When you use Oudtshoorn and food in the same sentence the mind immediately goes to ostrich fillet. And rightly so. Oudtshoorn is in fact not just South Africa’s ostrich mecca, but also the ostrich capital of the world.
Multiple restaurants wear the crown of ‘best ostrich steak in Oudtshoorn’ – it’s a braai here, a red wine sauce there and a gooseberry jelly across the street – burgers, carpaccio, wors, salad, kebab, pie, wrap… you name it, they have it.
But there’s more. So much more.
Stretch out your neck just like an ostrich and have a peek at these spots in Oudtshoorn where you can eat, drink and get merry on the talent, passion and dedication of the local flavours, produce and of course, that famous Klein Karoo hospitality.
Where to wine, dine, gin and nibble in Oudtshoorn
Here are a few suggestions of where you can eat and have a drink in Oudtshoorn; from fine-dining to a place where you can just grab a good cold ol’ beer.
Please note that while there are more to Oudtshoorn than ostriches, there are also more to Oudtshoorn than these suggested places; the restaurants below were tried and tested. If you have tried and tested other restaurants in Oudtshoorn that are also worth a mouth-watering mention, let me know.
Walking into Nostalgie Restaurant is like taking a step into your grandmother’s kitchen and tasting all her homemade goodies from family recipes that have been etched into memories for generations to come. The menu offers a variety of dishes for meat-lovers, vegetarians, vegans and for those who want to steer clear of gluten. Honest food, typical Karoo portions and unbeatable prices.
Photo on right supplied: Nostalgie Restaurant.
Where: 74 Baron van Reede Street, Oudtshoorn.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 07:00 to 21:00.
Do try: Vegetarian Lasagne (and the slice of pumpkin that accompanies it is heavenly and rumour has it that they make the best fudge).
The Black Swan
Put on your better-looking pair of shoes and treat yourself to an evening of wine’ing and dining at The Black Swan, one of Oudtshooorn’s most popular restaurants when you’re looking for a slice finesse and a sprinkle of pizzazz. They’re known for their pizzas, steaks grilled to perfection and a variety of other flavours and treats while the fully stocked wine bar is ready to complement and harmonise with your dish of choice. You can also visit The Black Swan’s daytime restaurant next door, Mintt Street Cafe, which serves all-day breakfast and light lunch.
Photo supplied: The Black Swan Restaurant.
Where: 109 Baron van Reede Street, Oudtshoorn.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 17:00 to 23:00.
Do try: One of the curries on offer on a cold winter’s evening.
Thorny Creek Brewery & Red Bus Café
When you travel on a dirt road you are bound to find a golden nugget of inspiration and quirk somewhere along the way… and that is Thorny Creek Brewery and The Red Bus Café in a nutshell. Here you can quench your thirst, taste the earth, soak in the silence and switch off, whether you’ve travelled by car, bakkie or have made it a whole day outing by bicycle (this is in fact a popular cycling route). Owners, Rob and Olga make small full grain 200ℓ batches of beer at a time and have a 1.5ha organic garden with fruits and vegetables that ends up beautifully presented and prepared on your plate.
Where: Spookhill Road / Paardepoort Road.
Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday, 09:00 to 16:00.
Do try: Craft beer and the ever-changing menu made with fresh organic veggies from their garden.
Cango Caves Estate & Zipline
If you’re feeling peckish after visiting Cango Caves, there’s no need to drive anywhere… you can sommer zipline down to a lekker thin crust pizza and a cup of really really really good coffee – roasted on site – at Cango Caves Estate & Zipline. The restaurant’s sun-lit stoep, at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains, looks out onto the zipline and millions of years of history and geological wonder is just behind that at the World Heritage Site of the Cango Caves, just 1 km away.
Where: De Kombuys 4028 Grootkraal Farm Cango Valley, Oudtshoorn (you’ll see it on your right on your way to the Cango Caves).
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 09:00 to 16:30, Sunday, 09:00 to 15:00.
Do try: Home-roasted coffee and pizza.
If you think that gin is only for city-slickers, think again. Here in the Klein Karoo, on a farm where the dust never settles, there are gin being distilled and crafted into something that tastes like that “ahh, weekend finally”-moment on a Friday evening. And not just any gin, award-winning gin! Grundheim Wines, established in 1858, has received gold and silver in the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards, and of course gin is not their only talent, there is wine and also much more than wine. Unless you are a teetotaler, it is simply impossible to walk away from Grundheim without purchasing something so that you can take “ahh, weekend finally”-moment with you. During peak season they also offer food and drink pairing and visitors are welcome to pitch up with a picnic basket, grab a bottle of something off their shelves and make a day of it.
Where: Grundheim Street, Wyne Farm, Oudtshoorn.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00, Saturday, 09:00 to 13:00.
Do try: If you’re a gin-lover you have to taste the Black Mountain Gin (Karoo Dry and Karoo Flower), as well as Naakte Naartjie and Doringrosie. They also have wine, witblits, brandy, port and liqueur.
Wine, beer or a little bit bubbly? There’s something for everyone at Karusa Winery where they also make their own craft beer – in fact, they were the first full grain microbrewery in the Klein Karoo – and there is a restaurant, a shop with curios and jams (they make themselves, often from fruit on the farm), and of course, let’s not forget about the Swartberg Mountain views and the relaxing atmosphere. This family-operated business is well-known for their Cap Classique and Mediterranean-styled wines.
Where: Cango Valley, Schoemanshoek, Oudtshoorn.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 09:30 to 16:00, Saturday, 10:00 to 14:30.
Do try: Wine tasting (the Litchi Bomb, Muscat Blanc, is basically summer captured in a bottle), or craft beer and the Karoo Classique (méthode champenois). They also make mouth-watering pizzas and other light meals.
Surval Olive Estate –Su Casa Restaurant / The Olive Shed (breakfast)
Not an olive person? Don’t be so sure of yourself, you might just change your mind and see olives in a completely different light thanks to the Olive Chutney, Olive Jam and Olive Tapenade of Surval Boutique Olive Estate! The chutney tastes like a Cape Malay love explosion in your mouth while the jam is perfectly balanced, and not too sweet. But of course, olives is not the only thing at offer at Surval; it is also a popular wedding venue, there is accommodation and a restaurant called Su Casa. The menu of Su Casa is inspired by local produce from the Klein Karoo with a touch of international flavours; if you want to celebrate life, treat yourself or just have a gastronomic dining experience par excellence, head towards the olive groves where it is all waiting to welcome you, in a warm Karoo-enhanced mi-casa-su-casa style.
Where: R328 (and Cango Caves Road), Oudtshoorn.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 07:30 to 21:30.
Do try: Olive Tasting (includes olives, oil, olive tapenade, olive chutney and olive jam) paired with Anthonij Rupert Protea Rosé.