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11 hot new restaurants to try in and around Durban

It’s been a busy few months for the Durban restaurant scene and the latest trend seems to show familiar brands spreading their wings and opening up new branches along the city’s shores. From chicken shops to Italian and Mexican hotspots, here’s your list of the latest restaurants to open in the KZN city.

Afro’s Chicken (Durban North & Hillcrest)

It started off in the famous yellow container on the beachfront, and now this buzzing chicken shop has branches popping up all over the city. The new Durban North and Hillcrest branches are keeping things going by serving the famed chicken burgers, strips and tjips, and breakfast buns. Order your chicken in the best chilli sauce in town or with a lemony dressing. It’s best served with a side of their golden tjips to mop up all the sauce, or the fresh slaw.

The famed chicken burger from Afro’s. Photo supplied.

Bird & Co. (Ballito)

Jumping on the chicken train is this new chook shop in Ballito from the team behind Salt Rock’s BBM Café. Tuck into offerings of deboned half chickens, wings, burgers and wood-fired pizzas. The chickens are all free-range and come in bastings of hot, mild or lemon and herb. As for the pizzas, the large selection includes classic, gourmet and signature options. From the latter list, try the Bird & Co. topped with peri-mayo, chicken, chorizo, caramelised onions and avo.

Daruma (Umhlanga)

Most Durbanites will know of Daruma at the Southern Sun Elangeni. Now, the Japanese restaurant has opened another branch at The Pearls in Umhlanga. The large menu features rice and noodle dishes as well as traditional teppanyaki with meat, veg and seafood options available. Alternatively, you could go for sushi or a sushi, tempura and sashimi platter.

Fábrica (Sunningdale)

This beautifully decorated coffee spot has opened in the newly revamped Sunningdale Centre in October. The large daytime menu features an impressive selection of coffees, from Vietnamese coffee to classic Greek coffee. This is followed by breakfasts likes shakshouka, omelettes and three different kinds of Benedicts. If you head here for lunch, expect a range of dishes with a Mediterranean slant, including puttanesca pasta, moussaka or souvlaki.

Lupa (Ballito and Umhlanga)

This Italian neighbourhood favourite has branched out from its Durban North and Hillcrest eateries and opened two more along the north coast shores. Both the Ballito and Umhlanga branches popped up over the busy festive season where throngs of people have been enjoying their crispy wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas, and signature roast porchetta Fridays. If you’re visiting one of these stylish spots, be sure to end on bombolini (Italian-style doughnuts with a cognac-and-chocolate sauce).

A pizza from Lupa Osteria. Photo supplied.

Mo Noodles (Ballito)

Wildly popular in Umhlanga, this noodle bar has opened a new branch at Ballito’s Lifestyle Centre. The flavour-packed menu starts off with the likes of beef sashimi or seared calamari with lime, followed by zingy soups like the hot and sour chicken and prawn version. For mains, order a portion of drunken noodles with chicken or prawn, or Thai green curry with pan-fried veg noodles.

NIKOS (Ballito)

One of the newest KZN additions to the NIKOS brand is this sea-facing spot. Sit on the sunny deck located above the beach and take in the views of the Ballito beach and tidal pool. Head here with a crowd and order some mezze-style plates to share. Dishes include spanakopita, loaded hummus with fresh pita bread, and a saucy bowl of calamari saganaki with an ouzo and Napoletana sauce. Alternatively, go for gold with a hearty souvlaki-filled yiros. The team is also working on a new menu that will feature succulent prawns and chips.

The views at NIKOS in Ballito. Photo supplied.

Salsa Mexican Grill (Umhlanga)

This popular Mexican brand opened its doors in Umhlanga Village in December to rave reviews. The vibrant eatery serves up everything from fajitas and tacos to burritos, bowls and enchiladas. You can also build your own Mexican feast with a choice of bases, bowls, protein and extras. Alternatively, just head here with a big crowd and order blood orange margarita jugs with some signature spicy nachos and guac topped with pickled jalapeño or pulled pork.

Scoop (Ballito)

This scoop shop opened at the Market at Ballito Lifestyle Centre in November. The team whips up creamy custard-based ice cream made with sugar from local farms in KZN, eggs and milk. A variety of flavours on offer includes Madagascan vanilla with salted-macadamia praline, pineapple sorbet, and 70% Belgian chocolate. The shop has also jumped on sweet treat trends like ice-cream scrolls and golden bubble waffles.

Tree Natural (Mount Edgecombe)

This health café opened its doors in Mount Edgecombe in January. The small space serves up a selection of healthy eats that cater to all sorts of dietary requirements. Enjoy all-day breakfasts, smoothie bowls, wraps, salads, pokè bowls and more. Wash it down with one of a cold-pressed juice or a decent coffee with a shot of almond milk.

A healthy bowl at Tree Natural. Photo supplied.

Waxy O’Connors (Sunningdale)

Also situated at the Sunningdale Centre is this Irish-style pub. Stop by for a pint or two, or to watch some weekend sport. The menu covers all the bases, with pub fare ranging from gourmet bangers to steak, egg and chips, Natal Indian curry, or home-style pies. Also look out for one of their weekday specials like two-for-one burgers on Wednesdays.

Brought to you by Retail Capital, sponsors of the Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year Award. Want to find more new restaurants in your city? Check out our new restaurants section.

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