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Lucky Rodrigo

Lucky Rodrigo
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Cost
R65 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Kids
Food
Burgers, Seafood, South African, Steak
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

The hipster scene finally hit Pretoria. That is not to say the capital city didn’t have its fair share of moccasin-clad indie queens who knew every band before they were famous, but it’s only once a city gets a Williamsburg-style restaurant where quirk is a commodity that the infestation is complete. Pretoria was ready for Lucky Rodrigo and judging by the crowd on a Friday night, the hipsters weren’t the only ones looking for this particular combination of great food, a fun vibe and craft beer on tap.

Food
Don’t let the name fool you – Lucky Rodrigo is not a Mexican joint. Simple, classic American diner-style dishes are exquisitely prepared and served quickly, even on a busy night. With a menu consisting mostly of burgers, Lucky Rodrigo tried a new approach with a focus on individual preferences. Instead of a traditional burger menu where options are limited to whatever the chef likes, here diners can construct their own delights. Start on a journey towards nourishment by choosing a burger core of beef, grilled vegetables with a hash brown and halloumi, or a grilled or fried chicken breast. Scan down the menu to identify the toppings that will turn your burger into an expression of your latent inner-chef and sit back while somebody else makes it happen. It’s brilliant in its simplicity. You won’t regret adding onion rings to your order. It’s difficult to finish a small burger, so bring a monstrous appetite if you’re planning on ordering a large one.

Before you get to the business of burgers, however, be sure to try the unbelievable jalapeno and cheese spring rolls. The portion is big enough to have as a main meal, but sharing it means you don’t have to miss out on the burgers. End off your meal with the vanilla ice cream, butterscotch sauce and malva pudding. It’s the only dessert, because it’s the only one you’ll ever need.

Wine
Remember the quirk we mentioned earlier? The quirkiest and most ingenious part of dining at Lucky Rodrigo is the wine. Pay a very reasonable R35 for a 500ml box of Robertson red, white or rosé. It’s like a juice box for grown-ups and more than enough wine to get you through the night. Craft beer lovers are spoiled for choice, with Jack Black pale ale and draft on tap. And tee-totallers (or the recovering) can indulge in a delicious Steri Stumpi with their meal.

Service
The service is as good as can be expected when a restaurant is about 50% over capacity. The waiters are friendly and familiar, but tend to get swamped at intervals. When things get crazy, it’s best to just order a drink at the bar and wait for it to pass. Don’t expect a seat without a reservation on a Friday night.

Ambience
The small space is filled to the brim with interesting and fun décor like Singer sewing machine tables, pot plants dangling from the ceiling and surprisingly chilled out fish in a tank above the bar. There’s not a lot of space inside, so it’s best avoided on cold nights unless you plan on drinking more than one wine box and sitting outside. The persnickety would do well to avoid the bathrooms.

By Kristia van Heerden, October 2013
  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food

User reviews

  • Elke keer was die burgers nog fantasties, die koek vars en die koffie baaaaaaaie lekker!!!!!!! Dit geld vir take away en "sit-down".
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  • Burgers is about the only thing this place does well.
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  • We went there on Friday (20150424) afternoon after work, just after 16:00, got a table for 6 people and had a great time! Until about 18:00 when we were informed that our table has been booked and we needed to leave by 19:00! We decided to stay as surely this must be a joke, the table wasn't booked when we sat down. At 19:00 the manager Desmond informed us that we must either leave or he'll give us another (small table table for 3 people) out in the rain!!! When I confronted Desmond and asked him how they can book a table out underneath people sitting (and spending a lot of money too) there, he simply replied that he's sorry and he'll give us another table. When I asked him where the rest of our friends must sit as the new table only has 3 chairs, he said they can stand by the bar. To be honest, the food is ok, a little on the expensive side for what you get, service is slow unless you buy from the bar and drinks isn't cheap either. Its acceptable as the place is close to work, but the fact that you allow people to book an occupied table and make those people move shows that you don't care about customer service. What angers me more, is the fact that when I wanted to book a table last year, I was told you don't take bookings...
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  • Ek het onlangs so artikel gelees oor hoe Kaapse service non-existent is, en dat jy jouself moet bedien. Fantastastiese artikel, slaan die hammer op die kop. "The shitter the staff, the cooler the “eatery”." Ek dink dit is van toepassing op Pretoria se uber cool restaurante ook. Lucky's is 'n teleurstelling. Steri-stumpie milkshake? Meer soos afgewaterde Nesquick met ysblokkies. Ek is jammer, hoekom wag ek 20min vir 'n coke op 'n Dinsdagmiddag wanneer jul slegs 4 ander tafels het? En dit is nie dat ek anti-hipster is nie. O nee, ek besit my fair share van hipster-kwaliteite en geniet die ou craft bier so op sy tyd, maar julle kan nie virewig jul klandisie hou op jul "coolheid" nie. En ek skryf coolheid met opset in hakkies, want parquet-vloere teen die muur is, soos, sooo laasjaar.
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  • What can I say its a place that my friends frequent and on Saturdays I have the opportunity to score on a great find amongst the record crates. The food is that of small town fair on a random school ground, with little to no thought on presentation or the most fundamental - TASTE!!

    There's nothing hipster about having wine out of a box or having to cut through a croque monsieur with a steak knife (no joke, this happened) or having to strong arm your waiter to get you the bill so that you can pay ( yes this too happened. it took 20 minutes for the bill and another 15min for a speed point).

    In short, if you're looking for a decent night out with friends then you should consider taking decent chaps with because their company will be the only highlight of your evening and lucky Rodrigo will that place you once went to but cant seem to remember where because it was that forgettable.
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  • It's true that this place has nice food and a nice ambience. I've been here three times in the past two months or so. The first time was a very very good experience. Excellent burgers, a chilled laid back vibe and a really friendly and helpful waitress.

    The other two experiences were increasingly worse, with the last being absolutely awful beyond words. It seems that Lucky Rodrigo has rather exploded in popularity, resulting in a heavily overcrowded bar and restaurant. Rather than have a maximum capacity policy and turning patrons away until space opens up, they seem to be content with letting the place fill up until one can barely move and a point where I'm certain is actually a genuine safety hazard.

    Upon arrival on our last visit, they were already busy and as their kitchen isn't very large, we waited a good while for our burgers, but this was still acceptable. The food was again tasty as usual, but only one of the three of us actually got the sauce we asked for with our burgers. One of our party had to wait nearly 2h30min for his prego sauce, by which time his burger was ice cold, and the other never got his mushroom sauce.

    Just after receiving our food we received word of our other three friends who were nearly there, so we preemptively ordered food and drinks for them. When they arrived the restaurant had really started to fill up and it turned into a massive mission just to accomplish getting one drink. One of the extra three party members received his burger promptly, but the other had to wait for a good 40 minutes more for her food. The last member of our party only eventually received his burger when we decided to call it a night and leave. This after about 2 hours of continually asking about said burger and being assured of its imminent arrival.

    I have never in my life walked out of a restaurant without paying, but in this case I would have done it gladly without any hint of conscience. The service was atrocious. We had to order the same drink for our female friend three times from three different waiters before eventually receiving one of them when she was halfway through her food (this after ordering said first drink preemptively before they even arrived.) We ordered two gin & tonics multiple times, which never arrived. We also received a beer we never ordered. And as I've mentioned, one of our party only got his burger when we were actually about to leave, much later.

    The bill was the worst of all. After much sitting around, not receiving any drinks or food, despite many attempts, we gave up and asked for the bill, despite multiple orders still "pending." We had to ask for our bill three times before finally receiving a correct one to pay. The first time a waiter brought our bill, it had only been printed half way before it seems the machine ran out of paper, so we had to call another waiter and request the full bill so we could please pay the full amount. The second time the bill we received was for a completely different table. By the third time we received the correct bill at last, after more long waiting. If it had arrived 5 seconds later it would have been met with an empty table and some cash just left on the table to assuage some consciences.

    This makes me really sad, because this restaurant has a lot of potential, but is ruining the experience of everyone by allowing the place to fill up to near stampede level. Waiters and kitchen and bar staff are simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume, which leads to horrific service which just ruins one's night. Despite the fact that when the food that eventually arrives is actually quite good, and the vibe of the place when it's not filled to overflowing is actually very pleasant, our experience over three visits regressed from good to bad to shockingly bad.

    Please, Rodrigo's, get your act together.

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    • Food

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways

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