Off the beaten track – Exploring Paarl away from the crowds

There is a wealth of history to explore throughout Paarl but the best-known spots are often busy with tourists. If you want to get away from the crowds but still enjoy the town’s rich history, culinary offerings and the people who put in everything to make it as authentic and cultured as it is, be sure to visit these hidden gems.

Marvel Bistro

Located on the longest main road in South Africa, Marvel produces ciabatta, over-night white, and sourdough bread worth travelling for. Using ethical ingredients supplied by local farmers, the kitchen serves up a country-style breakfast buffet, perfect for sharing.

The blackboard menu features new and exciting dishes, cakes and pastries that changes daily. Beverage options include high-quality coffee and teas as well as a selection of freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices.

Karoo Craft Breweries

Situated on the premises of Simonsvlei Winery, Karoo Craft Breweries started operating in August 2016 as a contract brewing facility. Shortly after, they launched their own line of beers and decided to move on from the contract brewing business and rather focus on the KCB brand as a whole.

With names like Kudu Lager, Oryx Weiss, Jackal India Pale Ale and Impala American Pale Ale the brewery produces quality beers that pay tribute to the simple majesty of the Karoo landscape. Beer enthusiasts can sample and buy the full range of beers at the Tap Room, which is open from Mondays to Saturdays.

Simonsvlei Wines

Mostly known for its easy drinking and affordable wines, Simonsvlei has been in the businesses since 1945. With bulk wine being their business, the company strives towards supplying the local and international market with quality wines at the best prices. If you are a senior citizen, we suggest you head on over for Pensioner Day, happening every second Tuesday. Fifty bucks gets you a homecooked meal paired with an unlimited supply of wine. Now whoever said growing old is for sussies?

Hurst Chef School

Meals on Main is the student-run deli and restaurant at the Hurst Campus Culinary Academy. The restaurant serves as the dining lab for the school’s culinary students, offering a unique combination of real-world experience and instructional content. Under the supervision of chefs and instructors, students create dishes in the kitchen and run all aspects of the dining room.

Chicken Saltimbocca with seasonal vegetables

From food ordering and preparation to guest seating and serving, Meals on Main is a complete instructional environment for students that offers a quality dining experience. The bang-for-your-buck menu is frequently updated so that both guests and students can savour the freshest ingredients from the school’s local veggie patch in season.

Eve Art

Uncork your creative expression through Eve Art, a studio that offers pottery and painting classes for both adults and kids. Owner Madeleine Eve has been a creative artist for many years and has taught art internationally in Dubai, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia before returning to South Africa in 2014. 

You can join a scheduled class or book a private event. Be it a birthday party, bachelorette or just another family bonding session, Eve Art will get all those creative juices flowing. Prices vary depending on the painting and length of the class.

Zomerlust Guesthouse

No visit to Paarl is complete without an overnight stay at one of the town’s historic manor houses. A witness to a people living a lavish lifestyle of the years gone by, Zomerlust has been beautifully restored to its former splendour.

Situated on the historic Main Road of Paarl, the ambience is finely attuned to French Huguenot and Cape Dutch roots with the easy comfort of English country estate living. The luxury en suite rooms in the Manor house have brandy names, due to the manor and estate’s close history with the Paarl Rock Brandy Cellar. In the ladies bar, “Die Kraan”, guests can still buy Paarl Rock Brandy, exclusively distilled for Zomerlust Gastehuis. The restaurant is open to the public Monday to Saturday for breakfast, light lunches and dinner.

Amberg Art and Kitchen

Tucked away in the Du Toitskloof Pass, Amberg Art and Kitchen offers a laid-back approach to dining with breathtaking views of the Paarl valley. The family-run restaurant serves hearty meals with a strong Austrian and international culinary influence, catering for all tastes.

One of Austria’s national dishes on the menu that we highly recommend is the grilled Schnitzel, made from a thin cutlet of veal and served with Spätzle, bacon-wrapped green beans and mushroom bacon sauce.

Grilled Veal Schnitzel

On cold winter days, the rustic interior and crackling fireplace create a fabulous atmosphere. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner during summer, but over the winter months it’s open for breakfast and lunch from Tuesdays to Sundays.