Ernie Els’s place the best restaurant in Dorp Street

IT’S DEFINITELY among the Top 10 places to eat at in Stellenbosch and has never disappointed when we’re up for a good, satisfying meal with good wines. In fact sometimes we just stop by for a snack and a glass at the bar or in front of the fireplace, or for some cheese and wine at the tables under the trees outside on the pavement… The Big Easy Winebar & Grill in one of the renovated old Cape Dutch buildings that line the historic Dorp Street in the heart of the Cape winelands is only slightly pretentious, always friendly and accommodating, and rather fun actually.

There are several rooms to choose from, all comfortably furnished, some intimate, others catering for larger gatherings, and one decorated with various photographs of Ernie Els the famous golfer, his family and his friends. We’ve never found the sporting aspect to get in the way, so to speak, although there is a TV screen near the bar on which to see the sport of the day…
The winelist includes by-the-glass options and a choice of delights made by one of South Africa’s top cellarmasters – Louis Strydom, previously of Rust en Vrede, now based at Ernie Els’s winery on the Helderberg side of Stellenbosch. But the range doesn’t stop there… This is one of the longest winelists in the country, spanning most categories, representing most of the leading cellars in one way or another, and with bottles priced from R85 for the Big Easy White quaffer all the way up to R1500 for the R&V 1694 Classification.
Food wise I usually opt for one of the meat dishes. My wonderful other tends to go for the linefish or a pasta dish. And next time we pop in, if the occasion is special enough and especially if she’s paying, instead of the Big Easy Red that we tend to order I’d like to splash out on the award-winning Ernie Els Proprietor’s Blend or, better still, the Proprietor’s Syrah – the 2010 vintage of the latter having received accolades at the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge in the UK, Mondial in Portugual and the Top 100 SA Wine Challenge.
For The Big Easy’s contact details and address as well as the current menu, click here.