Best restaurants in Southern Africa

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Pretoria


    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


    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


    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 Lusaka

    Sugarbush Cafe

    This picture-postcard idyllic cafe is worth every kwacha of the journey it takes to get here. Chill out for an afternoon at one of the picnic tables munching on homemade bread and pastries, salads made with organic homegrown vegetables, and expertly prepared sandwiches, pasta and meat dishes, as well as a glass of wine, or Pimms by the jug. Its breakfasts and coffee are also quality, while every Sunday from noon to 3pm is a special roast rump of beef and Yorkshire pudding meal (ZMW150) – reservations recommended. There are regular events here, so check its Facebook page for what's coming up. It's on the same premises as the also highly recommended Lightfoot Zambia shop It's past the turnoff for Kilimanjaro Lodge; count on around ZMW100 taxi trip here.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Harare


    Don some nice threads as Amanzi is a class act and still the special night out. In a stunning colonial house with African decor, local art (for sale) and an amazing garden, it serves delicious international fusion dishes with a great vibe. The outdoor patio is ridiculously atmospheric with a nearby garden waterfall and crackling fire brazier. Bookings essential. Tapas is served all day and the bar is also good. Its vegetarian Shop Café does weekday lunch buffets. On Fridays there's a farmers market with stalls selling multicultural food and produce, with 50% of proceeds going to the SPCA. Check out its website for other upcoming events, including live music on Thursday evenings.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula


    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 Mozambique

    Restaurante Maúa

    Tap any local with taste buds and they'll probably tell you that this place – one of several restaurants in the Feira Popular complex – serves the best food in Chimoio, possibly even central Mozambique. The menu leans heavily towards Mozambican flavours, with excellent tiger prawns, piri-piri chicken, steak and matapa (cassava leaves sauteed with cashews and coconut milk). The atmosphere and temperature are both pleasantly chilled. The Feria Popular is a walled compound on the main EN6 road about 15 minutes' walk from the city centre. Arrive early – it gets busy.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Zambia

    Courtyard Cafe

    A part of the boutique Mukwa Lodge, this attached restaurant is hands down Kitwe's best place to eat. Its menu is split between Portuguese and Indian, and both are authentic and exquisite. Its classy decor comprises flagstone floor, heavy wood furniture, French doors onto the garden, plenty of windows and exposed red brick. The lodge is in the process of shifting its restaurant across the road to 17 Mpezeni Ave, most likely to be named Cardamom. If you're heading to Chingola, also keep an eye out for its new restaurant there called Cumin, which is scheduled to open 2017.

  • 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 Southern Malawi

    Casa Rossa

    In an atmospheric old colonial house, this Italian-owned guesthouse restaurant serves the best pasta dishes this side of Naples, including unique local variations such as chambo and ginger ravioli. The ingredients come from the local market, and rich dishes such as ravioli filled with beef cooked in red wine, served with butter and rosemary, exude a passion for Italian cuisine. You can see for miles from the veranda, making Casa Rossa a popular choice among local aid workers and others in the know. It's great for breakfast and a decent cup of coffee, too.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Johannesburg


    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


    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 Victoria Falls (town)


    Enjoy a taste of Africa at this buffet restaurant set under a massive thatched roof. Here you can dine on smoked crocodile tail, BBQ warthog, guinea fowl stew and wood-fired spit roasts; and the more adventurous can try a mopane worm (you'll get a certificate from the chef for your efforts). There's also traditional dancing (8pm), interactive drumming (8.45pm) and fortune telling by a witch doctor. Bookings essential. During the day it's a casual lunch spot doing sandwiches, fish and chips etc, and a pool for guests use.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cape Town


    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


    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 Lilongwe

    Ad Lib

    An adventurous extension of a hip Glaswegian diner chain, this popular local gathering spot has a covered street-front terrace and a jolly red-walled interior with a long bar. The menu gallops enthusiastically across a broad spectrum, including steaks, jerk chicken, fish and chips, wood-smoked meats, nachos, quesadillas, Angus-beef burger (recommended) and southern fried chicken popcorn. The lively atmosphere and nightly entertainment will probably make you want to linger over an Irish or Amarula coffee.