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The best steakhouses in South Africa: Where to eat in 2016

There’s a lot that goes into your favourite fillet at your local grill. Top steakhouses offer much more than just a piece of meat – they take care in considering everything from the diet and quality of life of the animal to the careful ageing and precise cooking to make that bite of steak meltingly tender and full of flavour. Whether you’re looking for grain-fed sirloin topped with a rich mushroom sauce or dramatic flambéed chateaubriand with a side of impossibly golden chips, here’s our list of the best steakhouses in the country that are ready to calm your carnivorous cravings.

Here's where to get meltingly tender and flavoursome steaks across SA. Photo: Thinkstock

Here’s where to get meltingly tender and flavoursome steaks across SA. Photo: Thinkstock

This list comprises all the steakhouse restaurants in the Eat Out 500, the best restaurants in South Africa as rated and reviewed by our critics for the 2016 Eat Out magazine, plus our winners of the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Everyday Eateries.

Johannesburg

The Butcher Shop & Grill (Sandton)
This vast meat empire serves hundreds of steaks a day. It’s an attraction for tourists, business folk and lovers of local or Argentinean beef. Order grass- or grain-fed, on or off the bone, aged up to 40 days, and any cut you desire. There’s also venison, lamb, succulent ribs and ostrich.

The interior at The Butcher Shop & Grill in Sandton. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The interior at The Butcher Shop & Grill in Sandton. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Che Argentine Grill (Maboneng Precinct)
At this spacious converted warehouse restaurant, guests can enjoy a menu packed with grilled favourites. You can start with chorizo and meaty empanadas accompanied by delicious chimichurri, but the star of the show is cooked on a four metre wood-fired grill in the centre of the restaurant. You mouth will be watering by the time you order your steak, short-rib, pork belly, or grilled chicken. Choose from generous sides like fries, roasted potatoes and roasted veg.

A pork dish at the Che Argentine Grill. Photos courtesy of Rupesh Kassen.

A pork dish at the Che Argentine Grill. Photos courtesy of Rupesh Kassen.

Fireside Bistro (Norwood)
This unique concept eatery has the grilling done for you by the owner on an open fire. Start off with boerewors or queen prawns with peri-peri or lemon butter. The real heroes are superb deboned peri-peri deboned chicken, chimichurri rump, ostrich steak and lamb cutlets, all served with heavenly roast potatoes, veg or salad. Save space for marvellous salted caramel profiteroles.

The Grillhouse (Sandton and Rosebank)
This formal steakhouse is popular with big groups and offers great grills and a good wine selection. For starters, try their famous grilled black mushrooms, a mezze platter or springbok carpaccio. For mains, their rib-eye steak with pap and chakalaka is substantial and delicious, and speciality meat platters are perfect for sharing. The desserts range from crème brûlée to New York cheesecake and brownies.

The Local Grill (Parktown North)
At this classy, buzzing venue, the impressive ageing room emulates an old-fashioned butcher shop with wet-aged, dry-aged, grain-fed, free-range, Karan or Greenfields steaks in rump, sirloin, fillet, T-bone, or rib-eye. Other moreish options include Namibian oysters, beef pie, oxtail with mashed potatoes, and slow-roasted chicken with lemon and thyme. Their wine cellar also showcases different estates each month.

A steak from The Local Grill. Photo supplied.

A steak from The Local Grill. Photo supplied.

The Meat Co. (Melrose Arch)
If you’re looking for all things meaty, this is the place. The steak is prime and they serve all the classics, like rump, sirloin and T-bone, not forgetting a good selection of sides and toppings. Carnivores will also enjoy the pork ribs with their famous sauce and chips. The fillet stuffed with sundried tomatoes, green peppercorns, mozzarella, basil and piquant peppers is delicious.

Thunder Gun Steakhouse (Northcliff)
The owners have come up with a winning recipe and they’re sticking to it. The star of the show is undoubtedly the enormous rib dish: The ‘Lone Ranger’ is a whopping kilogram of delicious pork ribs, served with the option of Portuguese basting or original barbecue basting. The steaks are also excellent; try the sirloin rubbed with mustard seed, rosemary and coarse salt, or the spicy jalapeño fillet. There are also some great seafood offerings.

Turn ’n Tender (Parktown North)
You can look forward to steakhouse classics at this modern and popular space. Go for the ribs, steaks, burgers, wings, biltong platters and potjie. Creamy chicken peri-peri livers and grilled calamari are good starters, and the signature chimichurri spiral-cut steak is an excellent main course. For the hungry and indecisive, try one of the combos of ribs and chops or chicken and beef spare ribs. To finish, try one of their decadent desserts like Oreo chocolate mousse or Bar-One cheesecake.

A fillet and chips at Turn 'n Tender. Photo supplied.

A fillet and chips at Turn ‘n Tender. Photo supplied.

Wombles Steakhouse Restaurant (Parktown North)
More than just a steakhouse, Wombles is a fine-dining restaurant that specialises in beef and venison. The steak tartare here is famously faultless. Top picks are the perfect rump, sirloin and fillet. A selection of seasonal veggies is complimentary with every main meal and there’s a choice of sauces like blue cheese, crispy garlic or monkeygland to go with your steak.

Pretoria

Hillside Tavern (Lynnwood)
Meat and fish are stars of the show at this popular spot. There is an abundance of options ranging from basic steaks in different sizes to pork neck steak with apple or mustard sauce, combos of steak and chicken, and ribs or prawns. Look further to soups and salads, game or ox tongue, or fillet kebabs. For sides, choose between chips, onion rings or veggies.

Hinterland Vleishandelaar (Hazelwood)
The menu here is clear about its intentions: meat is the star of the show. Popular choices are the starter salad of blue cheese, pear and caramelised nuts, and the marrow bones. Mains include lamb chops from the Kalahari and Karoo; and beef fillet, rump, sirloin and T-bone are put through a maturing process before being served with a simple salad and shoe-string fries.

A steak at Hinterland Vleishandelaar. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A steak at Hinterland Vleishandelaar. Photo supplied.

Mpumalanga

Pioneer’s Butcher and Grill (Hazyview)
Locals say these are the best steaks in the Lowveld. This sleepy-town steakhouse offers a cosy and quaint environment with a charming stoep for alfresco dining. The restaurant is all about great quality meat, which is hand cut and dry aged for 28 days. Starters include trinchado, bobotie spring rolls, or the popular 200g spiced sirloin served with homemade bread and aioli. There’s a range of burgers and combos; steaks can be ordered simply seasoned or with added basting; and sides include onion rings, sautéed mushrooms, homemade chakalaka and boerewors.

Durban

Butcher Boys (Morningside)
At this spacious restaurant, a large variety of wet- and dry-aged steak cuts is on offer. There’s also lamb and game, and a few retro dishes like avo Ritz and the signature chateaubriand. The beef carpaccio is dressed with basil and parmesan. For mains, try the full rack of ribs with a sticky basting or the 200g beef burger with a special relish.

Butcher Block (Umhlanga Rocks)
At this buzzing spot in Umhlanga’s restaurant scene, diners can look forward to a sumptuous meat menu. Start with the old-school prawn cocktail, deep-fried camembert and escargot, or more adventurous options like boerewors with chakalaka, panko prawns or triple-cheese chilli poppers. Rump, fillet, sirloin, T-bone, prime rib and rib-eye are wet aged and best showcased in the house basting. Other carnivorous options include the burgers, sticky pork ribs and Karoo lamb chops.

A steak at Butcher Block. Photo supplied.

A steak at Butcher Block. Photo supplied.

Grill Jichana (Snell Parade)
This steakhouse stalwart offers high-quality, flavourful prime beef that is hand cut and aged according to your preference – try yours with the café de Paris butter. Other options include lamb chops and succulent rotisserie chicken, and the SASSI-approved seafood selection. Pair your main with sides like curried butternut or a fresh tomato-and-red-onion salad.

Havana Grill (Battery Beach)
This handsome restaurant is all about elegant meat dishes and a great wine selection. Start off with steak tartare, hand-cut springbok carpaccio, or chorizo and calamari. Dedicated to delivering premium quality meat, the in-house butchery boasts steaks that are aged on site, from sirloin to fillet on the bone.

Little Havana (Umhlanga Rocks)
Find a seat on the balcony on balmy evenings and enjoy the calm surroundings and crisp white tablecloths. Free-range beef is the hero here, aged on site and prepared by the in-house butcher. Try the grain-fed versus grass-fed rib-eye with a drizzle of delicious béarnaise sauce. Those who are not meat inclined can also enjoy a stellar seafood selection and luscious vegetarian options.

The deck at Little Havana. Photo supplied.

The deck at Little Havana. Photo supplied.

Cape Town

Belthazar (V&A Waterfront)
This is not your average steakhouse. The vast menu features the best cuts – dry or wet aged – in various sizes. The rib-eye and Chicago cuts are particularly good choices. A bowl of droëwors chunks is great to stave off hunger pangs while you make your selection for the main event. Starters include deep-fried camembert, steak tartare and chicken levers. For dessert, the baked cheesecake is exceptional.

The Butcher Shop & Grill (Mouille Point)
With the flagship branch of this establishment having been an institution in Joburg for more than 20 years, it’s no surprise that Capetonian carnivores keep the tables full. The menu boasts a smorgasbord of choice, from proudly South African beef, lamb and game to Argentinian rib-eye steak and Kobe-style Wagyu. Choice starters include sticky pork riblets and garlic snails. Steaks are generous and there’s an array of sauces and sides. Visit the on-site butcher on your way out.

The T-bone at Butcher Shop & Grill. Photo supplied.

The T-bone at Butcher Shop & Grill. Photo supplied.

Carne (Constantia, Gardens and City Bowl)
This is carnivore heaven. The antipasti, insalata and primi menu offers elegant precursors to the meat feast. Don’t miss the house specialties of beef carpaccio, slow-baked lamb ravioli and gnocchi. Many of the free-range cuts are sourced from proprietor Giorgio Nava’s Karoo farm. Alongside prime beef, lamb and venison, look out for the cuts you’ll rarely find: hangar steak, spider steak and prime rib on the bone. If you can squeeze in dessert, Giorgio’s legendary dark chocolate fondant shouldn’t be missed.

Cattle Baron (Bellville)
This dark and romantic steakhouse serves great food in generous portions. Mains to look out for include the filet escargot topped with snails baked in garlic butter, and the chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce that is flamed in brandy at the table. You might also consider the blackened pepper fillet with a gorgeous peppery sauce. Don’t leave without spooning into a crème brûlée for dessert.

Dale’s Black Angus (Milnerton)
The focus at this inviting grillhouse is on quality steaks. Starters include springbok carpaccio and mussels in a creamy white wine sauce. The Three Musketeers offers springbok, kudu and ostrich fillet medallions, each with their own sauce (mushroom-and-sherry, berry, and pepper) and a choice of chips, rice, mash or side salad. The signature steak is a seared fillet served with herb butter. End with a favourite like the crème brûlée or the crêpes Suzette.

Don Armando (Green Point)
As you would expect from an Argentinian restaurant, it’s a meat lover’s dream. Mindful of the substantial proteins to follow, you might want to start off with the grilled provolone with sun-dried tomatoes or veggie empanadas. Aside from a T-bone, rib steak, beef fillet, short rib and sirloin, you could also order lamb and pork chops or butterflied baby chicken. All red meat is grilled on charcoal and accompanied by chimichurri sauce and chips or salad.

The empanadas at Don Armando. Photo supplied.

The empanadas at Don Armando. Photo supplied.

The Eatery Wood Fired Grill (Claremont) – highly commended at the 2015 Eat Out Best Everyday Eateries
This Southern Suburbs favourite was a runner up in the steakhouse category at the 2015 Eat Out Best Everyday Eatery Awards, and with good reason. The welcoming spot offers a broad menu with meaty dishes, from sirloin steak and lamb rump to fish of the day and gourmet burgers. All dishes are cooked on the wood-fired grill and include barbecue pork belly ribs, sirloin with rosemary and Dijon mustard, and the Argentinean-style steak with fresh chimichurri sauce.

The Hussar Grill (Camps Bay, Mouille Point, Rondebosch, Steenberg and Willowbridge)
The first Hussar opened in Rondebosch over five decades ago and the menu reflects this history, presenting a wide selection of classic, old-fashioned dishes like deep-fried camembert, chicken livers, a big black mushroom topped with spinach and feta, and prawns in a Marie Rose sauce. For mains there’s a great choice of steaks, venison and poultry. Cuts like sirloin, rump and fillet can be ordered as they are or with a sauce on the side. There are also several classic steak dishes like the carpetbagger and chateaubriand.

Hussar Grill Carpetbagger. Photo supplied.

Hussar Grill Carpetbagger. Photo supplied.

Pirates Pub & Grill (Plumstead) – winner at the 2015 Eat Out Best Everyday Eateries
An institution in the Southern Suburbs and the winner of the steakhouse category at the 2015 Eat Out Best Everyday Eateries, this perennial favourite draws meat lovers in droves. The menu is extensive and caters for most tastes, and the venue is unfussy and rustic. Popular starter options include the garlic snails and stuffed black mushrooms. The succulent, simply presented steak dishes are served in generous portions. Try popular the Blackbeard rump topped with bacon, cheddar and black mushroom sauce.

Winelands

96 Winery Road (Stellenbosch)
A visit here, whether it’s for the first or the 50th time, will not disappoint. Simple food cooked with care and generosity is what you get. The deep-fried calamari is crispy and tender, and the pork belly strips are delicious. Their aged steaks remain legendary, as does the beef burger. End off with the benchmark crème brûlée.

A hearty potjie from 96 Winery Road. Photo supplied.

A hearty potjie from 96 Winery Road. Photo supplied.

The Hussar Grill (Stellenbosch)
Steaks are the focus at this famous grillhouse. Diners can choose the size and cut, on or off the bone. Wet-aged steaks receive a proper grilling and come with classic béarnaise, creamy mustard or green peppercorn sauce. The popular carpetbagger and chateaubriand remain on the menu. The starters are familiar chicken livers, crumbed camembert with cranberry jelly, and calamari with tartar sauce. For dessert, try the chocolate fondant or cheesecake.

This list comprises all the steakhouse restaurants in the Eat Out 500, the best restaurants in South Africa as rated and reviewed by our critics for the 2016 Eat Out magazine, plus our winners of the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Everyday Eateries.

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