Bientang’s Cave

10 Visitor Photos +

In a cave, Below Marine Drive, 100m from Old Harbour, Hermanus, South Africa


Seafood, Vegetarian

Good for:

Dinner, Families with children, Lunch, Reservations, Romance, Scenic View, Special Occasions


5.0 rating based on 1 rating
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  1. Expert Review

    5.0 rating based on 1 rating
    Oct 2014 · Dana Sanchez

    Bientang's Cave lays claim to once of the most unusual settings ever for a restaurant. It's a restaurant in a...

    Bientang’s Cave lays claim to once of the most unusual settings ever for a restaurant.

    It’s a restaurant in a cave, and about as close as you can get to the whales of Walker Bay on Hermanus’ famous Whale Walk.

    Named after a Koi strandloper (beach walker) who inhabited the cave in the 1800s, Bientang’s Cave was bought by its current owner, Giangi Negra, in 1995, “when it was a hole in the wall,” Negra told me.

    Bientang had the ability to communicate with animals, according to legend. Pods of whales would show up each year at the same spot and remain there for months. “The spirit of Bientang remains with us,” according to the restaurant’s website.

    With experience as a construction manager, Negra added a wooden deck, an office and bathroom, and turned the cave into a restaurant and tourist attraction. He did the work himself, he said.

    Negra doesn’t own the property — he rents it from the municipality — but who cares? He gets to go to work every day in arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the world where whales come within 100 meters of your dining table.

    “This is my office,” Negra said, looking out over rocks and kelp and blue water wonderland. Not many people get to say that when they’re watching whales breaching.

    Diners at Bientang’s Cave sit at wooden benches under blue umbrellas on the rocks of Walker Bay.

    “We don’t profess to make nouvelle cuisine,” Negra told me. “It’s simple food.”

    For starters we ordered snoek paté — a smoked fish spread served with simple crackers. Everyone in my party ordered fried hake as our main course. The serving was fresh and generous, and didn’t try to compete with the setting. The busy restaurant is open for lunch. Food isn’t — and probably never will be — the main attraction.

    To end the meal we ordered a cheese plate.

    The menu is mainly fresh seafood, but it was expanded “because you can’t eat fish every day,” Negra said.

    He is proud of his wine list, which won a Diners’ Club Diamond Award.

    Giangi takes a personal interest in the bird life that the the rocks support. He told me about the nesting black oyster catchers — a rarity in that area — that chose the rocks near the cave to make a nest. It was the first time in history that a nest had appeared near town, he said. He closed the area off to humans — it remained closed during my visit there — and watched the parents guard the egg. When a November storm washed the egg out of the nest onto a rocky ledge below, Giangi rescued the egg and put it back.

    “The mother bird was going crazy,” he said. “The sea was huge that day.”

    Five days later, the chick was born, “and the world has another oyster catcher,” Negra said. “We took more than 3,000 pictures.”

    Negra also shot the photos of whales that are attached to this review at Bientang’s Cave.


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