La Colombe consistently appears amongst the Top 10 Best Restaurants in South Africa. Despite its proximity to Cape Town and my goal to eat my way through the best restaurants in South Africa, I had yet to dine there. Cape Town in July is ordinarily rainy and cold, so I had planned a quiet weekend in Constantia (a suburb of Cape Town) comprised of indoor activities – wine farm visits, reading, a massage, roaming Kirstenbosch gardens, and a long leisurely lunch at La Colombe.
Sundays in Cape Town are generally quiet with most shops and restaurants closed so that their staff can maintain a work life balance that Capetonians pride themselves on. Visitors should follow the lead of locals and head to the wine lands for a seriously delicious Sunday lunch. On my latest foray to Cape Town, I chose to spend my Sunday wining and dining at Waterkloof Wine Estate in Somerset West.
For urbanites looking for a back to the land experience Babylonstoren is the place to decamp and unwind for a weekend. A working farm and wine estate, Babylonstoren is an unpretentious place where you can collect eggs for your breakfast or chill with a glass of wine and a good book in the garden. The farm is easily reached by car from Cape Town and while it would make a lovely day trip, I suggest booking a room at the hotel to take full advantage of all of the farm activities.
Places that are fantastically bizarre and give in to the eccentricities of their creators are always top destinations during my travels. I stumbled across The Orient Hotel because of the reputation of the onsite restaurant, the Mosaic, and from the website I knew this hotel would be delightfully strange in the best possible way.
One of the best views in the Stellenbosch winelands has to be from the Jordan Restaurant dining room, but when the dishes start coming out of the kitchen, all attention turns to the magnificent food. This is not a restaurant where the view is meant to distract from middling food, but one where the views of wine farms and farmland convey the provenance of what you are eating.
Having eaten my way through many of South Africa’s top restaurants, Five Hundred at the Saxon Hotel is my favorite; rivaling other fine dining experiences I have had in Europe, New York, and San Francisco. There is an element of theater at fine dining restaurants with the choreographed, efficient movements spilling out from the kitchen to the service, and no where in Johannesburg is this more on display than at Five Hundred.