A bike tour of the Franschhoek wine valley was one of the highlights of our stay in South Africa's winelands. Eddie picked us up from our hotel and took us on a beautiful scenic tour - taking in vineyards and a reservoir. You get to see parts you probably wouldn't venture to on your own. He's a lovely guy and takes time to explain recent history as well as the origins of the town. The pace was just right - I imagine he could do something more gruelling if that's your thing! There are other options including winetasting by bike.
The whole of Franschhoek to eat! There are so many good restaurants with a variety of settings to suit a multitude of tastes. It is an extraordinary village for foodies. Here are some of the restaurants I would choose, being a regular visitor:
La Petite Ferme Restaurant – a Franschhoek Instiution. No one comes to Franschhoek without eating here. Do it on the first day because it sets the scene for your visit, and possibly a hangover. The views take your breath away and the temptation is there to lie on the grass and order one bottle after another. It is beautifully situated along the pass road, spectacular views and really good food. Recently voted top 10 in Wine Magazine - open for lunch only. email@example.com. 00 27 (0)21 876 3016 Tel Book Early!
Reuben’s – wonderful restaurant, centrally situated with modern interior, shady courtyard and trendy bar area. I love a lazy lunch in the summer under the mist spray and it's difficult to drag yourself away. Famous Reuben Riffel voted Chef of the Year 2005 and Restaurant of the Year 2005. The menu is modern French cuisine with cosmopolitan influences and a choice of a contemporary or a more classical menu. firstname.lastname@example.org 00 27 (0)21 876 3772 Book Early!
Le Quartier Francais – Famous Chef, Margot Janse (Chef of the year 2003 & 2004) Top 50 Restaurants in the World 2007. TASTING ROOM: Elegant and more formal dining – 4/6 and 8 course meal with wine carefully selected for each course. ICI – a la carte bistro restaurant with deliciously simple and fresh food. If you want the full works you must eat at The Tasting Room. I can only do it once every six months. She gets amazing flavours and Margot is just fantastic. Ask her to come to the table if you like www.lequartierfrancais.com Book Early! 00 27 (0)21 876 2151
Bouillabaisse – Camil & Ingrid’s classy Champagne and oyster bar and seafood deli on the High Street in Franschhoek . This vibrant new 'front-cooking' eatery combines freshly prepared favourites like bouillabaisse and gourmet seafood tasters with the decadence of the world’s most sought after treats, like Beluga and Fois Gras. Watch Camil and his team prepare a daily selection of seafood delights in his stylish open kitchen to be sampled as tasting portions, made a meal of or taken away to be savoured later.
The kitchen is open all day from 10am to 10pm, on offer will be a variety of fish and seafood tasters encouraging guests to create their own menu. www.bouillabaisse.co.za Book Early! 00 27 (0)21 876 4430
French Connection - bistro style venue with excellent food and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for something easy - open both lunch & dinner . 00 27 (0)21 876 4056
Haute Cabriere - elegant dining in their cellar restaurant with award winning Chef, Matthew Gordon - wines are offered per course - open both lunch and dinner. 00 27 (0)21 876 3688
Le Bon Vivant – Dutch Chef making his presence felt in Franschhoek. Excellent European cuisine with superb presentation. Portions are not too large - open both lunch and dinner. 00 27 (0)21 876 2717
Mont Rochelle – Mange Tout. Another beautifully situated hotel/restaurant. Outside dining available, formal, elegant dining - open both lunch and dinner. 00 27 (0)21 876 2770
Mont Rochelle – The Country Kitchen. One of my favourites, popping in for a glass of wine and a plate of tapas. Unpretentious simple food and one of Franschhoek’s hidden gems. Has a great view from the ‘other side’ of the valley. 00 27 (0)21 876 3000
Topsi & Co - a delightful dining experience – Topsi is a wonderful character and she and Alidi prepare simple uncomplicated meals from only the freshest produce she can get her hands on. She has two, sometimes 3 African Grey parrots that wander around and mumble away to themselves. You do have to bring your own wine – open both lunch and dinner. 00 27 (0)21 876 2952
Bread & Wine - situated on Môreson wine farm, here the chef smokes his own meats and fish, his wife bakes the best bread this side of the mountain and the wines are a compliment to the whole setting - relaxed, easy going and very casual - open lunch mainly but occasional evenings Book Early! 00 27 (0)21 876 3692
Grande Provence Restaurant – Probably the most stylish restaurant in Franschhoek. An excellent kitchen and nouvelle cuisine dining. Situated on the Grande Provence Wine Estate 3 km from the centre of the village. Open Lunch and Dinner daily. Take a browse through the beautiful art gallery just before dinner. Home of Agusta wines and the well known Angel’s Tears. Private Dining room available upon request. www.grandeprovence.co.za 00 27 (0)21 876 8600
Vineyard Brasserie – Run by La Petite Ferme team and located in a corner of Franschhoek overlooking the orchards. Lovely and quiet, but minutes walk away from the main road. Indoor and outdoor seating and lawn. Friday night in Summer comes alive with the sound of jazz. Book early as numbers often exceed 250. 00 27 (0)21 876 3420
Franschhoek is a lovely wine valley in the Western Cape. There are a number of fantastic vineyards, all quite close to each other so it's easy to explore the region over a day or two. There are a few grand names such as La Motte - a charming old farm-turned-winery, worth a visit for the wine tastings (their Shiraz stands out). But the best experience I had was at a small, artisanal producer: La Petite Ferme. They are a very small winery, which produces wines of outstanding quality. They also do lovely food, and the view over the vineyards from the hill where they are is one of the most awesome things I've seen in my life. They also have accomodation, not bad value and you get that amazing view 24/7!
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