Award Winners

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: Kobus van der Merwe, Wolfgat (Paternoster)

Eat Out Diners Club Award for Service Excellence: The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)

Eat Out Retail Capital Best New Restaurant: Janse & Co (Gardens, Cape Town)

Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef Award: Chris Erasmus, Foliage (Franschhoek) and Ivor Jones, Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town)

Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star: Candice Philip, Grei (Sandhurst, Johannesburg)

Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award: The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal (Franschhoek)

Eat Out VISI Style Award: Saint Restaurant (Sandton, Johannesburg)

Eat Out Wine Service Award: Moses Magwaza, Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)

Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service: Germain Lehodey

Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award: Abigail Donnelly

Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary: Thapelo Tsotsetsi

Top Ten

South Africa’s shining culinary talents were honoured at the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards on Sunday 18 November at the Grand Arena at GrandWest in Cape Town.

The Top 10 restaurants

1. The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)

2. The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)

3. La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)

4. Wolfgat (Paternoster)

5. La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)

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

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

8. Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)

9. Jardine Restaurant (Stellenbosch)

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

We also honoured numbers 11 to 20:

11. Fermier Restaurant (Die Wilgers, Pretoria)

12. Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch)

13. Foliage (Franschhoek)

14. Le Coin Français (Franschhoek)

15. The Chefs' Table (Umhlanga, Durban)

16. Chefs Warehouse at Maison (Franschhoek)

17. La Tête (City Bowl, Cape Town)

18. Overture (Stellenbosch)

19. The Shortmarket Club (City Bowl, Cape Town)

20. The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock, Cape Town)


To celebrate the wealth of talent on the restaurant scene, Eat Out will count down from 20 to 11 at the ceremony, which will take place at GrandWest in Cape Town on Sunday 18 November 2018, before finally revealing the Top 10 restaurants in the country.

The nominees, in alphabetical particular order, are:


In addition to naming the hotly contested Top 10 restaurants, the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards will also recognise the following winners:

Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year
Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year
Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star Award
Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef Award
Eat Out Diners Club Service Excellence Award
Eat Out Wine Service Award
Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service
Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award
Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award
Eat Out Style Award

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 also 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.


Title sponsor


Associate sponsors

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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 panel of judges is convened by Margot Janse.

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 2017. 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 2018 is below:

Food (/80)
– 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)

Service (/15)
Reservations process, arrival, attitude of staff, knowledge of menu and restaurant, specials, wine matching, dietary requirements, extra mile, billing.

Ambience (/5)
Comfort level, atmosphere, clean linen, cutlery, music, bathroom.

TOTAL    (/100)

As the food score is paramount, counting for 80% of the total score, in the instance of two restaurants having precisely the same overall score and therefore in a tie, the average food score of each restaurant will be used to break the tie. 

Judging of the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award

The Sustainability Award is judged by a separate panel of experts including 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.

Review Team

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.

Promoted restaurants