The Cape winelands are home to not only leading wine farms, but some of the country's best restaurants too, a fact highlighted once again with the announcement this week of winners in the annual Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.
The wineland venues in the final Top 10 dominated in the 2018 Eat Out Restaurant Awards. They are The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West), La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town), La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek), Greenhouse at Cellars-Hohenort (Constantia, Cape Town),Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West), Jardine Restaurant (Stellenbosch), Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town).
To complete the Top 10 list, they join: The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town) in second position, Wolfgat (Paternoster, West Coast) in fourth position and Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria) in seventh position.
The awards function was held at Grand West Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town.
Other awards claimed by winelands venues were the Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef Award, which was shared by Chris Erasmus, Foliage (Franschhoek) and Ivor Jones, Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town); and the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award, which went to The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal (Franschhoek).
Eat Out is produced by New Media Publishing, a content marketing agency and division of Naspers's Media24. According to the publisher, the guide's restaurant reviews are written "by professional Eat Out reviewers, who dine anonymously and pay for their meals; and, by members of the public".
The Top 10 restaurants are selected "by a core panel of anonymous judges", with Margot Janse – former long-time chef at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek - as the judging convener.
"With input from the Eat Out community, the judges draw up a list of candidates for nomination".
In addition to consistency and excellence, venues are assessed on contribution to upliftment and sourcing of ingredients. The judges consider a venue's awareness of produce ethics; price value; and, the reservations process and billing.
Wine makes a significant component of evaluations. Restaurants are also rated on wine choice: how many wines are offered; wine and food pairing; other beverages offered in pairing; knowledge of service staff; and, value for money.
Eat Out goes to great pains in explaining that even making the list of nominees is an achievement to be acknowledged. A list of 30 nominees were announced prior to the price-giving, with a count down at the ceremony, before finally revealing the Top 10.
The Top 11-20 Cape winelands venues, are:
The remaining 11-20 are: Fermier Restaurant (Die Wilgers, Pretoria); The Chefs’ Table (Umhlanga, Durban); La Tête (City Bowl, Cape Town); The Shortmarket Club (City Bowl, Cape Town); The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock, Cape Town).
The original list of 30 nominees included winelands restaurants:
- Constantia: Foxcroft and La Colombe.
- Stanford: Springfontein Eats at Springfontein Wines.
- Stellenbosch: Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate.
They joined The Chefs Warehouse & Canteen in Cape Town CBD; DW-Eleven 13 in Dunkeld West; La Mouette in Sea Point; Marble in Rosebank; Nobu at One&Only in the V&A Waterfront; and, Thali in Gardens.
One of South Africa's longest-running and comprehensive guides to some of SA’s best restaurants, Eat Out started in 1998.