Stellenbosch restaurants have a reputation of being particularly good, as do their peers in the neighbouring Western Cape town of Franschhoek. With four restaurants in the Stellenbosch area listed as being among the country's top 10 restaurants in the 2012 Eat Out awards, what better reason to visit?

Did you know?

AmaZink Live is a dinner/theatre show in Kyamandi outside Stellenbosch, featuring isiXhosa hit music and township cuisine.

A decade ago, Stellenbosch restaurants had a reputation for hearty Cape food and plenty of wine to go with it. However, the region’s kitchens lagged behind Cape Town and Franschhoek when it came to innovative and contemporary fine dining.

Restaurants in Stellenbosch that have remained deliciously traditional include Die Volkskombuis (the people’s kitchen), which is a popular venue to sample Cape boerekos (farmers' food) staples like bobotie, waterblommetjiebredie (lamb and Cape water hawthorn stew) and chicken pie.

But these days, diners eating out in Stellenbosch are spoiled for choice. In the town of Stellenbosch itself, there are cheap and quaint student pubs; family steakhouses; seafood diners; and art gallery-cum-bistros.

The Wild Peacock food emporium stocks over 400 items of mostly local gourmet produce, and features a seasonal bistro menu and wine by the glass.

Out of town, in the famous Stellenbosch winelands, dining options abound.

Travel along Annandale Road and you’ll find two of the country’s most acclaimed restaurants, both voted into the Top 10 list for the 2012 Eat Out Awards. Rust en Vrede, a multi-award-winning restaurant, has a five-star reputation for its food and impeccable, friendly service. Overture restaurant sources the best local ingredients, including humble cuts of offal, and using French techniques, transforms them into award-winning plates of food.

For elegant alfresco dining under the oaks, splendid vineyard views and sublimely prepared seasonal fare, try Terroir restaurant at Kleine Zalze wine estate (another Top 10 winner). Similarly, the restaurant at Jordan winery offers panoramic views of Table Mountain, False Bay and Stellenbosch, with a daily blackboard menu to complement Jordan’s acclaimed wines.

Exciting, terroir-focused cuisine can be found at Tokara wine estate, perched atop the Helshoogte Pass outside Stellenbosch. Chef Richard Carstens ought to wear a wizard's hat, so adept is he at conjuring up daily specials using seasonal ingredients that are mouth-watering and almost too beautiful to eat.

If you want fine winelands fare and postcard views, but couldn’t be bothered with silver service, a gourmet ‘poshnic’ at Warwick wine estate will tick all the boxes.

Choose an intimate picnic ‘pod’, which includes an umbrella and cushions, or bring the whole family and picnic blankets, and sprawl on the lawns. There’s ample space for the kids to play and not a hard-boiled egg or a soggy sandwich in sight as you munch on local charcuterie, cheeses, breads, pâtés and sip Warwick’s wines.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Die Volkskombuis
Aan de Wagen Road, Stellenbosch
Tel: +27 (0)21 887 2121
Email: mail@volkskombuis.co.za

Overture
Hidden Valley Winery, Annandale Road, Stellenbosch winelands
Tel: +27 (0)21 880 2721

Rust en Vrede wine estate
Annandale Road, Stellenbosch winelands
Tel: +27 (0)21 881 3881
Email: dining@rustenvrede.com

Terrior
Kleine Zalze wine farm, Off R44 road, Stellenbosch winelands
Tel: +27 (0)21 880 8167

Jordan with George Jardine
Stellenboschkloof Road , Stellenbosch winelands
Tel: +27 (0)21 881 3612
Email: restaurant@jordanwines.com

Tokara
R310 road, Helshoogte, Stellenbosch winelands
Tel: +27 (0)21 885 2550
Email: reservations@tokara.com

Warwick wine estate
On the R44 between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts
Tel: +27 (0)21 884 4410
Email: info@warwickwine.com

AmaZink
118a Masithandane Street, Kayamandi, Stellenbosch
Mobile: +27 (0)74 100 3122
Email: info@amazink.co.za

Stellenbosch Tourism
36 Market Street, Stellenbosch, 7600
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 3584

How to get here

It is about a 45-minute drive from the centre of Cape Town to Stellenbosch’s town centre. Best options are to follow the N1 and the R304, or Settlers Way and the Polkadraai road, a slightly longer option.

Tours to do

Warwick offers a Big Five wine-tasting tour which compares the Big Five to specific wine cultivars.

Get around

From Cape Town, hire a car, tourist shuttle bus or a metered taxi to reach the town of Stellenbosch and the surrounding winelands. During the day, trains from Cape Town to Stellenbosch are an option.

What will it cost

Multi-course dinner and wine pairing prices can vary (based on the number of courses) from R400 to R850 per person. An average three-course meal is about R350 per head, excluding wine and service charges. Warwick’s gourmet picnic baskets cost R350 for two. Show tickets for AmaZink are R650 each (includes a welcome drink, a three-course meal and show). You can also get a lift to and from Stellenbosch for R50 (one way).

What to pack

If you’re dining outside in summer, sun protection is recommended. If picnicking on the lawns, bring sun protection and your own umbrella.

Where to stay

There are loads of accommodation options in Stellenbosch and the surrounding areas.

Best buys

Award-winning olive oil and olives from the Olive Shed deli at Tokara wine estate.