Feast in the Garden of Eden

A wealth of culinary experiences awaits holiday-makers visiting George. The bounty of the region was first noted by the indigenous Khoi people who named the Outeniqua Mountains which fringe the coast; “man laden with honey”. Indeed the region has become known for both the local fynbos honey and delicious dairy products that grace Eden’s tables.

The Eden district is a cultural melting pot with culinary influences from the earliest waves of explorers. Dutch, German, French and English settlers each left their own mark on our local food heritage. The Cape Malay brought nuances of Indian and Indonesian culinary heritage and the Xhosa pastoralists impacted modern South African cuisine.

George and Wilderness host a wealth of dining experiences, from the opulent to the humble. Expect to encounter unmissable contemporary South African and international flavours, trendy bars, fresh farm produce, pleasant picnics and strawberry feasts in this food-lovers paradise. Discover our gourmet restaurants, experience dining with locals or simply escape to the beach to feast on a bag of slap chips. Explore the Outeniqua Farmers Market, wander the stalls, experience the passion of our local producers and savour our thriving coffee culture.

Toast the Sunset in Style

The temperate foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains are prime hop growing country. In summer, the fields are filled with curtains of these aromatic green flowers. Hops provide an essential bitter flavour in brewing beer. Local farmers have raised new varieties to suit the climate; Southern Promise and Southern Passion are two such breeds. In fact, the small region of Waboomskraal, Blanco and Herald provides over 70% of the hops needed by South African Breweries. It is little wonder that a hearty craft brewing industry has developed in the town of George.

Featured Image: The Blind Pig Taproom

The Blind Pig Taproomis nestled in the dappled shade at the Palms Garden Square in Wilderness. It has gained legendary status amongst local and visiting beer aficionados. This hidden gem has 12 craft beers on tap and a further 70 bottled options. Their selection of 14 local craft gins need to be tasted to be believed. Their signature pairing consists of a handmade 100% beef double cheese and bacon burger with the Devil’s Peak Pale Ale. This is one of the trendiest little bars in the world, with friendly bartenders and local live music. Free beer is offered if you participate in one of their monthly beach clean ups!

Proteas and Vines

Featured Image: Herold’s Wine

A winding drive up the scenic and historic Montague Pass takes visitors to the sleepy hamlet of Herold. On the sunlit slopes of Cradock Peak lies a flourishing but petite 8 hectare wine farm, Herold Wines. Uniquely rooted at high altitude, winter frosts and cooling summer breezes result in a long growing season for the vines. Nature lovers will enjoy the fynbos clad slopes and nature reserves bounding the property. This friendly, family run winery is renowned for its laid back charm, relaxed tastings and intimate cellar tours. Enjoy a delicious cheese platter with the winemaker’s favourite Pinot Noir. It has a soft, silky palate with flavours of ripe cherry and hints of oak and vanilla. Families will enjoy sitting in the dappled shade between the vines with a picnic basket. There are mountain pools, secret paths and hideaways for children to explore.

Coffee Culture

Featured Image: Stock Image

Beans About Coffee is a vibrant coffee roastery on York Street, in George. It has become an institution amongst the local coffee snobs. They hand-roast their Sugarbird blends on a daily basis, while the energetic baristi crank the espresso machine. “Our main focus is on roasting and serving excellent coffee”, says local owner Stefan Jamnek. Enjoy a flat white with their range of healthy snacks and pastries. Local baker and surfer, Tyrone Schroder is the George’s ‘Prince of Tarts’ supplying their dainty confectionaries. He bakes perfect mouthfuls of pastry on Laing Street. His bite-sized pastries are the perfect complement to any brew. Try the buttery Pecan Nut Pie, the traditional Milk Tart or a divine Chocolate Brownie.

People-watching is a popular past-time at Root. This boutique micro-roastery and cosy coffee shop is located in the Paddagat Mall on Knysna Road in George. They showcase a range of Asian, African, Central and South American coffee beans in bright red silos at their coffee counter. There is a freshly roasted bean at Root for every palate and a selection of treats and sandwiches from local bakery Ciabatinni. Root displays a selection of Kevin van Niekerk’s painting which use coffee as a medium.

Formal Dining

Featured Image: Serendipity Restaurant

Award winning fine dining is available at Serendipity Guest House, situated on the Touw River Estuary in Wilderness. They serve South African inspired gourmet meals and their 5 start dining experience features indigenous flavours, and fresh, sustainably sourced local produce. Enjoy an aperitif at the water’s edge, where passionate chef Lizelle Stolze talks guests through her spectacular five course dinner menu. Serendipity offers the perfect opportunity to sample truly pristine South African flavours. The hand-cut springbok tartar is served with a quail egg and spekboom chutney.

Featured Image: 101 Meade

Sophisticated diners will enjoy the contemporary menu at 101 Meade, in George. Diners will enjoy the warm atmosphere and stylish African inspired décor. Diners can watch the bar tenders in action at the contemporary bar. The duo of happy chefs, brothers Ben and Jeremy Gibbs, prepare a range of delicious meals in their open plan kitchen. Their modern South African menu features homemade Italian style pastas, tapas, artisan bread, meat, fish and banting options. Sample their Roast Bone Marrow, aged T-bone steak and mouth-watering spiced apple crumble served with salted caramel ice cream.

Featured Image: The Fat Fish

The freshest seafood and sushi is invariably found at The Fat Fish on York Street in George. Enjoy a cocktail at their atmospheric bar. The dining room opens out to a spacious courtyard with romantic water features and is the perfect al fresco retreat for warm summer evenings. The Fat Fish seafood platter features the best of their menu including grilled prawns, buttered line fish, spicy harissa calamari and a seasonal mussel pot. The Fat Fish are serious about sustainability and have done away with plastic straws, water bottles and plastic bags, replacing them with reusable or biodegradable alternatives.

Relaxed Restaurants

Pomodoro is a charming family trattoria in the heart of Wilderness village. Relax on the outdoor terraces with a glass of wine, this is the ultimate vantage point to view village life. Exceptional authentic Italian pizza and pasta are served amid the hustle and bustle of this busy restaurant. Their thin based pizzas are topped with a range of fresh, local ingredients. The Pizza Fico features Parma ham, preserved green figs and melted brie.

The best kept local secret is Joplin’s Steakhouse at Pirate’s Creek outside Wilderness Village. Father and son duo, Aiden and Gareth Jeans, man the grill, sizzling steak to absolute perfection. Diners can choose from a range of steaks, cooked to their taste, topped with hot garlic butter and chips, served with or without an egg. Service is friendly, the ambiance is relaxed and guests are treated to a ‘Milktertjie’ shooter after supper. Vegans should look elsewhere for sustenance.

The Pottery at Di Marshall’s factory store in George, Wonki Ware, is certainly a viable option for vegans and vegetarians. Colourful smoothie bowls, wood-fired pizza and ciabatta toast with hummus feature on their seasonal menu. Kids can paint a plate while you browse for bargains or watch the potters in action.

Dine with Locals

Featured Image: Dine with the local

Extremely popular amongst international tourists and domestic visitors, Dining with Locals provides an opportunity to experience the rich cultural diversity of George communities. Guests can enjoy traditional Xhosa or Cape Malay cuisine with excellent wines in the company of the knowledgeable locals. Hosts invite diners to explore their heritage through food, art, poetry and song. This culinary adventure is ideally suited to open-minded tourists, daring diners and curious nomads. Guests learn about local customs, traditions and lifestyle nuances while experiencing true South African hospitality.

Best for Brunch

Featured Image: Outeniqua Family Martket

Without any doubt the best brunch in George can be found on Saturday mornings at the Outeniqua Family Market. Showcasing the best mouth-watering local produce, as well as a large variety of craft stalls, this market is popular with locals as a weekend hang out. Live music, acres of parking, a huge kiddies play area and plentiful shaded seating make this a weekend winner. Kids love the bumpy Boere ‘train’ ride, sand art and board games dotted on the picnic tables throughout the seating areas. The crunchy salted potato chips on a stick are a huge winner with young visitors, the giant beef burgers are a true hunger buster.

Brunch on healthy smoothies, freshly blended pineapple juice, yoghurt and muesli or opt for the full farm breakfast with boerewors, bacon and tomato relish. Those with a sweet tooth can choose from a selection of sinful pancakes, muffins, tarts or the totally decadent Belgian chocolate waffles from Wicked Waffles. Traditional syrupy koeksisters, Melkos and fresh coffee are another option. South African staples like homemade buttermilk rusks, vetkoek and biltong are available to test. Visitors can pick up organic vegetables, artisan bread and free-range chicken within a few paces. Chef Johan de Jager from Hetta’s Food Stall makes delicious bruschetta and the absolute star of the farmer’s market, crunchy decadent baked cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. No visit is complete without sampling the warm crunchy churros filled with toffee or chocolate sauce.

Featured Image: The Food Co

The best artisan bread can be found at the Food Co on the corner of Knysna Road and Fourth Street. Husband and wife team, Jean and Lizelle Rossouw, bake a range of artisan loaves using 100% stoneground flour, including rustic sourdough, ciabatta, plaasbrood, seed loaf, and challah. Watch the bakers in action while you enjoy a farm breakfast and fresh green juice.

Featured Image: The Girls on the Square

The Girls on the Square at the Palms Garden Square in Wilderness is another excellent brunch option. This tapas bar is one of the best places in the village to relax. Their all-day brunch menu (low season) features a variety of fresh fruit smoothies, pressed juices, croissants, Middle Eastern Shakshuka, French toast, traditional cooked breakies, as well as delicious peanut butter and banana milkshakes. Kids will enjoy watching the Koi fish in the pond or playing on the jungle gym. The young at heart will also love the beautiful old fashioned sweet shop next door. Lolly’s Candy Bar serves candy floss, artisan gelato, soft serve, trendy milkshakes, cupcakes and a huge array of sweet treats.

Family Friendly Food and Fun

Featured Image: Red Shed Coffee & Berry

Redberry Farm on Geelhoutboom Road in Blanco offers a serious day out. Their range of eateries will satisfy all budgets and palates. The deli-style farm stall is perfect for picnic treats while the Red Shed Coffee and Berry Bar serve a selection of strawberry themed beverages. The Noshery Pizzeria offers gourmet pizzas from their wood fired oven. Outdoor ambience is plentiful in the tea garden overlooking the kid’s playground and rabbit hutch. Parents can kick back and relax as there are activities to suit every age and ability.

Start your Redberry experience with a trip to the fields to pick your own sun ripened strawberries right off the runners. Energetic guests will enjoy discovering the secrets of strawberries within the remarkable hedge maze. Seven stations are hidden in a labyrinth of passageways. The paths and tunnels are stroller friendly. Be sure to take a hat and some water.

Featured Image: Houtbosch Wine and Craft Beer

The Redberry Express mini train and pony rides will keep small people busy. Acrobatic teens can show off their moves in the inflatable bubble balls which float on the farm dam. Stop at the Framboos Handcrafted Ice Cream parlour to sample their artisan gelato served in crisp sugar cones. Kids can design and build their own ice cream sandwiches from a selection of freshly baked biscuit and flavoured gelato. Sumptuous sundowners are offered at the elegant Houtbosch Wine and Craft Beer  tasting room. Sample their flagship Pinot Noir with a cold meat and cheese platter and finish with the phenomenal fudge and wine pairing.