasture-raised beef and lamb, and organic vegetables. Each dish is described only by the sum of its ingredients, with no indication of how it is prepared or which flavours dominate – an intentional trick to awaken the senses and surprise the taste buds. The Saturday and Sunday lunch is particularly popular, as is the nine-course tasting menu paired with De Grendel wines.
Address: De Grendel Wine Estate, Plattekloof Road, Panorama
Don’t miss: The daily changing menu
7. La Grapperia (Paarl)
A German-Italian bistro on the Spice Route, La Grapperia is an artisanal food and wine destination on the slopes of the Paarl Mountains, offering a family-friendly experience famous for its breathtaking views of the valley. Authentic wood-fired pizzas, Flammkuchen, platters prepared with Italian cold meats and Fairview cheeses, breads fresh from the Goatshed Bakery, bitterballen and Eisbein all vie for attention on the menu along with a variety of other options to match every appetite. The wine list is brimming with choice local wines while the drinks list allows its guests to build their own cocktail with ingredients including Wilderer Distillery’s award-winning gin. La Grapperia also offers a gin-making experience: blend a customized bottle of gin at the tasting room using different base flavours of your choice. Crackling fires keep the restaurant cozy during the winter months while visitors dine at tables beneath the oak trees in warmer weather.
Address: Spice Route Farm, Suid-Agter-Paarl Rd, Paarl
Don’t miss: The caffe coretto, la Grapperia’s signature Italian coffee
8. Marigold Restaurant (Franschhoek)
The first classic North Indian restaurant in Franschhoek, Marigold offers a huge range of flavourful authentic dishes and a gorgeous view of the Franschhoek mountains. Chef Vanie Padayachee’s style is influenced by the diverse range of cultures in South Africa, and her speciality lies in tempering and blending spices to perfection. Marigold serves traditional curries, Tandoori dishes cooked in the clay oven, vegetable, chicken and mutton briyani and more with a list of winter specials available – including vegetarian and meat curries and Indian wraps – with nothing over R100. Thali is recommended for those new to the cuisine: a composite meal made up of small portions served on one platter to showcase all the flavours of an Indian kitchen. A dessert menu is available as well as the option to order additional sides with an extensive local wine list.
Address: 9 Huguenot Rd, Franschhoek
Don’t miss: The complimentary bottle of wine given to groups of four or more until the end of August.
9. Avontuur Estate Restaurant (Somerset West)
Avontuur wine and stud farm is home to a restaurant which has become renowned for its welcoming atmosphere, organic fare and value for money. Expect generous portions, beautiful, flavourful food and a wonderful selection of wines. The diverse menu is lovingly curated by Chefs Melanie Paltoglou and Zunia Boucher-Myers. Share a luscious seasonal platter and a bottle of wine or opt for a crisp salad or a tasty soup for a lighter meal. Indulge in flavourful seafood dishes or internationally-inspired meat and poultry for a hearty lunch or dinner. Tables are available on the outdoor terrace overlooking the paddocks and the vineyard with Table Mountain in the distance. Indoor seating is available for cooler days with underfloor heating and a crackling fire. The restaurant is also available for weddings and private functions.
Address: 7130 R44, Firgrove Rural, Somerset West
Don’t miss: Wine tasting at the Tasting Centre – open seven days a week