Root 44 Indoor Market In Stellenbosch Review

root 44 market and wine emporium review

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After you’ve visited, I’m sure you will agree with me that the Root 44 Market is the best indoor market in Stellenbosch. The market is open from 9AM to 5PM and is home to a variety of stalls selling everything from local produce to healthy food.

Root 44

The Tasters Will Bring You Back For More

If you’re a market enthusiast searching for the best indoor/ outdoor market in Stellenbosch, look no further. The Root 44 Market reigns supreme. The first time I visited the Root 44 Market it was on the way to meet Kallia’s brother for lunch.

We made a quick stop at the market to pick up a sweet treat for his birthday, and while Kallia was deciding on cupcakes, I tried a pizza taste tester at the next stall over. It was so good that I was tempted to cancel our lunch plans and order a pizza from the market instead. We decided to return to the market the following weekend and I’m very glad we did.

There are a lot of options to choose from so keep reading for my taste tested recommendations!

Getting To The Root 44 Market

directions to Root 44

If you are coming from Cape Town, you will use the entrance off Annandale Road. However if you are coming from Stellenbosch, you will need to keep an eye out for the small off ramp to your left as you are approaching the intersection. Kallia was in the wrong lane and missed the off ramp, so make sure you approach the intersection in the far left lane and keep your eyes peeled.

The Root 44 Market opens at 9AM and closes at 5PM. We visited just before peak busy hour at 1PM and there was still plenty of parking and seating available.

Once you have arrived at the Market, you will be directed by the friendly parking attendants to available spaces. When we visited, we ordered too much food for the two of us to finish – which is easy to do with so many delicious options to choose from! 

If you end up with leftovers, don’t throw them away. The parking attendants will happily take your leftovers off your hands.I’ve learned that in South Africa leftovers never go to waste, most parking attendants will gladly accept leftovers.

Art and Wine First

Root 44 art and wine

The first floor of the Root 44 Market is an art gallery and wine emporium. If you are partial to art and wine, start on the first floor before you get into the trenches downstairs. Once you get stuck into the stalls on the ground floor, you are headed for a food coma, so do your browsing in the gallery first if that’s of interest to you.

Kallia and I walked through the gallery and confirmed that we have completely opposing tastes in art. We also visited the garden which is home to the sculptures of renowned local artists like Marco Olivier.

The wine emporium houses a coffee shop, sports bar, restaurant, oyster bar and wine shop. The main attraction of course is the tasting room where you can explore the vintages of the Stellenbosch wine route known for the highest density of premium wines. We didn’t taste any of the wines ourselves so don’t quote us, but we hear that the wines on offer are some of the best in South Africa.

Coffee Second, Shopping Third

Root 44 coffee

I am not fully human until I have had my first coffee of the day, so before I could make any decisions about what to eat, I had to get caffeinated. If you walk through the main entrance to the market, there is a coffee stand to your left and I made a beeline for it. 

All I want from my morning coffee is for it to be strong and 7th Psycho Coffee are on a mission to create the strongest coffee on the planet. Many of the entrepreneurs who have stalls at the market sell their products online. Check out their website if you are a fan of strong coffee and want to try their beans for yourself.

shopping at Root 44

Once I had a coffee in hand, I could face the next fifteen minutes of our visit which would be spent browsing the various clothing and jewellery stalls. Kallia is on the lookout for uniquely South African gifts she can take back to Scotland for my family. The choices ranged from ‘Vellies’ (local leather shoes) to cookbooks. If you’d like to see the full range of stalls on offer, you can browse Root 44’s website. To my bank balance’s advantage, she couldn’t decide on anything and came away empty handed. 

Finally, Food!

Root 44 food

The best thing about a food market is having so many options to choose from. The worst thing about a food market is having so many options to choose from! Talk about decision fatigue and order anxiety. There are so many tempting smells coming from every corner of the big warehouse-like space, you won’t know where to turn.

Our tactic was to work the room in a clockwise direction and decide on our final meal at the end. Most stalls have testers for you to try so you can get a good sense of what your taste buds are leaning towards. The downside of trying so many tasters, however, is that you feel quite full by the time you’re ready to order a meal.

food at Root 44

In the end Kallia decided on a starter of fried mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers. They weren’t my first choice but my girlfriend can’t resist deep fried cheese. You pay R20 for one and R30 for three. I was saving space for pork ribs and pizza, so I only had a few bites, but Kallia really enjoyed the mozzarella sticks pictured.

The reason we came back to the Root 44 Market was for the pizza. After tasting the pork rib tester, I knew I had to get a rack of ribs as well. Kallia also purchased a garlic and chilli condiment from the Dodds & Dütler stall which was a tasty addition to our pizza.

what we eat at Root 44

In the end, the standout dish was the rack of ribs. Served on a bed of chips the ribs are coated in a sweet, sticky and smokey basting. They are cooked so the meat slides off the bone and charred to perfection. I absolutely recommend the ribs to any meat lovers visiting the market. The only caveat I would give is that the portion was too large but luckily my leftovers didn’t go to waste!

Kallia believes that ice-cream deletes food so we nursed our full bellies with mint choc-chip ice-creams from the gelato stall. In our haste to eat them we forgot to take a photo. The cold treat was a suitable end to a sunny day at the Root 44 Market!

Closing Thoughts

food choices at Root 44

What makes the Root 44 Market unique is that the stalls are permanent and well equipped. Unlike pop-up outdoor markets, the building has lovely facilities and indoor and outdoor seating. There is also the option to eat at the restaurant upstairs which is ideal if you are visiting with someone who would prefer to sit and order a meal from a menu over scouting for food from the various stalls. 

This isn’t your typical dusty, farmers market. The Root 44 Market is a modern, stylish location with all the fixings market-goers love. Don’t think twice about adding this destination to your travel itinerary!

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