The ultimate list of must-try restaurant experiences in South Africa

We love a good bucket list, and this is one of our favourites – 20 of the best restaurant experiences in the country.

1. Mushrooms at The Test Kitchen Origins

Everything at TTK is a must-try, but one dish that will change your life is the mushrooms with a foie gras “egg”. Don’t say no to the added truffle shavings – it’s that extra touch of glam your life is calling for. 

2. Dine with a view of the Indian Ocean at the Oyster Box Hotel

Whether you go for the curry buffet at The Ocean Terrace, high tea at The Palm Court, a three-course meal at The Grill Room or simply cocktails at The Lighthouse Bar, wining and dining at the Oyster Box is an absolute must for both the views and the food.


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3. Get in touch with your inner animal at Carnivore

We’re all for eating more plant-based food, but as every true South African knows, a perfect steak is sometimes the only thing that truly hits the spot. Head to Carnivore Restaurant in Muldersdrift – the only other branch of the Kenyan restaurant – for an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring a range of game meat for a meaty feast.

4. Make a toast from the top of Table Mountain

Take the cableway up Cape Town’s famed mountain for the most glorious views. Then relax with a glass of MCC at Table Mountain Café.

5. Have a cuppa at Beaver Creek Coffee Estate

The world’s southernmost coffee plantation can be found up in the hills in Port Edward. Discover the ins and outs of growing and making coffee in the hour-long tour before trying some of the beans yourself in a coffee tasting.

6. Have an African feast in Yeoville

Yeoville Dinner Club is the only way to enjoy a true African dining experience. The set menu can be enjoyed by a select number of patrons only, so you can get a lovely interactive experience. The owner is a walking-talking encyclopaedia of African food and culture.

7. Chow Bao Down’s prawn toast

The best prawn toast is flavourful, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside – and something few places know how to get absolutely right. Which is why you have to head to Bao Down the next time you have a craving for this dish – they have perfected prawn toast.

8. Dig into a bunny chow from CaneCutters

Durban has a number of restaurants that make some mean bunnies, but the best has to be from CaneCutters. The bread serves as the perfect vessel for all that spicy, saucy curry. 

9. Say bon appetit in Harties

Can’t go to Paris just yet? Don’t worry – head to French Toast Koffie Kafee in Hartbeespoort instead! This quaint coffee shop was built for the movie French Toast and comes complete with an Eiffel Tower. Stick your pinkie in the air, tuck into unforgettable French toast and pretend you’re in another country altogether.

10. Or live la dolce vita at Chefs Warehouse

Italian fare more your thing? Visit any one of the Chefs Warehouses in the Western Cape for a mouth-watering risotto that will instantly transport you to the heart of Milan.

11. Make space for a gatsby from Aneesa’s

When you’re in Cape Town, a gatsby is an absolute must-have and the locals know where it’s at: Aneesa’s gatsby comes with special secret spice and sauce that elevates this sandwich to new heights.

12. Party it up on 7de laan

You’ll be spoilt for choice in Melville’s 7th Street. Whether you prefer coffee and cake, dinner with friends, or cocktails and tapas, you’ll find it all in this vibey street. We recommend Hell’s Kitchen for burgers and rock, Six Cocktail Bar for drinks, and Kwoffee Shop for a hot beverage and waffles.

13. Get fishy with it

A drive down to Hout Bay is one of the best ways to spend a Sunday. Be sure to complete the experience with fish and chips from Kalky’s, washed down with a cold drink while you watch the seals sunning themselves on the rocks.

14. Eat to your heart’s content at 44 Stanley

This is another buzzing Jozi spot you don’t want to miss. Sip on a coffee at Bean There Coffee Roastery, stock up on goodies from Chocoloza or Salvation Deli to take home with you, then enjoy drinks and dinner at dine-bar Peachy.

15. Tinned tuna for the win

It may sound underwhelming but there’s a reason La Colombe took the number one spot at the 2019 Eat Out Restaurant Awards – okay, there are multiple reasons, but one of the main ones is most definitely their iconic tuna tartare served in a tin.


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16. Brunching in Randburg

Send the kids off for the morning, call up your best friend, and spend your Saturday morning at one of the many brunch spots in Linden or Blairgowrie. We recommend Patisserie de Paris, The Fat Zebra and Whippet Coffee.

17. Drink up at Clarke’s

This popular Cape Town spot is known for its good food, but it also offers so much more – including exceptional Bloody Marys. Don’t think boozy tomato juice is for you? We promise Clarke’s will change your mind, and your life!

18. Plan a pitstop for pancakes

Plan your next trip to or via Pretoria around a stop at Harrie’s Pancakes. Locals have been vouching for its pancakes ever since the first branch opened 35 years ago. 


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19. Bring on the burgers and roomys

You can’t go wrong with a classic. Dig into burgers, followed by a creamy soft-serve from chef Bertus Basson’s De Vrije in Stellenbosch.

20. Pig out at Jason Bakery

You can’t go wrong with anything off Jason’s menu, but the main reason travellers from near and far head to Green Point, Cape Town, is for his doughssants. A mix between a doughnut and a croissant, these decadent delights are served every Saturday. Keep an eye on Jason’s Instagram for the new flavour of the week.

Do you have any must-visit restaurants on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!

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