As one of the largest and most inviting cities along the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Port Elizabeth is home to wonderful cultural restaurants. Over the centuries waves of migration have created an exciting foodie scene, where African traditions mingle with European flavors. Here are 10 of the best local restaurants in the area.
Courtesy Elephant Walk
Restaurant, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, South African, $$$
Elephant Walk Restaurant & Chalets, Port Elizabeth | Courtesy Elephant Walk
A fusion of French, Belgian and African cooking styles results in a hearty and flavorsome continental menu at Elephant Walk. Using local ingredients wherever possible, as well as herbs picked fresh from the restaurant’s own garden, the chef at Elephant Walk creates an extremely varied selection of dishes for diners to choose from. Whether after smoked salmon, moules mariniere, smoked springbot and escargots, Roquefort cheese, venison pie or filet a la moutarde, all cravings can be satisfied here. Situated just down the coast to the west of Port Elizabeth’s center, Elephant Walk is within easy reach of most hotels and tourist areas and is well worth journeying down to.
The place to go for delicious, creatively prepared meals as well as free live music by local artists, Friendly Stranger attracts a varied crowd of hip music fans, coffee addicts and innovative foodies. On a summer’s day nab a table outside and share a platter of tasty treats with friends, or tuck into a scrumptious breakfast whilst watching the world go by. For lunch the deluxe burger is a huge favorite, as are all of the crisp, fresh salads. Friendly Stranger also features a variety of craft beers, delicious coffee and a beautiful range of cakes. Popular for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks it can be hard to get a table but the cool vibe and great food means it’s definitely worth taking a chance and trying.
Fushin Sushi and Eastern Cuisine, Port Elizabeth | Courtesy Ginger Restaurant
Fushin Sushi and Eastern Cuisine
With a long-standing reputation for being the trendiest restaurant in Port Elizabeth, Fushin has won many awards for its range of exotic dishes prepared by owner and chef Mark Oosthuizen. Situated in the trendy neighborhood of Richmond Hill, the atmosphere at Fushin is elegant and contemporary, welcoming diners into a relaxing and sophisticated environment. The eels are imported from Australia, the salmon from Norway, the snow crabs from Alaska and the scallops from Peru, as Oosthuizen doesn’t believe in taking short cuts that will hinder the taste and quality of his dishes. A couple of must-try dishes include the tempura prawns and the selection of Asian tapas.
Ginger Restaurant, Port Elizabeth | Courtesy Ginger Restaurant
Offering a variety of both fresh fish and succulent meat dishes, go to Ginger for an indulgent dining experience. With views over the beachfront and Shark Rock Pier, Ginger is a peaceful restaurant in which to enjoy a delicious meal whilst listening to the sounds of the ocean and enjoying the cooling sea breeze. The chef’s seafood platters feature a range of freshly caught produce, such as lobster and crayfish, which are hugely popular among locals. Meat-eaters can choose to tuck into a hearty South African game carpaccio or a fillet of venison, ostrich or prime beef. If diners still have room at the end of their main course, the dessert list is divine – go for the pumpkin doughnuts with white chocolate.
Old Austria Restaurant, Port Elizabeth | Courtesy The Coachman Restaurant
A great choice of restaurant for romantic meals, family outings and business lunches, Old Austria is an unpretentious yet elegant establishment. Customers can relax at their table listening to the melodic piano playing in the background and can even bring their own bottles of wine without having to endure a hefty corkage fee. The dishes served here are all exquisite and the service is faultless. The steaks and the prawns are both brilliant choices and, as this is an Austrian restaurant at heart, the rostis are an absolute must to accompany any main course.
For an immensely satisfying culinary experience, there’s no need to look further than The Coachman Restaurant. The luminous blue lighting around the dining area does give the restaurant an almost nightclub-like appearance on first entrance, but the food on offer really is sophisticated and delicious fare, especially enjoyed in the alfresco eating area with views of the sea. Order the carpaccio or Greek salad for a healthy starter perfect for sharing, and then follow with either the impressive crayfish thermidor, the mouth-wateringly succulent fillet of beef or the light and refreshing seafood pasta. The creamy Irish coffee is the perfect way to end an enjoyably indulgent meal.
Hacklewood Hill Country House, Port Elizabeth | Courtesy Vovo Telo
The Hacklewood Restaurant
Situated within a luxurious country house, The Hacklewood Restaurant features five star cuisine sure to impress even the fussiest of foodies. Step back in time to an era of sophisticated dining seemingly long forgotten in this true gem of a restaurant that specializes in cordon bleu dishes perfect for that extra special lunch or dinner. True wine aficionados can take pleasure in exploring the assemblage of rare vintage wines in the restaurant’s wine cellar and pick their favorite to enjoy with their meal. To truly celebrate in style, book a room at The Hacklewood Hill Country House and dine in the restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Non-hotel guests are also welcome to reserve a table in the restaurant.
Port Elizabeth’s Vovo Telo is the brand’s flagship bakery and cafe, and can be found tucked away in the most fashionable area of the city in Richmond Hill. The layout of the cafe allows diners to watch the bakers at work as they create the most magical tasting breads, pastries, pizzas and rolls that go so perfectly with a cup of delicious steaming coffee. The aroma that leaks out of Vovo Telo and onto the street outside is sweet enough to tempt even the busiest of passers-by in for a spot of lunch or a quick treat to take home for later.
A perfect example of the city’s multiculturalism, Bocadillo’s Bakery & Cafe is a casual and affordable establishment that serves winter warmers and international dishes. Stop by on a Wednesday to take advantage of the popular curry night, where diners can enjoy a choice of two curries with all the trimmings. The curries on offer vary weekly but have previously included options such as Kapitan chicken curry, cauliflower and lentil curry, Durban lamb curry and coconut vegetable curry. Those with a preference for Italian fare over spicy curries can reserve a table on a Monday to enjoy a half price pizza.
Bringing Spanish-style sociable eating to South Africa, The Two Olives is a tapas restaurant that serves tasty, healthy dishes ideal for sharing, along with the most refreshing of ice teas and great bottles of wine. Diners can order a medley of tapas dishes such as lamb shank spring rolls, chickpea falafel, Portuguese chicken livers, calamari tubes, mashed potato and Mediterranean roasted vegetables to share buffet-style with their table. Alternatively they can choose to order a main course each from the a la carte, pasta or pizza menus. Be sure to save room for the deep-fried Lindt balls for dessert too – chocolate lovers will be dreaming about those for weeks after.