The Smitten Story
Smitten had its genesis in a pastoral setting far removed from its plush and premium incarnation at The Yard.
Where It All Began
From its bucolic beginnings as a pop-up concept at the Franschhoek Village Market to its chic and elegant new home at The Yard, the Smitten journey from experimental start-up to premier restaurant, deli, bakery and bar has been 10 years in the making.
Partners in business and life, chef Chris Smit and veteran TV host, Imraan Vagar, initially launched Smitten (a name that’s both a nod to their relationship and a wordplay on Chris’ surname) as a pop-up restaurant at the Franschhoek Village Market in 2012. Smitten’s three year long spell at the FVM afforded the aspiring restaurateurs an opportunity to test the market (pun intended) and its appetite for Chris’ deliciously uncomplicated food and artisanal sweet and savoury bakes. But it also offered up valuable insights into what locals felt was lacking from the Franschhoek culinary scene.
The pop-up proved to be a runaway success for both Smitten and the FVM and after years of searching in vain for suitable premises to take their start-up to the next level, Chris and Imraan put their restaurant plans on hold to develop and produce a food series for television called “Geure Uit Die Vallei”. The pair continued to keep an eye out for a home for Smitten though – and several years (and a certain pandemic) later they finally found permanent new digs at The Yard – a picturesque and charming retail and residential development in the heart of Franschhoek town.
Regional produce, seasonal ingredients and unpretentious food at local-friendly prices all form part of the daily dining experience at Smitten. Guests can look forward to feeling pampered and spoiled by its sumptuous interior, inviting ambience, friendly service and simple but varied menu that boasts both quality and exceptional value for money.
“Smitten is our love letter to Franschhoek”
~ Imraan Vagar
Meet The Chef
For Chris Smit, the magic of a meal goes far beyond a fleeting pleasure of the palate. He holds a deep conviction that food can succeed where words fail, and that a shared meal can stimulate a convivial flow of conversation and companionship while satisfying the stomach’s appetite.
Chris extends the same hospitality to each and every guest who sits at his table, but some of the diners who have enjoyed his fare deserve particular mention – including show business celebrities such as Sir Elton John and David Furnish, Elizabeth Hurley, Arun Nayar and Embeth Davies. Ron Dennis of Formula One fame slowed down the pace to savour the flavour, while Prince and Princess Michael of Kent added a royal cachet. Former and current heads of state include President Thabo Mbeki, former President Bill Clinton, former Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi, Shinzo Abe and Yasuo Fukuda of Japan – and our beloved Madiba.
This distinguished guest list would be a source of justifiable pride for many a chef, but Chris remains supremely modest.
The Smitten Offering
Chris Smit has spent over two decades working in some of the most acclaimed hotels and restaurants in the world, most recently as Executive Chef of La Residence, a premier chateau-style property set among the estates of the Franschhoek Valley. He is also the host of “Geure Uit Die Vallei” on SABC2.
Our menu is simple but varied, with unpretentious and easy-going fare to satisfy most tastes. We’re all about making the most of regional produce and seasonal ingredients to ensure that our product is fresh and in harmony with our ethos of supporting local.
From our hot and cold breakfasts to our scrummy lunches, our delicious meals not only hit the spot with their ample portion sizes, but are also nutritious, beautifully presented and prepared with a lot of love!
Sumptuous Decor & Ambience
Smitten’s luxe interior and elegant finishes have prompted many to assume that we’re a fine dining establishment, only to be pleasantly surprised by our menu. This incongruity is deliberate. We enjoy the novelty of offering our diners quality food and service in a plush setting, without them having to fork out high-end prices for the pleasure.
Warm & Friendly Service
We pride ourselves on our team’s friendly and attentive service – and the consistently positive online reviews in this regard attest to our commitment to service excellence. Owners Chris and Imraan are also very much hands-on, overseeing every aspect of the day-to-day running of the restaurant.
Origin Coffee Roasters are pioneers of South African speciality coffee and offer an exceptional range of premium, speciality-grade, ethically-sourced and traceable coffees. Smitten is proud to present their seasonal espresso blends and chemical free decafs.
What People are Saying
“Definitely value for your money.”
Such friendly service, excellent quality, big portion sizes. Fresh decor and small but varied menu.
“Love this place!”
“PPE IN place. Food excellent. Very friendly and experienced staff.“
Rita de Jager
“What a stunning restaurant”
“Prices so affordable.“
“I am totally Smitten!“
“The staff, the welcome, the atmosphere, the Covid protocol and then the food : beautifully presented, tasty with that extra bit of love. Completely on another level!“
Hours of Operation
WED – MON
8:00am – 5:00pm
8:00am – 12:00pm
12:00pm – 4:00pm
Any Feedback Or Questions?
We look forward to hearing from you!
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