From the minus temperatures up north in Gauteng and the fresh yet sunny days in the KZN Midlands, to the chilly and windy weather in the Cape, winter is slowly creeping up on us. When the chill is too much to bear, there’s nothing better than hunkering down in front of a roaring fire with a hearty bowl of something steaming. That’s why we’ve rounded up restaurants that have at least one crackling fire ready for you, plus some comforting winter dishes to warm you up.
Casalinga Ristorante (Muldersdrift)
A very hearty fireplace turns the main restaurant section into the warmest, most convivial place in winter. At this time of year, they have winter platters for two or more people that feature favourite Italian dishes like the garlicky grilled calamari, mushroom-rich hunter-style chicken and Italian oxtail with all the comforting veg, plus steaming glühwein.
Churchill’s (Melrose Arch)
This grand clubby pub is full of stuffed leather sofas and it’s very warm inside. Warming yourself at the fire with a whisky in your hand is quite the thing here. They have long lists of cognacs, cigars and the ilk from which to choose – but they also do a jolly good fish and chips.
The Feedroom (Tintswalo, Sunninghill)
This restaurant on an equestrian estate features lots of wood, stone, brass and candlelight, plus flames in the fireplaces. This is where to order hot soup followed by deliciously crusted lamb rack with all the not-so-usual accompaniments. Finish off the meal with a really hot toffee pudding and a cognac. Always book your table.
Lucky Bean (Melville)
This unique spot has a fireplace in the dining room. Stay extra warm by ordering the port-based oxtail soup or tender venison. You’ll be so warm that you’ll be tempted to give the basil ice cream a try. Go for lunch or dinner from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Moyo (Zoo Lake)
It’s charming and fun to sit under a wrapped blanket in the great Joburg outdoors weather, next to a flaming fire, surrounded by drum beats. Just right for cold weather are the spicy ostrich nachos, any of the piping-hot lamb tagines, or potjies.
This family-friendly spot provides somewhere warm for the family to gather beneath fairy lights with comforting food. Go for breakfast or lunch from Mondays to Saturdays, and don’t mind the chickens and pigeons roaming outside.
Remo’s Maximilliano (Waterfall Corner)
Cathedral-like in proportions, this place also has a huge and soaring fireplace to warm you through. Sip on a fabulous coffee or steaming latte and plunge your fork into lamb shank cooked with red wine and tomatoes. Don’t forget to grab warm bread from the on-site bakery before you go.
Resturante Parreirinha (La-Rochelle)
Try some Portuguese favourites near a roaring fire at this cosy spot. Go for the espetada com pimentas, trinchado or peri-peri chicken. Complement your meal with a Portuguese beer or something off the quirky shooters menu. Visit for lunch or dinner from Monday to Saturday.
Trendsters brave the outdoor breezes for more social exposure, but inside it’s cosier by the fire. You’ll want lots of the hot, cinnamonny American pancakes for breakfast and the super-comforting five-spice tempura calamari for lunch. The coffees are very good, too.
Enjoy the outside despite the chill in the air at Wombles. With the exterior fireplace, you can stay warm as you enjoy your orders of cracking-hot marrow bones with jus or sizzling steak.
Granita at Kievits Kroon (Kameeldrift East)
Small, chic restaurants with soft lighting and gentle colours are always inviting and cosy, but light a fire and it becomes a place where you really want to dress up for dinner. There’s a very comfy library/lounge across the foyer where you are invited to enjoy a cognac and cigar in deep leather chairs. The new winter menu offers exciting starters such as ravioli of duck confit, seared langoustine tails, and chicken soup with wild mushrooms and poached quail egg. Main courses include roasted loin of venison or roasted lamb rump. For dessert, indulge in a cognac crème brûlée; or the malva pudding with Amarula crème anglaise.
La Madeleine (Lynnwood)
The large hearth is a feature in La Madeleine’s main dining room. Daniel and Anne Leusch make some nostalgic forays into the food of bygone days but always with a touch of modernism, such as green-pea soup with bacon espuma; slow-braised veal cheeks in red-wine sauce with a hint of chocolate; and venison with red wine, cranberries and poached pears. For a real nostalgic throwback, you must try French onion soup with poached egg; gratin of prawns with sauce nantua; pork cassoulet; one of the creamiest crème brûlées around; and the dark Belgian-chocolate mousse.
Prosopa (Waterkloof Heights)
Even though this Greek restaurant’s signature look is predominantly white, modern and streamlined, there is a very large open fireplace which makes the whole restaurant glitter and glow at night. Start your evening by sampling some mezzo before moving onto superbly satisfying shellfish bisque, made with dill brandy and crème fraîche; lamb ribs prepared with ouzo, honey and thyme; or lamb shank with merlot-rosemary jus, honey-glazed carrots and crushed mustard potatoes.
Red Tomato Supper Club (Waterkloof)
Red Tomato has a fireplace-room in which a very affordable set menu is served. It changes regularly, but could feature tomato espresso served with a little loaf of bread; classic bouillabaisse; beef rump with oxtail sauce; and, for dessert, a super malva pudding with salted-caramel custard or geranium-scented panna cotta. You are welcome to bring your own bottle of something, so enjoy some wine in front of the fireplace, during and after the meal.
Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein)
Wait until 28 July for this multi-faceted spot to re-open after its winter break. If intimacy and cosiness are what you’re after, beg chef Chantel Dartnall for a place at her chef’s table, an intimate banquette that seats four people and will allow you to experience one of SA’s best chefs doing her thing first-hand. The Tiffany room is a private dining room with a small lounge area and art-nouveau fireplace. The main dining room features an impressive fireplace, which is also the focal point of the room, while the Belle Époque Champagne bar has another romantic little fireplace beside which to enjoy a glass in peace and quiet. Mosaic’s Roots & Shoots menu features such culinary delights as Jewels of the Sea, a creation of oysters, Champagne and fennel; Simply Shoots, a fava-bean mousse with pea shoots and a garden velouté (poured at the table), which will make all your senses come alive; and Autumn Leaves, a dish of 36-day-matured Angus beef with sweetbreads, country mushrooms, celeriac leaves, Cognac cream and panniyur pepper.
Abingdon Wine Estate (Lions River)
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay warm and get lost in your own thoughts, this is definitely the spot. With three dedicated fireplaces and a seasonal menu, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason to leave. Go for lunch on Saturdays or Sundays for the highly recommended pulled oxtail stew to warm you through and through.
Blueberry Café (Netherwood Farm)
This laid-back eatery offers stunning views, whether on sunny or misty winter days. The restaurant boasts large windows with field vistas, but the warmth of the central fireplace keeps your toes toasty while your tuck into the farm-style fare. Breakfasts are a popular choice for meanderers, with options like scones with cheese and preserves, blueberry crumpets, and a classic English breakfast with pork sausage and freshly baked bread.
Caversham Mill (Howick)
A stalwart in the Howick area, this cosy old restaurant offers beautiful views of the waterfall and has a wood-burning indoor fireplace for frosty days. The restaurant has real farmhouse charm and serves up some delicious, wholesome food, such as chicken pie, roast dinners, fresh trout and warming soups.
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse (Drakensburg)
A winter’s trip to the Drakensburg is not complete without a visit to this comfortable and warm restaurant. Book a room at the hotel before heading to the warm restaurant for a fireside dinner. Dishes might include the likes of roasted tomato soup, duck rillettes and Yorkshire pudding, and zabaglione with a port nightcap to finish.
The Farmer’s Daughter (Howick)
This welcoming restaurant overlooks the Howick valley and has a roaring old-fashioned fireplace to keep customers warm in the colder months. Head here for fresh bakes, breakfasts, wholesome lunches and delicious hot coffee for a warming winter feast.
Hartford House (Mooi River)
Serving elegant and seasonal dishes, this old-fashioned manor house is a special treat for guests in the Midlands. The beautifully decorated rooms are lush, with regal fireplaces dotted throughout. Enjoy dishes such as blackened salmon or port-glazed pork belly.
Il Postino Pizzeria (Dargle)
This Dargle restaurant is a great pizza pitstop for those meandering in the Midlands, with its bar and restaurant fireplaces. Book your table close to the warmth and enjoy tasty pizza options like the Midlands Medley, topped with mozzarella, caramelised onion, camembert cheese and basil pesto, and the Alla Sud Africana with boerewors, biltong, onion and cherry tomatoes.
La Lampara (Lidgetton)
Take a relaxing trip to the Midlands and stop by this popular Tuscan-style restaurant for outstanding thin-crust pizzas and pastas to be enjoyed alongside its warm and roaring indoor fireplace. Try the risotto ai funghi or gnocchi formaggi for truly decadent dishes.
The large fireplace dominates the room of this historic restaurant in the cold and wet months. Order some soul-warming dishes like quail with a Scotch egg, leg paupiette, tea-smoked breast and quince gel; aubergine and mushroom tortellini with walnut-herb nage; and chocolate fondant for dessert.
This Kloof Street hotspot keeps things warm with its central fireplace that crackles all through the night. Enjoy comforting tapas dishes, eclectic décor and live music until the early hours.
A Touch of Madness (Observatory)
Situated in the centre of Observatory in a chic Victorian house, is newly refurbished A Touch of Madness. This winter, guests have the option of enjoying a glass of wine or craft beer at one of two wood burning fireplaces. Accompany your drink of choice with something from the lunch or dinner menu, and enjoy it in the main dining area or in the comfortable lounge room.
Azure at the 12 Apostles (Camps Bay)
There are two fabulously designed fireplaces and the setting is spectacular – it feels like being on a luxury ocean liner. When you’re avoiding the elements you might enjoy the Dinner and a Movie package, which includes a viewing in the private on-site cinema.
Blanko Restaurant (Constantia)
The all-white gallery-style space at this restaurant is warmed up in winters with its beautiful fireplace. Feast on Italian-style food with dishes like white anchovies with piquant pepper; escalopes of veal with veal jus and lemon; wild mushroom orzo with shallots and goat’s milk cheese; and pizzas with buffalo mozzarella.
Catharina’s at Steenberg (Tokai)
Guests are invited to thaw at any of the three fireplaces in this very elegant and historic venue. Enjoy wintery dishes like the lamb with a roasted garlic purée, or grilled impala loin with tomato-and-feta tortellini. Alternatively, book your spot after a leisurely Steenberg wine tasting and indulge in the Sunday feast for R345 per adult.
Den Anker (V&A Waterfront)
A roaring wood-burning fireplace makes this a warm option at the V&A Waterfront. A hearty bowl of beer-infused mussels and cheese croquettes will warm your bones on a chilly day.
Foresters Arms (Newlands)
In winter there’s always a roaring log-burning fire at this long-time Cape Town favourite pub nestled in the misty Newlands Forest. Try some of the popular pizzas, or go for broke with one of the superb burgers.
Settle in here for a cosy winter lunch or dinner with some spectacular and beautifully plated food. The central fireplace will keep things warm as you share plates of modern tapas-style dishes or some of the decadent pastries on offer.
HQ (City Bowl)
This trendy steak spot has a roaring fireplace in the chilled-out lounge area for cosy winter drinks and snacks. Grab a spot on one of the couches and settle in for the evening or enjoy your pre-dinner drinks here before enjoying the popular steak and chips dish.
Kloof Street House (Gardens)
This beautifully decorated restaurant is housed in an elegant old home with three crackling fireplaces to set the mood. Wintery dishes might include osso bucco, bouillabaisse, and lentil-and-artichoke bake with cumin, chevin and mixed seeds.
La Colombe (Constantia)
SA’s number two restaurant is a treat no matter what the weather. On those cooler, misty days, guests can tuck into sophisticated food next to one of the three fireplaces. Think dishes like spiced lamb with dukkah and red wine; pan-fried linefish with cashews, lemongrass and kimchi; and three ages of Boerenkaas for dessert.
La Mouette (Sea Point)
You can settle down alongside one of the five fireplaces in three dining rooms at this Sea Point favourite. The restaurant has a delicious six-course tasting menu that changes with the seasons; duck breast with triple-cooked potatoes; tandoori cauliflower with onion bhaj; and a melting Ferrero Rocher for dessert.
Massimo’s (Hout Bay)
In addition to the fireplace, the wood-burning pizza oven generates lovely heat in winter. The family-friendly eatery offers some of the best pizza in the business, but you could also comfort yourself with something like the artichoke ravioli with artichoke, truffle and cream sauce and roasted artichoke garnish.
The Odyssey Gastropub (City Bowl)
The roaring log-burning fireplace is very popular in this local gastropub, with a touch of elegance and plush chairs to help you unwind. The generous portions of gourmet pub-grub fare include the likes of a beef burger with fig, camembert and toasted almonds; orange chicken supreme with butternut risotto and citrus cream; and sirloin with pepper sauce and fries.
Open Door (Constantia)
The beautiful fireplace here warms up the stylish space, making it a cosy spot for a winter lunch. There is an à la carte menu, with comforting highlights including pulled-pork ravioli with crispy onions and Chalmar beef sirloin with hand-cut chips.
Pajamas & Jam Eatery (Strand)
Located in Strand, this beautiful deli and eatery extends into a treasure trove of vintage collectables, Instagram-worthy food and a large, crackling central fireplace. Enjoy a menu packed with freshly baked goods and comforting fare, including options like warm fruit bowls with granola for breakfast and white wine chicken with basmati rice or creamy tomato soup for lunch.
Poplars Restaurant at D’Aria (Durbanville)
There are three fireplaces in the delightfully comfortable rooms that are at their best in winter. Warm up with five-hour braised lamb shank; pappardelle with rabbit-and-chestnut ragù; or a lush seafood risotto with salmon, kingklip, pork belly and mussels.
Rick’s Café Americain (Gardens)
This buzzing Gardens restaurant keeps regulars happy in winter with three fireplaces. The warmth, paired with the Moroccan-themed menu, will have you all set for a cosy evening.
The Roundhouse (Camps Bay)
The 18th-century fireplace in the Oval Room at Lord Somerset’s former hunting lodge is a mark of elegance in Camps Bay. Treat yourself to six courses with a wine pairing chosen by the sommelier.
Societi Bistro (Gardens)
You’ll be spoiled for choice with three crackling fireplaces in this perfect-for-winter bistro – there’s even one in the cosy bar, The Snug. For rib-sticking winter fare, try the venison Bordelaise with buttered mash; the famous mushroom risotto; or the Karoo lamb shank.
Toni’s on Kloof (Gardens)
There are two fireplaces in this popular old cottage on Kloof Street. Warm up with the delicious Mozambican curry or traditional Portuguese stew with beans and pork, chicken or chorizo.
The Village Idiot (City Bowl)
This busy Loop Street bar is always humming with locals who love it for drinks and bar grub. In winter, hunker down on one of the comfy couches next to the roaring fire with some snack platters and good red wine.
Wild Fig (Observatory)
The large open fireplace roars at the one end of this historic restaurant. Specials are offered on a daily basis, but do try some of the hearty regular fare like the fabulous chicken-and-mushroom pie or the famous lamb shank cooked in red wine until it falls off the bone.
96 Winery Road (Stellenbosch)
A visit here on a chilly winter’s day will not disappoint. Simple food cooked with care and generosity and warm fireside seating is what you’ll get. Order a bottle of red and settle in for legendary aged steaks, duck-and-cherry pie, chicken breast and prawn curry, or slow-cooked lamb shoulder. End off with the benchmark crème brûlée.
Bosman’s Restaurant (Paarl)
With three wood-burning fireplaces (two inside the restaurant and one in the private dining area), Bosman’s is sure to offer you warmth this winter. Elegant dinners might include the likes of oven-roasted Karoo lamb, or tandoori tofu with curry dhal and coriander crème.
Cavalli Estate (Somerset West)
Admire a view of the winelands in the warmth of Cavalli Restaurant’s fireplace. Enjoy along with their winter menu, which comprises starters like a forest mushroom soup and cured sea bass with pickled radish and wasabi avocado. Mains include glazed free-range duck breast with miso-aubergine pancakes and sweetcorn purée or cardamom sirloin with prune beetroot purée, smoked mash and fermented blueberries. Finish with a wheat- and dairy-free matcha crème brûlée, the peppermint semifreddo, or an almond glazed chocolate bar.
The log-burning fireplace warms up the restaurant at this famous wine estate. Fondue and jazz afternoons on Sundays during winter are just the thing to lift the spirits, with glühwein and the famous Delheim wines to swing it all along at R230 a head.
This family-style establishment has one large wood-burning fireplace situated inside the relaxed and comfortable restaurant. Pair it with a glass of Simonsvlei bukettraube and a plate of Cape Malay chicken curry.
Fresh at Paul Cluver (Elgin)
The wood-burning fireplace keeps this country-style venue comfortable in winter. The seasonal menu might offer gorgeous soups, hearty dishes like golden pastry pies, bobotie, or acorn-fed pork.
Guardian Peak Winery & Grill (Stellenbosch)
The large, open wood-burning fireplace is very prominently placed at this fabulous spot with spectacular views. Go for robust flavours in dishes like marrow bone with sautéed apple and pancetta; Dijon mustard eisbein with mashed potatoes; and dark chocolate fondant with hazelnut ice cream.
Haute Cabrière (Franschhoek)
When the cold sets in and the struggle to venture out becomes real, the restaurant at Haute Cabrière sets the scene with a roaring fire to make lunch or dinner a warm and cosy treat. The à la carte and six-course tasting menus are available, as well as a Vintners winter offer of a 300g steak with triple-baked chips, sauce and fine beans, paired with Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Reserve for R175 per person. This offer is valid until 30 September. (The restaurant will close from 26 June for winter and reopen on 8 August)
Cosy up for some beautiful Asian-inspired food and gorgeous views at this fine-dining restaurant. Book a table next to the roaring fireplace settle in with dishes like salmon pad thai with tamarind; kimchi seafood broth with tempura oysters; or a soulful beef rendang curry with coconut rice.
Le Pommier Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)
This family-style restaurant offers relaxed country food with a fireplace in each room and outside. Enjoy traditional dishes like Malay chicken curry, bobotie, and warming potjie, or go for specialities like the lamb shank or chicken supreme with a creamy cheese sauce.
Makaron at Majeka House (Stellenbosch)
Find a spot near the fireplace in the sumptuous lounge area while sipping your cocktail or digestif, or settle near the hearth in the elegant dining room. Here you can enjoy a feast of tapas-style small plates with dishes like brioche with cheese and korrelkonfyt; baby marrow risotto with cured egg yolk; and Chalmar beef with umami butter. Finish off with a melktert ice-cream sandwich.
Oude Werf Restaurant (Stellenbsoch)
This restaurant has a roaring fireplace inside that adds a touch of romance and intimacy. Warm up with beer-braised chicken, veggie moussaka, mushroom risotto, or Tant Betjie Wium’s chicken-and-leek pie.
The Restaurant at Grande Provence (Franschhoek)
Spend a winter’s day with in luxury at Grande Provence. A stylish fireplace warms the lush interiors while guests can enjoy dishes like smoked pork belly and bean cassoulet, 12-hour beef cheek with bone marrow jus, and bitter hot chocolate fondant with toasted cinnamon sponge.
Restaurant Jardine (Stellenbosch)
Beat the winter chill next to the large fireplace in an enclosed courtyard-like interior. Expect comforts like grilled Williston lamb kidney with caponata and sorrel, pan-fried Oak Valley pork with walnut butter and pork shin tortellini, and rich Valrhona guanaja chocolate with caramelised hazelnut.
The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)
Situated next to the open-plan dining room is the tasting area. The crackle of the central fire here will warm up the space as you enjoy Chef of the Year Gregory Czarnecki’s exquisitely executed food.
While we take care to ensure the accuracy of our information, please note that some items and prices may change without our knowledge.
Have we missed one of your favourite restaurant fireplaces? Tell us about it in the comments below.