Whether you’re there on a peaceful break or passing through on a cross-country road trip, this beautiful Garden Route town’s eateries will make a memorable impression.
Here are 20 top restaurants to enjoy in Knysna in 2017:
#1 Pembreys Bistro
Run by Cordon Bleu chef Peter and manager Viv Vadas, Pembreys offers guests an adventurous, well-balanced menu.
It offers tasty meals, inspired by travels to Italy, like authentic pasta dishes and Mediterranean-style salads. The restaurant-bistro possesses warm, country charm.
Contact: (044) 386 0005
Address: Pembreys Bistro, Brenton Road, Belvidere, Knysna
#2 East Head Café
Photo credit: Bernat Orsolya via Instagram
So much more than a café or coffee shop, East Head Café is something of a landmark. Situated on the famous Eastern Head’s rock, it offers wonderful views of the Knysna estuary and Indian Ocean.
Responsibly, the restaurant supports local suppliers and offers guests lovely seafood cuisine, including fish and chips and Cape Malay seafood curry.
Contact: (044) 384 0933
Address: 25 George Rex Drive, Knysna
#3 Ile de Pain
In 2015, this popular local institution fell victim to a terrible fire. However, it re-opened recently, after chef-owner Liezie Mulder and master baker and chocolatier, Markus Farbinger transformed into a beautiful, light space.
The renewed restaurant/bakery is back with everything it was loved for previously: tasty meals, fresh artisanal breads and amazing pastries.
Contact: (044) 302 5705
Address: The Boatshed, Unit 10, Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna
#4 Die Gieter Restaurant
This lovely, casual French country-style restaurant is found on a private reserve, which overlooks the Knysna River.
Cathy and Remy’s Die Gieter offers generous portions of pita and dips, baked camembert, duck confit and duck fact potatoes, as well as delectable desserts (like poached pears and cheesecake) equally generously portioned.
Contact: (044) 386 0201
Address: Phantom Pass Road, 5, Knysna
#5 The Veg Table Private Dining Room
This restaurant, housed in a lovely farm cottage, is a celebration of authentic ‘slow food’ and vegetables, all prepared in a Defy Jewel woodstove.
Brett Garvie’s experience as a botanist helps tremendously, as he forages for mushrooms, picks pecans and sources harvests from local gardens and harvests for his ever-changing menu. It’s advisable to book a table in advance.
Contact: (074) 833 9516
Address: Mermaids Rest, Rheenendal Road, Rheenendal, Knysna
#6 The Olive Tree
This Italian restaurant, led by Ellen Owens, has been producing lovely, tasty dishes in the very heart of Knysna for several years now.
It transforms from a relaxed eatery during the day to an elegant, romantic space in the evenings. With delicious mains like bobotie, home salads and Cape chicken and prawn curry, it’s sure to wow your taste buds.
Contact: (044) 382 5867
Address: 21 Main Road, (N2), Knysna
#7 Freshline Fisheries
Photo credit: Olga G. via Instagram
This unique, seafood restaurant offers a wide variety of lovely seafood dishes on the beach. It’s a perfect spot for a casual meal with those you love.
Enjoy favourites like fish and chips and Kingklip or the Wes Kus braai for delicious seafood fare in this outdoor beach restaurant. You can also buy fresh fish and frozen seafood to take home.
Contact: (044) 382 3131
Address: Railway Siding Dockyard, Corner of Long & Waterfront Drive, Knysna
#8 Anchorage Restaurant
The Anchorage is a traditional seafood restaurant in the epicentre of Knysna. It has been around for some 20 years now, and is considered one of Knysna’s oldest restaurants.
Over the years, owner Brian has offered his guests an unforgettable dining experience, with excellent seafood – like fresh fish, Knysna Oysters, seafood platters – mature Angus beef, vegetarian and chicken too, at this well-rounded eatery.
Contact: (044) 382 2230, (083) 310 2135
Address: 11 Gray Street, Knysna
#9 Caffé Mario
Located at the Knysna Waterfront Quays, Caffe Mario offers lovely Italian in a beautiful, scenic setting. It’s a popular local eatery, for locals and visitors alike.
One of its most fun meals is the Super Mario full breakfast. They also offer tasty sandwiches, pastas, seafood, thin-crusted pizzas and wine.
Contact: (044) 382 7250
Address: Shop 9, Knysna Waterfront, Knysna
#10 Kilzer’s Kitchen
Photo credit: Kilzer’s Kitchen via Instagram
This is not your average restaurant, it’s a cookery school, which opens to the public once a week for six months of the year (from beginning November to end April).
Here, Albin and Jenny Kilzer combine two passions, cooking and teaching others, and offer cooking courses, as well as cook ‘n look evenings – but they also offer tasty meals at this restaurant if you’re around when it’s open for public eating.
Contact: (044) 382 0135
Address: No 3 & 5 Roos Bolton Crescent, Knysna Heights, Knysna
#11 Chatters Restaurant
This small, owner-run restaurant is vibey and is famous for its made-to-order, thin, crispy pizzas, which are made in their traditional, wood-fired oven.
They also offer homemade burgers, pastas, potato bakes, filled paninis, great desserts and takeaways, complemented by beers, wines and spirits.
Contact: (044) 382 0203
Address: 9a Gray Street, Knysna
#12 JJ’s Restaurant
With a mind to bring you the most delicious and lovely looking meals, as they extend a warm welcome, JJ’s is another Knysna Quays-based restaurant.
With ingredients sourced from the finest, local produce and freshly pricked herbs from Hoekwil, near Wilderness, you can expect tasty meals, which combine an array of good flavours.
Contact: (044) 382 3359
Address: Knysna Waterfront, Knysna
#13 34 South
This restaurant/food store, bakery, gift shop, fish monger, clothing emporium and bakery, with a fine wine shop on the side, offers a little something of everything at the appealing Knysna Quays.
Here, visitors will find fresh oysters, bread, wine, deli goods and even some sushi too. It’s a good spot for groups and for kids and they also offer take-aways.
Contact: (044) 382 7331
Address: Shop 10, Knysna Waterfront, Knysna
#14 African Bean
Photo credit: @ stefsterontheroad via Instagram
A favourite among locals, this vibey café was open for twenty-four years before it closed briefly. However, it re-opened in 2014 and is back serving lovely café fare, breakfasts, snacks, lunches and burgers – like the Buffalo burger.
It has a tasteful, cosy interior and is a wonderful meeting spot for friends, loved ones and travellers too.
Contact: (079) 522 6664
Address: 29 Main Street, Knysna
This sister restaurant to 34 South and Tapas and Oysters is positioned on the water’s edge at Thesen Harbour Town.
Named for the warm Mediterranean wind, Sirocco is a great, vibey lunch and dinner venue, which serves good food in a sophisticated space and is open seven days a week. Aside from their main food menu, they also offer cocktails and beer, sushi and a wine list to enjoy.
Contact: (044) 382 4874
Website: http:// www.sirocco.co.za
Address: TH 28, Thesen Harbour Town, Knsyna
#16 Totties Farm Kitchen
Found along Rheenendal Ramble, Totties Farm Kitchen offers you a warm welcome and a selection of dishes carefully and freshly made.
Totties serves sandwiches, light meals, lunches, milkshakes and delicious desserts too, though it is their Sunday Buffet (R150 per person), which is particularly popular. They also host large functions and weddings.
Contact: (044) 389 0092
Address: Main Road, Rheenendal, Knysna
#17 Tapas and Oysters
Photo credit: Nicky Sterley via Instagram
This vibrant restaurant is found on Thesen Island and enjoys perfect views over the Knysna Lagoon and famous Knysna Heads. Known for their friendly, vibey atmosphere, this waterside restaurant offers varied Spanish, Mediterranean and South African tapas.
They also offer fresh oysters, seafood, homemade dips and olives, salads, desserts and more, including: sushi, Mitchell’s beer and freshly baked, rocket salt baguettes.
Contact: (044) 382 7196
Address: TH 29, Thesen Island, Knysna
#18 O Pescador Restaurant
This Knysna Waterfront restaurant has been around for twenty-eight years now. Manny and his staff serve Mediterranean-Portuguese food in a warm, friendly space.
Included on the menu is fresh fish, steaks, chicken and seafood. O Pescador also has a Rhodesian Teak bar, with an open-plan kitchen.
Contact: (044) 382 3476
Address: Shop U4, Knysna Waterfront, Knysna
#19 Rib & Rump
This popular, local steakhouse offers AAA Grade steaks and pork ribs, flame grilled just right, as well as surf & turf, grilled chicken/eisbein, starters, salads and desserts too.
They also serve fresh fish from their sister restaurant, Freshline Fisheries. With relaxed indoor and outdoor seating, Rib & Rump is great for meals with friends and family, and bring the kids along too.
Contact: (044) 382 0722
Address: Corner Waterfront Drive & Long Street, Railway Siding Dockyard, Knysna
#20 The Bell Tavern
Housed on-site of the original Belvidere farmhouse, Knysna’s smallest pub offers a wine cellar viewed through a window in the floor. With its yellowwood ceiling and ironwood block floor, The Bell Tavern is a favourite among Belvidere locals.
Enjoy pub meals outside during summer or next to a cosy, warm wood-fired stove in winter. They also offer a selection of locally brewed beers, including Mitchells, as well as Cape wines and spirits.
Contact: (044) 387 1055
Address: Lower Duthie Drive, Belvidere Estate, Knysna
So whether it’s some of the famous Knysna oysters you’re after, a little bistro fare or even some sweet pastries, these top restaurants will be able to suit every palate’s needs in 2017.