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Dukes Burgers

Dukes Burgers
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Cost
R90 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Burgers
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R60 per bottle

Critic's review

Thando Ndabezitha

Food

Freshly baked buns, high-quality meat burger patties, hand-cut chips and a gob-smacking variety of burger options – even in the vegetarian section – make Dukes one of the most-loved gourmet burger restaurants in town. The Big Cheese burger features in our cheesiest dishes in Jozi list – and with good reason. Filled with mozzarella, feta, cheddar and a beef patty, as well as homemade gherkins and tomato relish, it is the creation of a chef who clearly wanted to find their way into our hearts – and it works.

Starters aren’t really worth lingering over. The focus here is on burgers. (The chicken wings, which the waiters swear are the best starter on the menu, are rather a disappointment). You are in gourmet burger heaven after all, with choices galore, including ostrich and lamb. Vegetarian options include vegan toppings such as tofu feta and Thai peanut soya sauce.

For the chilli lovers, there are a few spicy options, although the kick is rather tame and feels more like a nudge than the heat-induced kick you might expect.

Drinks

A comprehensive drinks menu features some much-loved, but ubiquitous local wines – think Fat Bastard shiraz, Porcupine Ridge merlot, Rupert & Rothschild red blend and so forth. Craft beers, alcoholic milkshakes and royalty-themed cocktails all encourage a weekend lunch extending into supper. From the monarch cocktail selection, try Princess Di, which is a mix of Peach Schnapps, Mango Monin and pineapple juice and makes for the perfect concoction for a balmy summer afternoon. This is also a good spot for after-work drinks.

Service

It might take a few minutes to find someone who works here willing to welcome you and offer you a menu. Luckily, there’s a pile of menus at the front of the shop. Grab one for food and another for drinks, then look for a table to seat yourself. Reasonable requests, such as for the Wi-Fi code, are acquiesced to with cold civility (and you have to give them your device for them to input the password for you). Also disorientating is the practice of placing unlit candles on your table during the daytime. Presumably for evening diners, it feels like a polite hint to make way for the next group of diners. Other areas they need to work on: neglecting customers for extended periods in between orders, clearing tables between courses, and refilling glasses as they run empty. Suffice it to say, the service would leave a permanently bad taste, were it not for the efforts of the chef to make polite and friendly inquiries about the food and your wellbeing when she makes an appearance every now and then from the kitchen.

Ambience

What Dukes greatly lacks in customer service, it makes up for in food, music, and décor. The establishment takes the gourmet burger idea – an oxymoron, of sorts (although the Capetonians don’t flinch at it, having had years to perfect this on Long Street) – to the next level. The décor is a grand parody of regality, with some chairs even imitating the shape of a throne. It’s fun and tongue-in-cheek, yet still quite chic. The garden takes on a life of its own, with a vibrancy in summer that’s so typically Greenside: down to earth, easy and intimate. It’s a space for deep, meaningful conversations, punctuated with long comfortable silences that allow pauses to enjoy the music – which is so good that, even if you’re dining alone, it will cast a spell on you and make you reluctant to leave.

And…

There’s an upstairs seating area that can accommodate up to 50 people for private events.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

(September 2017)

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  • Jodi-Ann Pearton

    Food
    The menu is extensive with every burger under the sun to choose from. It also includes plain burgers, which you can then top with any kind of topping you can possibly imagine.

    With truly gigantic portions, it’s best to arrive starving – you shall be satisfied! All burgers come with a choice of side salad or starch (sweet potato wedges, potato wedges or fries) and the portions are very large. It’s the kind of place where guests flip out their phones to photograph their food.

    The burgers are well-prepared and presented skewered, which adds a visual element to the plate: you can see every ingredient in layers on the homemade bun.

    Recommended is the Dukes Burger, a beef patty generously garnished with pineapple, bacon and a fried egg, or opt for the Snow White burger in the lamb category, adorned with goat’s cheese, apple and mint jelly, and cucumber ribbons. As for poultry, the Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater with its grilled chicken fillet, tomato relish and roasted butternut is a great option, and there are also a few ostrich burgers to be had.

    Truly, they offer something for everyone.

    Drinks 
    The wine list is small but suitable, especially if you take into account the wonderful variety of beer, milkshakes and cocktails on offer. Do try out the delicious banana and peanut butter milkshake, or for something with a kick. The cocktails are amazing.

    Service
    Service is excellent, and not in-your-face at all. Staff members are well-informed about the extensive menu: if you need help choosing the perfect burger, just ask. The turnaround from order to delivery is satisfyingly fast.

    Ambience
    The eatery boasts a fantastic atmosphere. There is an indoor and outdoor seating area and the clientele is made up of a mixture of young and old; everyone is welcome. The vibe is easygoing and welcoming, and due to the unusual nature of the food, everyone talks to one another about their meals. Diners converse and chat between tables and take photographs of each other’s food – it creates an almost theatrical atmosphere. It’s a very happy, light-hearted restaurant.

    And… 
    The menu also caters nicely for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners.

    (July 2014)

  • Burgers are mammoth, so come hungry! Order the Dukes Burger with pineapple, mushrooms, tomato, a fried egg, bacon, cheddar, gherkins and onion rings. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    Delicious gourmet burgers with great names come in all guises; there’s beef, chicken, lamb, ostrich and some fabulous vegetarian burgers too. Try the Ghandi, a red lentil and chickpea patty on a bed of rocket, topped with sweet pepper chutney and sour cream coriander dip. The Jackie O is a lean lamb burger, topped with tzatziki and a mild chilli, mango and pineapple salsa. The Duke is the restaurant’s flagship burger: topped with grilled pineapple, mushrooms, tomato, fried egg, crispy bacon, cheddar cheese and onion rings, it’s the size of your face. The burgers come with a side order of chips, potato wedges or salad.

    Wine
    A compact wine list.

    Service
    Fast and friendly.

    Ambience
    It’s fun and quirky, with orange-framed mirrors, chandeliers, velvet couches and purple walls.

    And...
    There’s an enclosed outside courtyard for alfresco dining. (JW, October 2011)

User reviews

  • What an absolutely amazing place! The menu is simply mind blowing, with something for every single taste, even some delicious sounding vegetarian options. Our waiter, Nicolas, made an incredible recommendations and knew the menu inside out. His service was speedy and friendly. We left with nothing but satisfied tummies and massive smiles on our faces. If you have an adventurous palate and an appreciation for an incredible burger, look no further than Dukes. Chapeau to you guys! Erin and I WILL be back, no doubt! Ciao for now. James
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  • The best or rather simple thing about Dukes is most of their customers they don't stare when you walk in and when you about to eat(Best satisfying experience i have been looking for in all this Jozi joints). Old fashion is always the best i am talking about the location, waiters dress code, size of tables and most important the position of their Kitchen(crucial). A big 10 for the staff we didn't have to say we are in a hurry to get our order in time and lastly whoever who is in charge of choosing the size of the meals we need to find him/her and honor him/her. NB: THANKS FOR NOT STARING AT OTHER CUSTOMERS I GUESS IS THE NICE BURGERS!
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  • Dukes specialises in burgers and from this you must not they are good .They have a wide variety of burgers from lamb,chicken ,vegetarian and even vegan so everyone is catered for .I had a indiana chicken burger which was so tender and filling as it was so big .Best burger I have tried so far in South Africa
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  • Best Burger Joint in Jozi!!!! Been there a few times and never disappointed. Staff are friendly. Beers are cold and burgers are amazing. Such an amazing variety of burgers on the menu. One can never quite decide....
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  • Good evening I love the experience of Dukes Burgers - starting with the visual experience - eyes sees something special and inviting and then the 2nd sensation of smell you can tick that box too and then the sensation of taste starting with the yumi chips that are chrispy and delicious having tasted a verity of burgers at Dukes burgers - never been dissapointed and again yumi - and as for the ambiance I find it it pleasant - so it is simply a thumbs up - well done
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  • There's a lot of good reviews I've read about Dukes & I'm happy to say they were accurate ! One of the smaller establishments in Greenside, so make sure you book before going, especially on weekends ! The menu is huge and caters for every taste, covering meat eaters as well as vegetarians ! I had one of the lovely ostrich burgers bursting with natural flavours that included a variety of ingredients while my wife had a super amazing tasteful lamb burger ! All this served with sweet potato wedges, though I'd prefer perhaps an option of sweet potato fries. With so much variety you just can't go wrong ! ..and yes the burgers are Huge !! A nice cosy atmosphere , topped of with good service ! I'll definitely go back to try out more of their wonderful burgers !
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  • The food at Dukes is really great value. The food is extremely tasty and well presented. The atmosphere is down to earth and the ambience is great. I will definitely go to Dukes to get my Burger cravings out the way.
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  • A relaxed student vibe, a little dingy but the food makes up for it! Love the bun-less options and the unusual sauces and condiments. Just delicious...
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  • Their burger variety is amazing! Their burgers are juicy, tasty and awesome looking. Their dessert is gorgeous, try their bonaffee tart so good you'll make space for it. Their combinations are different with each burger. There is also a menu for vegetarians.
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  • Great vibes. Excellent service. Man sized portions. Trendy! The Uncle Sam's Burger changed my life. I recommend it to any new comers.
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  • GREAT PLACE. I truly feel like they have a great space, with a good service. they served us quickly and were willing to compliment different dietary needs and decision. Well worth it also, with great portions.Was truly pleased and satisfied!
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  • Dukes are Burger Heaven!!! The decor is quirky, modern and fun and there's always a buzz! At night you have to book, it gets so busy. Luckily additional parking spots are right next to the Doppio Zero - from there you walk through an alley to Dukes. Wednesday nights are 'Rock' nights - they have burgers with funky names ... Fokofpolisiekar, Shortstraw, Ashtray Electric, etc. What I quite like about the Wednesday menu, is the dessert given with each 'funky' burger - Brandy and Coke Float, Tonic & Lime Sorbet, My dirty koeksister (koeksisters dipped in chocolate), Jager-bomb with ice cream and popping candy. I had the Three Mini Burgers - pork ribs on one, beef on the other and chicken fillet. Deeeeelicious!!!! And my dessert?? Chocolate stuffed doughnuts with toffee Jagermeister sauce. Oh yeah!!! My hubby had double beef patties with melted cheese, gherkins, mayo, lettuce & tomato. Their pie of the day is scrumptious and just big enough - but so cute, cause it looks like a whole pie!! I had the berry one. He had ice cream with cashews. I still want to grab a few friends and order their 2 KG burger! With chips and milkshake for R325! Definitely a share burger!
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  • Clearly winning the Best of Jozi has gone to your heads as your standards have slipped considerably. Ate at your establishment earlier this year and was so excited to go back, Mistake. Raw burgers, missing ingredients, sloppy slow service. Disappointed is what I am.
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  • We ate there on Tuesday and 7 of us were at my table. 3 of our burger patties were raw including mine, when I sent it back it returned without some of the toppings (egg and pineapple were missing) and only half a patty so it was clear I did not get a new burger and they just cooked the existing. I phoned to complain yesterday and was advised the owner would phone me back but nobody has phoned me back. The service was also very bad as we told the waiter about the missing toppings and raw burgers but he never called a Manager either.
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  • I am inlove. My favourite place to go in Johannesburg. The food is incredible, the decor is super chilled and fun. Just wish they could put better books to read outside but I love the blankets for the winter. I couldn't have been more comfortable, it caters to everyone. I could go on for years but I'll end it there. Thanks Dukes. Kudos.
    -Vicky
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  • We went on Sunday to try the famous dukes. When you go somewhere you need to order their specialty - which is of course the dukes burger. Let me tell you, the food is phenomenal - Finally a restaurant that takes the simplest of meals and perfects it. Compliments to the chef. Our waitress Nicole was an absolute pleasure. And man, grown up milkshakes with alcohol in. Definitely a thumbs up for Dukes! You will see me again soon.
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  • Great food and good atmosphere! Very good value for money if burgers are your thing.
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  • How do you STUFF UP a burger?

    Go ask Duke's - they are past masters at screwing up the most humble of all dishes.

    Terrible décor, bad service and really disappointing food.

    Perhaps, if I was snotters drunk and 22 years' old...ok, maybe not even then.

    Avoid.
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  • On hearing about this so" called"gourmet burger culture vibe, I decided to visit Dukes to experience the hype... Along with a few corporate buddies from P.I.C, food lovers needless to say, the experience and service is dismal. Food was not prepared well, the salad which over-powered the plated meal tasted as though it was in storage from the previous week, the service was pathetic. We requested to speak to the manager as the table was unbalanced and not set to cater for eight adults. The manager was an arrogant and I sensed a bit of racism when my "Black" colleague was expressing his views and the manager completely ignored him... To sum up; you are better of at the Michael Angelo paying a tad bit more with red carpet treatment!

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  • Excellent food. Great service. Nice atmosphere. These burgers are "gourmet" in every sense. Highly recommended.

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  • I read the review on Dukes in The Sunday Times one Sunday. The following weekend, my husband and 2 boys went to a home we sponsor first thing in the morning and on our return I decided to take them to this place that had a great view. First thing that struck is how the waiters ignored us at the entrance until I asked for a table. Although it was a cold afternoon they eventually gave us a table right at the entrance in the direct sun. I asked for another table and this request was ignored for a little and eventually we were given a table right next to the bar. Everything was slow to come and as I watched patrons who came after us get quick service, I could not help note how we were the only blacks in the restaurant and needless to say the ones getting shoddy service. My family was upset at this and reminded me to take them to places where race does not seem to play such a big part like Papachino in Clearwater or to the Hyatt Regency where we have enjoyed many meals with great service and of course The Grillhouse. This was the best burger I have had outside the United States where I travel to often but the worst service in an upmarket restaurant. Such a pity. All my brothers and sisters out there, please note!

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  • My first visit to Duke's was a disappointment. After hearing so much hype about it, I found that while the concept was great, the execution was rather poor. I had a tofu burger which was downright horrible. I'm happy to say this is since no longer on the menu.

    Some friends and I went through this week, and much to my delight, the Lady Marmalade Veggie Burger was delicious. Consisting of thick slices of roasted butternut and onion marmalade. I loved the balsamic reduction on the chips too, a grown up version of ketchup.

    My dining companions had the Fidel Castro, Desmond & the Tutus, and the Dutchess, the first 2 were polished off with not a thing left on the plate. My partner declared his Fidel Castro as the best burger he's ever had. That's a big claim.

    Service was good, neither intrusive or absent. Considering what you get, prices are very reasonable. Definitely a top place for a gourmet burger.

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  • Had so much fun, great vibe.

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  • This was such a disappointing restaurant. Being a vegetarian I was so excited to visit a restaurant that offers such a wide vegetarian selection. The service was no good, the facilities very dirty and the burger was very average. Everything was covered in a sickly sweet tomato relish.

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  • Dukes is an inspired treatise to burgers serving everything from beef to lamb burgers, to ostrich and vegetarian burgers, it truly is a gourmonde's delight where burgers can be consumed with complex delight.

    However, the service was disappointing. Taking into account that it was probably the busiest night of the week (Wednesday where they serve their Wednesday Rock Menu), I find it inexcusable for service staff to completely ignore you once your first round of drinks and ordered fare have arrived.

    The food is magnificent, but the service lacklustre which ruined my dining experience.

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  • Dukes pleasantly surprised me. It had an unimpressive entrance that could only be described as a niche in the plaster work of Greenside, but a niche of good quality comfort food that begs a good appetite. They have a great menu, with a solid splash of fun burgers for the vegetarian too. The food was timeous, waitron staff courteous and helpful and portion size more than generous. After diving into a dish of delicious potato skins, I enjoyed a "ghandi" burger which was of the vegetarian menu (if you wish to test any eatery, the less ordered vegetarian menu is a true test). The food was good and came with a good salad on the side that wasn't only for garnish purposes. Dukes is worth a night out, make sure you're hungry!

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  • Love, love, love this place!

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  • Great vibe, excellent service and amazing burgers.

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  • Most incredible food, presentation, service and price. Love Dukes.

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  • So so so good, and not nearly as pricey as I anticipated. I had a vegetarian burger which I thought was excellent value for money and terribly tasty, I also loved the sweet potato wedges. Everyone else at the table was also fantastically impressed by the flavour, presentation and portions. The service was a little bumpy in the beginning but improved later on. I cant wait to go back many times to eat my way through the entire menu.
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  • I was there for lunch on Sunday and was seriously taken aback at the generous portions, the stunning presentation and then - wow - the taste! I had the Mrs Sam beef burger with cheese, avo & sweet potato wedges - delicious! Will definitely be going there again.
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  • Ive had my 3rd great meal from Dukes last night, it really is an awesome place! We sampled the ROCK MENU last night which was a nice change but I would have to say I prefer the normal menu, as it has more choice and more normal burgers. The ROCK MENU is the only one you can order from on a Wednesday, so keep that in mind when you visit. Overall, though, I cant fault the place - the burgers are outstanding, absolutely huge (impossible to pick up and eat) and delicious. The place has been packed every time I go, so make sure you book. Everyone must visit Dukes!
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  • The snazziest burger joint in Jhb! On Wednesdays, they serve a South African rock menu, in which 15 of SA’s top rock bands & performing artists (like AKing, Heuwels Fantasities and Jack Parow) ‘designed’ a burger. With offerings like Ostrich with roasted beetroot, blue cheese and pesto to Footlongs, Bunny Cows and Soy Burgers, there is something for everybody. The menu is as much a work of art as the inspired burgers, and you can even have a side of sweet potato wedges! If you have a sweet tooth (and have the space!) you can end your meal with Popcorn & Smarties with Chocolate Sauce, or any of their other creative desserts. Not the cheapest burgers, but you are assured to leave satisfied and stuffed.
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  • This place is a dining experience The food is creative and delicious, the service is prompt and friendly, the surroundings are fun and vibey...Ive been three times now and have had an excellent time every time. It always seems like everyone there is fascinated by the food, as they are taking pictures of their gigantic burgers.
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  • Great burger, excellent service, good value and fun to BYO in Joburg! Definitely going back...
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  • The hamburger must be one of my favourite things. I typically eat one at least once a week. Dukes gets the gourmet burger spot on. This is no ordinary burger joint, the furnishings are classy and the service excellent. Be warned though that they are still awaiting their liquor license but you are most welcome to BYO. I had the Duchess, a beef burger with beetroot and horseradish topping and a side of sweet potato wedges; hubby ordered the Sloppy Joe. We quickly popped next door to the bottle store to purchase some beers and red wine to wash them down with. Don't forget to try the banana and peanut butter shake for dessert. Excellent, I'll be back for my weekly installment.

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  • AMAZING!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • WiFi

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