This is foremost among the wave of trendsetting farm-to-table restaurants in the Cape, and although getting here requires a short drive into the countryside, the visit will feel like a holiday all its own. Located virtually equidistant from the Winelands triumvirate of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl, Babel is especially convenient for those touring wine cellars in any of those towns. Besides, the historic farm on which it's situated is itself adorned with craggy hills and mountains and undulating vineyards. The estate is perhaps best known for what is certainly Africa's most prestigious edible garden, an incredible living project that is entirely pesticide-free (managed by a team of ducks), supplying a good deal of what ends up on the table here (a guided walking tour of the gardens is a great way to round off your meal, or build up an appetite). Despite the emphasis on fresh, seasonal, and local (first-rate meat is sourced from neighboring farms), one glance at the menu tells you it's all about innovation here, with memorable ideas about how food can be presented in novel and unusual ways. Salads, for example, are listed by color, while dessert choices break down into "sweet and spicy," "sour and savory," "bittersweet," or "umami," tipping guests off that there's something for all tastes here. No matter what you try, be it the grilled, slightly smoked Franschhoek trout, or the cauliflower sandwich with Gorgonzola, you're likely to be surprised and impressed with the care taken to evoke creative flavor sensations. Note: Bookings can be difficult to come by; although reservations open two months in advance, these tend to fill up almost immediately, especially in the busy summer season. Also to note is that Babel is a mere 37 miles from Cape Town—the only problem is that you won't want to leave. (There are immaculately crafted, super-luxurious cottages with kitchens available on the farm, should you decide to kick back, although that would require an immense splurge and advance bookings as well. Then again, overnighting at Babel means you get to enjoy breakfast here, too.)
Cape Town› Restaurant
Babylonstoren Rd. (R45), Drakenstein Valley, Simondium, (btw. Paarl and Franschhoek)
Our Rating Neighborhood Babylonstoren, Cape Winelands Hours Wed–Sun 10am–4pm Transportation 60km east of Cape Town, following the N1 to Klapmuts Phone +27 21 863 3852 Prices Main courses R125–R195, salads R75 Cuisine Type Contemporary Country Cuisine Web site Babel
MapBabylonstoren Rd. Cape Town
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.