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The Top 10 restaurants in South Africa for 2018

The winners of the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards have just been announced at a sold-out event in Cape Town. Here’s your culinary bucket list for the year ahead: South Africa’s brand new Top 10 restaurants.

1. The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)

Position in the Top 10 last year: 3

Gregory Czarnecki’s masterful culinary mind and inspired plating have skyrocketed him to the coveted number-one spot.

Judge’s comment: “Simple combinations of flavours, perfectly cooked and exquisitely plated.”

Truffles and Jerusalem artichokes from Restaurant at Waterkloof. Photo supplied.

2. The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)

Position in the Top 10 last year: 1

The combination of dramatic dining and harmonious service presented by Luke Dale-Roberts and his team continues to thrill.

Judge’s comment: “The food, presentation and seamless, exciting service left me feeling like I’d had a Michelin-star dining experience.”

Summer berries with elderflower ice cream at The Test Kitchen. Photo supplied.

3. La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)

Position in the Top 10 last year: 7

Chefs Scot Kirton and James Gaag rise up the ranks again, thanks to their trademark whimsical and elegant dishes crafted with impressive technique.

Judge’s comment: “Beautiful, quirky, clever. Sublime simple dishes; superb cooking.”

The signature tuna can at La Colombe. Photo by Andrea van der Spuy.

4. Wolfgat (Paternoster)

Position in the Top 10 last year: new entry

Totally unique and driven by the vision of one man, the cuisine of the 2018 Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year, chef Kobus van der Merwe, is an innovative celebration of the area.

Judge’s comment: “The menu is gutsy and bold, throwing people unfamiliar with the area into the deep end of the West Coast.”

A fresh, foraged dish at Wolfgat. Photo by Jac de Villiers.

5. La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)

Position in the Top 10 last year: new entry

The award-winning sister restaurant to La Colombe makes its debut in the Top 10 under the helm of young-gun chef John Norris-Rogers.

Judge’s comment: “An absolutely delightful meal. I can remember each and every course, cooked with such delicacy.”

A fish dish at La Petite Colombe. Photo by Andrea van der Spuy

6. Greenhouse at Cellars-Hohenort (Constantia, Cape Town)

Position in the Top 10 last year: 5

Chef Peter Tempelho­ff continues to create exquisite plates of South African-inspired food with enviable ease.

Judge’s comment: “Beautifully crafted food; simple but precise cooking.”

Oysters at Greenhouse. Photo supplied.

7. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)

Position in the Top 10 last year: 2

The food of Chantel Dartnall tells a tale through delicate yet playful plating and a journey of beautiful flavours.

Judge’s comment: “A deeply joyful and rewarding dining experience. Whimsical presentation delivers revelatory flavour.”

Millionaire’s Nest Egg at Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient. Photo supplied.

8. Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)

Position in the Top 10 last year: 6

Michael Cooke continues to flourish in the kitchen, making use of farm-fresh ingredients and exciting seasonal flavours.

Judge’s comment: “Camphors is really keeping the standard high. It is evident that they are evolving and growing every year.”

The honey butter served with the bread course at Camphors at Vergelegen. Photo supplied.

9. Jardine Restaurant (Stellenbosch)

Position in the Top 10 last year: new entry

Finesse and attention to detail have secured George Jardine and his team a spot in the Top 10.

Judge’s comment:
“Presentation is brilliantly simple and meant to give an air of unpretentiousness, but remains modern and beautiful.”

A delicate dish at Jardine. Photo by Samantha Clifton.

10. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town)

Position in the Top 10 last year: 4

The partnership between chefs Ivor Jones and Liam Tomlin continues to deliver a memorable dining experience with clever, punchy tapas and glorious views.

Judge’s comment:
“Brilliant, interesting; very ahead of the curve. The playful presentation doesn’t take away from the honesty of the food.”

Chef Ivor Jones’s inspired tapas at Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia. Photo by Claire Gunn.

To see all the winners of the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, click here.

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