In South Africa, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to delicious culinary options. There is a wide range of restaurants starting from local Shisa Nyama to classic Italian, Pub-Grub to authentic Chinese.
With such a wide variety of options around, it is worth noting those restaurants that have managed to stand out amongst the rest and have earned international accolades for their outstanding menus and atmospheres.
1) THE TEST KITCHEN – WOODSTOCK, CAPE TOWN
Regarding the food as Nouvelle Latin cuisine with a South African touch – owner and head chef Luke Dale-Roberts really deserves the top spot in South Africa. His inventive approach to new foods mixed in with the beautiful contemporary décor makes this a must for any serious foodie. Focused on flavor, Luke elevates each dish in the most delightful way with the presentation being on point every time.
The set menus are definitely on the more expensive side but offer a great culinary experience for anyone looking to spend the money and make a booking a good year in advance.
2) CAMPHORES AT VERGELEGEN (SOMERSET WEST)
This restaurant is the imagination of Chef Michael Cooke. He has precisely and playfully decorated and set up this restaurant which has seen him rise up the ranks, placing him in the number six spot this year. Serving since 2012, the specialty of this restaurant is its seasonal 10-course Tour menu, and this is what makes this restaurant as one of the most enjoyable culinary adventures in the Winelands. You can find highlights like the cheese-and-wine pairing dish, or a humble still amazing course of ham hock sausage with pork loin and pancetta. The Malay-pickled kabeljou deeply merged into South-African flavors, while the cured duck breast coupled with duck sausage, parsnip chips, and caramelized shallots is out of the world. This restaurant is also the winner of the 2017 Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award.
You can consider this restaurant to be serving precise dishes that celebrate seasonal ingredients. It’s a very special, exciting menu with flavors that are complex still balanced.
3) THE SHORTMARKET CLUB (CITY BOWL, CAPE TOWN)
The Shortmarket club is a restaurant started by Luke Dale-Roberts, an award-winning and one of the world’s top chefs. This is his fourth restaurant in a row – where Wesley Randles is at the helm. He made his debut on the Top 10 thanks to its bold food that makes the ingredients the core of the show. You can see dished like grass-fed beef tartare with frozen parmesan and celeriac dashi; ‘The Pasta Dish’ with unctuous oxtail ragù, fennel three ways and with burnt butter; and an earthy vegetarian roasted artichoke with hazelnut, aged balsamic and labneh. You can also find the delicate desserts that range from lavender-and-mozzarella crème brûlée to the indulgent 80% Valrhona chocolate fondant.
This restaurant is known for its flavors which are exciting and bold which is the result of using the best ingredients to the maximum.
4) LA COLOMBE – CONSTANTIA, CAPE TOWN
French-infused contemporary cuisine stars in this vineyard restaurant. Being voted in the top 100 restaurants in the world – La Colombe guarantees its patrons the ultimate dining experience.
The delicate and inventive set courses paired with the unbeatable views of Constantia vineyards make this restaurant a real gem to any visitor. Although once again on the pricier side, diners have remarked how they feel they received value for money with food that is out of this world. Owner Scot Kirton ensures each meal is plated delicately while bursting with flavour. Diners can also enjoy certain dishes being finished off at their table in some seriously creative ways.
5) THE RESTAURANT AT WATERKLOOF – SOMERSET WEST
Modern French cuisine and impeccable wine pairing keep this restaurant in the top spots. Chef Gregory Czarnecki creates dishes to pair with the world-class Waterkloof wines. Start off with an amuse-bouche to kick off one of the set menus. Each meal is designed to elevate even the simplest of ingredients, and with an open plan kitchen diners are witness to each meals creation.
The set courses immerse patrons on a journey that only food and wine can tell, and patrons will feel involved from the first course to last.
6) RESTAURANT MOSAIC AT THE ORIENT – ELANDSFONTEIN, PRETORIA
Chef Chantel Dartnell creates unforgettable edible works of art with her plating, layering and texturing. Being named chef of the year, you can be assured each meal out of her kitchen will be of the highest standard and taste. Each meal takes the diner on a fun flavourful journey.
Try out the Irish Scallop maritime broth and pickled radishes – finished at the table with a lemongrass and seaweed broth. Art nouveau décor and food that takes patrons on a gastronomy journey ensures that the Restaurant Mosaic does not disappoint.