Best restaurants in South Africa

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Pretoria

    Fermier

    Some of South Africa's best contemporary cooking is being served in a large mud-walled and tin-roofed shed in the east of Pretoria. Chef Adriaan Maree conjures up a fabulous nine-course, three-hour-long culinary journey with an underpinning ethos of minimum food waste, sustainability and a celebration of fine local produce. The series of small, creative dishes is magnificent.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Johannesburg

    Calexico Vinyl Lounge and Restaurant

    A California-inspired Tex-Mex restaurant with a hint of craft beer and vinyl mixed in. The mix is delightful. The simple menu (nachos, ribs, sandwiches), the album covers, the neon signs, the Lucha Libre mural, and the sprawling outdoor seating area combine to make the best vibe in the 44 Stanley complex.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Johannesburg

    Yeoville Dinner Club

    Jo'burg's most memorable meal out is in this artily decorated cramped room with a balcony overlooking Rockey St, heart of the much-bad-mouthed, inner-city area of Yeoville. Sanza Sandile is your host and chef, and what an impression he makes both with his wonderful stories about the city and delicious mainly pan-African vegetarian dishes (there is fish). Dining is family-style: all around one big table with up to 20 other guests. You certainly won't go hungry, and it's like being at the best house party. Sanza also runs food-themed walking tours of the area (R800 including dinner).

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Johannesburg

    Breezeblock

    The designers have a done a grand job transforming this old Chinese restaurant into a pastel-shaded haven of mid-century cool amid the gritty 'burb of Brixton. Many come here for its delicious breakfast dishes, which include tempting options such as huevos rancheros and baked pancakes, but find themselves lingering over coffee, seduced by the appealing atmosphere. There's also a good selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as a sheltered courtyard with potted succulents and cacti .

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Johannesburg

    Urbanologi

    Even if Mad Giant's very quaffable beers are not your thing, do not pass over on the microbrewery's fabulous restaurant. Serving an inventive range of delicious Asian-inspired tapas dishes, you really can't go wrong with taste sensations such as the yakitori chicken with spicy chimichurri sauce or teriyaki poached heirloom baby carrots with kumquat marmalade.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

    Salt

    Offering a gastronomic take on False Bay cool, Salt serves mains such as wild kudu goulash, but your best bet is to focus on the small plates (R45), which range from wasabi-dusted calamari to bratwurst with homemade kimchi. The seafood dishes use what's available from the harbour, normally yellowfish; order the angelfish ceviche when it's going. The decor nicely complements the building's original black-and-white tiled floor with wrought ironwork, piping shelves, blackboard menus and big windows overlooking the harbour. Mellow tunes such as Kings of Convenience on the stereo and craft beers on draught add up to a memorable evening. Reservations are not taken so get here early.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cape Town

    Shortmarket Club

    Star chef Luke Dale-Roberts' latest venture hides in plain sight on the street it is named after. It's a gorgeous attic space with a wall of paper butterflies and clubby leather chairs and booths. Dishes include sustainable fish, grass-fed beef (displayed on wheeled trolleys), and plenty of locally grown vegetables. White-jacketed waiters provide a sleek European touch. Unlike his other operations, the Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club, it's possible to walk in without a reservation here – at least for lunch during the week. Book well ahead for dinner, though.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Drakensberg Escarpment

    Wild Fig Tree

    There’s a meat-driven menu and a warm atmosphere here, amid candles, wildlife photos and artworks. It's a great place to sample traditional South African dishes, especially game meat – from ostrich kebabs and crocodile curry to bobotie and potjie stew. The ploughman’s or trout platter makes a terrific lunch, while pizzas, tramezzinis and toasted sandwiches are also on offer. With seating on a breezy balcony, spontaneous song and dance from the staff, and good selections of South African wines and craft beers, it’s a pleasant spot to while away an afternoon or spend an evening.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Johannesburg

    Marble

    Currently one of Jo'burg's hottest restaurants, this is braai (barbecue) given a luxe makeover. Chef David Higgs and his cloth-capped team in the open kitchen allow the quality of meat and fish (and occasional vegetable – take a bow, cauliflower) to shine as it hits the flames. Portions are generous and service effusive. The decor, with huge dramatic photos of black Africans by Krisjan Rossouw, vies with views across the city's affluent suburbs. There's also a fabulous bar with outdoor seating – perfect for pre- or post-dinner cocktails.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

    Foodbarn

    Expect rustic, delicious bistro dishes with suggested wine pairings at master chef Franck Dangereux's restaurant in the relaxed surrounds of Noordhoek Farm Village. The separate, book-lined deli-bakery-cafe (mains R35 to R145) and tapas bar (6pm to 9pm Tuesday to Saturday; small plates R50) is just as good, and stocks its freshly baked goodies and other locally sourced food and drinks. The cafe is open 8am to 4.30pm daily; the deli 8am to 9pm Tuesday to Saturday, and until 5pm Sunday and Monday.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cape Town

    Greenhouse

    Chef Peter Tempelhoff's culinary imagination runs riot in this elegant restaurant that's one of the Cape's top dining destinations. The finest local produce and recipes, from Cape Malay curried octopus to Outeniqua springbok, feature on the 12-course tasting menu. For serious foodies only; desserts are served on petrified Madagascan wood, to remind diners of the circle of life and death. Greenhouse also offers a 'chef for the day' cooking experience, in which you do a shift in the kitchen followed by lunch or dinner.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cape Town

    Chefs

    So called because you can see all the chefs at work in the open kitchen, this is a fab new addition to Cape Town's dining scene with an original concept of 'fast fine dining' that really works. The daily choice of three mains (always including a vegetarian option) look exactly as they do on the touchscreen menu and taste wonderful. There's one dessert and a few good wines and other drinks on offer. Bookings are limited to set times so come early or risk being disappointed, as it's popular – especially for dinner.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Blyde River Canyon

    Potluck Boskombuis

    Look out for the South African flag and follow the red-dirt track to this 'bush kitchen', a makeshift shelter beneath gnarly boulders and trees decorated with animal skulls, its terrace nudging the rocks in the Treur River. Enjoy a cold craft beer and dishes from steaks and spare ribs to bobotie and beef potjie stew, cooked without electricity. Bring a cushion for the hard wooden stools and, if you'd like to work up a good appetite, ask about the 7km riverside hiking trail to Fann's Falls.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cape Town

    Chef's Warehouse & Canteen

    Hurry here for a delicious and very generous spread of small plates from chef Liam Tomlin and his talented crew. Flavours zip around the world, from a squid with a tangy Vietnamese salad to comforting coq au vin. If you can't get a seat (there are no bookings), try their takeaway hatch Street Food in the space under the stoop. Capetonian chefs come here to shop for ingredients and kitchen items, so browse the shop afterwards for a great selection of cookbooks and other culinary treats.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Pretoria

    Grounded At Echo

    It's easy to love this design-savvy cafe run by the nonprofit Echo Youth Development. It's a great spot for breakfast, with a variety of granolas alongside some tempting egg dishes. The coffee and tea are top class and you can buy the beans and leaves (and the adorable mini-gingerbread men served gratis with each cup) to take away. A wall of the cafe acts as a gallery for local artists and next door it also runs a co-working space (per hour/day R15/100, 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday).

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Free State

    Cafe Chocolate

    Part restaurant, part chocolate factory and part theatre, this is Ficksburg's top eatery and de facto cultural centre. Popular items include homemade pastas, pizzas and Maluti trout, and there's a good selection of deli items and fresh, homegrown salads. In the chocolate shop, the owners whip up Belgian truffles with all-organic ingredients, and have created the brand McKinley Chocolates. The restaurant is just downstairs from the Gin-ger Bar.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Port Elizabeth

    Remo's

    You really need to know this place is here, but luckily now you do. What was once a warehouse in a derelict area is now a snazzy cafe with an industrial-chic decor. Start with fabulous antipasti (starters), then delve into the amazing pastas, salads or wood-fired pizzas. Don’t miss the homemade pastries for dessert (the chocolate croissant is particularly good). There’s also first-rate coffee and vitamin-packed fruit juices as well as splendid breakfasts.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Limpopo

    Saskia Restaurant

    Decorated with Rembrandt replicas and stories from the master painter at every turn, you might expect this place at Fusion Boutique Hotel to be a bit stuffy. Not so. The cooking is fresh and assured, with Indonesian fish, Norwegian salmon and all manner of steak, lamb, chicken and (a few) vegetarian options to choose from. Start with the sublime garlic mussels. Not content with being Polokwane's best place to eat, it also has cigar, cocktail and high-tea menus.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cape Town

    Pot Luck Club

    The sister restaurant to Test Kitchen is a more affordable Luke Dale-Roberts option. Sitting at the top of an old silo, it offers panoramic views of the surrounding area, but the star attraction is the food. Dishes are designed to be shared; we defy you not to order a second plate of the beef with truffle-café-au-lait sauce. Sunday brunch (without/with bottomless bubbly R450/650) is highly recommended. Book ahead.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cape Town

    Hog House Brewing Co.

    It couldn't be in a more obscure spot – within a business park in an industrial part of town – but this barbecue restaurant is perpetually busy. The creations of chef PJ Vadas include smoked meats so tender you could cut them with a spoon. The veggie side dishes are just as impressive – you've never eaten cauliflower and aubergine this good. Wash it all down with beers produced in the attached microbrewery. Meat dishes are priced per 100g.