“People with appetite know that great food does not always come on thick tablecloths,” says Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner in the foreword of the new book, 1001 restaurants you must experience before you die. The international guide, compiled by Jenny Linford, with help from experts in many regions around the world, pulls together a particularly wide-ranging selection of restaurants. The contributors, explains Jenny, were asked to suggest “‘iconic’ restaurants… ranging from humble but much-loved gems to luxurious havens of fine dining.” And our very own editor-in-chief, Anelde Greeff, was one of the experts for Africa.
We’re dying to try the roasted eggplant with black garlic yoghurt at Ottolenghi’s restaurant in London, the truffle burned soup bread from Ultraviolet in Shanghai and the carbonara at Roscioli in Rome. (We’re a little more hesitant about the herring in a fur coat from Palkin in Russia and the sheep’s trotter soup from Borsa in Istanbul, but we’re open to discussion on these points.) Wondering which South African restaurants made the cut? Here are the iconic restaurants and their signature dishes* to add to your bucket list right away.
DW Eleven-13 (Dunkeld West) – roasted chicken with braised lettuce
Five Hundred (Sandton) – pork with Jerusalem artichokes and pear-honey chutney
Roots (Krugersdorp) – springbok with cocoa bean ragout
Wandie’s Place (Soweto) –mngqusho (samp and beans), morogo (wild spinach), mogodu (tripe) and chakalaka
Singita Lebombo Lodge (Kruger National Park) – horseradish and grape risotto with crisp-skin salmon
Café Bloom (Midlands) – fresh foods straight from the garden
Capsicum (Durban) – hot sugar bean curry or mutton bunny chow
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse (Drakensberg) – chocolate and ginger soufflé
Carne SA (City Bowl) – La Fiorentina beef
Harbour House (Kalk Bay) – seafood ceviche
La Colombe (Constantia Nek) – umami broth with sea fog
Mzoli’s Place (Gugulethu) – flame-grilled marinated sausage
Panama Jacks (V&A Waterfront) – seafood platter
The Test Kitchen (Woodstock) – wild mushroom and duck liver with morel-glazed sweetbreads
Babel (Franschhoek) – Lamb shank marinated in harissa and buttermilk
Fyndraai (Franschhoek) – wild rosemary-crusted rack of Karoo lamb
Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch) – mussels en papilotte
Makaron (Stellenbosch) – 45-minute oysters
Overture (Stellenbosch) – pork fillet with organic carrots and confit garlic
Pierneef à La Motte (Franschhoek) – Cape bokkom salad with wild garlic vinaigrette
The Tasting Room (Franschhoek) – surprise menu of African seasonal foods
île de Pain (Knysna) – speciality breads and pastries
Mariana’s (Stanford) – chicken pie
Die Strandloper (Langebaan) – flame-grilled snoek with potatoes and sweet potatoes
Oep ve Koep (Paternoster) – Maasbanker bokkom with pear and shoreline herbs
Find the full list in 1001 Restaurants you must experience before you die, edited by Jenny Linford (a Quintessence book, published by Cassel Illustrated).
*Please note that some signature dishes may have changed since publication.