Things that should be said about restaurants in Knysna

So, I have now been exploring the various restaurants in and around Knysna for a while. A good few weeks. Still a way to go and I haven’t even begun my look at the guest houses.
There are some amazing places to eat in knysna and I look forward to trying out the hotel restaurants. They have such an excellent reputation. Of course, the articles I have been writing explain what the places are about and stress the positives.
There is such a thing as a bad restaurant in Knysna. I have drunk cocktails in chipped and scratched beer glasses. (Is this a fad I was unaware of?) I have seen ordinary bits of hake presented as a delicacy. The time for that sort of thing appears to have passed however. With the new cuisine culture that has a hold of everybody.
In a way it might have been inevitable that we would start enjoying food here since the whole experience of Knysna is very close to nature and eating food, when you think about it is as natural as it gets.

The Watercycler

Well now travelling on the garden route is something that I’ve done about as much of as a person can. It’s an unusual place, beautiful in a way that few places are. Years ago I cycled the old seven passes road, took a heavy old clunker bicycle up the montague pass and found the Herold guest house owned by a man named Michelle. A frenchman. Beautiful quiet place full of hand made really exquisite furniture. Wasn’t a television in sight. Wonder if they’re still there? Ended up in oudtshoorn on that trip with a buckled wheel and in those days I was so green to cycling that I didn’t even have a spoke spanner to fix it myself and oh yes I remember now the shop said they had no stock of those spokes. Waited three days.


More recently I cycled from Port Elizabeth up into the Baviaans reserve to spend a night in a favourite spot. There are two brilliant places to eat in that neck of the woods. (Food becomes important if you ride bicycles really far) The one is on the other side of the mountains in a tiny town called Steytlerville and the other is in Patensie. I’m not quite sure but I think they might actually both be called the Royal Hotel. Hmmn.

Further along the coast in the direction of Cape town we find the garden route though and that’s where the fun starts. If you have time and money, or even if you don’t, the place is a pleasure paradise. Rich living coastline and Protected natural forest areas surround towns with the most diverse culture to be found in Africa. Cuisine and customs from all over the world meld together in a cultural stew that is unique to the garden route.

It wasn’t always like this, in the days of the timber industry I’ll take a fair bet that vetkoek and mince was about as close to fine dining as Knysna and the surrounding garden route got in the old days. (Vetkoek is a kind of fried bread dough. Not unlike a doughnut but coarser and meant for savoury rather than sweet.)

Since the advent of international tourism however the tummy fares rather better on the garden route. Cuisine has gripped the people of Knysna in particular like a fever. I spend a few weeks on the Garden Route at least once a year and I have a few observations to make. Big business is moving in and many of the interesting developements in the fine art of food are feeling a lttle left out in the throes of this developement. That’s what this blog is all about. I want to tell everybody about all the fantastic places that are in danger of being drowned out amidst all the noise and bustle of a modern and rapidly developing community.

I say let’s make a fuss. Let’s tell the story of the garden route and all it’s wonderful foodies.

It started with an Oyster!

The economic development of Knysna was first driven by precious wood, then gold and recently, a precious seafood. OYSTERS. Little did we think that Knysna as result of more and more people traveling to knysna after Oysters,  would develop into a major source of delectable farm produced raw products and world class gourmet restaurants. It is after these new gourmet jewels, that tourists flock towards the Garden Route every day.

* In the centre of town, a warm vibrant deli restaurant and bakery “Il de Pain”, is run by Liesie and Marcus. Liesie is a gourmet chef and Marcus blows your senses away with bread and confectionery of world class. Try a chocolate crousant or a simple open sandwich, to taste their quality and creativity.

Still in town, tucked away in Memorial Square, is the “Thai Kitchen”. This feisty and spicy little bistro awaits the lover of Thai food.
* Everybody’s favourite is situated in the middle of the Knysna Waterfront. At “34° South”, best quality sea foods are served right on the water’s edge. After a decade or two in business, this restaurant still amazes you with freshly made Sushi, the freshness of the fish on every dish and gorgeous fresh salads on the tables. Enjoy wines from a frequently voted “Best Wine List” choice of wines and take your time to find a suitable article for your loved ones at home, in a well stocked food and gift shop.
* Take a casual drive along the Garden Route to Bramon Wines at the Keurbooms River turn-off. Enjoy a selection of Meze dishes over lunch while being seated amongst the bearing vines! Then open some of the fresh crispy wines from Bramon and enjoy a very special experience!
* “Cruz Cafe” is situated just West of the Knysna Waterfront, on the water’s edge. With a brilliant view across the lake, guests can enjoy drinks from a mouth watering cocktail list and eat fresh oysters by the dozen. Cruz Cafe caters for every person and its location is truly tranquil.

The Food Route

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