Dining in Wilderness

The Mes Amis review of Wilderness Eateries

There are in all 16 odd restaurants in and around Wilderness. Our reviews below are based on our own experience and on feedback from our guests.

Wilderness Express is a local shuttle services to and from Wilderness Village. Rates are reasonable:- around R150 return irrespective of the number of people. He also provide airport and other transport services. 
Phone John Tel: 0749772215

Pomodoro is an Italian eatery. The ambiance is warm and cosy - this is the Wilderness locals' favourite hangout. The usual pasta suspects are present and are as good as can be expected. Remember that pasta in South Africa is generally not cooked al dente, so expect what would be overcooked pasta to the Italian palate. Their pizzas, prepared in a wood-burning pizza oven, are excellent. Take-away is provided. There are seafood and steak options on the menu, but I would stick to pizza and pasta. Except for their Rib Eye Steak Salsa Verde. Which is excellent. If the weather permits, ask for a table outside. Reasonably priced wine list. Open all day. Tel: 044 8771403
Mes Amis rating: food * * * *  ambiance * * * *   service * * * *
Click here for their menu and here for directions. To book a table click here.

Oysters R Us is located off the N2 8km from Mes Amis in the direction of Knysna. They have a rustic (as in rather ramshackle) restaurant on the dune where the only fare is wild oysters which is kept in large tanks. They will keep shucking oysters for as long as you keep eating them. A small selection of cheese and condiments are available, as is wine and beer. Open from 12 every day. Closed 19 – 26 February and in inclement weather.
Tel: 082 578 6817.
Mes Amis rating:  food * * * * *  ambiance *  service * * * *
No menu available, but click here for their website and here for directions. Email them to book a table: [email protected]@gmail.com

The Girls on the Square used to be The Girls, located right next to the Caltex petrol station in Wilderness. They have now moved to the Palms Garden Square diagonally opposite the Wilderness Hotel and changed their name. They may have moved, but the quality remains the same. The curries, especially the prawn curry, are excellent. Some good meat dishes are also available, but I would stick to the fish and shellfish. Which is great. Great but expensive-ish wine list. Service is excellent. For dinner they do 2 sittings: 18:00 and 20:00.  
Tel: 044 8771648
Mes Amis rating: food * * * *  ambiance * * *  service * * * *
Click here for their menu and here for directions. Email to book a table: [email protected]

Flava Cafe is owned by the Girls. Their menu offers light options for lunch and a range of choices for dinner.  Both fish and meat dishes can be found. The service is excellent. The fish and chips is normally very good. If you want to eat on your patio at Mes Amis, phone them and order their fish and chips to go. Their biggest problem is consistency – a dish that is superb one day is bad the next. An excellent wine list.
Tel: 044 8771648.
Mes Amis rating: food * * *  ambiance * * *  service  * * * *
Click here for their menu and here for directions. To book a table click here.

Kaaimans is located, amazingly, on the banks of the Kaaimans river off the Kaaimans pass. It is a restaurant searching for an identity. Pizzas and burgers feature on their menu alongside lamb curry, chicken fingers, felafel balls, Greek salad.... you get the picture. The food is mostly of poor quality. The service matches the food. Sometimes they entertain their guests with live music. Intended, we think, to get them to leave early. When there is no music, the cars and trucks passing on the N2 provides a backdrop to you meal.
If you really want to, you can look at their menu here. Tel: 044 868 0038

Joplin's Steak Bar is the place to feed the carnivore in you. They serve only steak and lamb chops- you will ask in vain for fish or fowl or anything else. The side dishes (mainly French fries) is no more than a supporting act for the main show - the steak.  Skip the salad altogether; it is truly awful. The ambiance is wooden-huttish and the service no better than reasonable. Despite that, this is the place to go if you like meat. Which is really, really great. Open for lunch. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Tel: 0733478896
Mes Amis rating:  food  * * * *  ambiance  * *   service  * * *
We could not find their menu online, but think steak and chops. Click here for directions. Email to book a table: [email protected]

Zucchini is an a la carte restaurant that prides itself on its organic homegrown vegetables. It has only a few tables inside. The ambiance is homely, and a cheery fire greets guests during winter. The food is unpretentious peasant style fare, but a good buy in view of the modest prices charged. The wine list is short, but the prices more than fair. Located in Timberlake Village, a cluster of shops in wooden huts on the N2 about 8km from Mes Amis towards Knysna. Open Wednesday - Saturday evenings and Sundays for lunch.  
Tel: 044 8821240
Mes Amis rating: food * * *  ambiance * *  service * * *
Click here for their menu and here for directions. To book a table click here.

Serendipity is a Moet Chandon top 100 restaurant that offers a 4-course set menu with a distinctly African accent for around R500 per person. The food is inventive, at best stunning, and seldom bad. An excellent but expensive wine list. If you value fine food, Serendipity is the place to visit. The ambiance is great, the service superb and the food will often knock your socks off. Rudolph, the maître d' and co-owner, is an engaging host and his wife Lizelle, the chef, is prodigiously talented. Booking is essential. You can book online here. Closed July and Sundays. Tel: 044 8770433
Mes Amis rating: food * * * * *  ambiance * * * * *  service * * * * *
Click here for their current menu (it changes monthly) and  here for directions. To book a table click here.

Views is the informal restaurant in The Views, a boutique 5-star hotel up the road from Mes Amis.  The ambiance is so-so, and it is difficult to choose which is worse: the food or the service. The main reason that they appear on our list is the stunning sea view. Stroll down the beach and have an aperitif or a beer at the Views, but eat elsewhere.
Mes Amis rating: food no stars  ambiance * *    the view * * * * *   service  no stars

The Blue Olive is in the center of Wilderness Village. The deck outside under the Milkwood trees is a most charming spot. Excellent food- you will usually find some form of venison - Kudu, Springbok and the ilk. If the weather is good, grab a table on the deck. The deck bar is also a great place for a cocktail before dining. Service is great, as is their wine list. Open all day in summer.  Tel: 044 8770731.
Mes Amis rating:  food  * * * *   ambiance  * * *   service   * * * *
Click here for their tapas menu, here for their main course menu and here for directions. Email to book a table: [email protected]

Salinas is, other than the Views, the only beachfront restaurant in Wilderness. Two floors of seating with outside terraces provide great sea views. Bistro style fare: steak, ribs, curries and a few fish dishes. Some interesting vegetarian dishes. Although of the food is generally good, and good value for money, the quality is at times inconsistent:- today's excellent dish is tomorrow's ho-hum. Excellent service and an exceptionally well-priced wine list.  Tel: 044 8770001
Mes Amis rating: food   * * *  ambiance  * * * *  service * * * *
Click here for their menu and here for directions. Email to book a table: [email protected]

Cocomo is the only eatery in Wilderness with live music year-round. The artists featured are generally Garden Route locals. Some good, some just ok, some really, really bad. But all very loud. The food is so-so and the service match the food. They offer an extensive menu of very good cocktails. We would not go there just for the food. Or the music. Or the conversation. Which is difficult, given the music. They are also the only restaurant we know of that charge a standard service fee of 10%. Even on take-aways. Go there at your own risk.
Mes Amis rating: food *  ambiance  * * *   service  * *   decibels      * * * * *

Locals Diner is in Milkwood village. Good diner type food. Their pork spare ribs are superb. The location under the milkwood trees is great. Tel: 083 364 7082
Mes Amis rating: food   * * *    ambiance * * *  service * * *
We could not find a menu online but think pizza, burgers and ribs. Click here for directions.

Bongos is a bar/pizzeria with a limited offering of pizza choices. Their pizzas are  good. We cannot, however, find many reasons to prefer their pizzas or their ambiance above those of Pomodoros. Especially given their location overlooking and right next to the N2...
That said, they offer delivery to Mes Amis, so if you want a pizza on your patio, we highly recommend Bongos. Tel:  044 877 0544
Mes Amis rating: food * * *   ambiance  * *   service * * *
Click here for their menu and here for directions.

Bite is an informal burger/rib style eatery in Milkwood village. The tables outside on the deck overlook the square and is a pleasant place to have lunch. Or dinner, if your taste buds hunker for a burger or ribs. Or a German sausage plate. The food is great, unpretentious and served with friendly smile. Only craft beer is available from a card limited to around 8 beers. Tel: 044 877 0459
Mes Amis rating: food * * *  ambiance * * *  service  * * * *
Click here for their menu and here for directions.

You can order takeaways from Pomodoro, Bongos, Royal Siam, Flava Cafe and Bite. Or get takeaways from West Coast Chinese takeaways, located next to Blue Olive in Wilderness Village. You will find the usual weird mix that constitutes the menu of most Chinese fast food places in South Africa: American Chinese (Chop Suey) and Japanese Sushi! However, their food is good, their prices modest and their portions huge. 
Tel: 0749399046. The food takes about 20 mins to prepare. Best phone ahead with the order and pick it up a bit later. Here is their menu:

 

 

 

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