Tokara Estate, Stellenbosch: a Helshoogte Pass highlight

Private Property South Africa
Claire Barnardo

Tokara restaurant is a smart yet unpretentious space.

The setting

One of the most naturally exquisite areas in the Stellenbosch surrounds is the area along the Helshoogte Pass. Dotted with some of the country’s finest wine estates along the way, this area exhibits nature at its best. From the rolling vineyards wrapped seamlessly around the land, to the profound beauty of the mountainous Simonsberg backdrop, it requires a lengthy pause to take in the natural grandeur. But that’s just the start of it. Besides creating some of the finest wines in the country, this area also has some of the finest cuisine.

The place

The restaurant’s interior was recently upgraded through a collaboration between Tokara Estate owner Anne-Marie Ferreira and interior designer Samantha Fuchs. Changes include elegant cream leather chairs and bold copper light fixtures that drop from the high wooden rafters. On the walls hang a rare collection of five William Kentridge tapestries (nowhere else in the world has as many as these on display, which makes me treasure them more). But it was the natural surroundings that inspired the interior uplift. Seated at a half-moon table on the balcony makes it easy to understand why.

The food

Gazing at the contouring Tokara vineyards from the height of the balcony is quite relaxing, and an ideal way to spend a lunchtime. Chef Richard Carstens has reached a milestone having created dishes there for over five years now. By the taste of his latest summer menu he’s not about to let up on the innovation. The intriguing combination of a Franco-Japanese style is another reason to enjoy Carstens’s dishes. The combination is no easy task, but he makes it seem so cohesive that it’s almost normal. In particular I liked the cured rainbow trout and the buckwheat risotto, as well as the chocolate mousse for dessert. It’s no wonder Carstens is an award-winning chef and the restaurant has recently been included in SA’s Fine Dining Top 10 list ( Travellers’ Choice). If you haven’t yet been then Tokara deserves a visit.


Did you know? There are a number of peacocks who live at Tokara, so keep an eye out for these magnificent creatures.

Taste for yourself:

Tokara Restaurant

021 885 2550

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Take a trip through Stellenbosch here:

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