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Knysna’s dining scene is no exception to the rest of South Africa with a vast array of restaurants representing the ofeten called rainbow nation and capable of delivering, although with various degrees of success, for all tastes from contemporary to traditional to experimental ones and for all pockets from excessively expensive (even by overseas standards) to moderate to inexpensive.
There is no champion here, at least by international standards; no place excels above the rest significantly but there are exceptions such as Firefly a curry & chai house and Mario’s an Italian restaurant both managed by their charismatic and ever present owners Del and Genarro respectively. As to attest to their popularity, advance reservations are recommended for both places throughout the year.
Expect an acceptable dining experience across the board. Shared by most, is the contemporary décor, the menu varieties and the friendliness of the staff; shared by most is also the inadequate food and beverage preparation and inconsistent service delivery.
Beef, Lamb, Game and Poultry dishes are generally well prepared and of good quality, Line Fish of the day and seafood dishes, common items on the menu, are not as consistently fresh and well prepared as the descriptions on the menu would suggest or anyone would expect to find by a seaside town.
Wine is reasonable priced, whites such as Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc are ever popular whilst reds such as Pinotage, a variety typical of South Africa and Shiraz a must try. To bring your own favorite bottle of wine to the restaurant of your choice is common practice in Knysna as in the rest of the country, corkage fees vary significantly from as little as 10 rand to as much a 40 rand. Most restaurants and bars located in Hotels and Guest Houses have a limited Beverage license restricting the services to their own residents only whilst some restaurants may not have a beverage license at all. If you happen to dine in one of these places either than the one you are staying at and bring your own bottle of wine, by law there is no corkage fee to be added to your check.
If on a budget do not disdain local franchises such as Spurs for spare ribs and steaks, Steers for hamburgers , they cater mostly for South Africans which value quantity and price above quality and fancy food.
Tipping is at your discretion and usually a 10 to 15% of your total check. More and more places these days, although not a common practice and not limited to Knysna, indiscriminately add service and tipping percentages to your check.
Credit Cards are widely accepted although some may reserve the right to charge you a percentage, others are ostensibly cash only.