Our Top Ten Restaurants in South Africa

The Very Best of South African Cuisine at These Restaurants

Boerewors, biltong, melktert, chakalaka, bobotie, potjiekos, bunny chow, vetkoek, sosaties, umngqusho, rusks, waterblommetjiebredie, frikkadel, morogo and Cape Malay curry are a few examples of authentic and typical South African cuisine served at top restaurants from province to province, culture to culture. Learn more about the top 10 restaurants in South Africa in our informative guide to these best eateries and food experiences across the country.  

The very best of South African cuisine is dished up at these restaurants, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, Durban to Johannesburg and beyond. If we could cover every dish, every ingredient and every region we would but for now, we share the 10 best restaurants in South Africa this 2023. 

Cape Town restaurants often win awards for fine wining and dining, their imaginative menus adding class and flavours to restaurant outings like never before. The Mother City is a melting pot for all South Africa’s colourful rainbow nation cultures and some exotic international influences too. From spicy sweet Cape Malay curries in the Bo Kaap to delicate Asian foods laced with saffron and turmeric, wine pairing is also big here. 

When in Johannesburg and Pretoria, do as the locals do and eat traditional boerewors with tomato relish and pap, rich lamb potjie with soft potatoes and gravy, and tripe and trotters steamed all day in a pot with stock, herbs and spices! Finish off your meal with sweet koeksisters dripping in syrup. 

Durban is the best place to eat a good bunny chow, and Johannesburg has something similar – street food called ‘kota’ comprising half a loaf of bread filled with delicious meat, chicken or vegetable curry. Numerous authentic Indian restaurants offer adventurous diners a unique mix of South and North Indian dishes like biryanis and pilaus created from unique indigenous ingredients. 

And now for our top 10 restaurants in South Africa!

Fyn – Cape Town

Fyn Restaurant in Cape Town

Rated one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Fyn has also been voted best restaurant in Africa for its use of fresh farm ingredients in fragile yet robust Japanese fusion food. World-renowned chef, Peter Tempelhoff, incorporates South African flavours and traditional ideas into his menus and methods with their roots in Japan. This is modern cooking with new inspiration daily and if you love exotic foodie experiences with ginger, plum, salty-sweet, garlic and soy, then head on down to Fyn in the city centre. Peter has been the restaurant’s backbone for nearly 25 years and is on top of new ideas coming from both Japan and South Africa in culinary circles.

See the enticing Fyn menu here

La Colombe – Cape Town

La Colombe Restaurant in SA

Also in Cape Town restaurant, La Colombe ranks 56th in the world and serves modern French-meets-Asian cuisine. It’s worth spending a day out in Constantia if you are planning to eat at the famous La Colombe. Dine at the number-one 2019 restaurant of the year in a leafy suburb at Silvermist Wine Estate surrounded by typical Cape mansions and the grace of Table Mountain. 

Renowned chef, Craig Gaag, is the lead actor on this stage of nouvelle cuisine with a complete twist of Cape cultures and ocean treats. Imagine a tiny yellowfin tuna morsel dressed in avo puree, herbs and meat broth. Or a succulent Karoo lamb served on a delicate dish with hints of indigenous spices? What a unique fusion of South African flavours, Asian and French influences, each one a perfect rendition of the chef’s new ideas, his signature recipes pioneered for future chefs to attempt one day!

See the mesmerizing La Colombe menu here

Wolfgat – Paternoster

Wolfgat Restaurant on the Paternoster coastline

When an award-winning restaurant is run by an award-winning chef and it’s situated in one of the most beautiful seaside resorts on the Cape West Coast, you know you have a top dining experience on your hands. Wolfgat and Kobus van der Merwe are a genuine culinary team with a trending focus on sustainability, fresh seasonal homegrown ingredients and inspiration from the natural environment around them. Wolfgat is small and intimate, hosting only 20 diners in one sitting contributing to its sustainability goals. 

Eating out in a cave of archaeological significance adds to the thrill of this imaginative dining sensation set inside a 130-year-old building where ceramic relics, bones and ostrich egg shells were discovered and date back some 2000 years! Kobus was born and bred right here on the West Coast and he knows what people like to eat so he has designed a 7-course menu that includes the traditional salted dried mullet or bokkom, ocean plants, free-range springbok, local mussels and other naturally foraged ingredients. This man cares about the planet and his guests’ appetites!

Find out what’s on the Wolfgat menu when you book and go here

Artistry – Johannesburg

Artistry Restaurant in Joburg

The key word in artistry is art and this is the theme for a funky, top-end restaurant in Johannesburg frequented by creatives who love food, wine, films, theatre and art. All of these attractions have been combined at Artistry in a three-level experience – firstly, a rooftop restaurant with awe-inspiring views of the city, then a theatre below that seats 150 patrons, and finally on the street a lounge bar for the trendy arty crowd. This is the best place for pre- or post-production relaxation pre- or post-fine dining!

Sample Portuguese smokey ground pork sausage flambeed with brown spirits, followed by 3 grilled lamb chops finished off with a mint salsa served with roasted sweet potato and broccolini and the climax a chocolate mousse topped with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream. Wholesome food served with aplomb!

Choose your best meal from the Aristry menu here

Butcher Boys Florida Road – Durban

Butcher Boys Restaurant

Meat, meat and more meat attracts carnivore diners here and has been doing so for nearly 20 years in the heart of Durban’s trendy restaurant walk, Florida Road. Since they opened their doors in 1999, Butcher Boys has been rated as the best steakhouse in Durbs, also featuring a famous in-house butchery where you get customised meat cuts, the freshest there are! Imagine tucking into roasted marrow bones and paper-thin beef or venison carpaccio slices, topped with delicate flavours of basil pesto and grated parmesan. For starters!  Then add wet-aged fillet and spare ribs, in enormous chunks, served with fresh veg and potatoes – and a choice of 12 different sauces.  Besides red meat, the boys also dish up ocean-fresh calamari, prawns and line fish, encouraging the more delicate diners to enter these carnivorous jaws once in a while.

Check out their robust menu here, at the Bucher Boys

Fermier – Pretoria

Fermier Restaurant in Pretoria

The city of the flowering Jacaranda trees in spring is a mauve delight so timing a great meal at Fermier Restaurant during this season will add to your enjoyment of all things flavour and aroma. What’s more, you can stroll into the garden and see the organic produce flourishing, ready to be plucked for your order. Fermier believes in organic purity from the garden and their smaller menu adds quality to each dish. Fermier works on sustainability, ordering additional fresh produce from local farms and recycling their waste back into the soil. 

Top chef, Adriaan Maree, offers an innovative 8-course menu with wine pairing and seasonal ingredients. The 2023 spring menu starts with delicate crayfish and tomato, then a kingklip insert to the main course of pork neck with celeriac and mustard seeds or beef fillet with rocket, asparagus, black garlic and truffle! End this taste sensation with something sweet – lemon, thyme and white chocolate strawberries. Everything is impeccable, from the best wines and service to the décor and warm tones – so stay longer and appreciate decadent cuisine.

See the Fermier Spring Menu here

The Restaurant at Hartford House – Mooi River

Hartford House exterior views

Eating out at the gracious Hartford House in the rolling hills of Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal’s Midlands Meander, is sublime and unforgettable. The old hotel is a heritage building with a deep colonial history and reeks of elegance, the horsey crowd and old-school country wealth. Stay in the luxury suites and appreciate award-winning food, five-star service and an authentic friendly ambience. Head chef, Keegan Lock has trained in Cape Town and top five-star Big 5 Kruger safari lodges developing a flair for French-styled South African food.

His specially designed heavenly 4 or 6-course tasting menu is served on the button at 7 pm presenting wine pairing from the country’s best vintages, decadent creamy desserts and luxury ingredients only ever seen in books. Homegrown produce, locally sourced meats and other funky ingredients from the province’s myriad cultures please taste buds from far and wide. Stay in tune with seasonal health and flavour at Hartford House!

View the Hartford House restaurant here

Tumble Downs Café and Restaurant – Howick, KZN

Guests eating at Tumble Downs Restaurant

Since 2006, Tumble Downs has slowly been growing a loyal following of foodies who love the setting, the views, the huge gardens, the children’s magical playground and the exquisite food on a master menu. Werner and Michele Jacobs moved from a private game lodge to this home in the rolling midlands of KZN to kickstart their restaurant in a crumbling stable block. Now diners can sit beside a log fire while the duo creates special courses for special clients. 

Unusual and new tastes never tasted on other menus before include grilled Camembert with brandy figs, smoked chicken and pepperdew samosas, roasted shredded and spiced duck with aromatic Malaysian spices served with julienne vegetables and orange sherry glaze. Sweet and sour lamb in a Phyllo basket or Portuguese spiced chicken strips in a creamy mushroom and litchi sauce with crispy Phyllo topping! In summer, sit under the trees while the kids play.

See the tempting Tumble Downs menu here

The Coachman on the Bay – Port Elizabeth

The coachman of the bay in PE

An old name reminiscent of an era of elegance and appreciation of the finer things in life, the Coachman on the Bay in Port Elizabeth has become an institution in the city since it opened its doors in the 1970s. Patrons have been loving the food for nearly 50 years and the quality just keeps getting better. Real South African food is served here with flair, by a team who keeps on getting it right. 

The main theme is Greek and the main vibe is cheerful and alive and the Greek food is soulful, earthy and a true sensory explosion. All aromas, tastes, the pleasing presentation and the textures point towards something special. Waitresses even dress in evening gowns to grace the era and occasion while the food ranges from vegetarian black mushrooms drenched in creamy garlic sauce and cheese, calamari and prawn mezze platters,  and sublime creamy seafood pasta. 

A vast and traditional meat menu brims with the usual choices of lamb shank, tender rump steak, chilli sirloin, pork chops, T-bones, spare ribs and variations on the chicken theme such as chicken kebabs, chicken flambé and chicken schnitzel.  Greek baklava for dessert with ice cream or thick cream. Typical steak house food but everything at the Coachman on the Bay is better than the rest.

Check out the extensive Coachman menu right here

The Terrace @ Oliewenhuis Restaurant – Bloemfontein

The terrace in Bloemfontein

Come to unwind amongst greenery and fine art in the beautiful gardens of the Oliewenhuis Art Gallery in Bloemfontein. Try the chicken and mushroom pot pie as an appetiser and enjoy the innovative African Carousel – bring the family, bring your friends, even bring your hiking shoes and come unwind in the tranquil gardens of Oliewenhuis. A business meeting at this convenient venue is ideal too with your favourite burger and fries – good service, good prices, and plenty of peace. 

Art lovers can pop into the historic art gallery which often showcases contemporary South African and exotic artworks. Join the Terrace staff to break away from your reality and tuck into flavourful Mediterranean salads and main meals from olive oil-drenched line fish to grilled calamari and fresh olives and feta.

Find out more about the Terrace here

Enjoy the ten best restaurants in South Africa, our top 10, and our informative guide to the best food experiences across the country. You can sample the very best of South African Cuisine at these award-winning restaurants.

Proceed Booking

Open chat
Have a question?
How can we help you? 🌍