In summer, Pretoria beckons one to explore the magnificent views the capital has to offer. Let this list inspire you to (re)discover some of the places and flavours this city has to offer.
Rockets (Time Square, Menlyn)
Opening a new restaurant straight out of lockdown is no easy feat, but the team from the successful Rockets brand have done it! They have transformed the space that formerly housed Altitude Champagne Lounge into a very trendy new restaurant, lounge and nightclub venue. This popular format has already proven successful in the other venues developed by this Gauteng-based “lifestyle brand”. Young professionals from Pretoria loved to visit the flagship Bryanston Rockets and now owner Sean Barber and his team have brought Rockets closer to them. They pride themselves on service, food and ambience. Rockets offers their young, trendy, urban guests a sumptuous garden in the sky with stellar views over the newly developed skyline of the Menlyn area. Be sure to visit them for pre-dinner drinks and enjoy one of their elaborate cocktails. The gloriously named “Oscar Winner” is a drink that could make you feel red-carpet ready!
Forti Bar and Grill (Menlyn)
For breathtaking views and some of the city’s finest dining, book a table at Forti’s, one of the flagship establishments at the Time Square complex. The beautiful backdrop is complemented by a sophisticated interior and chef Fortunato Mazzone – of Ritrovo fame – goes out of his way to ensure that every detail of the dining experience is exceptional. Gourmet Italian fare makes up the core of the menu and there’s an extensive selection of innovative vegetarian options, such as the shiitake mushroom, pea and mint risotto. Fans of the grill will enjoy sinking their teeth into prime cuts of grass-fed beef.
Priva Gastrolounge (Waterkloof Heights)
One of Pretoria’s top sundowner spots, Priva is just the place for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life. The pork belly and grilled sole are just two of the favourites on the à la carte menu, which is complemented by an impressive selection of cigars, cognac, fine wines and single malts. The experience is completed with live jazz from Wednesdays to Saturdays.
Pride of India Restaurant (Waterkloof Heights)
Pride of India boasts a panoramic view overlooking the man-made forest on the rolling hills of this beautiful city. If you are lucky enough, you can experience the view when Mother Nature puts on her impressive light show during an electrical storm. Enjoy a delectable, slow-cooked lamb curry, with sambals and fresh naan bread or create your own feast by ordering a range of dishes to share. The choices are plentiful and include butter chicken, masala fish, lentils and fragrant rice dishes. The menu also offers many good vegan and vegetarian options for everyone to enjoy. Closed on Mondays.
De Kloof (Waterkloof)
Located on the Waterkloof Golf Estate, De Kloof offers mouth-watering fine-dining options and beautiful views to boot. Order a craft beer or glass of vino from the first-class wine list and feast your eyes on a fine sunset over Pretoria’s leafiest suburbs. With unusual items such as geelbek, blesbok and eland on the menu, there’s something for every palate. De Kloof is also open for Christmas lunch.
Tribute Restaurant at Apogee Boutique Hotel (Waterkloof)
Tribute is only open to the public from Thursdays to Sundays. The rest of the week is reserved for hotel guests. The gardens and views are refined and only surpassed by the quality of the hospitality and excellent food and cellar selections. Reservations are essential to enjoy this sublime slice of tranquility. You can enjoy either the breakfast, lunch or dinner menus or order a tapas platter for two (11:00 till 18:00). If you are feeling especially decadent, create your own, custom high tea menu for R250 per person.
Skyline Rooftop Restaurant and Bar (Arcadia)
Tasty food, delicious drinks and gorgeous views of the Union Buildings? Don’t mind if we do! Located on the fifth floor of the new Protea Hotel at Loftus Park, this breezy rooftop eatery boasts an outdoor swimming pool, a delicious pizza and tapas menu (try the slow-cooked pork belly tacos) and an extensive drinks selection. It’s ideal for a chilled bite to eat, after-work drinks or a snazzy date. There are live DJs on Friday and Saturday evenings, adding uplifting beats to this buzzing new spot.
The Blue Crane and Vula Food Shack (Nieuw Muckleneuk)
The Blue Crane Restaurant has spruced up its feathers over the last few years. It now resembles a tasteful, bushveld lodge overlooking the wetlands of the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary. This serene spot is a green oasis and birder’s paradise, right in the heart of Pretoria’s diplomatic hub. It offers a relaxing atmosphere and an unpretentious menu, and you have the chance to see South Africa’s regal-looking national bird, the blue crane. There are a range of wooden decks and terraces that offer great vantage points and secluded dining opportunities. Each area takes full advantage of that amazing wetland view.
Bonus: an exciting new addition has sprung up right next to Blue Crane. Now, you have access to an urban farm right on your doorstep. Visit Vula Food Shack for locally sourced and organic fruit, flowers and produce. They also offer a selection of locally roasted coffees. Vila Food Shack is open from Wednesday to Sunday between 9am till 4pm. You can enjoy a coffee under the trees on a carpet of yellow blossoms, visit the herb and veggie gardens, and shop from their trendy container shop.
La Terrasse Rooftop Café and Deli (Menlo Park)
This used to be a secret little daytime rooftop eatery but Joehan and Louise Erasmus saw an opportunity to open their venue for exclusive “Moroccan Feast Nights” after many requests from guests to open the café at night. You can enjoy the Moroccan atmosphere and food that this couple has authentically replicated in every detail from the architecture and the furnishings to the food. This venue offers that one thing we all crave from time to time: escapism. Bookings can be made for these exotic dining experiences. The deli remains open for daytime sales but there is no longer a daytime restaurant service at the café.
Pltfrm @ Wolwespruit (Erasmuskloof)
Runners, mountain bikers and others who love the outdoors seem to gather under the large roof of Pltfrm. The scenic beauty and convivial atmosphere is infectious and makes this a great venue for a family outing. The Wolwespruit Trail and Mountain Bike facilities are an added attraction and a way to actively engage with the landscape.
Tin Roof Café (Mooiplaats)
Think manicured gardens and fine dining. Tin Roof Café applies attention to every detail of the experience and is set to make its mark on the restaurant landscape in Pretoria. They take advantage of their setting and grow their own seasonal vegetables and herbs on the property. The produce is then skillfully used to prepare a range of elegant dishes, such as handmade butternut gnocchi with sage, gorgonzola cream and butternut crisps. The oven-baked prawns are prepared with simplicity – in garlic, white wine and parsley – and paired with a creamy risotto.
Lientjie at Queen’s Cottage (Cullinan)
The chef and artist Lientjie Wessels hosts a monthly fine-dining experience in the beautiful garden of her home “Queen’s Cottage” in Cullinan. The house was once the home of the railway master of Cullinan Station. Meals are served under the shade of the old Indian fig tree next to the railway lines and on the old checkerboard-tiled, colonial stoep that wraps around the house. In the distance, the active Cullinan mine still extracts some of the world’s rarest and most expensive blue diamonds. The mine’s land has been turned into a nature conservation area and the birdlife is incredible in the garden. Lientjie’s artistic approach to food finds expression in her innovative yet nostalgic culinary creations. Contact her on 082 531 6141 or via email on email@example.com to reserve a table at one of her themed Sunday lunches.
Did we miss your favourite restaurant with a breathtaking view in Pretoria? Let us know in the comments section below.