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“It's hard to describe just how good this is! Sublime! Like the French Laundry in Napa - this is a place of pilgrimage...”
Review of The Tasting Room - CLOSED

The Tasting Room
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $110 - $150
Cuisines: International, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais is South Africa's most lauded fine-dining restaurant. It is the stage to award-winning Chef, Margot Janse, and her unique African Inspired Surprise Tasting Menu. Here, in this intimate setting, serious diners have the opportunity to experience a true journey of taste. With a menu that continues to evolve and astonish The Tasting Room, and its African Inspired cuisine, creates a dining experience unlike any other. One where surprise and nostalgia take centre stage. In The Tasting Room every African Inspired dish is exceptional and engaging. Truly refined with a distinct feminine touch and, at the same time, unexpectedly exciting ... Exhilarating in fact. It is this contradiction that results in The Tasting Room menu's outstanding balance and ensures that the cuisine is nothing short of a theatrical masterpiece.In The Tasting Room the journey extends further than just phenomenal cuisine; it moves fearlessly into the captivating realm of stories and magic. A place where each plate, and its African inspired elements, have the ability to captivate the hearts and minds of diners.The Tasting Room is open Tuesdays to Saturdays for dinner only. 19H00 till late.Please allow at least 3 hours for your dinner.
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“It's hard to describe just how good this is! Sublime! Like the French Laundry in Napa - this is a place of pilgrimage...”
Reviewed August 19, 2008

It's hard to describe just how good this is! Sublime! Like the French Laundry in Napa - this is a place of pilgrimage in the winelands of Franschhoek. Combine the fresh produce available locally, the VARIETY of it all, the genius of an award-winning chef and the inimitable blending of cooking cultures - AMAZING :)

1 Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

1,096 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
McGregor, South Africa
Level Contributor
136 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“The best restaurant in Africa!”
Reviewed August 11, 2008

I am rather surprised by the lack of reviews on this site for what is considered (at least by some) to be the best restaurant in Africa. I also don’t really know why I have not visited it before – perhaps it was a less than memorable experience some years ago at the same venue but before it was the Tasting Room. Whatever, it has been my loss, as my experience last evening was truly excellent - and to see a restaurant (particularly at this price point) full on a winter’s Sunday evening was also pleasantly reassuring.

As it was my birthday, we opted for the 8 course tasting menu with matched wines. I have not tasted such an array of successfully innovative food in this country. The myriad of flavours and textures all worked exceptionally well. Every dish was perfectly executed and balanced and repeatedly managed to excite all the senses – the kudu and biltong consommé had such depth of flavour, I could still remember the taste the next morning.

For some perhaps, at this level, the lack of a hierarchy of waiting staff may come as a surprise, but I found the use of what appeared to be ‘local’ staff highly commendable, and it made for a totally relaxing environment – it was almost like a ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant rather than simply a ‘special occasion’ venue. (There was more than one table with well-behaved young diners).

The star of the evening (other than the food) was our server Harry – an extremely pleasant, amenable and receptive young man who ensured our marathon meal was delivered at an appropriate pace, with care, courtesy and always a smile – it was a pleasure to served by him.
Well done to the whole team and I hope I don’t have to wait for my next birthday to make a return visit!

1 Thank macsym
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Quite delicious!”
Reviewed July 15, 2008

Expectations were high, having eaten so well up to our arrival in Franschhoek on our trip to South Africa, Le Quartier Francais being listed as the top restaurant in the Country and having been listed in the top restaurants in the world we wanted to see if it could match it's reputation.
We were taken through to our table having eventually found the Maitre'd - slightly disappointing start but we were given a warm welcome once she gave us her attention. The Tasting Room is a classy, comfortable restaurant with a touch of formality , lovely linen dressing the tables and a pianist providing background music.
We decided to have the four course tasting menu and the tour of wine where they select wines for each course - I was happy to note that they did give you a small choice in the wines, so the wine choice wasn't set in stone and you couldn't end up with a wine you didn't like. Fabulous.
Each course came out looking like a work of art! Smells were good and the flavours FANTASTIC! Truly amazing food, lovingly and carefully prepared and beautifully presented. The amuse bouche and pre-starters and the like were all delightful.
The staff were lovely, although sometimes perhaps trying too hard at times - but that is a nice complaint to have these days!
Loved it. GO! What are you waiting for??!

3 Thank PaolinaEdinburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A Different Dining Experience to Try at Least Once!”
Reviewed July 11, 2008

My husband and I dined at The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais on Christmas Day 2007. We made reservations six months ahead of time to ensure a table for that night. We are not used to four and five star restaurants, but with the exchange rate in our favor, we decided to try it.

The entire dining experience lasted four hours. We were very hungry upon our arrival and did not expect such a large amount of time between courses. Their homemade bread, however, helped us get through the beginning of the evening.

Based upon recommendations from other Trip Advisor users, we opted for the eight course menu with matching wines. Since this type of dining was unfamiliar to us, we did not understand most of the menu. The description of the courses was not what it seemed, meaning a pear was not a pear. We saved the menu to remember what we ate, whatever it was!

1st Course:
Bacon wrapped scallop, roe parfait, crab lollypop, peach and almond
Nederburg Solera Potstilled Brandy
MY COMMENT: These were all good, especially the crab lollipop. We had to figure out how we were supposed to eat these things, which was a little embarrassing.

2nd Course:
Wild mushroom and potato lasagne, fig glaze
GlenWood – Vigneron’s Selection Chardonnay 2006
MY COMMENT: This was my favorite course of the night.

3rd Course:
“Fruit salad” poached foie gras, open ravioli of samp and bacon
Cederberg Bukettraube 2007
MY COMMENT: The fruit salad is not what you think it is.

4th Course:
Spiced crayfish ‘tagliatelle’, chorizo, white chocolate and cauliflower foam
Simonsig Gewuztraminer 2006
MY COMMENT: Are you picturing pasta with Mexican fried or grilled chorizo? We did and you are wrong!

5th Course:
Kudu and biltong consommé, chilled gem squash and buchu foam
Pax Verbatim Blazing Hill Syrah 2003
MY COMMENT: Are you picturing meat? Nope. It was a Kudu drink with a teabag in it. They tell you to let it seep for one minute and then to take out the bag. Take a sip of kudu, then a bite of this creamy stuff and then a drink of wine.

6th Course:
Rocket crusted rack of karoo lamb, yoghurt gnocchi, porcini, steak and kidney carpaccio
Stony Brook – Ghost Gum Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
MY COMMENT: Finally, something we recognized! The piece of lamb was very good.

7th Course:
Gorgonzola, walnut and red wine, “trifle”, poached pear, spiced nuts
Pinehurt Rose Sec 2006
MY COMMENT: Picturing cheese, nuts and a half a pear? Nope! Not even close.

8th Course:
Chocolate mint marshmallow soup, Turkish delight ice cream, banana gel
Pierre Jourdan Brut (champagne)
MY COMMENT: This was not a soup but was pretty good anyway.

Note that we received six glasses of wine, a glass of brandy and a glass of champagne. I thought each glass of wine would be very small, since they serve so much of it, but all were large, full servings. We also received two additional complimentary courses, but I do not know what they were.

After dinner, believe it or not, we were very full, but my husband’s favorite dessert is cheesecake. Knowing the piece would be very small, we ordered one to try, and he also ordered a glass of dessert wine. It was good but quite different from the American cheesecake, which we like better.

Overall, the food was good, and some courses were great, such as the lasagne with fig glaze, but everything was very “different.” I enjoyed it, thought it was fun and am glad I did it. Would I eat here once a month? No, but I would definitely go back every now and then just to try something different. In other words, I highly recommend it, but do not expect anything close to what you have ever eaten before.

4 Thank ca_vol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Humansdorp, South Africa
Level Contributor
136 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 233 helpful votes
“Never again!”
Reviewed May 13, 2008

As it was my moms birthday and we were overnighting in Franschhoek,I decided to take her for a special meal at The Tasting Room,located at the auberge Le Quartier Francais, seeing as they are billed as one of the best Gourmet restaurants in South Africa.At R480.00 per person for a 6 course meal without wine,it is for us South Africans expensive.The restaurant's decor is modern,but understated and nothing to look at really.We were mostly(!) served by a person not from our own country.We could hardly understand him as his english was so accented and he did not speak any of our 11 official languages!Luckily he was not the only server,people kept coming and going,asking if everything was alright,but just looking flabbergasted when we had the nerve to complain(tough meat) and doing nothing.The servers do take time to explain all the dishes,which was good as very little is identifiable! I think that the chefs try to hard to put together dishes that will astound and all they end up with is stuff that sometimes go together and at other times really taste disgusting.We basically had soup(nice)fish(ok),mains of wildebeest loin(tough and uneatable),magret duck(also tough and uneatable and was sent back) put together with things like beetroot gnocci,celeriac & cucumber spagetti,tomato sabayon,soy spatzle and the like.Then some cheese on a soggy cracker and lastly an absolutely disgusting thing they called a brownie with some sorbet which was nice.
I really think that a decent meal,with food tasting like it is meant to taste is much more preferable than this hotch-potch.How anyone can say that they ate their best meal in South Africa here (as a reviewer said while reviewing the accommodation Le Quartier Francais) really amazes me.There are really very good restaurants in S.A. and in Franschhoek serving much beter food.

4 Thank Tokkelosh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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