Oudtshoorn, South Africa
Swiss Bistro Oudtshoorn Reviews
Excellent Food, Excellent Prices Jul 13, 2010
Oudtshoorn is the ostrich farm capital of the world. Therefore, when you go out to eat in Oudtshoorn you should expect that ostrich is going to be on the menu. As the ostrich farm capital of the world, Oudtshoorn is also quite the tourist destination, so you can expect that some of the restaurants are going to cost more than you care to pay. My vegetarian girlfriend and I walked up and down the street, examining expensive menu after expensive menu, and were getting worried that our only option was going to be friggin’ Wimpy’s (which sucks, by the way) until we got to the Swiss Bistro, located a single block from our place. Why we didn’t stop there and save ourselves a lot of effort, I couldn’t tell you. A short peek at their menu made choosing this place an easy choice.
Value and selection – that is what drew us in. They had a large wine selection of local wines, most of the bottles costing under $10. The food selection included pizza, pastas, soups, burgers, sandwiches, numerous ostrich products, as well as some more exotic fare such as zebra fillets, kudu and crocodile. For a total cost of under $10, I got myself an ostrich burger w/chips and half a bottle of wine. Pretty damn good. My girlfriend got herself butternut squash soup, a grilled cheese, a baked potato and her half of the bottle of wine for the same price. The ostrich burger was fantastic, as they tend to be. Ostrich is a great meat because it tastes very much like beef but has no cholesterol. The rest of the food was equally good – great taste, decent portions and easy to drink damn cheap wine. What’s not to like?
Our server was good looking, friendly and helpful. I inquired about some of the different game steaks, and she explained the differences in taste as well as how they are best prepared – for example, kudu is best served medium or medium rare, while ostrich has to be prepared medium or it is too chewy. There is lovely seating inside by the fireplace for the cold winter nights such as this one, and lots of outside seating for the hot summer months that I won’t get to experience on this trip. Our meal was filling, so we didn’t check out the deserts this first night. We liked the place so much we came back for dinner the following night, and this time our server was a friendly guy who was a dual US-South African citizen. He was born in South Dakota but decided to move back to South Africa after high school. Having been to both places, I can’t say I blame him.
The food the second night was equally as great. I tried the kudu steaks, prepared as suggested, and they were fantastic. I expected that they would taste gamey, but they didn’t – they just tasted like high quality venison. I left room for desert on the second night and ordered a piece of the chocolate cheesecake so that I could make my caving adventure the following day more of a challenge. If I ever get back to Oudtshoorn, I’ll likely eat there again. The Swiss Bistro serves up great food and great wine for prices that should make anyone who gets a favorable exchange rate very happy. Check it out if you are in town.
Part of the Africa Summer 2010 travel blog
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