The revolution of the food scene in Pretoria has been a long time coming. Slowly but surely, really good restaurants have been popping up and educating palates with their inventive menus. More diners have moved away from eating in malls, which was really the only choice not too long ago.
And now Pretorians have even more to be excited about: the transformation of Hazelwood into the capital’s own food hub is a very exciting development. The aim was to create a space similar to Parkhurst in Johannesburg, where good food, good drink and good times are abundant – and is no better suburb than leafy, lush Hazelwood. Along with the old gems serving Italian, Indian and bistro fare, diners can now look forward to feasting on pizzas, burgers and more.
A very popular eatery, 23 on Hazelwood bakes up a storm in its open kitchen. The eatery serves a big variety of banting-friendly meals, and their sugar-free ice tea is known by many as the best in the city. If you’re after something indulgent, the milkshakes are great (the lemon meringue flavour is a crowd favourite).
This remains to be one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. Expect classic pasta dishes, beautifully prepared lamb chops and indulgent desserts served in an understated, elegant space.
This new kid on the block serves some of the best pizza you’ll find in Pretoria. All pizzas are cooked in the beautiful wood-fired pizza oven, and the crisp bases come topped with fresh, authentic ingredients. The Norcina with homemade Italian sausage, mozzarella and mushrooms is a winner. The crunchy Italian calamari is another popular choice, and, for sharing, the antipasto platter with deep-fried dough pillows, Italian cold cuts, fresh cheeses and pickles is perfection.
This neighbourhood gem has been going for years, and locals swear by the legendary buffets and generous burgers. Drive past at 7am and you’ll see regulars sipping coffee and reading the newspaper; lunchtime is packed, and the same goes for dinner. For breakfast, try one of their killer omelettes and for dinner, the homemade duck confit.
Burger Bistro is well known in the capital for its enormous burgers with inventive toppings, great fries and milkshakes. The Miss Piggy with halloumi, salami and bacon is recommended, and, for something proudly South African, try the Naas Botha, a 200g patty topped with biltong and biltong sauce. Jislaaikit.
This small, quaint café nestled behind Alfie’s Pizzeria is the place where chocolate dreams come true. They serve a good variety of breakfasts and light meals, but it’s the sweets you want to come here for. An assortment of truffles, macarons, biscuits, brownies, meringues and other confectionery is sure to be any sweet lover’s kryptonite.
Save space after dinner for a delicious ice cream at Kingelato. Situated in a container between Salt and Pride of India, this is the perfect stop after dinner. Their flavours are vast and varied, and choosing is difficult. From fruity peach-and-lemon gelato to the more indulgent tiramisu and Bar-One, you can’t go wrong.
Pride of India has been one of Pretoria’s longstanding, upmarket favourites, and its move from Groenkloof to Hazelwood means the restaurant is now right in the middle of the action. Expect classic Indian cuisine done right: the prawn masala and signature lamb-shank curry are absolutely scrumptious, while vegetarians can feast on paneer shai kurma (paneer in a creamy cashew curry sauce) and their incredible dhal.
Salt is known for serving delicious tapas and seriously good cheese boards. The pork belly with perfect crackling is legendary, and the BLT ice cream sandwich with bacon ice cream, candied bacon and cucumber gel has had rave reviews. This is the perfect spot for Friday afternoon drinks… which invariably develop into long, lazy dinners.
The people behind the very popular Dough Catering have finally opened their own restaurant. Expect excellent homemade pies, delicious bakes (their cheesecake is legendary), and make sure you try out their incredible lamb on the spit on Sundays.