Chef Reuben Riffel is from a family that places huge importance on cooking and eating well, and he has seen first-hand how enjoyable meals unite people. This ethos has informed his personal approach to cooking, which includes simple yet authentic fine-dining dishes inspired by traditional South African flavours and ingredients.

Did you know?

In 2013, Reuben Riffel opened a Reuben's restaurant at the Abalone House Boutique Guesthouse in Paternoster.

Chef Reuben Riffel is a high-profile and very well-respected member of the South African culinary community. He initially came into contact with fine dining by sampling the delicious morsels his mother brought home from the various gourmet restaurants she worked in.

He started out his working career in construction, but thanks to his mother got a job in the local restaurant industry. His first big break came at Monneaux Restaurant in Franschhoek, where he took up a position as a kitchen hand, only to eventually leave as executive chef, having won a few local awards for excellence on the way.

Riffel left South Africa for some international exposure and later earned recognition for his work at Bruno’s Brasserie in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Franschhoek, meanwhile, had entrenched itself as the foodie mecca of South Africa, and in 2004 Riffel opened his self-named restaurant there, much to the delight of local and international gourmets alike.

After just six months, Reuben’s was awarded the Eat Out Restaurant of the Year Award, and Reuben himself landed the coveted Chef of the Year Award. Endorsements, a tome of a cookbook, and numerous TV appearances and accolades followed. He even put in an appearance on the Martha Stewart Show.

Riffel’s Franschoek restaurant soon had siblings. He linked up with the chic Robertson Small Hotel and established his next restaurant in this picturesque corner of the Cape, known for its wines and horse studs. Then came the opportunity of a lifetime – to take over after Gordon Ramsay's restaurant, Maze, at the One&Only Cape Town had seen its demise in 2010, and make it into a Reuben's restaurant.

Riffel grabbed the opportunity and his restaurant is now renowned for its fresh seafood and Cape-inspired dishes that feature seasonal specialties and typical regional ingredients – all prepared to international standards for the who’s who of the world.

Riffel divides his time between his restaurants every week, so diners may well be lucky enough to have the man behind the name cooking their meal on the day they visit.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Reuben’s Franschhoek
Tel: +27 (021) 876 3772
Email: reservations@reubens.co.za

Reuben’s Robertson Small Hotel
Tel: +27 (0)23 626 7200
Email: reservations@therobertsonsmallhotel.com

Reuben’s One&Only Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 431 4511
Email: restaurant.reservations@oneandonlycapetown.com

Reuben's Abalone House
Tel: +27 (0)22 752 2044
Email: info@abalonehouse.co.za

Best time to visit

Reuben’s Franschhoek is open for lunch (12pm to 3pm) and dinner (7pm to 9pm) only, while Reuben’s Robertson Small Hotel and Reuben’s One&Only Cape Town are both open from breakfast 6am until the close of dinner service.

Tours to do

Visit the wine estates of Franschhoek when in Cape Town.

Get around

All Reuben’s restaurants are easily accessed via hire car, hotel transfer or taxi.

What will it cost

All Reuben’s restaurants have similar menus featuring similar dishes. Expect to pay from R62 upwards for a starter, R75 to R186 for a main, and between R60 and R70 for a dessert. Prices subject to change.

Where to stay

Stay over at the gorgeous One&Only with stupendous views of Table Mountain. There are many lovely guest houses in Franschhoek, while the Robertson Small Hotel has Manor House suites, Stables suites and Poolside suites to choose from.

What to eat

His pastas and meat dished are pretty spectacular, while his desserts are the stuff legends are made of.

What's happening

There are food and wine festivals happening in Franschhoek throughout the year.

Best buys

Local wines and perhaps one or two of Reuben's cookbooks.