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What it costs to eat at SA’s best restaurants

Have you got a special anniversary coming up, or are you planning a blow-out birthday lunch? Whether you’re saving up your pennies for an occasion at SA’s numero uno spot, or you’re simply curious to see what it costs to eat at the country’s best restaurants, we’ve got the ultimate budget-blowing list for your reading pleasure. Here’s what it costs to eat at South Africa’s top 19 restaurants. (Davis Higgs’s Five Hundred at The Saxon has closed since the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards in November last year.)

A wintery meat dish at Foliage. Photo by Jan Ras.

A wintery meat dish at Foliage. Photo by Jan Ras.

Eat Out Top 10

The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)

R525 or R825 with wine for Vegetarian Discovery; R625 or R925 with wine for Lunch Discovery; R1200 or R1600 with wine and R1500 with TWG Tea pairing for Dinner Gourmand.

As the number-one restaurant in the country, The Test Kitchen attracts local and international food lovers, who flock to get a taste after waiting months for a table. Incorporating South African flavours and Asian flair, every dish is precise, unique and absolutely beautiful to look at. Look forward to dishes like scallop with Naturalis bacon, cauliflower cheese foam and black garlic, or duck with figs and barbecue meringue.

Light shining in through the windows onto the furniture at The Test Kitchen. Photo supplied.

Light shining in through the windows onto the furniture at The Test Kitchen. Photo supplied.

La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)

R870 or R1270 with wine for Gourmand menu or R1680 with fine and rare wine; R650 or R1050 with wine for Vegetarian Gourmand menu and R1460 with fine and rare wine. R200 average main for a la carte lunch, R650 for four-course classic dinner menu or R395 for vegetarian classic menu.

Chef of the year Scot Kirton is a master at creatively plating beautiful food. Your options at this elegant Constantia valley restaurant might be poached oyster with lemon seaweed and apple; smoked ox tongue with coriander, ginger capers and an umami broth; citrus glazed scallop with pork belly crepinette and cauliflower fondant; and cherry blossom dessert with Manjari 64% chocolate cremeux, cherry stracciatella and kirsch.

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek, Cape Winelands)

R875 for eight-course tasting menu (R1390 with wine).

Chef Margot Janse’s surprise menu is a playful, innovative feast of visual surprises. South Africa’s no. 3 restaurant might serve up the likes of a fish dish with seaweed and buchu, or duck baked in salt with buckwheat and wild rosemary. The menu changes often, so it’s best to go in with no preconceptions and allow the team to surprise you and take you on a journey.

A dish of perlemoen, waterblommetjie and sour fig. Photo by Jan Ras.

A dish of perlemoen, waterblommetjie and sour fig. Photo by Jan Ras.

Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort (Constantia, Cape Town)

R750 for a five-course autumn tasting menu (R1050 with wine); R1050 for seven-course African Origins set menu (R1450 with wine); and R4000 per couple for The Virtues of Dom Perigon six-course champagne-paired menu.

This is playful, avant-garde cuisine, beautifully presented and cooked with sustainable produce. The dramatic menu impresses with dishes like the ball of dough that is left to rise at the table to be eaten with the masterful cheese course. The Four Degrees of Cheese is composed of Dalewood’s Huguenot that is treated in four different ways: warm soufflé, a shaving of a six-month matured version, a panna cotta, and a creamy ice cream.

The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West, Cape Winelands)

Two courses off the à la carte menu for R370 or three courses for R480; R900 for six-course degustation menu or R1100 with wine pairing.

With astonishing views of the vineyards, mountains and False Bay, this restaurant is perfect for lovers of modern food and modern spaces. The light and fresh menu might feature the likes of Norwegian salmon gravlax with salmon roe and egg mimosa; Magaliesburg duck with beets and pickled cherries; and blood peach panna cotta with plum, rhubarb and yoghurt.

A beautifully plated dish at The Restaurant at Waterkloof. Photo supplied.

A beautifully plated dish at The Restaurant at Waterkloof. Photo supplied.

Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)

R700 for Market Degustation Menu (R350 to R400 extra for wine pairing); R1100 for Grande Degustation Menu (R450 to R550 extra for wine pairing); R1100 for Pescatarian Degustation Menu (R450 to R550 extra for wine pairing); R735 for Vegetarian Degustation Menu (R450 to R550 extra for wine pairing).

The opulent menu at this lavish restaurant is inspired by the seasons. The beautifully presented dishes from the Roots & Shoots menu include floral- and earth-inspired tastes like salt-crusted beetroot and heirloom salad; Irish scallop with maritime broth and horseradish root; 36-days matured angus beef with sweetbreads, country mushrooms and cognac cream; and Callebaut chocolate, vanilla confit pear and Italian dark chocolate gelato.

Terroir (Stellenbosch, Cape Winelands)

Average main meal of R200.

Chef Michael Broughton’s delicious dishes are expertly cooked, wonderfully layered with flavours, and generous portioned. Think smoked tomato tart with goat’s cheese, garden peas and a 64°C egg; braised lamb-neck tortellini with apricot-and-almond crumble; and caramel-roasted pineapple brioche tipsy cake with vanilla ice cream.

A beautiful dish at Terroir. Photo by Jan Ras.

A beautiful dish at Terroir. Photo by Jan Ras.

The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock, Cape Town)

R400 set menu with an additional R200 for bottomless bubbly for Sunday brunch; R100 per tapas size plate for lunch and dinner.

This stylish Woodstock eatery is known for bold, colourful flavours in a trendy setting with spectacular views. The menu is a sensation for the taste buds with sections dedicated to salty, sweet, umami, sour, bitter and a sweet ending. Look out for the legendary fish tacos with fresh ceviche; masa ciabatta with chimichurri; beef tataki with hoisin dressing; mushrooms on toast; and malted chocolate fondant soufflé with halva ice cream.

Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch, Cape Winelands)

R325 for two-course set menu; R375 for three-course set menu; R420 for four-course tasting menu (an extra R220 with wine pairing).

This relaxed yet stylish winelands restaurant boasts a menu that’s thoughtfully considered by chef George Jardine. The seasonal menu might include the likes of steamed new asparagus, salted lemon beurre blanc, fresh and fried buffalo mozzarella, aged Chalmar sirloin with confit tomato and aubergine, and Valrhona chocolate Royaltine, with burnt meringue and hazelnut ice cream.

A vibrant dish at Jordan Restaurant. Photo by Jan Ras.

A vibrant dish at Jordan Restaurant. Photo by Jan Ras.

The nominees

Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West, Cape Winelands)

R325 for two-course à la carte menu and R395 for three courses; R585 for five-course tasting menu (R795 with wine pairing).

Past highlights at this estate restaurant include seafood potjie with seaweed and herbs, lamb with salsa verde and fynbos, and stonefruit with amasi, koeksisters and sake. Pair them with Vergelegen’s award-winning wines and you’re in for a treat.

Chefs Warehouse (City Bowl, Cape Town)

R540 for set tapas for two.

Chef Liam Tomlin’s buzzing kitchen on Bree Street offers City Bowl diners vibrantly flavoured and beautifully plated tapas-style eating. Past highlights include feather-light gnocchi, silky pea-and-butternut risotto, fresh salmon and oysters, and creamy lemon posset.

A tapas-style spread at Chef's Warehouse. Photo by Jan Ras.

A tapas-style spread at Chefs Warehouse. Photo by Jan Ras.

DW Eleven-13 (Dunkeld West, Johannesburg)

R550 for seven-course menu (R950 with wine and R750 non-alcoholic pairing).

Chef Marthinus Ferreira turns out delicious and generous food, from seared salmon and veal sweetbreads to polenta and lamb belly with croquettes. Desserts might feature the likes of brie ice cream or coconut sorbet.

Foliage (Franschhoek)

R180 average for main meal.

Chris Erasmus cooks with wild and organic ingredients that are seasonally foraged and beautifully presented. Think braised beef brisket with forest mushrooms, or crayfish with mussel tomato butter curry and gnocchi. Past dessert highlights have included bitter-sweet Valrhona chocolate with carrot cultured cream and buchu ice cream.

Indochine (Stellenbosch)

R315 avgerage for main meal.

This is Pan-Asian food with contemporary flair. The à la carte menu might feature the likes fragrant mussel laksa or beef rendang curry with coconut and tapioca. Dessert may include a banana-chocolate spring roll with nut fudge, praline ice cream and chocolate ribbons.

The interior and deck at Indochine Restaurant. Photo supplied.

The interior and deck at Indochine Restaurant. Photo supplied.

The Kitchen at Maison (Franschhoek, Cape Winelands)

Average main meal of R190.

Not your typical wine farm fare, dishes by chef Arno Janse van Rensburg are modern with multi-cultural influences. Look forward to trout with mustard and skin crackling; lamb belly with rhubarb and plum; and dark chocolate with banana, coffee and beer.

The Kitchen at Maison

The interior at The Kitchen at Maison. Photo supplied.

Overture (Stellenbosch, Cape Winelands)

R410 for three-course set menu; R620 for six-course tasting menu.

Chef Bertus Basson focuses on fresh, natural flavours here, using top-quality produce and precise technique for intense and delicious flavours. Look forward to clever cooking with dishes like Chalmar beef rib-eye, pumpkin, coffee sauce and spinach purée; Joostenberg Vlakte confit duck leg with turnip and pickled cabbage; and caramel slice with white chocolate mousse, apple and apple ice cream.

The Restaurant at Newton Johnson (Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus)

R285 for two-course lunch and R375 for three courses; R460 for four-course dinner and R595 for six-course dinner tasting menu.

Eric Bulpitt’s dishes are bursting with flavour and showcase pure and tasty country cooking. Expect the likes of duck sausage roll with hazelnut, prune and pickled onion flowers; line-caught geelbek with radish and ponzu dressing; and chocolate parfait with Valrhona white-chocolate mousse and espresso tuille.

A view of the Boland mountains at The Restaurant at Newton Johnson. Photo supplied.

A view of the Boland mountains at The Restaurant at Newton Johnson. Photo supplied.

Rust en Vrede Restaurant (Stellenbosch, Cape Winelands)

R620 for four courses, R750 for six courses (R1200 with wine); R2000 for the Estate Experience menu.

Expect excellent service with attention to detail at this elegant wine farm restaurant. Chef John Shuttleworth impresses with dishes like roasted honey-glazed duck with cabbage; fillet of beef with prunes and ponzu; twice-baked goat’s cheese soufflé with red-onion marmalade; and white chocolate and yoghurt mousse with raspberries.

Tokara (Franschhoek, Cape Winelands)

Average main meal of R180.

Chef Richard Carstens combines French, Spanish and Asian flavours with experimental techniques at this polished hillside restaurant. Expect expertly cooked dishes like crisp quail with sweet potato, shiitake and brown-butter crème; fire-roasted miso beef with spinach, buckwheat and a parmesan-and-porcini jus; and Tokara olive-oil cake with gruyère ice cream and meringue.

While we take care to ensure the accuracy of this information, some details and prices may change without our knowledge.

A dish at Tokara by chef Richard Carstens. Photo by Jan Ras.

A dish at Tokara by chef Richard Carstens. Photo by Jan Ras.

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