Places to eat in Swellendam
As a popular stop along the N2 highway, Swellendam offers a variety of places to eat and drink many of which can be accessed from the highway or are just a short drive into the town. One of the unique features of Swellendam’s restaurants is that many of them are housed in historic buildings, from rebuilt and relocated Cape Dutch farmhouses to former Masonic lodges. Along Swellengrebel and Voortrek Street, the principal roads that run through the town, you can find a variety of different places to eat. These include bakeries, coffee shops and lunchtime eateries with outdoor seating under the oak trees or along the river to more contemporary establishments with modern interiors and diverse menu options.
Swellendam offers a variety of different kinds of restaurants, many of which are unfortunately closed during the winter months when restaurant owners take a break for the school holidays or return to Europe for the summer. With some of the most highly rated restaurants in the country, Swellendam offers a variety of fine dining options. These include an award-winning Italian restaurant, which also functions as a guesthouse. Other upmarket guest houses and hotels also offer upmarket cuisine often in an adjoining restaurant or by request in the establishment’s dining room. Many of these restaurants focus on seasonality and sourcing only the best local produce from small local suppliers.
Swellendam also offers a variety of daytime eating options with several coffee shops and lunchtime spots along the main street. Many of these are housed in the town’s museum complex and others in historical buildings along the main road and on the town’s Church Square. Some of the lunchtime cafes are famous for their traditional South African fare such as “melktert” (milk tart) cooked in a copper tin and other traditional South African dishes like old-fashioned chicken pie, bobotie, waterblommetjie and tomato bredie, Cape curries, as well as traditional lamb shanks and oxtail. Many eateries also focus on empowering staff from underprivileged backgrounds by enabling them to become shareholders in the business.
Other places to eat in Swellendam include pizza restaurants and takeaways with a few franchised fast food restaurants that you will see all over South Africa. Swellendam is well known for its local butchery and in a predominantly agricultural area, you will find a large focus on meat dishes, although vegetarians are catered for with the availability of fresh local produce. Located in close proximity to some of the country’s most famous wine-producing regions, Swellendam also offers visitors and residents a variety of top-quality South African wines from areas such as Barrydale and other parts of the Overberg. With the growing popularity of craft beer in South Africa, many different kinds of beers are also available in Swellendam including beers made in small towns along the coast.
In the greater Swellendam tourist area, there are also a number of restaurants and places to eat. In Barrydale, an area becoming famous for weekend getaways, there are a variety of restaurant choices including ones that offer traditional Karoo cuisine with a twist and those with vintage décor. Other options include deli’s that are renowned for their variety of locally grown food sourced in the Tradouw Valley area. Other places to eat in the greater Swellendam area include famous farm stalls in Stormsvlei and historical bistros in Buffelsjachts that sell premium coffee and traditional roosterkoek (traditional homebaked rolls roasted over a fire and served with a choice of filling).