Enjoy a quality dining experience at the Island Café on Knysna’s Thesen Island

Island Cafe

If you also love good food and comfortable dining like me, you will agree that very few establishments truly offer unique dining experiences nowadays. This is why I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the Island Café on Thesen Island in Knysna.

Of course, I had expectations since this establishment forms part of the 5-Star Turbine Hotel & Spa. My friends and I were eagerly awaiting our visit, we were also feeling rather famished after our drive that day.

We drove onto Thesen Island – a quiet, upmarket area I must add. After we parked our car at the hotel’s parking area, we meandered along the walkway before reaching the Island Café.

My friends and I looked at each other and smiled, as we knew we were in for an evening not to be forgotten.

The friendly staff showed us around the restaurant and also explained to us that the hotel was built on top of an old power station. It was amazing to witness the fact that the owners decided to incorporate the history of the area rather than simply dismantling such an important aspect of Knysna’s history.

The remaining pumps and pipes give the Island Café a real authentic feel, combining past and present thanks to their stylish décor that is found throughout. I certainly enjoyed my visit and I was blown away by their offering.

What’s on the menu at the Island Café?

The Island Café is a 90 seater establishment that overlooks the Thesen Island canals. Their staff have also put all of the necessary Covid-19 protocols in place.

You will find the a la carte menu at the Island Café both simplistic, yet diverse. It is clear to see that the chef focuses on taste and using quality ingredients when it comes to their meals.

They say that a smile goes a long way when it comes to service; well we were served by waiters that were both friendly and knowledgeable. Their attention to detail was greatly appreciated!

I was very impressed by their selection of gins at the restaurant, as many of them I have tasted previously and absolutely loved. I enjoyed a gin and tonic mix of Inverocche Verdant with cinnamon, lemon and Indian tonic as we decided on our meals.

We opted to share a starter as we were all quite hungry upon arriving. We enjoyed the Pulled Pork Belly Focaccia between the three of us and we all agreed it was a great decision. The Focaccia was the perfect size for a group to share, whilst the Pork Belly was flavoursome. The feta topping added to the superb taste.

My friends and I were undecided regarding what to order for the main. We asked our waiter who recommended their Pork Kassler. Whilst I appreciated his feedback, my heart was set on their Seafood Curry.

I had been craving a seafood curry for a long time and I could not miss out on the opportunity. The curry had fresh calamari, prawns and black mussels – all of which were cooked to perfection. The sauce was tasty and I enjoyed every mouthful.

The three of us still had place for dessert, just to cap off a great evening. I chose the vanilla bean panna cotta as that is something I had never tried before; it was an easy choice for me. The berry sauce complimented that panna cotta perfectly. This was an ideal meal to end off an evening.

All in all, the food was superb, the service was friendly and the décor was certainly unique – everything combined into an evening to be remembered.

The Turbine Hotel & Spa

The Turbine Hotel offers five star accommodation in Knysna. The hotel comprises of 26 rooms, two restaurants, spa and conferencing facilities.

The fact that the Thesen Island Canals lie alongside this luxury hotel makes for spectacular views. Many of their previous guests have commended the team for their level of service and expertise.

The Turbine Hotel also has a Gastro Pub which offers classic pub meals as well as stunning views of the sunset over the lagoon. Live music can also be enjoyed on Friday evenings at the Gastro Pub, whilst their craft beers and gins have made it a popular spot for friends to spend an evening.

To book your stay, click HERE. Read more about the Turbine Hotel & Spa HERE.

Reviews from previous Island Café guests

“In fact that excellent, that we went twice for dinner in our two night stay in Knysna! Great food and wines. The staff is very attentive, must mention Terence as a gem for this place! A unique setting of this former power station with hotel Turbine, the result is amazing.

Very upmarket, highly recommended!” wrote Advisor170 on their TripAdvisor page.

Frandrich Kraamwinkel added; “Excellent food in a magical environment! The restaurant is set inside the old turbine room, with numerous tables placed in between the turbines and available on different floors. Very clean and neat. The staff is amazing (friendly and efficient) and the food is out of this world. Thorough enjoyed our dinners and late night coffees there. Would definitely recommend this place and will go there again without any hesitation! Go on, treat yourself…”

The Island Cafe is located on 36 Sawtooth Lane, Thesen Island, Knysna. For bookings, call 044 302 5746 or email reservations@turbinehotel.co.za or visit them online at www.turbinehotel.co.za/dining/island-cafe. Follow them on Facebook HERE or on Instagram HERE.


Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

About us

Actually, Home Food and Travel offers a lot more than just reviews of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities.  We also visit great destinations, receive advice from interior designers and stop to smell the roses and taste the coffee.

Our team of journalists are seasoned travels and love visiting the myriad of exciting places around South Africa.  Whether it is off the beaten track or in the heart of the top attractions of the country, we’ll be there,

Home Food and Travel advice on finding the right accommodation

So what is the right accommodation?  Well more often than not, it’s your travel budget that dictates the type of accommodation that you choose. 

Expensive is not always better.  Our team at Home Food and Travel will tell you that they have camped in areas with limited ablutions and had a wonderful holiday.  They have also spent a night in a five star hotel only to be disappointed because their expectations exceeded the experience.

The reason for your travels will also affect your choice.  A business trip requires different amenities to a beach holiday. 

Our articles, reviews and experiences can certainly help you make your decision.

Restaurants with a good mix of service, food and ambiance

To my mind a great restaurant offers three things – excellent service, great food and a wonderful ambiance.  Of these, service is the most important. 

No matter that the food is delicious and the setting delightful, poor service can ruin the occasion.  However, great service combined with mediocre meal and a plane jane restaurant can still be a pleasant night out.

We’ve eaten in restaurants that are really dirty but with incredible food and couldn’t help but give a rave review.  We’ve also hardly noticed what we ate because the setting was just amazing.

However, the best restaurants come with the best of service, food and ambiance.

Spas are the ultimate relaxation aid

How do you know when you have had a great spa experience?  The answer, of course, is when you doze off on the treatment table. 

Well that’s our theory anyway.  It also doesn’t take a grand location with enormous facilities for a spa to be really good

A small, personal spa that is owner run can result in the best massage you have ever experienced.  However, the grand spas in five star hotels offer unsurpassed facilities in an environment that just makes the stress in your shoulders and neck melt away before you even finish checking in.


You don’t have to be an adrenaline junky to enjoy an exciting experience.  In fact, what are commonly termed adventure activities usually have incredibly high safety standards and unblemished safety records.

Ziplining, bungy jumping and shark cage diving are all very safe.  It’s just that our mind tells us we are craaazzzzyyyy to be doing this.

On the road to great places of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities

If you’re driving, be safe and make use of all the wonderful farm stalls that populate South Africa’s open roads.

If you overhear somebody asking a lot of questions or see someone taking photos of empty bedrooms chances are it’s one of our Home Food and Travel team members.

We’re out looking or those great places of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities.

See you on the road!


Recent Posts