Franschhoek may not have collected quite as many restaurant accolades in 2009 as it usually does, but it clings doggedly to its self-proclaimed title as the gourmet capital of South Africa. There's an astounding amount of choice, given the relatively miniscule size of the village. Several restaurants are now fixtures on the global foodie map, and Franschhoek is renowned for its produce, particularly its rainbow trout, olives, and even handcrafted Belgian-style chocolates; chocoholics should book The Chocolate Experience at Huguenot Fine Chocolates (tel. 021/876-4096), a national institution where you can choose from 45 chocolate varieties. Franschhoek also hosts the annual South Africa Cheese Festival, but the nearest decent cheese-tasting venue is quite far away, at the tasting room at Anura Vineyards, on Simondium Road, Klapmuts (tel. 021/875-5360; www.anura.co.za; Mon-Sun 9am-5pm). Back in the village, La Brasserie (tel. 021/876-3420) is where you will find the locals on Friday evenings during the summer months, when it hosts jazz evenings from 5 to 8pm. Besides the restaurants reviewed, Klein Oliphants Hoek (tel. 021/876-2566) is worth considering -- Italian owner Renata Gaggio and local chef Thurston David have come up with a small but effective menu that suits the intimate surrounds of this homey guesthouse. Take your cue from the locals and order the lamb shank, and finish off with a baked chocolate pudding. If all the fine dining is too much, opt for French Connection (tel. 021/876-4056). The brainchild of Matthew Gordon of Haute Cabriere, this informal pavement-style bistro on the main road is a favorite with the Franschhoek locals.
Booking Etiquette -- During the summer months, Franschhoek's top restaurants are in constant demand, and getting a table without a reservation is practically impossible. A few may even require you to book several weeks or months in advance, and there are accounts of pig-headed tourists wandering the main road searching for nourishment only to end up at the local pizzeria, Col'Cacchio (tel. 021/876-4222) -- not a terrible choice, but hardly the reason you're here. It's in your interest to ask your host to make dinner reservations on your behalf. They have their fingers on the pulse of the local dining scene; use their suggestions to supplement this guide, and don't dally.
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.