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“Perfect place for a Sunday lunch” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tokara Restaurant

Tokara Restaurant
Helshoogte Road (R310), Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
+27 21 885 2550
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Ranked #11 of 181 Restaurants in Stellenbosch
Price range: $12 - $22
Cuisines: French, Winery, International, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Doing business, Scenic view, Large groups, Special occasions, Romantic, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Somerset West, South Africa
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Perfect place for a Sunday lunch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2011

We visited Tokara not as part of a tour of the world but because it is in our backyard. We live close by and had heard that since they are now open on a Sunday we just had to go for lunch. It proved quite difficult to get in. We could only get in a couple of weeks ahead.
Our whole family went along and all of our tastes were accommodated. From my younger niece who wanted just fish and chips, to my grandfather who prefers his portions on the larger side.
The standout for me, however, was the Baked Alaska as starter and the Bobotie Sirloin. Amazing and so interesting.

We are already looking for another excuse to get the family together.

  • Visited September 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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497 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Cape Town Central, South Africa
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“World class food and service at Tokara”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2011

We had dinner at Tokara Restaurant recently and, it being one of our favourite restaurants, the experience was once again phenomenal. The main thing that sets Tokara's food apart from other fine dining restaurants is that it is so conceptual. When looking at a dish one can see that the chef put hours and hours of thought into each creation; giving each dish a distinct and unique character whilst keeping with the broad identity of his style of cooking. This is probably why some complain that they don't understand the food. It makes your head spin just by looking at it! But whilst dishes boast a complex and interesting combination of ingredients, it is when tasting them that the fireworks truly begin, with different textures and flavours that amalgamate into the most amazingly 'simple' and 'elegant' combinations. You need to prepare your palate for this, so if you plan on having two glasses of chardonnay too many, you will probably not get the full experience.

On the service side, our waitor was very friendly (and good-looking!). Service was efficient without being fussy. Often when visiting fine dining restaurants one finds that the waiters have no idea what they are serving, but at Tokara you get the impression that the waiters have really tasted every dish, which is refreshing.

O yes, I almost forgot about was the view! Although breathtaking, even the most beautiful sunset in the world will struggle to compete with the food coming out of this kitchen! We will definitely return, soon, very very soon!

  • Visited October 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franschhoek, South Africa
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Advice: Never ever visit Restaurant of Tokara!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2011

This was our worst experience ever in South Africa. It was horrible.
And it's strange because it's a well known restaurant, beautifully decorated, good location, great views, but the food was horrible, tasteless, too cold, not enough taste/salt/pepper just the easy things about cooking. It was disgusting, the starters were very poor and our main - meat - was overcooked and not tender at all. I could better eat my shoe-sole. When we told the waitress that we would like to change a dish, she told us it was not possible because the dish was already prepared (35 minutes before serving). We told the waitress that we really wanted to change the dish, because the starter was so disappointing that I rather go safe for a Sirloin instead of a difficult dish again. She told us you can't change the dish, only if you pay for both. So we told here, that's fine, we definitely don't want to try 1 more complicated dish so please charge us double and we ordered the Sirloin instead of the difficult dish to create a bigger change that we like the main. After 5 minutes she came back with the good news: "I have good news. The chef is happy to make the other dish for you." So we said: "Ehhhh, yes? Of course, we ordered it. Or do you mean you spook with the chef or manager and you could swop the dish and don't charge double?" She said: "No, I just wanted to let you know that the chef will make the other dish for you. But I will speak with the manager about the extra charge." We were a bit flabbergasted; we told here it's fine charge for 2 and after that she comes back to tell us that the chef will make the other dish???? Of course!!! We didn't ask here to try to delete the price of the other dish?? All right, next:
We got the main course; Sirloin and my husband had Sprinbok. Both meat dishes were terrible; very though and not tender at all, overcooked and the vegetables and potatoes and other garnitures were very bad prepared, tasteless, not enough salt/pepper, and there was too much going on on the plate (almost 10 different ingredients on 1 plate?? TOO MUCH, Less is more what they usually say in good kitchens.)
All right; next; we are not difficult guests. When something goes wrong in a restaurant, we are always friendly and try to solve it together with the service. We go out for dinner very often. I had already glasses of red wine over me (not at Tokara), wrong dishes which needs to be changed, a hair in the food, the bill from the table next to me, or just that we didn't really like the food, the wine or the place, That's no problem. We can always have a nice evening and again, when there is going something wrong, it's the power of the service to SOLVE the problem. Guests with some complaints you can make easy happy again. When they just told us at Tokara: "We are very sorry to hear you do not like the experience so far. We will tell the chef that this dish was not very tasteful for you, we feel sorry for you but maybe you prefer different cuisine or Whatever". But they didn't do a thing. Instead of that the faces changes every minute more arrogant, the first thing the waitress said when we wanted to change the dish was: No not possible only when you pay for both. And when we were still unhappy with the food she didn't ask why or say that she felt sorry or whatever. We do not expect that she agrees with us; maybe there are people who like the food (Can't imagine but lots of people lots of tastes), but we do expect, especially from a restaurant as Tokara, that AT LEAST she told us, sorry to hear, I will tell the chef, what exactly was wrong? Maybe we can learn from it." As a waitress or manager, even when you do not AGREE with the guests, you have to stay polite and try to make they feel a bit better. it's always good to tell with complaints that the restaurant can learn from it. And tell them that they are happy that we told them directly instead of writing reviews behind their back. Because the thing is; we normally do not write bad reviews, also when we had not nice food. Because most of the time the service will solve the problem or they at least say "We are sorry to hear. We will tell the kitchen". They do not have to apologize, they do not have to offer us the dinner for free or a coffee or whatever. We ordered a bottle from R 820 so it's not about the money. It's about you treat your guests, or actually how you NOT treat your guests.
At the end, we were still hungry, but we didn't want to be dissapointed again so without 3rd course, dessert, cheese or coffee we asked for the bill.
They bring it (without the dish I wanted to change, I have to say that was all right, but not necessary. We would rather prefer pay for the 2 dishes and had professional, good and polite service and a manager who knows how to deal with complaints)
So we asked to pay with our AMEX creditcard. Guess what?
A big Winery, Restaurant, Deli, Beautiful expensive building as Tokara, they Do not have AMEX because their commissions are too high???!!
We know a lot of small restaurants/cafes or guesthouses with a few tables or rooms, who do accept AMEX, even when they are very small and do not make a lot of profits. But Tokara, one of the biggest and most beautiful located and decorated wineries in Western Cape, doesn't accept AMEX because of the charge fee. Very strange and so unprofessional. All right, when you are a small company I can imagine, but Tokara?
So the manager came to explain why they didn't accept Amex. He also told us that this was on the bottom of the menu, he did show us. It was there, but I think written in letter type 8 (?), you definitely needed a magnifying-glass. When we told him we never read the small letters, he simply told us: "I always do read the small letters on the bottom of the menu when I have dinner somewhere." Ehhh.... Okay? Nice to know that you do.....
Also in the small letters on the bottom of the menu: a 12.5% extra is charged for tables of 6 people and more. Why?? Are they not happy with people (6 people or more at 1 table) who decide to come and spend their money ?? So strange and this has nothing to do with hospitality....
The Manager told us as well that from the moment he spook with us over the Phone for a booking, he knew already that we were that kind of people that won't like a thing. ???
Because I asked when I spook over the phone: "Are there any other tables tonight in the restaurant? We don't really like to sit as the only 2 people in an empty restaurant. And maybe it's also not nice for the service and kitchen when only 1 table is coming, after 8pm" So he said to us that he knew already "what kind of people we were" when we asked this question when making the reservation. But the only thing we did not want was sitting alone in an empty big restaurant... and we didn't want the staff to wait for 2 more hours to close down... Incredible.... that a manager said this.. A MANAGER!!
He told as well that Tokara won a lot of prices and is in the Top 20 of best restaurants of SA so that the food is amazing. what he actually said to us (in different words) was: "You people don't know where you are talking about. Because other people have different opinions, you are crazy stupid and don't know at all what good food and good service is." A manager should try his best to give you a better feeling. When we told him that the waitress was not polite to us and have given us the feeling that we had to be "extremely happy" because the chef was able to make the other dish for us... He just told that she is already working a long time in Tokara, so it was simply not possible that she had did something wrong? He chose the side of his waitress, even when he didn't know what happened? If you are not sure, you always have to chose the side of the guest. Actually we had a discussion with the manager, instead of that he was trying to make us feel a bit better; or at least told us: I not agree with you, but I feel very sorry that this was not the experience you was expecting. He simply couldn't say something like this! Incredible! Again, we are not difficult people. Yes, we know what fine dining is. We eat at The Tasting Room, Rust & Vrede, Jordan's, Overture, Pierneef, and also a lot of Michelin Stars Restaurants (1, 2 and 3 Stars) in Europa for example Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, UK, Denmark, Netherlands. (Noma, #1 of the world in Copenhagen, we have been there) We know what good food is, nice wines and good service. We do not expect that we are treating like the royal family, but we expect that the waiters and waitresses try their best to create a lovely evening for you, EVEN when the food is disappointing, or other things go wrong. We have already so many examples from things going wrong but when the service or manager solved the problems or at least said "I am sorry to hear.. We will tell the kitchen... thank you for telling us... maybe we can learn..."
So disappointing that nobody in the whole Tokara place was able to give us a bit better feeling.............

1 advice for all of you: Never visit Tokara!!! Never ever ever! It is horrible. This is our only experience in SA where we were treated very rude.
Never saw a manager and waiters so arrogant and not interested in the guests but only in themselves.

  • Visited October 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Beautiful view”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2011

Great food, great service, fantastic view. I had the preset menu and enjoyed all. The wine tasting is free and they also have a beautiful art collection.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Good food and good view at wine farm”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2011

We went for an afternoon lunch and was impressed with the great view we had from our outside table overlooking the valley and the sea ( far in the distance) We ate the ravioli to start which was super tasty and then the mains of Fillet was also excellent. The presentation was very good and the attention to detail was great too. The restaurant was overall very good. The only negative comment was that the meals arrived at the table too quickly so a tip would be to tell your waiter to have some time in between courses.

  • Visited September 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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