The capital city has the best weather in the country, if you ask its residents – and visitors. Here’s where to soak up the balmy summer air while you enjoy a tasty meal.
Don’t be fooled by the unassuming store front. In fact, there is hardly any seating inside; all the action happens at the back. Pass the delicious baked goods and the barista churning out excellent coffee to access the yard, where a wonderful outside space welcomes you. A large covered area, decorated with pops of yellow and semi-industrial touches, houses several desks and benches, while some tables huddle under Ficus trees. The crowd ranges from young business people and students to older, professional types, mostly engrossed in what is happening on their computer screens. For a delicious everyday treat, do not miss the breakfast braaibroodjie filled with avocado, tomato, onion, bacon and a poached egg. Look out for news of occasional pop-up dinners.
With a lovely old-fashioned stoep, outside areas covered with umbrellas and several large trees with expansive branches spanning overhead, there are many options to eat outside at Afro-boer. There is always a buzz, and in season the rose garden is heavenly. A great deal of time, effort and energy is spent on the gardens. The selection of baked items is ever-changing, but if you’re keen for something a bit more substantial, try the snoek fishcakes with tartare sauce; a broccoli, beetroot, coconut and pistachio salad; old-fashioned bobotie with coconut cream and yellow rice; or a comforting bowl of pasta with oxtail sauce.
A wooden deck was recently constructed adjacent to the restaurant and kitchen at Black Bamboo, further expanding the various intimate seating areas over different levels, with many water features and elegant ponds and showing the establishment’s art collection to best effect. This is outside dining at its best, where you can enjoy good food while looking up at the night sky. Feast on the likes of lamb loin wrapped in speck with minted pea purée, crème fraîche, smoked black cherry purée, sautéed sugar snap peas, pea dust, lamb and cherry jus for mains, and do not miss the chocolate cremeux with meringue, marshmallow, raspberry fluid gel, white chocolate mousse, chocolate snap, raspberry dust and raspberry sorbet for dessert. All the à la carte menu items have wine pairing suggestions.
If you don’t want to venture to far out of the city to get your bushveld fix, head over to the Blue Crane to experience the bushveld right in the city. Situated in the Austin Roberts bird sanctuary, right on the water, the restaurant offers a peek at an assortment of bird life, including blue cranes. Breakfasts and Sunday lunches are often buffet style, but the menu also offers less traditional treats like Lebanese-style chicken wraps scented with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and pine nuts. This is also one of the best places for kids to run wild and experience large tortoises up close.
If venturing out for something special is your thing, head to Carlita’s at The Hills eco golf estate. The veranda restaurant is modern and slick, but with an easy, relaxed atmosphere that speaks of many glasses of chilled wine and large platters of grilled seafood. Alternatively, choose great bacalhau, trinchado or chorizo to immerse yourself fully in Portuguese cuisine.
Host Forti Mazzone can seat up to 80 people outside at Forti’s Grill and Bar at Time Square Casino. The space is modern and edgy with views over the central square and all the way to Bronkhorstspruit. A mist cooler system, large movable umbrellas and three deluxe roofed pergolas ensure the comfort of the guests. From Monday to Friday, order from the à la carte or terrace menu at lunch time. The latter features a Wagyu burger with all the trimmings and hand-cut fries or salad. You could also just lounge about on the couches and order cocktails for sundowners from the extensive cocktail list.
Just a short drive out of town, Granita offers creative cooking on an elegant veranda under the African night sky. The Kievits Kroon hotel and conference facility is distinguished by its unmistakable Cape Dutch architecture, with a wide veranda that provides many private nooks to absorb the bushveld atmosphere. Try the oxtail ravioli drizzled with parmesan cream, dukkah-spiced springbok loin with pap-and-chakalaka bake, and rich chocolate brownies with ganache, chocolate mousse and chocolate-chip ice cream. After dinner, sample something from the large selection of cigars and liqueurs in the outside lounge area.
This brand-new fish restaurant of the growing Alfies stable may still be slightly unsteady when it comes to service, but the food is delicious and the outside dining area magnificent. Situated in the open-air courtyard of the Village Boutique hotel, the restaurant offers a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere under large trees, with cooling water flowing into nearby pools. Tables on raised wooden decks create the sense of sitting in a tree house. Pizzas are superb, as are dishes like gnocchi with prawns in tomato sauce or deep-fried squid with mayo.
The café perches high among a canopy of trees, allowing you to leave the city behind and enjoy distant views. The restaurant can be reached at the end of some impressive stairs past beautiful hand-crafted and exotic lights on display. The private function and conservatory area, La Riad, is below. Even though it’s completely covered, it has the air of a North African rooftop space, where you can enjoy the breeze at the end of a hot, dusty African day. Enjoy traditional and fusion Moroccan cuisine such as kefta tagine breakfasts, platters with a variety of relishes prepared with spices, Arabic salads, and many mid-day Moroccan biscuits (ghoriba with coconut etc.) to be enjoyed with an impressive selection of teas, coffees, and home-made cordials.