In addition to the announcement of the Top 10, stellar restaurants and individuals on the South African scene also received special awards. They are:
Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year: Liam Tomlin of Chefs Warehouse & Canteen (City Bowl, Cape Town)
Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year: La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)
Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef: Kobus van der Merwe, Wolfgat (Paternoster, West Coast)
Eat Out Rising Star: Kayla-Ann Osborn, The Chefs Table (Umhlanga)
Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award: Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)
Eat Out Service Excellence Award: Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
Eat Out Wine Service Award: Moses Magwaza, Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service: Morne Wessels, La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)
Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award: Letitia Prinsloo
Eat Out Style Award: Fermier Restaurant (The Willows, Pretoria)
Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary winner: Bryan Mlotshwa
Click here for more information on the judging for each of the awards.
South Africa’s shining culinary talents were honoured at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards on Sunday 19 November at the Grand Arena at GrandWest in Cape Town.
The Top 10 restaurants
1. The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)
2. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
3. The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)
4. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town)
5. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort (Constantia, Cape Town)
6. Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)
7. La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)
8. The Shortmarket Club (City Bowl, Cape Town)
9. Overture (Stellenbosch)
10. The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock, Cape Town)
This year, we also honoured numbers 11 to 20:
11. Jardine Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
12. Foliage (Franschhoek)
13. Wolfgat (Paternoster)
14. Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
15. Fermier Restaurant (The Willows, Pretoria)
16. Thali (Gardens, Cape Town)
17. DW Eleven-13 (Dunkeld West, Johannesburg)
18. Hartford House (Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal)
19. Luke Dale-Roberts X The Saxon (Sandhurst, Johannesburg)
20. La Tête (City Bowl, Cape Town)
Judging of the Top 10
The winners of the awards are chosen by a team of experts who remain anonymous throughout the judging process. The team is headed up by Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly.
Restaurants do not elect to be judged for the Top 10 restaurants.
With input from the Eat Out community, the judges draw up a list of candidates for nomination. Each restaurant has to adhere to the following guidelines:
- The establishment must have been open with the same highest-ranking chef since November 2016. Changes in décor, closure for winter or other breaks, and staffing changes, other than of the highest-ranking chef, over this time period do not disqualify a restaurant.
- Consistency and excellence must shine through every aspect of the experience.
- The owners and chef should demonstrate total passion for the business.
- They should also be dedicated to uplifting the industry.
- The sourcing of quality produce should be a priority.
The judges dine at each nominated restaurant and score them on the criteria below. Finally, the scorecards are audited and the winners calculated.
The full scorecard for 2017 is below:
– Menu composition: Choice, cooking techniques, variety of ingredients, dietary requirements. (/12)
– Ethical awareness: Sourcing of meat, seafood, dairy, eggs and other produce. (/5)
– Food presentation: Visual appeal, fits description, use of plate, garnishes. (/20)
– Food taste: Execution of dish, balance of flavours and textures. (/30)
– Price value: What's delivered on the plate relative to the price of the dish. Value for money. (/5)
– Wine choice: How many are offered, wine and food pairing, other beverages offered in pairing, knowledge of service staff, value for money. (/8)
Reservations process, arrival, attitude of staff, knowledge of menu and restaurant, specials, wine matching, dietary requirements, extra mile, billing.
Comfort level, atmosphere, clean linen, cutlery, music, bathroom.
Judging of the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award
The Sustainability Award is judged by a separate panel of experts including Abigail Donnelly, Pavitray Pillay of WWF-SASSI, Sonia Mountford of Eategrity and Karen Welter of Longtable Project. Eat Out has worked with these partners to develop robust criteria for evaluating restaurants for this award. This award will recognise a restaurant that has made great strides towards being sustainable and sustainably aware. Interested South African restaurants complete an entry form to enter, are required to show proof of claims, and receive a site visit if shortlisted. The shortlisted restaurants are not announced, but will be given feedback by the judging panel.
Find out more and download the entry form here.
The panel of critics is made up of a diverse range of individuals – seasoned journalists, bloggers, writers, trained chefs, caterers, food personalities, lecturers and former restaurateurs.
Each year, these industry experts rate thousands of candidates (including the most viewed restaurants on the site, those that received reader reviews and those recommended by critics in the know). The highest scoring restaurants were are then reviewed, and the best of that bunch form the Eat Out 500, published in our annual magazine.
Eat Out critics always dine in secret, and pay for their meals in full to ensure fair, unbiased reviewing.
The panellists who contributed to the 2018 magazine include:
Alida is a cookbook author, food blogger, stylist and photographer living in Pretoria with her husband and twins. Her days are filled developing, styling and shooting recipes for clients, her blog and books.
Amelia is a writer and sub-editor based in Cape Town.
Amy is the online editor for Woolworths TASTE and community manager for Eat Out. She holds post-graduate qualifications in the field of nutrition and dietetics and is a registered dietician.
A food editor, blogger, recipe developer and food stylist, Anna Montali is the former food editor and deputy editor of Food & Home Entertaining Magazine. She has won numerous awards, including several Caxton awards, the LG Home Chef in Dubai award and the prestigious Galliova Food Writer of the Year award.
Ashraf is a writer, poet and content manager. He finds it particularly hard to balance his love of food with his love of fitness, but we all know how the cookie crumbles…
Colette du Plessis
Colette is a health journalist from Bloemfontein with a passion for seasonal and regional food.
Charlotte is a freelance food and lifestyle writer as well as an enthusiastic cook and an avid traveller.
Diane de Beer
Diane is a freelance journalist and a blogger who writes about food, theatre, movies, books, life, the universe and everything else.
Based in Cape Town, Graham Howe is one of South Africa's most experienced lifestyle journalists. A specialist writer on food, wine and travel, he has contributed in print, on radio and online on gastronomic assignments to over 60 countries over the last three decades. He has wined and dined as a critic for Eat Out since 2005 - making the 2018 edition his fourteenth issue.
A long-time Eat Out reviewer and contributor to numerous publications, Greg likes to travel and visit restaurants both locally and overseas.
Hennie is a culinary arts lecturer in the department of Consumer and Food Science at the University of Pretoria. He is also a hospitality researcher and wine writer.
Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche
Hetta is a South African food culture expert, culinary consultant and chef.
A food and travel journalist and cookbook author, Ishay Govender-Ypma often writes about the relationship between food and culture in a historical and contemporary context. She judges in international restaurant awards and lives in Cape Town when she’s not on the road.
Isi is a sensory and consumer insights specialist, who is passionate about the relationship between the senses and food. Since 2012, he has been a researcher with the Sensory Research Division in the Department of Food Science at the University of Pretoria.
Jeanne is a freelance lifestyle editor and writer from Cape Town.
A Silwood graduate, Jodi has varied experience, ranging from working at The French Laundry to owning The Food Design Agency, which specialises in food styling, product development, product testing, high-end functions, celebrity cheffing and skills upliftment. She is also currently Competitions Director on the Board of the South African Chefs Association and regular columnist in food publications.
Chef and stylist for print and TV, Jody currently works for charity organisation Afri-can, which teaches entrepreneurs in underprivileged areas how to run a food business. He also runs Flavour ZA.
John is a presenter on Cape Talk with a special interest in food and wine.
Kate is an actress and freelance food-and-travel writer. When she's not treading the boards or seeking out her next narrative, she's a connoisseur of coffee, a guzzler of good wine and scoffer of all things delicious.
Katharine is the online editor of Eat Out. Her food, lifestyle and arts writing has also been published in various local print and online publications.
A features editor, Kholeka is moved by music, words and food.
Deputy editor of Eat Out, Linda has worked on various print and online publications as a writer, copy editor and features editor.
Lynda is the senior copy editor of Woolworths TASTE.
Mokgadi has been featured on TV, developed recipes for magazines, participated in food festivals and worked with African food expert Dora Sithole on her recipe book, Cape to Cairo. She has won a Galliova award for food writing. Mokgadi is creative director and head chef for Lotsha Foods.
Margaret adores words and writing. Her day job rotates around lecturing journalism to university students.
Marie-Lais is an editor, writer, food reviewer and radio personality.
Nelleke has experience as a pastry chef, food stylist and caterer business owner. Currently she works as a freelance food stylist and runs her own guest house in the Garden Route.
This proud Durbanite is a brand consultant and lifestyle blogger at Ask Ashe. She has a penchant for butter and lemon, loves comfort food and cannot abide bad service thanks to her old-school waitress roots.
Nicola is a freelance financial journalist with a passion for food and wine.
Nikita is a writer at Eat Out and a fanatical foodie who believes that every great meal should start with a glass of bubbly.
Paddi Clay loves to cook, eat out and travel. She has over four decades of experience in journalism and news as a foreign correspondent, editor and trainer.
Petro has owned a restaurant, eaten her way through African and Asian markets, and cooked on television. She currently runs a catering business, presents fun cooking evenings, grows her own herbs and veggies, and is involved in the family’s artisanal meat and cheese making.
Richard is a freelance travel and food journalist.
Rupesh is a chef and freelance writer.
Sam is a food stylist, recipe writer and food photographer with award-winning website DrizzleandDip.com. She has published two cookbooks.
Sandiso is a freelance writer, trend analyst and performer.
Seth is a lifestyle strategist, creative director, freelance writer and photographer.
After working for over a decade in advertising and specialising in food brands, Shirley launched a business offering food writing and photography for the KZN hospitality industry.
Steve is the founder of The Joburg Foodie. He spends his time exploring the ins and outs of South Africa’s food scene, showcasing his finds to his Instagram followers.
Thando is a books editor, copy editor and scribe. Her interests range from reviewing books and food writing to critical discourse analysis. She holds an MA in journalism from Rhodes University.
Thulisa is a product developer and has experience as a food editor, food stylist and blogger.
Tshepang is a writer and editor from Johannesburg. She won the 2016 Veritas Young Wine Writer of the Year.
Tudor is a travel, food and booze writer.
Wanda is a news and feature journalist and an award-winning food and travel writer. The Durban-born UKZN graduate has contributed to publications in the US, the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
Originally from Port Elizabeth, Xolisa is a news editor working in Johannesburg.
After starting out as a sub-editor and reporter, Zanele has worked at glossies in various roles as beauty editor, correspondent, bureau chief and editor. Currently in a senior editor role at a digital publication, she is an entrepreneur, writer, DJ and speaker.
Zodwa is a freelance writer/editor and the digital director of Livity Africa.
Chef and segment producer on Expresso Morning Show on SABC 3, Zola is also a recipe developer, cookbook author and food stylist.
The 20th issue of Eat Out magazine is on sale now.