For my mother’s 60th we decided to go to Paternoster for a week. If you are wondering where that is, don’t worry my mom didn’t know either till I got her to google it. Paternoster is a picturesque little town on the West Coast of the Western Cape. I think it is slightly understated and a little rustic but so naturally beautiful. It reminds me of Greece with all the white houses. It is also seafood paradise with the delicacy being crayfish.
If you did google it, you will see all the pics are of white houses and fishing boats. These fishing boats are not only on the beach near where the ‘harbour’ is but also scattered around the town. They are all so brightly coloured and beautiful against the surroundings.
Where to stay
Paternoster is full of some delightful self-catering houses, we stayed in one called Over The Moon, which was just gorgeous. I am regretting not taking some more professional looking pics before we all moved in and made a mess…as one does when staying somewhere for a week. We went through Paternoster Rentals, who have lots of different rentals. You are bound to find one that you will fall in love with!
Over The Moon, was perfect for us, as it had everything we needed a kitchen and a pool! hehe…it was incredible hot while we were there in Jan, even the locals were suffering. It is the perfect home away from home. It has 4 beautiful bedrooms with bathrooms on suite. The only thing I would say is there are no doors on their bathrooms so be sure that who ever you are sharing with, you are comfortable with.
The pool was over used as the sea is far too cold to swim but the pool was perfect to break the heat. It was a small very small pool but was more than big enough to cool off.
Safety & general info
This seems to be such a silly thing to write about, as us Joburgers are normally crazy about locking things up, etc but it seems we get to the coast and think that nothing bad can happen and it is fine to go to the beach and leave the house unlocked. This is not the case in Paternoster, there doesn’t seem to be any violent crime, I walked around on my own with a camera in my hand or a cell phone and felt perfectly safe. However, there is an issue with petty opportunistic crime, so be sure not to leave things unlocked if you are not there. Apparently, there is a lot a problem with guys pretending to sell crayfish but they actually want to see what you have so they can break in. So just be aware of this but you do not need to lock yourself in the house while you are there…or at least we didn’t.
If you want to buy some crayfish to cook on the braai, make sure that you get some from a proper licensed source. We never bought any, so I can’t give you any recommendations but I can tell you that you need to be careful of fisherman who try to sell you crayfish at cheap prices on the side of the road, as they normally don’t have the legal permits to do this. So just keep this in mind, also my worry with crayfish from the side of the road is, when was it caught and how long has it been in the blistering heat…I do not want to spend my holiday in bed with food poisoning but maybe that’s just me.
There is only one proper grocery shop in Paternoster, which is quite expensive so we only used it for emergency suppliers. Rather drive through to Vredenburg, which is on the way into Paternoster or if you are already there, just a 10 min drive away, which has Pick n Pay in the one little open air centre or alternative there is plenty to choose from in the West Coast Mall.
Where to eat
If you ask me, Paternoster is like the foodie capital of the West Coast, there are a total of 14 restaurants in this little town. Yes, can you believe 14! I did not manage to try all 14 but I did manage to try the top rated ones and I can say I agree with their ratings.
Below is an overview of the restaurants that left an impression in my mind :
This was probably the restaurant with the best calamari that we ate while there. The restaurant is not fancy at all but has that typical seaside bistro feel. Please do not get me wrong, just because it is not fancy, that doesn’t mean the food wasn’t fantastic. It was! The menus is simple and filled with good, delicious honest seafood. We actually went to The Voorstrandt twice as we loved the food so much! As you can see from the photo below, it is right on the beach, so if you get a seat on the covered veranda, you have the perfect seaview.
As with all the good restaurants in Paternoster, I would suggest that you book.
It is open 7 days a week from 11h00, and to book call : 022 752 2038
We went to Reuben’s for my mom’s 60th and there isn’t any negative I can say about this fantastic restaurant. If you have been to any of Reuben’s restaurants, this one will not disappoint. The food is fantastic, the service friendly and the view breath-taking! I have included a pic of our menu so you can understand how hard it was to choose what to eat, as all the food looked and sounded incredible.
The day we went, the restaurant wasn’t very busy but in season, I can imagine that it is very popular. It is the other side of Paternoster, so we were not able to walk there but that wasn’t a bad thing as it was super hot that day. I think it went to around 39 degrees, which is pretty hot, even for this gal that grew up in Botswana.
Reubens is open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch. To book call : 022 752 2044
The Noisy Oyster is the top rated restaurant in Paternoster, which you would think is surprising considering it doesn’t have a seaview and is on the main road. Having now eaten there, I can understand why. The chef, is a genius and totally understands flavours and how to balance them. I had the mussels to start and their wine and garlic sauce was incredible, I was practically licking the bowl…but only while no one was watching as my mom would have killed me!
I must say their menu is fantastic and it was hard to choose. It is not often that I have food envy, but I did at The Noisy Oyster. My brother had the lamb and let me taste it…cooked to perfection is an understatement. That lamb shank was a work of art and the sauce…like I said the chef is a genius! Nothing more needs to be said.
I loved how they labelled started, mains and desserts in the menu – it’s so clever and was unique to them.
You definitely need to book for this restaurant and it closes between sittings so you can’t sit their all day. The Noisy Oyster is open Wednesday – Sunday for lunch and Wednesday – Saturday for dinner. To book call : 022 752 2196
Gaatje is vey well known as it was on the first season of Master Chef SA…so any of us that watched it, was introduced to Paternoster and also Gaatjie. This restaurant is a combination of fine dining and beach country…the food is delicious and at atmosphere and view are lovely. There is nothing better than having a glass of wine while watching the sun go down from the veranda and this is what we did while we were at Gaatjie.
Again, I had the mussels, which were delicious and the sauce was good but different as it was a beer sauce…I was worried I wouldn’t like it as I hate beer but I was surprised by how tasty it was and I managed to slurp it all up. I love the napkin holders, which is why I had to get a pic – they really add to the decor and atmosphere of the restaurant.
Like all these restaurants, be sure to book if you want to get a table! Gaatje is open Thursday – Monday for lunch and dinner. To book call : 022 752 2242
Breakfasts are not a big thing in Paternoster, there are not many places that offer breakfast, which we found out on our last day, as we thought it would be nice to go out before packing up and driving back to Cape Town. We ended up at Skatkis, which is a lodge with a restaurant. The menu is small and limited but the breakfast was good and reasonable. It was not fine dining but the staff were friendly and my omelette was fantastic. So if you are in need of a good breakfast, that is the place to go.
Just before going to Paternoster, I had given up to cut down on my milk consumption…but that is a story for another day. What I am getting at is that I am a coffee addict and had given up. But while on holiday, we all indulge a little so mine was in the form of cappuccino’s. I tried quite a few while I was in Paternoster and the only places that I think make a fantastic coffee are: Reuben’s, The Noisy Oyster and the surprise entry is Skatkis. The rest are either not drinkable or very average.
There isn’t much to do in Paternoster, other than walk or visiting the beach and eat. That is pretty much it. There are a few shops but only a few. So as long as you enjoy those things, it is well worth a visit. I would definitely like to go back again. I found it to be one of the most relaxing holiday’s, I really liked that almost everything is within walking distance.
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