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The best African restaurant in Gauteng

Joburg and Pretoria have some superb African restaurants, serving cuisine from all over the continent. But when it comes to our readers’ favourites, one Menlo Park Moroccan spot really stood out.

La Terrasse in the early morning. Photo supplied.

La Terrasse Rooftop Cafe & Deli won the Best African Eatery category for Gauteng at the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries on Tuesday night. This year’s winners were chosen by means of a two-step process. All user reviews from the period 1 October 2016 to 30 August 2017 were used to create a shortlist of restaurants. Then our critics set out to put the front-runners through the gauntlet. The winners are a result of a composite rating, 50-50 users to critics.

Here’s why La Terrasse came out top.

A breakfast tangia at La Terrasse. Photo supplied.

From our readers:

“I have never been to Morocco, but eating at the restaurant made me long for a trip up North. But I have comfort because I now have a place to go where I can enjoy cuisine from across the borders of SA without having to go far.”
– Valerie Mukwevho

“La Terrasse has been my favourite meeting place for years now and apart from the beautiful food presentation, you come up with fresh ideas to entice me to return. Your Moroccan-spiced chicken livers are better than any peri-peri Portuguese version that I have tasted before. So much depth in the flavour! The Moroccan-spiced flatbreads that you serve with this dish is so good!”
– Mase Sekhitla

Moroccan House. Photo supplied.

“I am a vegetarian and, although my friends always invite me to join them for lunch, I often think of excuses why I cannot join them, because vegetarian to a lot of restaurants means boiled vegetables. The selection of Moroccan soups here made me drool, and they were all vegetarian! There was a red lentil soup; a traditional Harira soup; cauliflower with Edam cheese; carrot and cumin; and a pomegranate-and-beetroot soup. I had the red lentil soup served with Moroccan flatbread. It was wow and I was smiling from ear to ear!
– Wizar T

View more reader reviews on the La Terrasse listing.

From our critic

Isiguzoro Oyeoziri

A wall niche captures some of the colour of Morocco. Photo supplied.

Food

Inspired by their travels in Morocco, the owners have recreated the trappings, look and aroma of a restaurant on the streets of Marrakesh. As for the food, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth of exotic flavours.

Start with Moroccan beef meatballs in a tangy tomato sauce, served on a bed of jewelled butternut and coriander couscous, or a glorious traditional Moroccan soup, with a tomato base, lentils, chickpeas and an exotic range of spices and herbs.

Next, indulge in a tagine (choose between lamb, tomato-lamb, chicken, beef or butternut). The lamb tagine, with dates and honey, is a journey to exotic sensory destinations. The meat is served well-done – firm, but not tough or chewy – just like well-cooked meat should be. It comes served on a bed of couscous ringed with lemon slices, which lend a zesty tang to the whole ensemble. The sweet honey combines excellently with the meaty lamb, and counterbalances the slightly sour couscous.

The magnificent Chicken Bastilla is a Moroccan fusion chicken pie with layers of phyllo pastry, orange-blossom water, roasted almonds and a rich chicken-and-egg filling. It’s topped with a mushroom relish.

A chicken tagine with green olives and preserved lemon. Photo supplied.

There are several vegetarian dishes to ensure that, no matter the company, there is something for everyone.

The rosewater cheesecake. Photo supplied.

End the meal on the Sheklat Malika Chocolate Queen, a chocolate tart with nuts, dried cranberries, spices and chilli, and is served with rose-flavoured whipped cream. Else try the Moroccan Ghoriba biscuits – round, shortbread cookies usually made with flour, sugar, butter, and almonds. La Terrasse offers versions made with hazelnuts, cinnamon, walnuts or coconut. Also on offer: chocolate sesame cones and rosewater brownies.

Drinks

The drinks list is conventional, with the addition of a selection of fragrant teas.

Service

The service is great here. Expect friendly, smiling waiters in simple Moroccan garb, who are quite knowledgeable about the menu choices and can be of help in selecting a dish. The owners treat diners like esteemed house guests, with good doses of warm hospitality from the moment you enter.

On the balcony. Photo supplied.

Ambience

Distinctly Moroccan. You could be forgiven for thinking that you are on a pleasant set for a production of Arabian Nights or A Thousand and One Nights.

Make your opinion count: review your favourite African restaurant right now, and put them in the running for next year’s Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries.

View all the winners from the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries.

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