Award Winners

The winners of the 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards were announced on Sunday 16 November 2014 at a spectacular awards evening at Thunder City in Cape Town.

The Top 10 restaurants for 2014:

  1. The Test Kitchen
  2. Five Hundred
  3. The Tasting Room
  4. Restaurant Mosaic
  5. Jordan Restaurant
  6. Overture
  7. Rust en Vrede
  8. DW Eleven-13
  9. The Restaurant at Newton Johnson
  10. Terroir

Restaurant of the Year: The Test Kitchen
Eat Out S. Pellegrino Chef of the Year: Chantel Dartnall, Restaurant Mosaic
Grolsch Service Excellence: The Tasting Room
Nederburg Rising Star: Kobus van der Merwe, Oep ve Koep
Tsogo Sun Wine Service: Patson Mathonsi, DW Eleven-13
The Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Paarl Media: Eduan Naude and the late Brian Shalkoff
Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary Award: Thozamile Mgumane
Boschendal Style Award: Equus Dine at Cavalli
Best Asian Restaurant: Kyoto Garden Sushi
Best Everyday Eatery: Chefs Warehouse & Canteen
Best Country-Style Restaurant: Café Bloom
Best Italian Restaurant: La Sosta
Best Steakhouse: The Local Grill (Parktown North


We’re thrilled to announce the list of twenty nominees for the Top 10 restaurants at this year’s Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.

The nominees, in alphabetical order, are:


Title Sponsor

Premium luxury vehicle manufacturer Mercedes-Benz aims to live up to its unmistakeable strapline – “The best or nothing” – by showcasing not only its luxury products, but the Mercedes-Benz lifestyle. To this end, Mercedes-Benz has entered into not only the fashion arena, but the world of fine dining, with its sponsorship of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.

In practical terms, the brand aims to be the market-leader across all premium automotive segments, and at the same time, bring to the fore what it is like to live in the world of the three-pointed star. This latter point can be achieved through the Mercedes-Benz online lifestyle portal,, which focuses on art, design, fashion, travel, food, trends, technology and motoring.

In line with the changing face of its market, Mercedes-Benz is reaching out to a new, younger audience through increased online activities. Its sponsorship of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards is another step into bringing the lifestyle of Mercedes-Benz to a wider audience.


Eat Out would like to thank the following sponsors for their support with the 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.

Associate sponsor:

Associate Sponsor

Partner sponsor:

Partner Sponsor

Vehicle sponsor:

Vehicle sponsor

Accommodation Partners:

Accommodation Partners

Product sponsor:

Product sponsor


Boschendal Style Award 2014

The winner of the 2014 Boschendal Style Award is Equus Dine at Cavalli.

The annual Boschendal Style Award is bestowed on the most stylish restaurant in South Africa.

Hard to define but easy to recognise, style is the elusive element that distinguishes great restaurants from the merely good. But style does not necessarily equal award-winning design: it’s all about the different elements of comfort, décor and atmosphere coming together to create a whole, whether it’s with a cutting-edge contemporary ambience or sumptuous vintage interiors.

Guests need to feel that they belong; chairs, music and lighting shouldn’t be too hard or too soft; and good-looking crockery and polished wine glasses are vital. Of course, décor and design is also key, whether the effect is glamorous, off-beat, classic or sophisticated urban chic.

The ultimate winner will be chosen by the anonymous judges of the Eat Out Restaurant Awards (announced on the night of the awards ceremony in November) in consultation with Eat Out editor and chief judge Abigail Donnelly.

Read more about this year's other nominees here:


The Top 10 and special awards are judged by a team of anonymous judges, whose identities were revealed at the awards ceremony on 16 November 2014 (See judges' tab below.)

With input from the Eat Out community and editorial panel, the judges draw up a long list and dine at a wide range of potential restaurants. From that pool, 20 nominees are selected. Each nominee must adhere to the following guidelines:

– The establishment must have been open and operating with the same chef since November 2013, i.e. for a full year.

– The owners and chef should show an absolute passion for their business.

– They should display dedication to uplifting the industry.

– Chefs should care about sourcing quality produce.

– Consistency and excellence must shine through every aspect of the business.

The judges eat at each nominated restaurant and score them on the following criteria (out of 100 points). The scorecards are audited and winners calculated.

FOOD {70}


– The judges look for balance – on the menu, in the dishes, cooking styles, techniques and ingredients – and an awareness of different dietary requirements.

– Appreciation of the use of local, seasonal produce, ethically sourced animal products and sustainable fish species.

FOOD PRESENTATION {15} Does the food look appealing? Is the dish plated beautifully? Does it fit the menu description?

TASTE {25} The judges consider the execution of the dishes and the balance of flavours and textures.

PRICE AND VALUE FOR MONEY {5} What is delivered on the plate and how is it served? Do you get value for money considering where you are?

WINE CHOICE {10} Judges consider the variety on offer, the wine and food pairings, knowledge of the sommelier and staff, and value for money.


From making the reservation to settling the bill, service is all-important to a pleasant experience. The judges evaluate the attitude of staff, their knowledge of the menu, specials and wine pairing, and their willingness to go the extra mile to accommodate special requests.


This category encompasses the spirit of a restaurant and the overall feeling it creates. Do you feel comfortable? Has thought gone into designing and decorating the interior? Are the glasses, cutlery and linen all spotless?

Review Team

Early in 2014 we asked our readers and members of the public to nominate their favourite restaurants to be considered for the 2015 edition of Eat Out magazine. (We received over 3000 nominations.) Nominated restaurants were rated by Eat Out’s editorial panel of 32 food industry experts. Those with the highest ratings made up the 2014 Eat Out 500, the top 500 restaurants in South Africa, which are featured in the magazine.

Meet our editorial panel, the group of professional reviewers who rated and reviewed this year’s restaurants for the Eat Out 500.


Alida Ryder: Alida Ryder is a cookbook author, food blogger, stylist and photographer living in Pretoria with her husband and twins. She specialises in developing, styling and shooting recipes for clients, her blog and books. (AR)

Aubrey Ngcungama: Aubrey is a TV and food personality known for his appearances on Come Dine with Me and Dinner Divas. He is also a food writer and ambassador for One&Only. (AN)

Bazil Stander: (BS) Bazil is a chef, stylist, food consultant and founder of The Food Innovation Company. This passionate foodie was based in Johannesburg until recently, but is at the moment pursuing new opportunities in Australia.

Bernadette le Roux: Bernadette Le Roux is the editor of Condé Nast House & Garden Gourmet and author of two cookbooks, Roots, Shoots and Leaves and the award-winning Prickly Pears & Pomegranates. She is part owner of Café Roux in Noordhoek and lives nearby with her husband and two children. (BLR)

Cathy Marston: Cathy, who originally hails from Yorkshire, is now based in Cape Town. A qualified wine educator, she holds a wine diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. She is a freelance writer who writes for various local and international publications. Her first book, Love your Wine, was published in July 2014. (CM)

Charlotte Pregnolato: Charlotte is a freelance writer based in the Garden Route area. She specialises in food and travel writing and is also a yoga teacher. (CP)

Colette du Plessis: Colette is a freelance food and health journalist based in Bloemfontein. (CdP)

Diane de Beer: Diane de Beer is a senior arts journalist with the Independent Newspapers art supplement, Tonight. She specialises in theatre, film, fine art and music; writes a weekly food column for the Pretoria News; and edits books. (DdB)

Frank Chemaly: Frank Chemaly is chief sub-editor of the Sunday Tribune and food critic for The Mercury. He also produces The Mercury’s bi-annual food guide to eating out in KZN. (FC)

Graham Howe: Based in Cape Town, Graham Howe is wine and food editor of Habitat Magazine and a regular contributor to Classic Wine, and The Intrepid Explorer. A specialist writer on food, wine and travel, he has contributed to many newspapers, magazines and online platforms in SA and the UK on gastronomic assignments to over sixty countries over the last 20 years. (GH)

Greg Landman: Greg is the wine columnist for Country Life, for whom he also covers Cape country restaurants. He is a contributor to the Platter Wine Guide, Classic Wine, Cheers and He lives in West Beach, Cape Town. (GL)

Gwynne Conlyn: Gwynne Conlyn is a freelance broadcaster and award-winning lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in many local magazines and newspapers. She is a public speaker, cooking competition judge, restaurant critic and panellist for both local and international restaurant awards. She is also the originator of the Sunday Times Food Show and Sunday Times Chef of the Year. (GC)

Hennie Fisher: Hennie is a lecturer in Culinary Arts and Cultural Eating Patterns at the University of Pretoria. He is also a freelance writer for the Pretoria News, The Taverner and Sunday Times. (HF)

Ishay Govender-Ypma: Ishay is a freelance travel and food writer with an interest in culture. She blogs at and is also a judge for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. (IGY)

Jodi-Ann Pearton: Jodi is an award-winning chef and the founder and owner of The Cookie Design Emporium and The Food Design Agency, which specialise in product development, food styling and high-end functions. She is on the board of the South African Chefs Association and writes for Hotel & Restaurant Magazine, The World Association of Chefs (WACS) magazine and Chef! Magazine. (JP)

Kate Ziervogel: Kate is a freelance lifestyle writer based in KZN. She is also the founder and owner of the media company South Coast Live. (KZ)

Leila Saffarian: A freelance food stylist, food writer, blogger and food editor, Leila is based in Johannesburg, where she makes plates of food look good for magazines, advertising and online platforms. (LSF)

Lentswe Bhengu: After years of experience in the restaurant industry, Lentswe founded the food web series, Africa on a Plate, which has since been picked up for TV broadcast. Lentswe is the host of this show and also regular MC and food personality. (LB)

Marie-Lais Emond: Marie-Lais is a food and travel writer, columnist, book and magazine editor, and radio personality. She is based in Johannesburg. (MLE)

Mokgadi Itsweng: Mokgadi is a foodie based in Johannesburg. She is the food editor of True Love magazine and a recipient of the 2013 Galliova award for food writing. She also runs a food company called Lotsha Home food. (MI)

Paula Mackenzie: Paula is a freelance writer and on-consumption manager at Vinimark – The Wine Company. She is based in KZN. (PM)

Petro Lotz: Petro is based in East London, where she runs the Appetito Catering and Cooking School. She hosts fun cooking evenings and her blog, Krummels op my Kapblok, is read all over the globe. (PL)

Richard Holmes: Based in Cape Town, Richard is a Richard freelance food and travel writer who has eaten everywhere from Hong Kong to John O’Groats in the past year. (RH)

Rupesh Kassen: Rupesh is a chef and freelance food writer. Having left behind a corporate career to pursue his love for food, this Johannesburg based reviewer is extremely passionate about honest, delicious food. (RH)

Thulisa Martins: Thulisa is food editor of Food and Home Entertaining. She is a qualified food scientist, and an accomplished food writer and stylist who also blogs at (TM)

Tracy Gielink: A Durban-based freelance journalist, Tracy focuses on food and restaurant features. She is also a wine enthusiast and has her diploma through the Cape Wine Academy. (TG)

Tudor Caradoc-Davies: Tudor is a Cape Town-based lifestyle writer who specialises in food and travel stories. He has written for publications like The Sunday Times, Men's Health and GQ. Books he has written or edited include Braai - Reuben on Fire, Pete Goffe-Wood's A Life Digested and the best-selling banting bible, The Real Meal Revolution. (TCD)

Zama Memela: Zama graduated from the Capsicum Culinary Studio and moved on to establish her own catering company and pop-up restaurant, Easy Eating. She is currently based in KZN. (ZM)

Reviewing members of the Eat Out Team

Anelde Greeff: editor-in-chief (AG)

Jeanne Calitz: deputy editor (JC)

Katharine Jacobs: Online editor (KJ)

Linda Scarborough: Copy editor (LS)


Abigail Donnelly

Eat Out editor and chief judge

Food editor for Woolworths TASTE magazine, a former chef and catering business owner, and five-time winner of the Galliova Award for Best Food Writer, Abigail was a member of the judging panel of the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2011 and 2012, and has appeared as a guest judge on MasterChef SA.

Arnold Tanzer

Chef, consultant and producer

Sunday Times Chef of the Year for 2008, Arnold has run a catering business, worked as a food consultant and served as culinary producer on MasterChef SA. A former director of the South African Chefs Association and director for Africa and the Middle East of the World Association of Chef Societies, Arnold recently received the Worldchefs Honorary Life Membership.

Kate Wilson

Magazine editor and food writer

Kate has served as the editor of, amongst others, SL magazine, Hotdog magazine (London), House & Leisure, Marie Claire South Africa and Women’s Health. Kate has written about food for Mail & Guardian and GQ UK and was named MPASA Editor of the Year in 2012.

Reuben Riffel

Chef de cuisine and restaurateur

This South African celebrity chef opened his first Reuben’s restaurant in Franschhoek in 2004, going on to win Eat Out’s Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year titles. A cookbook author, TV personality and host of MasterChef SA season three, Reuben still runs his successful fleet of restaurants across the country.

Andy Fenner

Author, designer and entrepreneur

Andy has written for and appeared in Sunday Times, Men’s Health, GQ, Woolworths TASTE, Food & Home and House & Leisure. Named one of Mail & Guardian’s top 200 Young South Africans, he is the owner of award-winning butchery Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and has sat on the San Pellegrino Top 50 Academy for four consecutive years.

'Best of' judge Caro de Waal

This section of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards recognises eateries that are at the absolute top of their game, but don’t fit into the fine dining category of the Top 10. The judge for these awards was Caro de Waal. Caro has a varied background that started in fine art, before she moved into graphic and web design for the first part of her career. She then followed her passion into the world of food and cooking. After completing a three-year Grand Diplôme Le Cordon Bleu at Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town, she opened and ran a private catering business, Treat Catering, for four successful years. Then came some years at, with two years as editor-in-chief. Caro now heads up Eat Design, a niche experience design company in the food and beverage sector that weaves all her talents in to one creative offering.

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