In recent years, the farm-to-table concept has become increasingly popular. While there’s a bit of debate as to what the term means, at the heart of it all, farm-to-table is essentially the idea of your food coming directly from a specific location – most likely a farm – without going through a third party.
Farm-to-table restaurants have had a surge in popularity as diners appreciate eating food that’s in its purest, and most honest form. It’s also comforting to know where your food is coming from. At farm-to-table restaurants, the Chefs have established a relationship with various farms and buy directly from them. Some restaurants even grow produce directly on site so you’ll be eating straight from the source. With these restaurants, the food served to diners is not only of the highest quality, but is also fresh, seasonal, and innovative.
It’s of no surprise, that the areas surrounding Cape Town have some of the best farm-to-table restaurants. Due to its vast landscape, and mountainous nature, plenty of these restaurants grow their food on site. If not, the ingredients are taken from some of the best local producers and turned into a stunning tantalising dish. Of course, the addition of having some of the best vineyards around are always a bonus. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in Cape Town.
The Werf Restaurant
Just a short drive away from Cape Town is one of the most dedicated farm-to-table restaurants in Cape Town. Located in Boschendal that’s situated near Franschhoek, the area is picturesque with an expansive forest, ancient oak trees, and gorgeous gardens.
The Executive Chef of The Werf is Christiaan Campbell, and he’s a firm believer of using fresh, organic food that comes from the 9-hectare garden surrounding the restaurant. He focuses on organic produce and does not use factory-farmed, hormone-plagued animals or genetically modified produce. The menu frequently changes as it’s highly dependent on seasonal produce. You’ll expect to sample a seasonal selection of fresh farm and garden harvest which includes crisp salads, vegetables, and fragrant herbs. There are also plenty of shared platters of glazed lamb ribs, Angus beef, and octopus available.
You can choose to match your delightful meal with wines that are produced with sustainable farming methods. If you need to stock up on some groceries, you can also buy free-range eggs, grass-fed meat as well as sausages and cheese that are both nitrate and preservative free from the in-house butchery and deli.
Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery
Another short drive away from Cape Town is the Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery. The goal of Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery is to provide a place where friends and families can come together and enjoy food that’s ethical as well as healthily sourced and prepared. The restaurant focuses on farm-to-table dining and produces dishes that showcase the quality of the produce.
Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery gets all their chicken, beef, pork and eggs from Pier’s Farmer Angus, with their menu changing daily to reflect what’s available on the farm and from other local suppliers. The restaurant will focus on sharing plates and family-style dishes such as a whole leg of lamb with side dishes. There’s also a bakery that showcases famous Portuguese pastries and croissants.
Either than the farm-to-table concept, the restaurant also focuses on cutting down waste by developing close relationships with farmers and butcheries and utilizing the whole part of the animal. Leftover vegetables will be fermented or pickled, while leftover meat is used as deli meat for picnic baskets.
Head to the Beleef restaurant – ‘beleef’ means ‘experience’ in Dutch and Afrikaans – and you’ll be in for a treat. While this restaurant is strictly seasonal and has a farm-to-table approach, it also focuses on being an authentic oumas (Afrikaans for “Grandmother”) kitchen with dishes that have both unique twists and surprises.
While the menu changes seasonally, there are some interestingly delicious items that are on the menu. For starters, try the Boerewors wonton that comes with salsa, chilli, and greens. For the mains, you should opt for the Ou Kaapse Kos, which refers to traditional Cape cuisine. It could be anything from a delicious tomato stew lamb shank with raisin-and-turmeric rice, to a Cape Malay-style curry. End off on a sweet note with their fluffy soufflé that’s served with custard-flavoured ice cream. If you’re feeling adventurous, go for the Chef’s Secret instead.
Some of Cape Town’s best farm-to-table restaurants are located at the Franschhoek Valley. Bovine is no exception, this casual eatery opened in early 2018 and focuses on serving dishes that are inspired by local farm favourites. Some examples on the menu include seven different types of burgers – including an ostrich burger, different steaks, and a variety of house favourites. Everything that’s served is made fresh in the kitchen, and this includes all of the dips, sauces, and even the mayonnaise on the burger bun.
The menu focuses on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients that are of the highest quality. Since there’s plenty of meat on the menu, Bovine ensures that they’re all ethically sourced. The beef, for example, is from Bovelder Cattle which is hormone-free and grass-fed. The same thought process is applied to their lamb from the Karoo, Chicken from the Coast, and fresh fish from selected supplies. Pair your meal with a drink from one of the local brews such as a beer from Woodstock Brewery or a glass of wine from Black Elephant Vintners.
The Spier Wine Farm is incredibly famous in Stellenbosch for being one of the oldest and most popular wine farms in South Africa. While it continues to produce some of the best wines in the country, the farm has also started its path to being a fully-fledged sustainable farm.
The Farm Café is Spier’s flagship lunch spot and offers guest dishes that comprise of nutritious, fresh, and flavourful ingredients. It is known to have one of the most authentic farm-to-table dining experiences in South Africa. All ingredients used in the kitchen are sourced directly from the farm itself. The beef comes from cows that roam around on the farm, and the eggs come from ethically raised chickens, with all products having no GMOs and chemicals. With the use of these spectacular ingredients, Farm Café creates dishes that are mind-blowingly delicious.
Since the menu is seasonal, it changes frequently. There are also specialities to make the most of the available produce and ingredients that they have for the day, so diners can enjoy healthy, wholesome, and nourishing food. Pair your meal with one of Spier’s award-winning wines to complement the menu. If you’d rather opt for something healthier, try one of the freshly-squeezed vegetable or fruit juices.
We’re just scratching the surface on the farm-to-table restaurants that are available in Cape Town. With the thriving farm-to-table scene, there are plenty of other farm-to-table restaurants that you can feast at and enjoy healthful and nourishing food made with ethically-sourced produce and ingredients.
Check out Trip101 for more destination guides for Cape Town. Alternatively, browse our selection of luxury villas in Camps Bay to find accommodation from where you can visit a few of the farm-to-table restaurants you discovered today.