Taste the continent: Must-visit African restaurants across SA

Mzansi is a melting pot of cultures with an abundance of culinary gems offering tastes and flavours from across the continent. From satisfying Ethiopian berbere-infused stews and Moroccan tagines to finger-licking shisa nyama and aromatic Malay-spiced curries, here’s your itinerary to South Africa’s best African restaurants.

Have you got a favourite African restaurant? We’ll be awarding the best African eatery in your province this October at the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries. Cast your vote by reviewing your favourite now.


Little Addis (Milpark)

There is nothing little when it comes to the punchy flavour profiles offered by both the vegetarian and meat-based options at Little Addis.

Owner and Chef, Kassa serves his country’s soul on a plate. This is thanks to mouth-watering staples such as injera (Ethiopian flatbread), vegan Beyaynetu (a hearty combination of lentils, beans, cheek pea gravy, spinach, potatoes, cabbage and pumpkin) and his popular Yebeg Tibs (diced and fried lamb, given life by green chilli, rosemary, thyme and chilli powder.)

Having moved from Braamfontein, then Maboneng and now settling in the affluent Milpark area, it is reassuring to see that the menu has not lost its street food appeal, offering bite-sized portions that you transport you to the capital of Ethiopia.

This is a special find for patrons who demand delightful and affordable vegan and vegetarian dishes, something other Johannesburg eateries tend to overlook. Little Addis is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30am to 9pm

Queen of Sheba (Norwood)

Staying with tastes from Ethiopia, Queen of Sheba in Norwood offers a culturally rich Ethiopian dining experience. Authentic meals are served on platters, made to share and are best eaten with your hand. Chef and owner, Wondu Pesfaye likes to include his popular vegetable combo – green beans, spinach and cabbage (often called “the taste of Ethiopia”) – as well as the lentil and chickpea stews as part of his Winter season specials. Those who like meat can go for the Doro Wot which is an Ethiopian National chicken dish. Queen of Sheba is open Monday to Wednesday from 12pm to 2:30pm and Thursday to Sunday from 12pm until 11pm.

Chaf Pozi (Soweto)

There are few better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon – whether be it in summer or winter, given our cheerful climate – than at Chaf Pozi, where the atmosphere positively pulsates with verve. It could be the adrenaline of those thrill-seekers jumping from the Orlando Towers, or the spell of the electrifying music, but it draws you in again and again. Each time, you’re promised true African hospitality as you enjoy generous servings of perfectly braaied meat alongside strangers on long communal tables. A tower meal, at R275 per person, comprises chicken livers, short rib and chuck, wors, grilled chicken, pork chops, lamb chops, pap with gravy, chakalaka, coleslaw, veg of the day and the dessert of the day.

Makhelwane Restaurant (Soweto)

Sometimes, you just want your mother’s cooking. Simple home-cooked food is what keeps hungry patrons coming back to Makhelwane Restaurant. The beef stew is one of the most memorable dishes available, complete with the softest vegetables and addictive gravy.
There is nothing pretentious about the way the food is prepared, presented and consumed. Visitors who opt for combos such as chips and ribs, sticky chicken wings and chakalaka, as well as pap and wors are encouraged to not only use their hands to eat, but to lick them afterwards.
Makhelwane Restaurant is located on the vibey Vilakazi Street, so DJs and live performances form part of the offering, ensuring you receive an authentic Soweto experience. R200 should suffice for your outing. Makhelwane is open 9am to 10pm on Monday to Thursday; Friday and Saturday from 9am to 2am and on Sunday from 9am to 12am.

BLD African Cookhouse (Ormonde)

Over the last few years, Johannesburg has seen an increasing number of restaurants that specialise in West African cuisine. One of the most frequented in the south of Johannesburg is BLD African Cookhouse, where mostly Nigerian and other West African delicacies are the order of the day.
The Egusi soup (a type of seed found in West Africa) here is unmatched with its as nutty and spicy qualities. The Kuli Kuli (spicy peanut bars) and chinchin (fried pastry) are the perfect starters.
The obligatory Jollof rice is the bedrock of most West African dishes, but should you colour outside of the lines, the Yam Pottage (mashed yam, fried tomato, dried fish and spinach) is a delectable starch alternative.
To push the envelope even further, the peppered goat meat pairs well with indomie and egg (noodles with fried egg and seasonal veggies), all washed down with Zobo (a spiced up floral drink made from the Sorrel plant).
BLD African Cookhouse is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm.

Hombaze African Cuisine  (Sandton)

If you’re ever seized with the unshakeable desire for good jollof rice, Hombaze will answer your prayers. Wedged next to a barber shop and boxing studio atop an Italian coffee house, Hombaze’s setting embodies the eclectic commerce culture of our African metropoli. From traditional Ghanaian fare to Eastern Nigerian classics, the menu is a sample of some of the best dishes our continent has to offer. Try the goat-meat pepper soup as a main or starter (the hotter, the better, if you can bear it), or eba (or garri) served with stock fish. Expect to spend about R250 for a meal per person; there is also a kiddies’ menu.

eDikeni (Sandton)

Drawing you in using contemporary African décor, eDikeni is a welcomed change in a hub dominated by European establishments in Africa’s richest square mile: Sandton.
If ubuntu was a restaurant, it would be Dikeni, as this pan-African establishment prides itself on serving dishes from all corners of the continent. Their culinary themes range from Mogodu Mondays (tender lamb tripe served with dumpling or samp) to Sunday Jam Sessions where Red Location Fish (deep-fried hake presented with vetkoek) and a side of chakalaka and salsa.
This kitchen, bar and lounge feels like a cultural outing more than just another restaurant, as music, art and lifestyle bolster an East, West, South and North-African inspired menu that highlights what a modern Africa has to offer, foodwise.
Expect to pay a premium of about R300 and more, for a premium experience. Edikeni is open everyday from midday to 9pm.

Yeoville Dinner Club (Yeoville)

The gritty and bohemian Yeoville is home to a bustling myriad of African cultures. Working with this pulse, former radio personally and eccentric chef, Sanza Sandile, created the Yeoville Dinner Club. Here he curates and hosts unique dinner experiences linking different parts of Africa through food, conversation (sometimes story telling) and music. It’s a different and enriching experience everytime due to the different cultures (whether locals, tourists or visitors from the diaspora) who commune at Sanza’s 18-seater table. The club works with a very strict booking system. There are no walk-ins. Book on 083 385 2707 for an unforgettable Pan African dining experience.

Lokshini Kitchen & Braai Shack (Bellevue East)

A love project of husband-and-wife team, Victor and Thandi Ngwenya, Lokshini Kitchen & Braai Shack celebrates homestyle and open fire cooking with street nuances. Located on the neighbouring suburb of Bellevue which borders Yeoville, it fits in and adds to the kaleidoscope of cultures found there. A soulful food experience is on offer evoking home nostalgia. Signature dishes include mogodu (tripe), ihloko (debone cow head meat), umleqwa (organic farm chicken), Umngqusho (samp and beans) and chomolia (African kale). A welcome drink of Gemmere or Amahewu is a charming ritual.


Moroccan House (Menlo Park)

La Terrasse’s rooftop Café is currently (a Covid condition) not operating as a full a la carte restaurant, but you can order meals to eat at home, or book the venue for a party.

Their Moroccan Brunch Feast starts with an orange juice flavoured with rose water and cinnamon, followed by colourful seasonal salad drenched in orange-blossom-infused syrup with a sprinkling of muesli, yoghurt and Eucalyptus honey.

Individual kefta tagine is served as individual portions in the classical clay cone-shaped servers. These spiced meatballs are served with bubbling chermoula and are served with glazed egg, garnished with a dusting of cumin and coloured peppers. North African muffins come with cheese and rose jam, and you can finish your meal with fresh mint tea or a selection of coffees.

Nyama Choma Restaurant  (Hartbeespoort)

This restaurant serves what is known as the Nyama Choma Buffet (R230 per person excluding drinks) and includes a lovely array of dishes such as traditional steamed Zulu bread, bean and potato salad, fried cabbage, Morogo, Nguni beef roast, lamb stew, ostrich Goulash, venison stew, and crocodile. For dessert they have milk tart, malva pudding, fruit trifle and koeksisters, coffee and tea included. This 160-seater restaurant offers an eclectic experience, combining true South African Rainbow Cuisine with vibrant décor as represented in the three separate seating areas featuring East Africa with Masai murals, South Africa with our own vibrant colours and North Africa where guests can eat cross-legged at low tables in the Nile Room.

Braai Block (Arcadia)

This fantastic modern Shisanyama is a delight to step into, with its row of small tables and chairs arranged along one wall. It is actually more like a very smart butchery than a shisanyama, with two large glass-fronted meat fridges displaying a delicious array of fresh meat cuts.

They serve ‘shared’ platters for four or seven, but of course also individual items such as braai brisket, chuck, chicken, braai fish, pork, wors, liver and kidneys accompanied by interesting sides, such as leafy green vegetables and a bean stew.

Savannah Café (Arcadia)

Even though one cannot ring them up, they are connected with Mr D for home delivery of any of their dishes. The space is separated into two distinct areas – the entrance has large food cabinets featuring a display of what is on offer, and a lounge area to the side.

Even though there are tables in both sections to eat, the entrance area is more open and visible while the side area is somewhat more suitable for a quiet evening meal. They serve a selection of items celebrating local South African foods, but also some traditional Cameroonian and Senegalese foods.

The menu board lists items such as beef stew with pap or rice, hard-body chicken with rice or pap, mogodu with rice or pap, cow heels and others such as short ribs, chicken wings and boerewors (listed as ‘vors’). Most certainly try their Karapau or Panga fish with rice pap or chips.

Mabee’s Kitchen (Mamelodi)

This little eatery is situated in the Mabena centre, where they have a few tables for sit-down meals. Their food is a celebration of local South African cross-cultural cuisine which includes dishes such as cow heels, pork trotters, sheep tripe, ox head, meaty beef bones, hardbody chicken, traditional beef stew, chicken stew, chicken feet, gizzards, necks, pap, dumpling, cabbage and chakalaka.

Adu Ethiopian restaurant (Sunnyside)

The name of this restaurant seems to change fairly regularly, but the quality and authenticity of the Ethiopian cuisine served here remain unchanged. They do not have an English menu, but there is always a server on hand to translate. No alcohol is served on the premises.

They are located in down-town Sunnyside, in Inez Street, and although some may be cautious about venturing into this area, one should brave the potential unfamiliarity and seek out this restaurant for a truly immersive Ethiopian experience.

Their focus is very much on celebrating the flavours of the cuisine, and therefore spices are used abundantly. If you ask nicely, the staff may let you into the kitchen to witness how traditional injera is made from slow fermented rice batter, the base on which the shared food is served. Always end with a great Ethiopian coffee.

Zemara (Arcadia)

One of the stalwarts of African cuisine in Pretoria, Zemara has been around for a long time. They prepare some of the best West African food and you will always find flavours such as chicken with palm nut or peanut sauce, goat, tripe and grilled tilapia, fried plantain, saka saka and bean dishes. But the best way to experience this restaurant is to ask them to prepare a buffet beforehand, and sit back to savour the flavours of this part of our continent.


Dukkah Restaurant and Bar (Florida Road)

Dukkah is a celebration of tastes, colours and textures, inspired by Durban. A modern and luxurious cocktail bar and lounge in Florida Road open for lunches and dinners. Get some friends together and go try out their “African Twist Platter” including sticky pork ribs, lamb chops, lamb koftas, dukkah chicken, sweet chilli sauce & soya sticky wings, picahna beef strips, comes with chakalaka, parmesan maize chips & sweet corn bread. 

Mojo’s Carwash and Shisanyama (Mayville)

Mojo’s is definitely one of the biggest and best shisanyama spots in Durban. Their restaurant offers fresh braai meat, light meals, lunch meals and specials as well as traditional food. Their Shisanyama butchery is stocked with a variety of fresh and flavoursome meat options. There is always a great vibe, loud music and lots of locals. The staff are very friendly. 

Cargo Hold Restaurant (Ushaka)

Dine in a phantom ship with the view of the ocean and in the company of sharks – a truly unique experience! Their decadent menu includes freshly shucked oysters, jalapeno and feta spring rolls, honey ginger prawns, seared Norwegian salmon, grilled crayfish, ostrich and venison duo, cashew and cinnamon parfait, chocolate brownie fondant and many more extraordinary dishes. The view of the shark tank is best from the bottom floor, so ask for this when booking! 

Nguni Café (PheZulu Safari Park) 

A taste of Africa. Sit on the edge of the Valley of a Thousand hills with views over PheZulu Private Game Reserve. They only serve Rey and lunch. Indoor and outdoor seating. Expect a truly South African dining experience with traditional dishes such as bunny chow, phutu, chakalaka and boerewors, Shisanyama plates and more. If you’re feeling brave, give their crocodile burger a go! 

Mozambik (Hillcrest, Ballito, Gateway, Umhlanga, Morningside, Galleria)

The popular Portuguese-inspired South African restaurant we all know and love! Signature dishes include peri peri chicken, trinchado, espetadas and South African comfort food staples such as Sodwana Bay crab cakes, Malay curry and bobotie. Drink menu includes a big variety South African wines and local handcrafted cocktails. 

Sunrise Chip n Ranch (Overport)

Also known as “Johnny’s Rotis” – an institution to Durban that has been around for decades. Infamously known for their bunny chows, rotis, curries and breyanis. They are open 24 hours which is why it is the traditional pit stop for midnight munchies! Go try out their signature dish – the chip and cheese roti with gravy. Great value for money. 

Max’s Lifestyle Tavern (Umlazi)

A popular tourist attraction, Max’s Lifestyle offers a traditional “Kasie” (Ethnic Township Location) culture. Dine on traditional meals featuring meat (from their butchery) cooked on a “Braai” with traditional side dishes as well as a custom Restaurant. All their ingredients are locally sourced. 

Capsicum Restaurant (Brittania Hotel, Durban Central) 

This restaurant is famous for its real Durban curries! Their menu includes a broad range of food from traditionally cooked curries to grills. Infamously known for their delicious mutton bunny chows and iconic chops-chutney. There is also a broad range of vegetarian cuisine and their red meat is halaal. 

Cape Town

Addis in Cape

Addis in Cape. Photo supplied.

Addis in Cape (City Bowl)

This extremely popular spot was highly commended at the 2015 Best Everyday Eateries, and with good reason. Ethiopian dishes here are served on one central sharing platter to encourage communal eating. Use the giant sourdough injera to mop up the array of saucy stews that are infused with spicy berbere like the slow-cooked lamb, prawns, or the vegetarian split chickpeas with turmeric. This is a use-your-hands feast with plenty of subtle spice flavours. Pro tip: Don’t leave without experiencing the mini coffee ceremony.

Andalousse Moroccan Cuisine (Woodstock)

Enjoy a taste of North Africa at this hidden gem. Sip on mint tea out of Moroccan tea pots as you share meze platters and cheesy flat breads and m’smen with freshly made babaghanoush and hummus. For something heartier, go for the meltingly tender and beautifully aromatic lamb tagine.

Bo-Kaap Kombuis (City Bowl)

This is the spot for flavourful Cape Malay cuisine paired with jaw-dropping views. Start off with a delicious platter of dhaltjies, samoosas and creamy patata warras (deep-fried mashed potato balls with mustard seeds) and an extremely hot dipping sauce. Follow this with curries of prawns, lamb on the bone, chicken, or lentils with spinach and mushrooms. They also offer a house speciality of denningvleis: succulent lamb cubes cooked slowly with mouth-puckering tamarind paste.

Café Ganesh (Observatory)

This soulful spot sits in the buzzing hub of eccentric Observatory. Expect a multitude of African flavours with options including spicy samoosas, Xhosa-style spinach, pap and veg, curries, potjies, Cape bobotie, and umngqusho with lamb knuckle stew.

GOLD Restaurant

GOLD Restaurant. Photo supplied.Gold Restaurant (Green Point)

The vast menu here features tastes and styles of cooking from the far north of the continent down to the Cape. Flavours range from hot and spicy to soft and gentle with dishes like Zanzibar tomato soup with chillies and ginger, South African roosterkoek, Kenyan patties with maize, Botswana seswaa masala (a slow-cooked stew with organic venison), Tanzanian mchicha wa’nazi (a wild spinach dish with fresh coconut), and Egyptian lentils with yoghurt. End it off with the Moroccan orange-and-walnut dessert. The entire menu is served tasting-menu style for guests to have the opportunity to explore each cuisine in one sitting.

Little Ethiopia (City Bowl)

Transport yourself to the Horn of Africa and visit this tiny Ethiopian restaurant that’s quietly nestled on Shortmarket Street. It’s owned by Ethiopian-born Yeshi Mekonnen, who has been running this charming eatery since 2011. Main meals – all served with traditional teff flour injera – include key wot (lean beef stew) with berbere; yebeg tibs with mutton, rosemary and onions and a hint of awaze (chilli paste); and spinach that’s been slow-cooked with beef cuts, onion and garlic for maximum flavour. The restaurant also offers Ethiopian coffee and traditional spiced tea with cinnamon and cloves.

Madam Taitou (City Bowl)

This rustic and charming restaurant on Long Street transports you to Ethiopia with a space that’s filled with wooden sculptures, antiques, pot plants and traditional materials draped throughout the dining area. Enjoy your injera with dishes like gored gored with lean beef and spice butter; doro wot with spiced chicken that’s simmered in berbere; or an Ethiopian festive platter with a taste of all dishes.

Mama Africa (City Bowl)

Enjoy an array of African cuisines at this festive spot. There’s Mozambican chicken livers and crocodile to start, lamb curry, Moroccan tagine, kudu, Zimbabwean dovi chicken or Malagasy fish for mains, and malva pudding or banana cooked in rum and Amarula or dessert.

Marco’s African Place (City Bowl)

While this spot might be more for tourists, you’ll still be able to enjoy good marimba band music and tasty food here. Kick things off with Themba’s meatballs, or chakalaka salad with curried mango and sardines, before moving onto mains of slow-roasted Karoo lamb, oxtail curry, crocodile tail, tripe, or steamed ox tongue with mustard sauce (order your main with a choice of pap or umngqusho).

Moyo (Kirstenbosch)

This is a popular spot with tasty African classics and a fun vibe. Enjoy everything from starters of calamari dovi with molasses and harissa or crocodile tail pies with orange salsa to mains of grills with African spinach and nhopi dovi, tagines and potjies, Senegalese line fish, Nigerian meat kebabs with suya basting, or Maputo peri-peri spatchcock chicken. End on a sweet note with SA-inspired peppermint crisp pud or Amarula ice cream. An essential tourist experience.

Mzoli’s (Gugulethu)

This tourist hotspot is still drawing in the crowds with its braai fare and festive atmosphere. Select your meat in the attached butchery and then hand it over to the talented chefs who cook it over the coals. Eat it with your hands, accompanied by pap, salads and delicious house chakalaka. Bring your own drinks in a cooler box or buy them from the shebeen across the road.

Timbuktu Café (Observatory)

The restaurant that was once located on bustling Long Street is now giving Obs residents a taste of dishes from Ethiopia. The value-for-money menu features veggie dishes like gomen (spinach and greens), shiro wot (spiced chickpea flour cooked in berbere) and atkilt with misir (curried veggie stew with lentils). Meatier options include tibs (chopped lean beef with berbere spices) and gored gored (beef with spiced butter). End off with a pot of Ethiopian coffee.


Babel (Franschhoek)

Situated on the Babylonstoren Estate in Klapmuts, Babel represents truly South African food heritage, creativity and architecture with some Dutch-style Delft touches. Dishes, which all feature fruits and vegetables grown in the garden, might include a hot pot of smoked quail with waterblommetjie and bobotie cream; spicy tomato soup with line fish and West Coast mussels; and rooibos-poached guava with Jersey milk yoghurt.

Bertus Basson at Spice Route

Bertus Basson at Spice Route. Photo supplied.

Pierneef à La Motte (Franschhoek)

The farm shop, museum and restaurant all offer a nod to the heritage of the Cape Winelands. The menu pays homage to Cape cuisine with the likes of a savoury blue cheese and yellow mielie waffle with Cape ham; Cape seafood and aniseed bowl; ox tongue terrine with house pickles; Franschhoek trout; venison with Cape snowbush; and Pierneef terrine with naartjie gelée.

While we take care to ensure the accuracy of our information, please note that some details may change without our knowledge. 

Tell us about your favourite African restaurant in the comments section below.


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