Cape Town and Franschhoek: Advice needed!!
I am in the final stages of planning my trip to Cape Town and Franschhoek and have done extensive research on the dining scene, but am hoping for some final pearls of wisdom from SA ‘hounds. Without further adieu, a few questions:
1. I have one full day in the Winelands. I’m staying in Franchhoek. I’m planning on having lunch at Bread and Wine and dinner at Reuben’s. I would like to visit some of the vineyards but am overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. The vineyards that seem to get the most press are Boekenhoutskloof, Stony Brook Vineyards, Boschendal and Tokara Estates in Stellenbosch. I’m concerned that these vineyards may be too commercial. Are these the best options for a first-time visitor? How many vineyards can I see in a day, given my lunch and dinner plans? If you were a first-time visitor and had one day in the vineyards, how would you allocate your time?
2. Based on my research, it sounds like CT isn’t exactly a coffee-lover’s paradise. The four shops that get the best reviews are Origin Roasting, Vida e Café, Afro Café and Love Birds Café. Are these the best options? I’m going to be staying in Camps Bay, but will be bouncing around the city, so feel free to suggest cafes all over the city.
3. What are my best dining options in Camps Bay? I don’t need high end recommendations, just your favorite restaurants in that neighborhood at any price point.
4. What food should I not miss while I’m in SA? I plan on trying Cape Malay cuisine. Anything else?
Many, many thanks!!
All great advice. I would only add that if you dont want 'commercial' then skip Boschendal and go to Solms-Delta.
Regarding coffee in Cape Town, David Donde the original owner of Origins has recently opened a new coffee shop called Truth (close to St Andrews church and not far from Origins. Excellent coffee.
Also have a look at Deluxe Coffee Works around the corner from Haiku.
I agree with Kurt regarding Camps Bay - although if you want top end (with prices to match) you might want to check out The Roundhouse which is in a different league (and not along 'the strip' from other CBay eateries.
1. Try Solms-Delta winery for something quite different in the mix of Franschhoek estates. (www.solms-delta.co.za)
2. Alas, South Africa like most of the Commonwealth suffers from the British love for tea...and you will battle to find good coffee beyond those you've listed. Thankfully, Origins is distributed in cafes and restaurants around town (e.g., Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay), so you may do well depending on where you go. I don't know that there's a list of places that serve Origins. You also might want to try traditional Ethiopian coffee at Addis in Cape restaurant on Long Street if you're a coffee hound.
3. I don't rate much of anything in Camps Bay food-wise. There's a nice vibe in the evenings and at sunset, but it's more about the view and the beautiful people than the food...
4. Waterblommetjies are unique, and often part of the Cape Malay menu when they're in season. You should also try biltong, crayfish, rooibos tea, amarula, pap 'n' vleis, umnqusho (samp and beans), traditional sorghum beer (umqomboti). As a foodie, I'd highly recommend you not just eat Cape Malay cuisine, but learn to cook it. Check out Andulela's offering. Further afield in South Africa is Durban bunny chow (check out www.quarterbunny.co.za to learn about it, but in Cape Town you'll want to try The Quarter on Long Street under the New Space Theatre.)
Don't forget to try the brandy (Van Rhyn's 20-year is tops in the world) and the witblits/mampoer (moonshine)!
Option 1 for chow is excellent.
You can also hop over to http://spitorswallow.co.za if you need any advice on which wine farm to visit.
New-ist restaurants in town worth checking out Carne (great meat choices) http://www.carne-sa.com/
Also for something different you can try Vaudeville. Great fun but food is a bit average
1. Stony Brook is great - and certainly not 'too commercial'. In fact the owners are very hands-on and my experience there has always been very good. Their Ghost Gum cabernet sauvignon received 5 stars in the Platter's guide, which is well-respected in SA. They have a bubbly and in general all the wines there are worth a try.
La Motte have a new tasting room which is very impressive, and while it isn't exactly personal, it's far from commercial. They have some hard-to-find wines there as well and that can make for a very worthwhile tasting.
Boekenhoutskloof have great wines but they aren't always available for tasting - they have a beautiful setting though. Haut Espoir next door to them is worth a visit, you'll get entertaining and personal service if you end up meeting Rob, the 'Gentle Giant'. Chamonix is a must and again, not commercial at all. Tokara is good, but some way out of town - further than Boschendal and half way to Stellenbosch in fact.
2. I'm no coffee expert, so I hope you get some good advice from the knowledgeable. Origin Roasting is, however, a no-brainer. I'd drive from Franschhoek to CT just for them.
4. SA food has a strong 'world-feel' so it may be difficult to find authentic SA cuisine (whatever that means!) Reuben's is a good bet and locally a number of places will do venison, bobotie (mince dish), curries and various fish dishes wich all qualify as South African. Just for info a braai is a barbeque, look for chops (tjops), wors (sausage), steak, garlic bread etc at a braai.
For more info on Franschhoek and an insight into life in the Franschhoek Valley, check out www.themonth.co.za.