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The best restaurants in Durban: Where to eat in 2020

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After a burst of new openings and the rapid growth of the restaurant scene, the East Coast city pumps all year round with cool tapas spots, fresh seafood and casual café-style fare.

This selection comprises all the Durban restaurants that made the cut for the 2020 Eat Out 500, the list of best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2020 edition of Eat Out magazine (on sale now). But we know the city is crammed with loads more gems and mainstays that didn’t crack the nod. Please tell us about your favourites in the comments at the end!

Durban Beachfront and Central Durban

9th Avenue Waterside

With a setting that locals will now proclaim suits the offering much better,
it’s great to see that all the favourites are still there, plus an array of new seafood dishes that taste better with a view of the sea! Simple flavours are married beautifully with fresh ingredients in highlights such as langoustine with creamy
orzo; delicate gin-cured salmon dotted with dill, trout roe and crème fraîche; and mussels in a sea-salty broth. A casual daytime menu caters to the lunch crowd. Try the crisp roasted free-range duck or the squid-ink linguine laced with
tomato-and-fennel cream and topped with prawn tails and chilli pesto. A decadent chocolate hazelnut pot de crème and apple, pear and raisin bread pudding drenched in whisky sauce with honeycomb and honey ice cream make fitting endings to the feast.

The new view suits 9th Avenue’s menu. Photo by Christopher Lourenz.

Afro’s Chicken

A simple menu of chicken and tjips means their food is consistent. They’ve
recently added chicken livers to the menu and you can get a breakfast fix early in the morning. The ‘regmaaker’ has become a Durban institution – a toasted roll filled with egg, bacon, strips, tjips and chicken livers, or you can trade
your livers for another egg. Bacon and egg rolls or scrambled egg-filled wraps also feature. For lunch, opt for a burger, wrap or salad and choose whether you want your chicken strips lemony or with chilli – or go 50/50. Sides include pineapple relish, chilli chutney, mango, fresh avo, coleslaw, bacon and cheese.

Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill

For starters, order the trio of lamb – masala-spiced mini boerie roll with
tomato relish, lamb shoulder fritters in apricot chutney and a lamb slider with cumin raita. Other favourites are the rolled pork belly and the lamb ribs. For mains, the focus is on their selection of grills. The slow-cooked lamb curry
bunny chow or braai platter for two – comprising chops, boerewors, steak and chicken wings – are good. Seafood includes a masala-spiced kingklip with sweet potato and coconut lemongrass sauce or Norwegian salmon with a fennel-and-white wine reduction and veg. There are also salads, sandwiches and wraps. For dessert, try an espresso and Amarula crème brûlée, passion fruit cheesecake with blueberry coulis and crushed lemon meringue curd, apple and raisin crumble, brandy and date pudding with butterscotch ice cream or Midlands cheeseboard.

Havana Grill

To start, try a deconstructed prawn samoosa, then move on to bang bang prawns in a crisp tempura crust with sriracha dipping mayonnaise. The star of the show here is beef, all cuts either wet- or dry-aged for a minimum of 21 days, simply seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme and mustard seeds. Specialities include fillet on the bone in a red-wine-and-onion sauce, or the shisa nyama thin-cut short ribs. The sides are as good: add basil pesto gnocchi, sautéed garlic mushrooms or wok-fried rice. Seafood ranges from a delicately flavoured coconut linefish served with wasabi mash, to grilled prawns and crayfish tails. The mushroom gnocchi topped with rich mushroom and parmesan cream sauce is also unctuous and delicious.

Surf Riders Food Shack

The all-day breakfast here boasts variations of eggs Benedict with salmon
and avocado, mackerel, bacon or yellowfin tuna. The burgers and gourmet pizzas have vegan options and the Camemburger – melted camembert, balsamic jam and berry relish – is tasty. Their tap house menu features Asian influences like the Hawaiian poké: sushi rice or banting vegetable noodles with a choice of ahi tuna, chicken teriyaki, chargrilled beef rump or Asian BBQ pork rib. The pork gua bao burger – traditional Taiwanese street food – is delicious. Dessert includes chocolate mud pie, sticky toffee pudding and Rocky Road ice cream with a caramel centre and drizzled with candied nuts and honeycomb.

Habanero burger from Surf Riders with cheesy flame grilled beef patty, habanero mayonnaise topped with guacamole and pineapple. Photo from @surfriderstdbn Instagram.

Berea and surrounds

Cafe 1999

Nibble on deep-fried Kalamata olives stuffed with ricotta – crunchy pillows of salty, creamy heaven – while perusing the succinct menu. Crispy duck pancakes are flavour-packed mouthfuls, and the mushroom-and-gorgonzola arancini balls are both crispy and gooey and delicious served with roasted red pepper sauce. A vegan buddha bowl features soy and ginger sautéed mushrooms, with avocado, sticky rice, stir-fried broccoli, carrot and cucumber salad, topped with mint and roasted cashews. Bigger portions like a mustard crusted lamb rack on roasted garlic mash and plum-glazed duck breast on pancetta-and-pea risotto round out the elegant experience. End with a delicate lavender crème brûlée or the Persian orange cake with raspberry sauce, Turkish delight with a dollop of pistachio ice cream.

Delfi

Authentic Greek cuisine with a good selection of meze. Starter highlights are garlicky stuffed sardines, served with rocket and lemon juice; deep-fried halloumi in flaky phyllo pastry; and delicious squid tentacles with creamy skordalia dip. Other options include garlic grilled mussels, brinjal, halloumi and peppadew
stack and anchovies cooked with rocket and onion. You’ll also find traditional vine leaf stuffed dolmades on the menu. For mains, the kilo of prawns with chips or rice is popular. Also on the menu is baked lamb shank (kleftiko), souvlaki
chicken or beef kebabs with pita bread and tzatziki or garlic- and olive-oil- marinated prawn kebabs with rice. A specials menu changes depending on what’s fresh. For dessert, the baklava is sensational.

Dukkah Restaurant

The food here is a contemporary take on the melting pot of Durban, melding cuisines from all along the Spice Route. Kick things off with sensational deep-fried salt-and-pepper squid with a decent hit of chilli, served with roasted garlic mayonnaise. There’s also pickled fish with a bright coriander relish or crispy Kerala prawns with coconut oil and mustard seed. Mains include delicious grilled
minted harissa prawns and a very satisfying caramelised red onion tartlet with rocket and goat’s cheese. End on banana fritters with vanilla ice cream, caramel and pistachio dust.

The interior at Dukkah. Photo supplied.

The Glenwood Bakery

This neighbourly cafe specialises in top-notch artisanal breads including ciabatta,
baguettes, grissini, lavash and sourdough. The all-day breakfast menu boasts a few egg dishes, including the delicious Turkish eggs – two poached eggs, house-made labneh, chilli oil with flatbread – as a weekend special. Lunch features
sandwiches, filled bagels and burgers, with vegan options. On pizza night, enjoy the popular lahmajoun – lamb mince, minted yoghurt and herb salad – or the seafood pizza. This menu is updated weekly. The patisserie has meringues and
a small range of cakes.

Mali’s Indian Restaurant

starters include the mushroom Manchurian – Indo-Chinese deep-fried
mushrooms in a mix of sauces, the Gobi 65 – deep fried cauliflower florets marinated in South Indian spices, served with a mint jus or the prawn chilli – marinated prawns in Indian Chinese sauces. For mains, the prawn Chettinad is especially delicious with black pepper, red chillies, tamarind and curry leaf. Lamb Rogan ghosht – spicy lamb curry in garlic, ginger and ground spices, is also delightful. The various tandoori pot dishes are served with rice, naan or chips and the fish tikka with naan is good. For dessert, a small menu with ice cream and Indian sweets like sooji pudding and kulfi – a home-made frozen dairy dessert – is available.

Parc

When locals speak of hidden gems in Durban, Parc is usually on the top of the list. Breakfasts don’t get any better, with fresh, seasonal ingredients and creative iterations of everybody’s favourite brunch dishes. The Not-so Benedict is still a firm favourite and other options include buttery mushrooms cooked in chilli, garlic and rosemary on artisanal toast with a poached egg, or the best French toast ever, made with banana bread, salted caramel, bacon, fresh banana, and toasted pumpkin seeds. There’s also an array of lunch options, like roast veg and cheddar quiche, rainbow-coloured salad bowls, sandwiches stuffed with rare roast sirloin and butter-fried onions and a bubbling melanzane parmigiana.

So simple, so saucy, so satisfying. Photo by Nikita Buxton

S43 Home to That Brewing Co.

To start, the ricotta-stuffed deep-fried olives in creamy chilli mayo are divine.
Other starters include salt-and-pepper squid with soy dressing and pineapple salad; parmesan-and-herb-crusted marrow bones; spicy tomato and chilli chicken livers and green chilli sweetcorn fritters with yoghurt dressing. The heroes here are their gourmet burgers with spiced pineapple, smoky bacon, cheddar or island-style dressing on a 200g beef patty. There is also a southern fried chicken burger with coleslaw and pickles or peri-peri chicken fillet with chorizo and smoked paprika mayo. Tacos, sliders or toasties round off the menu. Vegan options include the black bean burger with grilled pineapple, guacamole and tomato chutney. Waffles with beer and honey ice cream, salted caramel and macadamia nut praline provide a dessert.

Smokin’ Joes

The menu gives a nod to famous boxers, and it all packs a delicious punch. The Royale with Cheese or the Smokin’ Joe in a butter-toasted bun both fly out of the kitchen, and the Raging Bull is one of the best burgers you’ll ever eat – it’s loaded with 180 grams of chargrilled beef, cheddar cheese, smoked brisket, roasted tomato, onion rings, jalapeños and sauce. Other options include the spicy Rocky Marciano or The Greatest of All Times. You can load up your order with extra patties, sauces and fries, or upgrade your skinny fries to include truffle oil and thyme, or chilli cheese and smoked macon. Desserts include white chocolate and raspberry panna cotta or get your gelato fix next door at Gelato le Cremosa.

Spiga

Having recently relaunched in a new location, the menu features all the old favourites. For starters order the tomato-topped bruschetta, buffalo mozzarella and tomato, calamari with napolitana sauce or chilli-laden chicken livers. There are also four different focaccias. For mains, Spiga’s pizzas are as good as ever. Try the tricolore with Napoli sauce, buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto and rocket. The Mafiosa with pancetta, feta and avo, or the Siciliana with anchovies, capers and olives are magic. There are 20 pasta options, with the al forno being the favourites: lasagna, cannelloni or baked pasta pockets. There’s also chicken ravioli with mushroom cream, and the popular linguine di casa with olive oil, chilli, garlic, prawns, white wine and Napoli sauce. For dessert, choose either the molten chocolate volcano or limoncello.

An Italian spread at Spiga.

Durban North

Jack Salmon Fish House

Expect traditional seafood with fish and chips, platters, combos and pastas.
Order a simple starter like calamari tubes grilled and drizzled with lemon butter or the fresh black mussels steamed in a secret creamy seafood sauce or in white wine, garlic, basil and chilli. There are also poké bowls with tuna, prawns or salmon with pickled ginger, kewpie mayo and your choice of rice or veg. The kingklip Cleopatra, seasoned with parmesan and panko breadcrumbs, served with a salsa of tomatoes, olives and capers is a signature dish. A seared sesame-crusted tuna in soy sauce with fresh vegetables is occasionally on special. A stacked sushi menu rounds things up. For dessert enjoy classics like crème brûlée, panna cotta or Death by Brownie: deep-fried brownie nuggets with gooey centres.

Kalamata Kouzina

The Greek grub at this family-run spot has been dubbed by many as the closest you’ll get to Greece in Durban. The menu features everything from souvla (skewered meat cooked on charcoal) and gyro-pita (shaved meat and chips in a pita) to traditional-style meze and Greek village dishes served up buffet style. The chicken gyro-pita is proper bang for your buck overflowing with tender shaved
pork or chicken, red onion, tomato, tzatziki and golden fries. On the meze front, the skorthalia (garlicky potato dip) and spanakopita are excellent. For a satisfyingly sweet ending, order some baklava or some traditional kourabiethes shortbread.

Lupa Osteria

Start with beef carpaccio or the Italian cigars (pastry parcels filled with robiola cheese, Parma ham and rocket, and doused in white-wine sauce). Spicy chicken
livers and pretzel-dusted Falkland calamari are also highlights. Fresh spaghetti, fettuccine, penne and gnocchi (gluten-free options available) are made on-site daily and topped with the likes of simple tomato and basil, Alfredo or Bolognese sauce. The truffled carbonara makes a grand entrance, served from a wheel of parmesan – sinfully good. Wood-fired pizzas include the usual suspects and some great vegetarian options. The chicken crumbed and pan-fried with Marsala wine, mushrooms, gorgonzola and cream is sensational. Desserts include baked cheesecake with smashed honeycomb and scoops of gelato.

A hearty selection of dishes at Lupa. Photo supplied.

Mamma Luciana’s

Extensive starter menu with beef carpaccio, grilled halloumi, arancini balls and
calamari done two ways. Snails, melanzane, mussels or lango tails round it off. Toasted bruschetta and traditional focaccia are great to share. Pasta includes classics like arrabbiata and alfredo. The prawn or pumpkin panzerotti, bolognese ravioli, or chicken, mushroom and cheese cannelloni are made fresh every day. For pizza, the Diego Maradona meatball pizza is outstanding. Mains are also available as combos, with the popular ‘Combo a la Italiana’ featuring steak and chicken strips and calamari rings. Linefish, prawns, calamari, baby langoustines, queen prawns, mussels marinara and calamari are all delicious. There is also lamb shank with red wine gravy and veal served limone, saltimbocca or picatta style. For dessert, order a chocolate brownie or tiramisu.

Nikos Coalgrill Greek

This is traditional Greek food with a contemporary twist. Meze to share is the best way to get a taste of everything: simple but sensational fried halloumi, flaky spanakopita, dolmades, soutzoukakia, falafel and more. A wide variety of dips includes tzatziki and hummus with htipiti (red pepper, feta and chilli dip), tarama (fish roe) and rich skordalia (potato, garlic and lemon). The pulled lamb kleftiko with minty tzatziki is memorable, and coal-grilled skinny lamb or pork chops fly out the kitchen, served with crispy chips and dip in single, half or full kilo portions. End on a sweet note of pistachio-and-sesame halva ice cream topped with pomegranate seeds or flaky baklava coated with warm honey and cinnamon.

1904 Bistro Americain

Expect the likes of wings, ribs, burgers and gourmet hotdogs. Smoked meat is prepared slow and low: beef brisket smoked with applewood for 14 hours and served with slaw, smoked beans and fries. Nachos are housemade, topped with bacon, beef, pork or prawns, and Cajun spices packing a tasty punch. Enjoy a gourmet hotdog New York, Coney Island, Michigan or Seattle style, filled with
smoked Frankfurter sausage and various toppings. A meatball sub features napolitana-simmered beef meatballs topped with cheese and bacon and a good selection of choice cut steak and pasta rounds off the selection.

Bellevue Cafe

The breakfast menu includes freshly baked croissants and banting options. There are Mexican influences for the adventurous, including Baja scrambled eggs served with a toasted tortilla. Light lunches include salads and josper grill sandwiches. The grilled chicken and zucchini ribbon salad is deliciously crunchy with cashew nuts and Cajun-spiced panko breadcrumbs. For dinner, there are hearty grills, burgers, curries and pasta dishes. The calamari Ponta Do Ouro, grilled with lemon butter, peri-peri sauce and roasted cherry tomatoes, tarragon and fries is a triumph of flavours. End off on a sweet note with toasted banana bread topped with caramelised bananas, Nutella, pecans and vanilla ice cream, or a delectable baked cheesecake.

Bellevue Cafe

Breakfast at Bellevue. Photo supplied.

Cafe Mayfair

There’s something for everyone here. Start the day with smoked trout and scrambled egg on rye with chives, or hearty French toast topped with bacon. Look out for the brekkie specials with options like perfectly poached eggs with crispy bacon on a sweetcorn rösti, or top yours with avo and creamy, salty feta. On the lunch side of things, you’ll find sandwiches filled with grilled mushrooms, feta and pesto or brie, bacon and sweet onion marmalade. The burgers fly out of the kitchen, as do the wholesome salads. Make sure you save space for a gigantic slice of lemon meringue pie to end the meal.

LivingRoom at Summerhill Estate – NOMINEE

There are some ‘easygoing’ options, but the four-, five- or seven-course tasting menus are a must. Descriptions are spartan; all the talking is done on the plate. Starters might include delicate Lesotho trout tartare or plump mussels with tomatoes and fragrant fennel. The crisp mutton belly with peas and pears is flavour and texture extraction at its best, while the pig’s head with carrots and fermented rhubarb is an absolute wonder to behold. The beef-cheek bourguignon with parsnip mash and roasted porcini is a study in umami. Each dish surprises and delights all the way to the end of sublime chocolate tart with salted persimmons and toasted sunflower seeds, an unlikely combination that dances on the tongue.

Summerhill. Photo supplied.

Republik

Start with three-cheese jalapeño poppers with sweet chilli mayo, or sticky
sriracha chicken wings with ranch dressing. For the main event, the build-your-own burger option is perfect for fussy eaters, while signature burgers include bacon and cheddar with shoestring fries, or the Lamb-orghini with mint pesto, sweet chilli hummus and tzatziki. There are always juicy chicken burgers on offer, as well as hearty vegan and veggie patties. Do order a side of really good zucchini fries or chunky chips and get dunking in a flavoured mayo of your choice. If there’s space for dessert, treat yourself to a deep-fried Bar One bite or Peppermint Crisp sundae.

North Coast

Bel Punto

Complimentary garlic focaccia sets the tone perfectly. Start with an array of small dishes like deep-fried crispy calamari, calamari stuffed with prawns and spinach, warm feta-stuffed olives with homemade mayo or chicken livers in spicy tomato sauce and a crispy roll. The focus is on Italian fine dining, and mains include an array of fresh seafood, grills, salads and pasta. Shellfish fans will love the freshest selection of prawns, langoustine, mussels, calamari and linefish, as well as plump oysters. Baby crayfish served on a bed of angel hair pasta is extremely popular, as are full seafood platters. The lamb chops are cooked to perfection served with slow-roasted vegetables. Desserts include baked cheesecake, panna cotta or Italian kisses.

La Casa Nostra

Crumbed olives stuffed with ricotta, garlic-butter-baked snails topped with mozzarella, deep-fried calamari drizzled with lemon juice, or mussels simmered in white wine, garlic and tomato are excellent starters. The ‘secondo piatto’ or meat course includes the ‘pollo alla Diavola’ – a wood-fired peri-peri baby chicken with savoury rice or chips, an excellent lasagna al forno or grilled fillet steak served four ways. Veal, quail and lamb shank round off this course. All pasta is home-made. The risotto di mare is a mix of tomato, prawns, calamari, white wine and mussels. A choice of wood-fired pizzas and calzones are also on offer. Add a side of mozzarella with olive oil and capers. End off with a panna cotta, tiramisu or layered cassata.

Umhlanga and surrounds

Al Firenze

The roasted melanzane parmigiana and the garlic-and-parmesan crusted
artichokes do not disappoint. Other starters include baked octopus with olive oil, garlic, olives, fresh herbs and peppers; Patagonia calamari with fresh lemon and chicken livers in a fresh chilli, cream and napoletana sauce. Thin crust pizzas like the Natal – ham, prawns, banana and chilli – are bold. Pasatas include a ham-and-emmental-stuffed cannelloni, smoked salmon tagliatelle, gorgonzola gnocchi and spinach tortellini with sage butter. A platter of fresh prawns, langoustine, calamari, mussels, fish and clams is served on rice. Beef, lamb, chicken, pork, rabbit, quail and veal are also available. The wood-fired pollo alla diavola – half or full chicken with peri-peri or lemon and herbs – is popular. Dessert is either the home-made tiramisu or the crème caramel.

The seafood platter at Al Firenze. Photo supplied.

Butcher Block

Red meat is the hero: grain-fed and wet-aged for at least 21 days, then chargrilled to your liking. Among the wide selection of starters, some appealing iterations such as deep-fried camembert bites with roasted almonds appear alongside the likes of sticky chicken wings, mussels, calamari, carpaccio, boerewors skewers
and roasted marrow bones – you could be forgiven for only ordering from here! For mains, pick from the choice cuts and top with a sauce and side, or go with the butcher’s recommendation. Rib-eye and sirloin are both delicious with
hot hand-cut crispy chips; rump and sirloin can be topped with camembert, bacon and green peppercorn sauce, or the BBC (bacon, biltong shavings, melted cheddar and mozzarella). Decadent dessert highlights are malva pudding, Kahlúa
and Bar-One crêpes or deep-fried Oreos.

Butcher Boys

Kick-off your feast with starters like roasted marrow bones on crostini or deep-fried chicken wings tossed in a spicy chimichurri sauce. Moving on to the main
events, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Your choice of cut – rump, sirloin, fillet, rib-eye and more – is served sizzling in a cast-iron skillet and cooked to pink perfection. Top it off with your choice of sauce: the chimichurri is particularly glorious as is the rich mushroom and red wine option. Chicken and seafood fans are also taken care of with choices of chicken schnitzel, calamari, and Mozambique-style prawns. End off with a traditional malva pudding or a classic Don Pedro.

The Grillroom at The Oysterbox Hotel

Start with the vintage hors d’ oeuvres table-side trolley for curried pickled fish,
olives, broccoli coleslaw or cipollini and parsley prawns with chardonnay cream. There’s also the carving trolley and the gueridon table-side service with options like the Oyster Steak Diane with brown mushroom and brandy jus, pea purée
and potato gratin or a seafood platter including a selection of crayfish, prawns, linefish calamari and mussels. The mains include a dyad of lamb – crumbed shank with a hint of eastern spices with minted butter, pan jus and crunchy-soft fresh vegetables or five-spice duck breast with Asian plum and coriander. The dessert menu features twists on the classics such as Amarula-scented crème brûlée or a divine blood orange and vanilla panna cotta.

The interior at The Grill Room at The Oyster Box. Photo supplied.

Ile Maurice

Scrub up on your French. For starters, order frogs’ legs or crab meat in a tomato-based soup or rich béchamel sauce. The beignets de crevettes (deep-fried prawns in a peri-peri sauce), and camembert aux amandes (deep-fried camembert with red-currant jelly) are divine. Main courses include butterflied langoustines, grilled prawns and linefish. The bouillabaisse des îles Mauriciennes comprises fish, mussels, prawns and langoustines in a light broth. Carré d’agneau grillé (rack of lamb), petit poulet grillé (whole baby chicken), lapin (rabbit) and canard à l’orange (duck with red wine and orange) and filet de boeuf (beef fillet) all feature. End off with crème brûlée, gateau au fondant or a cheeseboard.

Joita’s Portuguese Foods

Do not skip the starters here. The prawn rissoles are crispy, golden parcels of plump prawns and incredibly satisfying. The salty chorizo is also popular, as are the tender calamari tubes. Keep that bottle of spicy Joita’s sauce on hand for dunking. For mains, go straight for the Portuguese chicken or try the chicken and calamari combo for the best of both. The prawns are superb, as is the chicken Prego roll, tender and doused in the most moreish prego sauce. You won’t regret ending off with a freshly made pasteis de nata or two.

Little Havana

For starters, the steak tartare is a winner. Calamari and chorizo with chilli, olives,
lemon-garlic butter, wilted spinach and baby tomatoes is also good. Steaks are seasoned simply with Maldon salt, black pepper, thyme and mustard seeds. There’s lamb, pork, chicken, ostrich and venison when available. The ostrich poivre with peppercorn jus, black olive mash and pumpkin fritters is tasty, as is the pork belly with cider, apple and bacon cream reduction. There is also a selection of seafood including linefish, sugar-glazed Norwegian salmon and a seafood platter. The dessert selection has traditional and quirky options like black forest panna cotta with cherries, chocolate and kirschwasser or crème brûlée.

Lucky Shaker

Lucky Shaker serves delicious Mexican street food like tacos and nachos,
alongside traditional bar fare including burgers, beef steak rolls with rocket, red onion, citrus and garlic sauce served with crispy onion rings, or creamy mac and cheese and beef lasagna. The best way to sample the fare is to order a snack board with a good selection on each. Mixed nuts, sliced biltong, pork crackling, crispy onion rings, tortilla chips and wors bites, smoked halloumi and cheesy bruschetta are the perfect accompaniment to a boozy night out, with tacos served in either soft fl our or lettuce wraps. A selection of home-made fudge, oat crunchies and chocolate brownies and ice cream serve as dessert.

Old Town Italy

An impressive array of delicacies, with an artisanal bakery, a free-range butchery,
a cheese counter and a deli. On the breakfast menu, you’ll find the usual suspects with some twists – the hollandaise is vegan, made with avo instead of eggs, start the day with waffles served with gelato, maple syrup and bacon. A range of ‘piatto misto’ lets you curate your own deli board with cured meats and cheeses, including Italian proscuitto, Spanish serrano and local bresaola. Light meals include homemade pastas and crispy wood-fired pizza, and the frutti di mare
risotto is rich with white-wine-braised prawns, calamari and mussels. Seafood, grills and burgers round off the menu and kids have a choice too if they haven’t made a beeline for the gelato cart.

Press Club Umhlanga Rocks

Breakfast offerings veer from traditional to adventurous – you could start your day with Durban eggs, served with crispy bacon and chips smothered in curry gravy and topped with coriander, or the Italian Solution, which heaps bacon, mushrooms and grilled onion together with napolitana sauce, fried eggs and mozzarella on crispy ciabatta. Healthy options like hot oats with grated apple, cinnamon and honey offer a cleaner start to the day. Lunch features toasted sarmies and salads; the Thai chicken summer salad is drizzled with a delicious sticky sauce. Visit the pastry table for a selection of fresh bakes. The brownies are sinfully good, or try their famous cheese blintzes.

Strada Cucina

The simple and concise menu features pasta dishes made using imported Italian pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and grills. The picante penne with bolognese, cream, ginger, chilli and brandy is a hearty choice, while the pizzas are perfectly crisp and some of the best in town. Enjoy yours topped with favourites like marinated mushrooms, Danish feta, onions and chilli or buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. On the grill front, the baby chicken is a serious hit and is cooked in the wood-fired oven with garlic butter or peri-peri. For dessert, go for the chocolate fondant.

This selection comprises all the Durban restaurants that made the cut for the 2020 Eat Out 500, the list of best restaurants in the country as rated and reviewed by our panel of critics for the 2020 edition of Eat Out magazine (on sale now). But we know the city is crammed with loads more gems and mainstays that didn’t crack the nod. Please tell us about your favourites in the comments section below!

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