South Africa boasts a wide range of top restaurants and their success can be attributed to the amazing chefs who create exciting dishes for discerning patrons. Most of these restaurants have a variety of awards and accolades behind them and when taking the experience of the chefs into consideration, there’s no doubt why. Here’s our round up of ten top restaurants in South Africa by its most notable chefs.
Level Four at 54 on Bath
Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, British, African, South African, $$$
Matthew Foxon, Young Chef of the Year in South Africa in 2003 and 2004, creates British-inspired dishes with an African twist. He’s worked in five-star hotels in both Johannesburg and Pretoria and was runner up in the Salon-Culinaire South Africa in 2004. Foxon lived in London for a while, where he headed the kitchen at the Greyhound Pub in Battersea and at The Rosendale in South East London. He also starred in the BBC Masterchef series before returning to South Africa and joining Level Four.
Camphors, at the Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West, has an exciting menu that combines both international and local cuisines, all of which are complemented by award-winning wines. From dry-aged duck and coffee-roasted springbok to delicious desserts, each dish on Executive Chef Michael Cooke’s seasonally inspired menus is a taste-sensation.
Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort is located on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town’s Constantia Valley. Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s dishes are known to be fun and edgy, but with a traditional twist. He explores local ingredients and flavors evident of African cuisine. Dishes include “4 degrees of cheese,” consisting of South Africa’s most awarded indigenous cheese, huguenot, from Dalewood. The dish explores the cheese’s flavor profile through a range of temperatures, from freezing and cold to room temperature and hot.
La Colombe, situated on the Silvermist organic wine estate, is internationally acclaimed; Chef Proprietor Scot Kirton has taken its cuisine to new heights. Kirton combines Asian and French cuisine to create classic dishes with uncomplicated flavors, all made using only the freshest and most seasonal produce. Patrons can expect exciting dishes such as chawanmushi (an egg custard dish found in Japan), barbeque quail, aubergine, gem squash, and coconut.
If you’ve visited South Africa you’ll know that locals love cooking on an open fire (i.e. braai). Marble celebrates this passion by serving South African classics from an open kitchen with a wood-fired grill as its main focus. Chef David Higgs says “We have long been fascinated by what makes South African fare unique, and we believe it’s down to us being meat and flame enthusiasts…” Guests can expect dishes like smoked kudu, caramelized pear, and gorgonzola with a sherry dressing.
Overture Restaurant is situated on the Hidden Valley Wines farm in Stellenbosch and chef and owner Bertus Basson’s dishes are all about traditional South African cuisine, but with a contemporary twist. Thanks to Basson the restaurant often tops best restaurant lists and it’s no wonder why. Dishes are inventive and the menu often includes venison, as well as seafood and meat dishes. The tasting menu, consisting of six courses, is a must and also the chef’s choice.
Chef Chantel Dartnall has been voted SA’s Chef of the Year thanks to the amazing fine-dining experience she’s created at Mosaic at the Orient. She trained abroad in Michelin star restaurants and creates beautiful dishes made from fresh, seasonal produce. The popular restaurant has two private dining rooms, and booking is essential as this restaurant tops so many local’s foodie bucket lists.
Chef Reuben Riffel creates delicious, uncomplicated dishes at his flagship restaurant Reuben’s in Franschhoek. Reuben Riffel has charmed South Africa and opened a string of restaurants that serve uncomplicated cuisine in relaxed settings. The specials on the menu are updated daily and the wine list is sure to impress, which is apt, as the restaurant is set in the heart of the Cape winelands.
Head Chef Bianca Fogwell creates dishes that are light and simple but at the same time an exploration of flavors. She often cooks with game meat from the Forum Homini Game Reserve and changes the menu on a monthly basis, ensuring interest. The restaurant has received many awards, including the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants in SA award. Apart from fine dining, the restaurant also offers high-tea options, wine pairing and tasting, breakfast and lunch.
Chef Luke Dale-Roberts opened The Test Kitchen in 2010 and since then it has become one of the top restaurants in South Africa. The Cape Town restaurant offers one of the most sought-after dining experiences in the country. Dale-Roberts trained in Switzerland and England before opening several restaurants in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Philippines. He headed to Cape Town in 2006 and since opening The Test Kitchen he’s added award after award to his name. He won Chef of the Year at the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards and The Test Kitchen also won the Restaurant of the Year in 2012 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards.