The best everyday eateries in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, as well as a handful in Free State and Mpumalanga, have just been announced at the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries celebrations in Johannesburg. The recipients of these accolades were determined by the public through user reviews and ratings on www.eatout.co.za over a 12-month period from 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016. Eat Out also celebrates the eateries that were crowd favourites but didn’t quite meet all the criteria to win with highly commended certificates. (The winners in the Western Cape were announced in Cape Town on 18 October 2016.)
Without further ado, here are the 2016 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Everyday Eateries in Gauteng, KZN, Free State and Mpumalanga:
La Terrasse (Menlo Park) – winner
Eat Out readers raved about the tagines and the orange-blossom cheesecake at this Moroccan favourite. “We were overwhelmed by colours and textures straight out of the souks of Morocco,” says Eat Out reader Pierre Behr. Friendly service, and little touches, like Turkish delight served at the end of the meal, have also helped to create a loyal following.
The Great Eastern Food Bar (Melville) – winner
From green papaya salad and Korean fried chicken to trout ceviche tacos and glorious chicken wing starters, the menu at The Great Eastern Food Bar has fans captivated. “This restaurant could hold its own in London or New York,” says Eat Out reader Stacey Sommerdyk.
De Kloof Restaurant (Waterkloof) – winner
The menu at this high-end bistro is always evolving, but the tasting menu consistently gets rave reviews. Eat Out readers also remarked on the excellent service that made them feel extra special – from staff meeting them with umbrellas in the rain to making those who were celebrating occasions feel extra special.
Black Bamboo (Menlyn) – highly commended
There’s plenty of invention at work on the menu at this high-end bistro. Eat Out readers raved about the thyme in the lemon meringue and the chocolate mousse with smoked yoghurt. Clever wine pairings from boutique wineries help to enhance the food further.
Craft (Parkhurst) – winner
They might be Instagram-famous for those crazy milkshakes, but Craft also knows a thing or two about burgers. Eat Out fans recommend the Craft or lamb burger, and the banting burger, caramel popcorn waffle and good-sized veggie pizza also earned praise.
Rocomamas (Hazeldean) – highly commended
The chilled vibe and excellent chips are just two of the reasons that this restaurant has such loyal fans. Eat Out reader Grant Shorten recommends the bacon, cheese and guac burger (with his personal addition of sautéed mushrooms) – and we’ve also heard that the chicken wings are stellar.
Good Stuff Café (Maroelana) – winner
From melkos and banting hash to granadilla cake and dainty bunny chows baked in tins, the inventive menu at this coffee shop is just part of the reason the regulars keep returning. The other reasons include excellent coffee and a real community feeling.
Cafe del Sol Botanico (Bryanston) – winner
This Italian restaurant is fully booked weeks in advance, thanks to its mouth-watering menu. Eat Out reader Claudia McGregor recommends the porcini chicken with risotto and the nougat cheesecake, which self-confessed cheesecake snob Ryan Lapidus declares is up there with the best.
Cafe del Sol Classico (Randburg) – highly commended
Some of this restaurant’s loyal patrons have been coming here since 2011. The reason? Spectacular squid heads (crunchy without being too covered in batter), glorious risotto, that cheesecake, and staff and management who make diners feel special.
Perron (Illovo) – winner
Taco Tuesdays are an institution at this Illovo restaurant. Fresh, fabulous tacos might include buffalo chicken with blue cheese slaw or barbecue pork with pineapple-and-corn salad. Aside from the fabulous food, Eat Out readers love Perron’s frozen margaritas and fast, friendly service.
Che Argentine Grill (Maboneng Precinct) – highly commended
Serving traditional Argentine asado (that’s braai meat to us), this restaurant knows their way around a steak. Thabisa Moleshe recommends the fillet – “perfectly tender, medium-rare, flavours not too strong, but bold and interesting.” Jay Kidd meanwhile, applauds the pisco sour and empanadas, amongst other things.
Culture Club – Bar de Tapas (Hazelwood) – winner
Serving up tasty tapas, this Hazelwood restaurant has a bevy of fans. Nompumelelo Mazibuko recommends the hummus – “If Barry White’s voice tasted like something, this richly delicious and smooth concoction would be it,” and the churros. Jaquelise de Vries meanwhile declares that “everyone loved every bite of everything! The prices are very reasonable for the portion sizes and they have a good variety of wines to choose from.”
EB Social Kitchen & Bar (Hyde Park) – highly commended
Situated inside a book shop, this stylish eatery is a surprise to many who visit it. “Loved the fact that the cocktails were named after famous novels, the kitchen’s aromas promised great culinary magic upon arrival and yes, the fish, risotto and quinoa were fabulous,” wrote Jessica Saurwein, while mark Conradie paised the imaginative menu.
Boiler Room Café (Berea) – winner
The incredible team behind this bright bistro serve up some inspired dishes. Brunch might feature duck and potato hash, or boursin-and-black pepper omelette, while mains like charcoal-roasted pork buns and lamb bunny chow keep lunchers satisfied. Their milkshakes are also the stuff of legend. They’re always evolving, but in the past have included a glorious-sounding milk-tart version.
Smokin’ Joe’s (Berea) – winner
Brioche buns and Karan beef lay the foundations for some pretty great burgers at this funky little burger spot. Single-origin coffee, crisp fries flavoured with thyme and truffle oil, and a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere seal the deal for Eat Out users. “Best burgers and fries in town,” says Mohammed Omarjee. “Fresh ingredients and always consistent.”
Oaklands Country Manor (Van Reenen) – winner
Set in a beautiful country hotel in the Midlands, this restaurant has access to some of the best produce in the country. “I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find an oasis of perfectly balanced and locally sourced meals in a remote valley in the Drakensburg Escarpment,” says Kevin Dwyer. Standout dishes for our readers were glazed pork belly; duck with cherry sauce; chocolate sheet cake with semifreddo, honey and salted caramel; and tomato soup.
El Toro (Durban North) – winner
A tequila bar with more than 50 versions, excellent jalapeño poppers, and addictive churros with Belgian-chocolate sauce keep Durban readers coming back to this Mexican spot. “The jalapeño poppers were the best I’ve ever had,” declares Lauren Miles. “El Toro has created the puffiest and crispiest beer batter, which I could easily have eaten all on its own.”
Four15 (Durban North) – highly commended
Adding even more fire to Durban North, this hip, funky Mexican spot is another reader favourite. Hearty burritos – which some of our readers say they have to take home, unfinished – friendly staff and a bright, welcoming atmosphere make this a favourite.
Bel Punto (Umdloti) – highly commended
Incredible sea views set the scene for fresh, beautifully cooked seafood at this Umdloti eatery. The Italian-leaning menu also features popular risotto, deep-fried olives and perfect prawns.
The Food Fundi (Nelspruit) – winner
This café serves up all-day breakfasts, gourmet burgers with fresh veggie chips, smoothies and famous chocolate brownies. Produce is lovingly sourced from surrounding farms. “Delicious food, and top notch service! Jason and his staff are so tuned-in that they already know our personal preferences on the menu,” writes Melissa van Heerden. Other users praised the pulled lamb tagine, the fish cakes and the coffee.
Pont de Val (Parys) – winner
Just an hour out of Joburg on the beautiful Vaal river, this restaurant offers an escape from the buzz of the city. Eat Out users love its relaxed atmosphere, beautiful view and French-inspired menu. “A charming restaurant indeed! Home to exquisite river sunsets, incredible service and a French vibe everyone should experience for themselves,” said Nicolas Fourie.
The review-based criteria for the Best Everyday Eateries encourages diners to help raise their favourite restaurants to fame while also supporting Stop Hunger Now SA. For each review posted, Eat Out pledges a meal for a hungry child through Stop Hunger Now SA. Since the launch of this partnership in November 2014, over 18 600 meals have been pledged.