Life as we used to know it might be on hold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to a fabulous food experience at any of these must-visit restaurants in South Africa!
beyond at Buitenverwachting
From the legendary chef-patron, Peter Tempelhoff of FYN comes the uncomplicated, yet elegant restaurant beyond at Buitenverwachting Wine Estate in Constantia. The menu is firmly grounded in an ingredient-centric food philosophy that prioritizes provenance, quality, and curiosity (think: seasonal heirloom vegetables, artisanal cheeses, and rare-breed meats). The restaurant space itself is sophisticated and restrained, allowing its gorgeous surroundings and food to take centre stage. The menu includes free-range ostrich tataki, extra-aged Limousin beef, and a roast pear cream choux bun.
Where: 37 Klein Constantia Road, Constantia, Cape Town
Botanicum at Morgenster
Located at Morgenster Wine & Olive Farm in the Helderberg, right on the foothills of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, is Botanicum, a family-friendly restaurant with a mouth-watering menu of modern European cuisine and Neapolitan-style sourdough pizzas, which pair beautifully with Morgenster’s terroir-driven wines and olive oils. The open layout interior lives up to its name with décor of botanical prints and plants, while enormous windows allow sunlight and views of the surrounding winelands to stream in.
Where: Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate, Vergelegen Avenue, Somerset West, Cape Town
9th Avenue Waterside
With résumés including experience at several top international establishments, Graham and Gina Neilson were inspired to open their own restaurant, 9th Avenue Waterside, in Morningside, Durban. This sleek, white-accented bistro, located right on the water in Durban Harbour, offers artful and modern French-inspired cuisine in a warm and unpretentious atmosphere. The team endeavour to use locally sourced produce only, to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible and in turn, supporting the local economy.
And with an ever-evolving menu and wine list, the award-winning 9th Avenue Waterside promises to keep it fresh and interesting.
Where: 2 Maritime Place, Durban
Casa Labia, Muizenberg
Built-in 1929 in the style of 18th Century Venetian architecture, Casa Labia is regarded as the unofficial Grande Dame of Muizenberg. Here, mural ceilings, ornate cornicing, chandeliers, vintage furniture, stunning gardens, and ocean views set the scene for an unforgettable meal. The menu features simple Italian style food, homemade cakes and pastries, excellent wines, cocktails, and “the best coffee in Muizenberg”. Casa Labia is also famous for its high tea and picnics (pre-booked).
Where: 192 Main Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town
ëlgr has stepped into the Kloof Street venue previously occupied by Janse & Co., bringing with it a modern, casual, and multi-cultural dining experience. The name, which translates from Old Norse to ‘moose’, pays homage to Chef Jesper Nilsson’s Swedish heritage. The diverse menu includes charcuterie boards, authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas, and offers an extensive wine list.
Inside, abundant foliage and a calm green and charcoal colour palette inspire tranquillity. Outside, a sunny, spacious courtyard complete with cocktail bar.
Where: 75 Kloof Street, Cape Town
Chefs Lisa De Beer and Darren O’Donovan have combined their considerable talents at the new restaurant Embarc in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. What was once a conveyer belt sushi joint at the corner of 4th and 13th is now a trendy, understated eatery that’s light, contemporary, and inviting. The menu, which serves up high-end, yet unpretentious dishes that are gorgeously presented, is a highlight reel of the chefs’ greatest hits and new inspirations.
Where: Shop 2, Sunlit Court, 34 Fourth Avenue, Parkhurst, Johannesburg
Located within the luxurious embrace of the Houghton Hotel in Johannesburg, Séjour touts itself as a “refreshingly refined and unique culinary escape within the city”. Here, diners can anticipate a contemporary, globally inspired, and laid-back approach to fine dining within the restaurant’s three spaces: the main dining room, outside terrace, and Astra Lounge & Champagne Bar. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer sweeping views over the golf course and natural surroundings, while the minimalist décor creates a tranquil environment within.
Where: The Houghton Hotel, Lloys Ellis Ave, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg