Don’t we all love insider tips from a local?
Ilse van der Merwe is a local like no other. Award-winning blogger, SAFTA nominated content producer/tv presenter and international cookbook author, Ilse was born and raised in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She, her husband and daughter now live on a working berry and wine farm in Stellenbosch, surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery, abundant art galleries and the lively academic pulse of one of South Africa’s top universities. If there was someone to ask about where to eat in the winelands area, we couldn’t think of anyone better. What a privilege to chat to Ilse and hear about some of her favorites –
We are totally spoilt for choice in Stellenbosch (my home town) and surrounds when it comes to fabulous places to eat. It’s hard to narrow it down to my top 5 because different places are chosen for different reasons. Perhaps you’re looking for a view, perhaps you’re looking for something family friendly, or something informal, or a knock-out celebration dinner. So here’s a list of the places that I return to again and again for any kind of occasion, because they just keep on being exceptional (in no particular order).
Vadas at Spier, Baden Powell Rd, Stellenbosch
Slam-dunk smoky deliciousness, every time. The atmosphere is very informal, the vibe is “sharing”, the flavours are bold and the produce is seasonal (and mostly farm-grown). Huge adjacent lawns for the kids when weather permits.
Terra del Capo at Anthonij Rupert Wines, Franschhoek
Authentic Italian antipasti and fantastic service at a really good price. Request a table under the olive trees when weather permits; indoor seating has no outside view but is very cosy during winter.
The Fat Butcher, Stellenbosch
This is one of the best steak/meat restaurants in town, and their quality consistency is incredible. Yes, there are also very affordable items on the menu as well as scrumptious non-meat options. Ask for a seat in the courtyard when weather permits. Impeccable service.
The Vine Bistro, Glenelly, Stellenbosch
Authentic French bistro fare at its very finest (outside of France). Exceptional setting, stellar wines, spot-on service.
Kleine Zalze Restaurant, Kleine Zalze, Stellenbosch
Such a pleasure to visit this relaxing restaurant year after year. Currently serving timeless seasonal classics as well as sensational tapas (smaller shared plates and nibbles) at very reasonable prices. Do stay for a wine tasting next door.
We’ll make all the reservations – let us know what you want to add into your South Africa itinerary. Email firstname.lastname@example.org