Sure, Tulbagh is not yet on the culinary map, and it doesn't have any restaurants even remotely approaching the level of sophistication and variety available in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, or even Paarl. What you will find here, though, are a handful of charming, relaxed eateries. The most famous stop in town is Paddagang Restaurant, Church Street (tel. 023/230-0242), where "boerekos" (farmers' food) is served according to time-honored recipes, making it one of those famous country stops. While quality isn't all that consistent, and the kitchen lacks innovation, it's a good place to sample a few authentic South African recipes: The Kaapse Bord ("Cape Platter") features traditional babotie, waterlily stew, and roast chicken. Pielow's Restaurant (tel. 023/230-0432), also on Church Street, is the number-one fine-dining choice in town, and is said to have the best wine list in the valley. For home-cooked meals with a slight experimental edge, head instead to Readers Restaurant, in a mid-18th-cenury house on the other side of Church Street (tel. 023/230-0087), where Carol Collins has been turning out satisfying country dishes in her little kitchen for over 12 years. Try the chicken breast stuffed with chocolate, spinach, and feta; ostrich with gooseberry and amarula sauce; deep-fried whole onion; or exceptional lamb strudel. If you've got a sweet tooth, stop at Schoonderzicht Farm and sample Niki de Wolf's Belgian-style Moniki Chocolates (tel. 023/230-0673) -- or you can even get a crash course in making your own. At Kimilili (tel. 023/231-1503;, you can taste award-winning cheeses. Finally, cool cats looking for a sexier vibe -- hanging chairs, schmoozy ottomans, and an open-air lounge deck -- should try the new B-Lounge on the De Heuvel Wine and Olive Estate a few miles from town; dim sum and hot canap├ęs are served with ever-improving cocktails, but of course, you'll opt for a bottle of locally produced vino (tel. 023/231-0350).

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