The Rainbow Nation –as its name goes, is a veritable medley of food from across the world, a true paradise for foodies. Wherever you go, there are small places that serve some very interesting food. In SA we have had many of our members coming over to contribute and hence have managed to showcase places (big, niche or small) serving some great food. Our contributors here have been Samarath Bajaj (Cape Town), Saritha Mathur (Durban City),Paramita Banerjee and Shaila Sam (Kwazulu Natal and Franschoek)
Samarth is our man in Cape Town and he gives us a feel of his favourite food joints from the vibrant and young city of SA. A qualified chef and a foodie, you can trust Samarth to give you great insights on some of the sumptuous places to eat while in Cape Town.
This restaurant tops my list. A fine dining experience, where you can walk through the well-stocked open Bar. The Volcano roll and the Sizzling Lamb are almost always on our table. What is more is that we could go back and always request Levone to serve us, which is how it happens all the time.
Colacachio-Canal walk,Century City
Situated right below entrance 7 in Canal Walk mall is this very warm and elegant Italian restaurant. The menu is vast but not confusing. The Pizzas are to die for with some very great toppings. This is comfort food, available at a very reasonable price. The Gluten base is a great option.
Toad on the Road-Muizenberg
A Beautiful drive right to the TEE Robot on the M3 and you will see this small gem nestled on the foot of the mountains with ample parking space. A narrow well-lit path from the parking leads you towards the welcoming aroma emanating from the wood fired pizza oven and there you enter a chilled out space at the back of a well-maintained cottage. This place has two sets of bars, one on the inside with leather couches and wooden stools and the other one in the open with wooden benches and tables with its individual well-spaced umbrellas. Mind you –this place is for the big eaters who can also drink a lot. It has a good selection of beer. Burgers and the big bowl of chicken livers are worth the drive from CPT to Muizenberg.
A café with a homely atmosphere situated on the corner of Bree Street overlooking the Lions Head. This place is a favorite spot and is frequented by Captonions from all walks of life. Jason’s is very particular about their quality. It makes blends of fresh juices from the freshest ingredients available. The breads too are made in-house.
Anatoli -Green Point
A place for true foodies. A warm, low light, rustic Turkish restaurant with an open kitchen and an aroma of the fresh Turkish bread being baked. You can choose from the display the variety of food available and get to interact with the Chefs.
Blow Fish- Marine Drive, Dolphin Hotel
The combination of the view of the Table Mountain and the Table Bay along with some of the finest wines of the Cape makes this place a must visit.
The restaurant boasts of the freshest catch that is on display for the customer to choose. The sushi conveyer belt is a fascination. If you ever happen to talk to the Chef on the other side, just ask him “can you make for me something different” and wait for some of the exotic permutations and combinations. This is the only restaurant I can say that has the best vegetarian sushi with creative innovations. In fact, one of my friends from India who had never eaten Sushi and was difficult to be pleased had liked the Sushi here so much that he did not want to share anything from the platter with me!
Mumbai Cafe – Rylands
You will never miss the Chaat (Indian street food) away from India. This eatery is situated in Ryland’s Cape Town. Everything on the Menu is served fresh and hot. The items are the favourites from the major States of India.
Alphen - Constant
This is a heritage structure and a culinary ground situated in the Valley of Constantia, boasting of the 5 Room Dining Experience on one level with an elegant luxurious Rose Bar where uxury and the rich rub shoulders on one platter. A place I would start my evening and also wind up my night with one for the bed!!
Bungalow is what you truly call a beach paradise that is right close to the different Waves of Blue. The best vegetarian salad is served with the freshest and healthiest ingredients in salad bowls. The food is served very tastefully.
Cafe Caprice-Campsbay-This is an all-time favourite place. Casual and chilled out place right opposite the world famous Camps Bay beach, this Café serves the best cocktails and bar bites.
In Durban we have three contributors-Sarita Mathur,Shaila Sam and Paramita Banerjee. For a small city Durban is a foodies paradise
Sarita is well known author and being in Durban for a long time knows the city very well. She loves eating out and exploring. Here she introduces you some of the well known places of Durban. When in Durban be sure to visit these places if Chinese,Italian and Thai is what you are craving for be sure you will not return disappointed
Bite -Your -Tongue- This restaurant is different from other Chinese ones. When we gave this restaurant a try, we were not disappointed. At the outset itself we asked the waiter for the Chinese menu specifically authentic Chinese and not the western version. He came back with an authentic Chinese menu. You have to ask for the menu, he said. We did and it is now a favourite haunt of ours when we have a craving for Chinese
Spiga-Lovely Italian restaurant on Florida Road. Spiga is a firm favorite and top of the charts. It also has a courtyard setting and serves wonderful pasta, pizzas and cappuccinos. Good vibe and great hospitality.
Kung Thai-For years we have been going to Kung Thai in Durban North. As the name suggests, it is a Thai restaurant. A busy, bustling branch of Kung Thai has now opened in Umhlanga. We liked the vibe there but of course, as the food goes both are highly recommended.
Paramita Banerjee works as an independent consultant in the sphere of child protection and gender justice. Her expertise lies in research, training, evaluation and community mobilisation. This black-coffee drinking queer activist dreams of wielding the pen to ruffle the feathers of status-quo-ist survival. Paramita here writes on a favourite place of hers when she visited Durban…….Enjoy the a tourists view of Durban’s hospitality.
When your host in a foreign country is a self-proclaimed foodie, you can safely bet all your life’s savings that you’d be introduced to the best food joints in town. Other typical tourist hotspots maybe another matter altogether. No wonder, therefore, that the first time I visited Durban (in 2011), I did not visit a game park, believed to be a must during an African safari – but gastronomically, my tour across Durban was replete, indeed. To the extent that an Indian living and working in India was also taken to an Indian restaurant in Durban – much to her chagrin – if only to taste how the well-known dishes have been moulded to suit the local palette.
Among the host of restaurants visited, Shamrock Inn in Durban North– not very far from Umhlanga Ridge where my friend resides – is etched in my memory in sharp relief. It was a Tuesday – carefully picked since food for women would be on half price. Why Tuesday – I wondered, for Venus’s day is usually marked for women. Making it easier for men to have female companions on their day of the week, maybe. Anyway, on the day of Mars, we drove to Shamrock Inn to have one of my most remarkable experiences during that trip.
I’ve never visited the United Kingdom; my idea of Irish pubs is limited to what I’ve gathered from books and movies. And Shamrock Inn matched the description to the tee. Scenes from Flick and The Magdalene Sisters flitted through my mind as we sat sipping Irish beer at a table in the open air balcony to accommodate my smoking. There was a mild din produced by many people talking at the same time – though no one was loud.
The loudest item on that evening was the food we ate. Eisbien – pork fried German style. Eight hundred grams of pork, shimmering in its own melted fat, browned just right, served with the inevitable French fries and boiled veggies to ensure balanced eating. I’m not aware of any Irish-German connection beyond the Irish revolutionaries supporting the Nazis during the Second World War, since they were fighting the British. But that Irish beer, German pork and French fries was an awesome combination. Don’t think I’ll ever forget that first forkful that melted in my mouth, enlivening all the taste buds in my palette to a level of orgasmic bliss.
When I revisited Durban this year, Shamrock Inn, alas, has changed hands and its name and norms therefore.[Editor’s note: Connor’s Public House has taken over the space and offers the similar service – an Irish Pub, with Irish beer, whisky and Eisbein as well. What comes free, in addition, is live music]
Shaila brings you restaurants in South Africa and Kwa Zulu Natal which are more exploratory and not what you are likely to hear about very often.Small,quaint places that she came across while discovering this beautiful country. Ones which she would like you to go at least once to savour and enjoy.
My family is carnivore and proud to be so. SA is the best place to satiate this ‘inclination’ of ours. So we decided to investigate some of the lesser-known steak joints; away from the big boys–like Butcher Boys (gourmet steaks) to Spur (Mc Donald of steaks). And we came across the right mix in Joops – small place, not as pricey as Butcher Boys or as simple as Spur. It was a boutique for steaks. Steaks cooked to perfection with an eye to detail including ensuring your old timers get to be seated on their regular table! The owners Joop and Wendy Mol hail from Capetown. While Joop a former butcher supervises the choice of meats and personally cooks the steaks, Wendy is the one who sees to it that the clients are happy with the service and the ambience. A small place with limited seating, it is best advised to book in advance especially on weekends. In fact Wendy told us that there are old timers who frequent the place every week and demand the same seating and have the same preference of meat, which they have been ordering over years! Watching Joop cooking in the open plan kitchen is like watching a master making his masterpiece. It’s an experience. Ensure you have time to sit and savor the meats. The wine collection too is good and Wendy will suggest to you which wine is best paired with what you have ordered. Trip Advisor rates Joops Place as 17th amongst 350 restaurants in Durban. It opens for lunch and dinner.
Not too difficult to locate, it is tucked in a discreet area of Morningside not to far from – Florida Road.
Address-Shop 14, Avonmore Centre, 9th Avenue, Moringside, Durban
Ph.: +27 313129135
The Famous Franschoek Pancake House- Western Cape
Nestled in the quaint little village of Franschoek, Western Cape is a wonderful place serving one of the best pancakes I have ever had. And its name is simple – “The Famous Franschhoek pancake house”. A little over an hour’s drive from Cape Town, this small restaurant serving pancakes, wraps and wonderful coffee is a delight for those who savor a warm and vibrant ambience minus the formality of formal dinning. “Trip Advisor” has rated this seventh best restaurant in Franschhoek.
The pancakes come in a variety of choices – veg and non-veg, sweet and savory and are cooked to perfection. You also have the option of half portions, as the full one can be heavy for some. The choice is mind-boggling and I believe keeps changing with creative combinations being added.
Our visit to Cape Town has never been complete without visiting Franschhoek and its Famous Pancake House. What makes it more alluring is the wonderful hospitality and friendliness of its owner Gideon Botha. In fact, his informality took us by surprise and when we visited him the second time he clearly remembered us! Wow! The warm and homely atmosphere makes up for its space constraint. A perfect family place. The service is good and with Gideon on the shop floor, things move very smoothly. The pricing is perfect. Three of us had a substantial meal – three different types of pancakes along with drinks for just about ZAR 200. Gourmet food, at the price of a fast food outlet! Definitely, worth a visit. They serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
Address- Fabriek Street,7690 Franscchoek, Western Cape
Lihong’s Chinese Restuarant -Drakensberg-Kwazulu Natal
You would hardly hope to find Chinese food and that too authentic Chinese in the sylvan environs of hardcore Afrikaner belt of Drakensberg (Kwa Zulu Natal), Lihong’s Chinese Restaurant is ‘the’ place to eat Chinese food. Lihong herself is a very pleasing lady and takes the pain to personally serve you and make you feel at ease.. The place has an open-air ambience, is clean and hygienic with an open kitchen.
Lihong’s menu is of a rare kind – but not very extensive. But the taste makes up for the limitation in choice. We had ordered four different stir-fries. Light, not very oily with subtle flavors. Though a substantial helping ,the meal leaves you feeling very happy and ready to take on the world. In fact, after having our lunch we went exploring Drakensberg till evening! The pricing is good and the vegetables are all homegrown. Also she uses no MSG. But the clincher was the dessert – marshmallow spring rolls, semi sweet chocolate spring rolls and many such unheard of desserts are the final icing on the cake! And a meal for four along with drinks come to about ZAR 300-350, which is total value for money. So when in Drakensberg, do visit Lihong’s Chinese restaurant. It is not too difficult to find, placed conveniently at the cross roads opposite to the Inkozi information center on R 600
Lihong’s Chinese Restaurant Champagne Valley Road, Gourton Corner, Winterton, Central Drakensberg. (Opposite Thokozisa Complex) Ph.-: 27796641376