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Wining and dining in Franschhoek

Lamb main from Pierneef à La Motte

If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town, you absolutely should include a trip to visit the winelands. Whether you go for a day trip or spend a few nights, trust me you will love it. We’ve been a few times and often opt to stay in the cute little town of Franschhoek. Not only has it got great restaurants, it’s also where you can get the wine tram!

Where to stay in Franschhoek

The first time we visited Franschhoek, a few years ago, we stayed at the luxurious boutique hotel, The Last Word. The last time we visited, we stayed in a cottage, which we booked through AirBnB. The cottage was located on a quiet street and was a mere two minute walk to the main high street. It had three bedrooms, a big open plan lounge, dining area and kitchen and outdoor space with a swimming pool. It is beautifully decorated with love and care by Belinda, the owner. As we were booked to stay at the Belmond Mount Nelson in Cape Town, we enjoyed having a non-hotel experience in Franschhoek – but with all the luxury!

The garden at Cottage 42 in Franschhoek

Where to eat in Franschhoek

If you’ve ever experienced South Africa’s winelands, you will know how exceptional the food and wine is. On our first day in Franschhoek, straight off the plane (Franschhoek is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town International Airport), we arrived at Cottage 42 at around 1pm on a Saturday and took ourselves off to The Kitchen at Maison.

We sat outside facing the mountains – it’s such a beautiful view! I chose the smoked duck as a starter and my husband had the beef tartar with bone marrow. To follow, I had the lamb with plums (which was exquisite!) and my husband had the pork belly. To accompany our food we had a bottle of Morena sparkling wine, which is produced in Franschhoek on a family-run farm.

Sitting facing the mountains at The Kitchen at Maison

On Sunday we had a fabulous lunch at Pierneef à La Motte, the restaurant on the La Motte wine estate. I had booked in advance as their Sunday lunch is a fixed menu and very popular. We asked to sit outside and sat on the terrace, overlooking the pond.

The tranquil setting at Pierneef à La Motte.

On the menu was a choice of starters (I chose the bread soup served with beef short rib crostini and my husband had the smoked snoek rice dumplings with lentil and split pea salad), followed by sharing plates of grilled Karoo lamb shoulder, free range pork belly, new potato and quinoa salad with quail eggs, a butternut and sweet potato tart and a warm green vegetable salad. The food was exceptional!

Pork belly at Pierneef a La Motte

And of course, no Sunday lunch is complete without dessert… there were two options and I chose the almond sponge with plums and an almond and plum ice-cream. My husband went for the pavlova, which had passion fruit Chantilly cream, berries and a strawberry sorbet. He promptly declared it one of the best desserts he’d ever had.

Almond sponge with plums and berry pavlova

The restaurant at La Motte is named after South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886 – 1957) and there is a whole gallery of his artwork on the grounds so be sure to visit it after lunch.

Lunch at the wine farm restaurants is a must as you get to experience the beautiful surroundings and enjoy the fabulous weather. For dinner options in Franschhoek I recommend Ryan’s Kitchen and the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français. Be warned – you do need to book in advance. Luckily we got a table at Ryan’s Kitchen but we didn’t book in time for the Tasting Room so didn’t get to go unfortunately. It’s also worth noting that generally South African’s eat quite early. In Cape Town you won’t have a problem but in Franschhoek most restaurant’s kitchens close at 9pm.

We had an amazing time in Franschhoek, eating wonderful food, drinking lovely wine and experiencing the warm hospitality of South Africans.

Have you been to Franschhoek? Share your favourite restaurants below.

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Wining and dining in Franschhoek

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.

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3 COMMENTS

  • We managed to get a table at the Tasting Room, it really is something special!

    • Kirsty Marrins
      AUTHOR

      You are so lucky! We tried but they had no availability. Problem is we only booked our holiday about three weeks before we left!

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