Top places to eat in Jo’burg
1. Fine Dining – Browns of Rivonia
21 Wessels Road, Rivonia, Johannesburg
To make a booking, call 011 803 7533
Recently voted Food24’s Top Restaurant in Johannesburg, Browns boasts a classic menu, with a hint of fusion; one of the largest wine cellars in the country; and a fine fromagerie (cheese room). Dishes to try include the Springbok Carpaccio, Browns Seafood Platter and Pear Wellington. To aid digestion after a rich and decadent meal, have a nibble at a cheese platter from the restaurant’s outstanding fromagerie. Situated in an old farmhouse, Browns exudes old-world, understated elegance – a must for those who’re in love with food and wine.
2. Trendy Dining – Cube Tasting Kitchen
Shop 5, Parktown North Heights, 17 4th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg
To make a booking, call 082 422 8158
Celebrity chef Dario D’Angeli’s new restaurant offers patrons something fresh and new – a gastronomic journey consisting of no less than 23 courses; each one a tiny culinary masterpiece. Described as an ‘intimate 30-seater tasting kitchen’, the idea is to experience a range of different and unique contemporary/fusion dishes which you might not usually taste, whilst being able to see the kitchen and have the chef explain the dishes to you. This cool concept is a huge hit with locals – and definitely worth a try for visitors to the city, but be warned, you need a few hours!
3. Casual Dining – The Butcher Shop & Grill
Shop 30, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Johannesburg
To make a booking, call 011 784 8676
There have been some spin-offs of this concept, yet the original The Butcher Shop & Grill remains a cut above the rest. Offering an upmarket yet unpretentious dining experience, it’s a firm favourite with locals, tourists, and business travellers alike. The menu features the very best pure South African beef, as well as venison and fish, and an extensive selection of fine wines.
Top places to eat in Cape Town
1. Fine Dining – La Perla
Corner of Beach Road and Church Street, Seapoint, Cape Town
To make a booking, call 021 439 9539
Established in the early 1960s, La Perla has been in its current location since 1969. La Perla is old-school; not much has changed here over the past 40 years and this is the secret to the restaurant’s enduring legacy. Expect starched white tablecloths, distinctly retro décor, excellent service, and fine Italian cuisine. A great meal, washed down with excellent wine, is topped by a wonderful view of the Atlantic Seaboard from the patio, where you also get to soak up that distinctive Seapoint vibe.
2. Trendy Dining – Beluga
The Foundry, Prestwich Street, Greenpoint, Cape Town
To make a booking, call 021 418 2948
Beluga is where the rich and famous meet and eat. Think high society; New York, art deco – but all contained within a century-old Cape building, complete with cobbled terrace. It seems contradictory, but works perfectly, giving this popular dining establishment its unique ambience. There’s a strong emphasis on sushi and cocktails (served from the designer bar), but Beluga also serves up decent beef, game and seafood dishes. And not forgetting the impressive wine list.
3. Casual Dining – Simon’s at Groot Constantia
Groot Constantia Wine Estate, Groot Constantia, Constantia, Cape Town
To make a booking, call 021 794 7724
If eating a deliciously simple, mouthwatering meal al fresco appeals to you, then Simon’s is for you. From the terrace, take in the view of the grapevines of Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine estate – as you enjoy a bottle of their fine wine, of course. The menu includes mussels, calamari, and Cape-caught fish, as well as beef, lamb and game dishes. When you’re done eating and drinking, take a walk around the scenic estate and work off those calories.
Top places to eat in Durban
1. Fine Dining – The Grill Room at the Oyster Box
The Oyster Box Hotel, 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks
To make a booking, call 031 514 5000
The Oyster Box is a Durban institution with a fine history – the hotel has been open since the 1930s, converted from a navigational beacon, known as the oyster box, and built in 1869. The Grill Room speaks of the hotel’s heritage; a fine dining establishment perfectly suited to the sweeping colonial grandeur of this grande dame of Durban buildings. Serving a classic, elegant menu with a Durban flavour – prawn and crayfish cocktail; chicken and prawn curry and lobster thermidor are highlights – this restaurant is certainly worth a visit. However, be aware that eating in this stylish Victorian naval-themed dining room with stunning views of the Indian Ocean comes at a price!
2. Trendy Dining – Freedom Café
37-43 St Mary’s Avenue, Greyville, Durban
To make a booking, call 031 309 4453
A restaurant housed in an old container? Yes, indeed! Freedom Café is a funky, fresh urban bistro offering old favourites – like Waldorf Salad and BLT sandwiches – and more sophisticated fusion food (like the splendid Cauliflower and Nutmeg Soup with Crispy Chorizo and Courgette Cappuccino), all from within a converted ship container. The novel architecture provides a fantastic ambience, and the beautiful gardens help you forget the hustle and bustle of the city, if only for a while.
3. Casual Dining – Spiga D’Oro
200 Florida Road, Morningside, Durban
To make a booking, call 031 303 9511
All Durbanites adore Spiga – a vibey, buzzing, busy Italian restaurant at the heart of Durban’s trendy and happening Florida Road district. Serving up simple, hearty Italian dishes at a price you can afford.