South Africa’s Garden Route has raised its culinary game in the last few years, now boasting a number of excellent restaurants that make great use of the bounty of produce the area has to offer. Along the route you’ll find artisan cheese-makers, fine wineries and organic farms providing locally grown ingredients that restaurateurs dish up to their hungry customers. The ‘food capital’ of the Garden Route is the area between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, a section of the coast famous for its seafood. The fruits of the sea tend to stand out on most menus, but restaurants also offer lamb from the Karoo, ostrich and springbok, and seemingly endless lists of the best local wines. When planning your trip, compare the cost of holidays to South Africa and make sure to find a space on the itinerary to check out the culinary treats the Garden Route has to offer.
Bramon, Plettenberg Bay
Bramon is attached to a boutique wine estate named after the owners’ two children. A cosy, intimate restaurant with a crackling fire, it’s a wonderful way to become acquainted with the Garden Route wine scene, which is much younger than the Cape Winelands. Try a glass of the Cap Classique, the local sparkling wine, and dive into an interesting menu that includes local cheeses, springbok, warthog and ostrich carpaccio, pestos from Port Elizabeth and some of the best breads you’ll ever taste.
Firefly Eating House, Knysna
Owned by a mother and daughter team, this beautiful red converted cottage is located on the causeway road just outside Knysna. Named with one eye on the menu, the fire is served up in a mouthwatering array of spices. From Cape Malay spring rolls with bobotie — a spiced minced meat delicacy native to South Africa — to the Bang Bang tiger prawns — the clue is in the name — this is not a menu for the faint of heart. Luckily everything is rated on a spice-ometer of 1 to 10, and there are plenty of dishes to suit a more sensitive palate. The wine list is sensational, with a great range of local wines to match the spicy challenge, including a crisp, dry Felteiras Verdelho and a delicious Porcupine Ridge Merlot.
Bientang’s Cave, Hermanus
For sea views, this laid-back, cliff-side restaurant is hard to beat. The outside tables sit around 35 feet from the waves, which makes this a great spot for whale watching and sunsets. The al a carte menu is a seafood lover’s dream: oysters, lobster, salmon, snoek, giant tiger prawns — it’s all here. Reservations are a must, particularly in high season.
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