There is no discount when it comes to paying the bill after a bad meal accompanied by terrible service, which is why you may as well take a recommendation and go to one of the few restaurants that I recommend because of consistent good food and good service. And the key word is CONSISTENT.
With a host of restaurants in both nearby Wilderness and George, you’ll be spoilt for choice! But short and sweet: my very shortlist of all time favourite local restaurants. (Elize and I will make reservations for our guests on request.)
1 . The Old Townhouse. tel 044- 874 3663.The ambiance is great , the food fantastic and the service excellent. This is a family affair, Janet is responsible for the food and husband Bryan the front-of-house. with the son (a qualified chef) and daughter not beyond putting in the odd stint at the Old Townhouse. Janet’s desserts are beyond words – I once had an Italian guest who phoned his mom home just before midnight to rave about Janet’s ice cream!
2. La Capanina. tel 044- 874 5313. Owner Margie is ever present, the waiters are professional, the food is good, consistently… I have businessmen who stay with us regularly who go back night after night – when they make their booking I take the liberty to book a table at La Capanina because I know how disappointed they will be when they arrive and I can’t get them a table. They do have a wood-fired oven, but the pizzas are not to my taste – if you are into serious toppings and lots of cheese you will love it (my idea of a good pizza is super thin crust, 2 toppings max and not too much cheese, so you are welcome to ignore my view on this one)
Dinner slightly further afield
1. Transkaroo. Grootbrak. Tel 044- 620 4163. The food is excellent , I love the ambiance. I want to stop at that, because when I think back on all the meals I’ve had here I am at a total loss for words. You will not be sorry to take the 20 minute drive there…whether it is for lunch or dinner. Oh, and Desmond used to say that this was the only restaurant that could prepare fish better than he could, but now we also go to Salinas for a perfectly cooked ‘catch of the day’. ps. 18/4/’14: just heard that they have a new chef – whoa ; watch this space…
2. Salinas. Wilderness.Tel 044-877 0001. Go early so that you can have a cocktail on the top deck overlooking the Wilderness beach. Desmond always orders ‘catch of the day’ and I’m always torn between seafood and Peri-peri chicken. When we walked the Camino from Lisbon to Santiago I looked and looked at menus to try and find Peri-peri chicken, but I had to come all the way back to George to get good Portuguese Peri-peri chicken!
Seafood and Sushi
I you do not want to drive 20 minutes from us to get to Salina’s or Transkaroo:
1. Ocean Basket in the Garden Route Mall. Married to a fisherman and with 2 sons who spearfish, dive and fish – let’s face it: I am spoilt and full of nonsense when it comes to seafood. At least at Ocean Basket you know what you get and I’ve never really been totally disappointed (which is more than can be said for nr 2 on my list)
2. The Kingfisher.Tel 044-873 3127.Less than 2km from us. Very popular with the locals, so they must be doing something right (just not when I go, it seems…) Deep fried fish is good if that’s what you’re into – huge portions; best Sushi ; service so-so (it could be good, depends on who you get to serve you) . As a matter of fact – thinking back on the pale rubbery ‘grilled’ calamari I got last time I was there: stick to Sushi – it’s the best in town.
1. Serendipity in Wilderness. Tel 044-877 1614.Foodie aficionados will love Serendipity. Chef Lizelle Stolz prides herself in re-inventing South African cuisine. You are guaranteed a superior dining experience, both food and service, at this intimate, award winning fine dining restaurant. My first choice is always Serendipity…the first time we went was in 2002 and we have never had one disappointing dining experience -Lizelle always bowls us over with her menus and Rudolf and his front-of-house staff charms us with their service.
2. Henry Whites Restaurant at Fancourt in George. Tel 044- 804 0010. From a decor/interior design perspective Henry Whites is quite an experience, but you’re going for the food and not the decor – I’ve had negative report back from 2 sets of guests …
1.Thai food at Siam Kaow Gaeng. Either order take-away or eat in at Nr 3 Ironside Road. Monday to Saturday 5pm to 9pm. Only 9 tables so booking is essential ; BYO wine as they have no liquor license. No emphasis on decor, but This is the real deal when it comes to authentic Thai food.
2.Outeniqua Farmers Market. Open Saturday mornings from 8am to 2 pm. Their brochure reads: ‘from beef to brownie, fruit to fynbos, chocolate to chicken, pancake to pizza, craft to koeksister -you’ll be spoilt for choice’. link to website.
3. De Vette Mossel. link to website. Tel. 079 339 0170. On the beach ; coastal road between Tergniet and Grootbrak. Kick of your shoes, dig your toes into the sand and eat your seafood with half a mussel shell. Do not worry they do have cutlery too! And remember to take something warm as this is an outside ‘restaurant’ – protected by a dune and with the sound of the roaring ocean you will enjoy the freshest seafood, prepared on the coals and abundant and delicious.
1. Jewel of India.Tel. 044-874 4000. Not certified Halaal because they also serve liquor to the non-Halaal clients. Their food is excellent – my favourite dish is Vegetable Makani.
2. Nando’s.Portuguese style food. Their salads are not too bad either. Just down the road from us ; really a take out, but they do have a few tables where you could sit down and eat your meal there.