No matter the season, South Africa’s robust and ever-flourishing food scene continues to give locals and visitors alike a steady, delectable stream of novelty to keep us fully enthralled. From the enchanting Winelands of the Cape to Johannesburg’s concrete jungle, here are this season’s must-try restaurants.
The Cheverells Farm Café
What used to be an old 1960’s apple-packing shed in the verdant heart of the Elgin Valley has been transformed into a rustic yet elegant venue, where the hungry will discover the Cheverells Farm Café. Chef Laura Truter’s breakfast and lunch menu is a living ode to the hyper-fresh fare grown or produced in this valley and the Cape, boasting kaleidoscopic salads, salmon poké bowls, and indulgent breakfasts, farmer’s platters, homemade granola, apple and frangipani tarts, and more. Perhaps a glass of local Elgin Valley wine or L-Gin apple-flavoured craft gin to wash it down?
The arrival of De Eetkamer in the historic heart of Stellenbosch has breathed new life into yet another of this town’s gorgeous and atmospheric heritage buildings. The brainchild of Chef Marco Cardoso, the menu here is a celebration of small plates of immaculately curated colours, flavours, and textures. No cuisine is off-limits, so diners can expect all manner of international surprises, from fragrant Moroccan meatballs, Southeast Asian pork belly, and red pepper risotto to trout tataki and vanilla panna cotta with passionfruit jelly.
Filling the old Stellenbosch Post Office with the heady fragrance of her world-class gastronomy is chef Jess van Dyk—previously of La Colombe, Silvermist Estate and Protégé in Franschhoek—and her solo restaurant venture, Post & Pepper. This fine-dining eatery playfully reimagines firm South African favourites without the starch, snobbery, and steep pricing. Think potato “roosterkoek” with whipped butter, sage oil, and pickles; smoked springbok with duck liver parfait, onion marmalade, beetroot, and hazelnuts; and Cape Malay cauliflower with coconut, lime, and “slangetjies”. Is your mouth watering yet?
For the love of green and all that is healthy, a meal at Wildsprout is just the ticket! Located at the Constantia Village Courtyard, this whole food café and grocer serves up delicious and wholly guilt-free meals to please even the most discerning clean eaters. From breakfast bowls, zucchini fritters, vegan croissants, and toasted superfood sarmies to wraps, smoothies, smoothie bowls, juices, and shots, a meal here is the ultimate bodily atonement. Afterwards, stop at their pantry to stock up your own pantry with fresh produce and frozen meals.
Fancy a mid-week or weekend escape to the sunbathed shores of the Mediterranean? Lunch or dinner at Ukkō is as close as you can get without hitching a ride on an airplane. This stylish Mediterranean eatery in Bryanston specialises in tapas and both classic and signature sushi dishes, with an extensive wine list and mixology bar menu to boot. What are you in the mood for? Camembert in phyllo, marinated aubergine, roasted bone marrow pangrattato, lamb riblets, fish and prawn croquettes, grilled octopus, pistachio ice cream, or tiramisu? No need to choose. Order it all!
It was Chef Luke Dale Roberts who put South Africa on the world’s culinary radar by earning a place on the 50 Best Restaurants list with his smashing success, The Test Kitchen. And now, this internationally acclaimed restaurant has been reimagined and reincarnated on a pedestrianised piazza in Rosebank’s Oxford Parks precinct. Diners can expect an evening of explosively innovative yet immaculately skilful fine dining, the likes of which will leave a lasting impression. A procession of mind-blowing dishes in an intimate venue, catered to by an army of chefs, servers, and sommeliers, The Test Kitchen Carbon proudly continues chef Luke Dale Roberts’ legacy.