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Top 11 SA restaurants worth planning a trip for

Dine by the ocean or at a national park–there’s something for everyone

By Clinton Moodley | June 22, 2021 | Category

New foodie spot Kruger Station is where you go to get a tasty meal and glorious views of the Kruger National Park. Image: Instagram

Nothing beats exploring a new destination while sampling tantalising cuisine in a picturesque setting. South Africa boasts a range of food experiences, with many restaurants rated among the best in the world. Dine by the ocean or at a national park – there’s something for everyone.

Here is a list of South African eateries you should plan a travel trip for:

Die Strandloper, Western Cape

Die Strandloper restaurant is on the beach in Langebaan. Coupled with its splendid views, the restaurant serves delectable seafood. Through bookings, the restaurant opens on Saturday and Sunday for lunch. Tuck into a mouthwatering fish curry, mussel pots, and home-made roosterkoek. The freshly made bread is served with delicious jams. Guests can bring their own refreshments or visit the famous Beach Bar for delightful drink options. Visit https://strandloper.com/

Strandkombuis, Western Cape

Also on the West Coast is Strandkombuis, nestled in the dunes between a nature reserve and the longest beach in South Africa. Its famed Sunday seafood buffet is by booking only. The buffet includes everything from West Coast mussels, braaied prawns with garlic butter sauce, warm smoked fish to calamari and koeksisters. For those who want to revel in the magic for longer, accommodation options are available. Visit www.strandkombuis.com/

The Bull Run, Gauteng

The Bull Run, a visually appealing restaurant in Sandton, is a top spot for international and business travellers. The restaurant, which has been around for more than 20 years, serves everything from steaks and light meals to cleverly plated desserts. Located at the base of Protea Hotel by Marriot Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton, The Bull Run is also home to the Dollar Bar that serves hand-crafted cocktails, craft beer and fine wine. Oh, and snap a photograph with the 3.2m long, 2.2m tall pure bronze bull weighing 1.2 tons. Visit www.thebullrun.co.za/

La Colombe, Western Cape

Positioned as one of the top restaurants in the world, La Colombe at Silvermist Wine Estate in Constantia is every foodie’s dream restaurant. Travellers enjoy a food “experience” of epic portions, with courses that look and taste delicious. The menu for its Winter Lunch Special, for example, includes salmon, burnt lime and ponzi, lamb roti with sweet potato with spiced beef drippings and tuna “la colombe”. The restaurant took first place in the Africa Fine Dining Restaurant in Africa category and won Best Restaurant in Africa at the World Culinary Awards last year. Visit www.lacolombe.co.za/

Kruger Station, Kruger National Park

New foodie spot Kruger Station is where you go to get a tasty meal and glorious views of the Kruger National Park. You may even spot a few animals as you sink your teeth into your meal. For a quick lunch, visit the Enroute Grab ’N Go Deli and the Departing Soon coffee and ice cream café. Head to Round in 9 for more casual dining and 3638 for a more laid-back food experience. Other attractions include a biltong bar and a petit four station. Visit www.krugerstation.com/

Muisbosskerm, Western Cape

Muisbosskerm was voted one of the Top Ten Sea Views to Dine For by National Geographic. It showcases pristine views as it is right on the shore, 5km south of Lambert’s Bay on the Elands Bay Road. The brainchild of Edward and Elmien Turner, the eatery derives its name from a shelter built from a bush called Muisbos. The food is prepared in front of guests while they tuck into home-made bread. From the traditional waterblommetjie and hotnotskool bredie to a fresh home-made potato yeast bread straight from the clay oven, the three-hour buffet doesn’t disappoint. Visit www.muisbosskerm.co.za/

Wolfgat, Western Cape

Award-winning Wolfgat in Paternoster has a string of awards under its belt. The eatery, which clinched the Best Restaurant in the World at the World Restaurant Awards in 2019, seats 20 people on a booking-only basis. Headed by Kobus van der Merwe, travellers can expect a seven-course meal that celebrates indigenous ingredients specific to the coastal location. The views are equally delicious. In addition to its impressive food offerings, the restaurant’s building dates from more than 130 years with the Wolfgat cave on the premises. According to its website, the tasting menu takes weeks of preparation. Due to its popularity, you may have to book your visit months in advance. Visit www.wolfgat.co.za/

Qunu, Gauteng

For those seeking a menu of local and international flavours, Qunu in Johannesburg offers that and more. As its name suggests, Qunu pays homage to the Eastern Cape town, once home to Nelson Mandela. “With its picturesque indoor-outdoor atmosphere Qunu exudes a sense of being an intrinsic part of Africa,” the restaurant teases on its website. The eatery showcases seasonal ingredients with meals paired with wine recommended by expert sommeliers. Menu items include a rack of lamb with roasted tomatoes, butternut fondants and crispy chickpeas, and miso glazed pork belly with caramelised apples and charred baby onions. Visit www.saxon.co.za/restaurants-bars/qunu/

Bientang’s Cave, Western Cape

Bientang’s Cave is known as one of the best land-based whale watching restaurants in the world. The restaurant in Walker Bay was created out of a traditional cave, previously inhabited by a Koi Strandloper of the same name. Located on the ocean’s edge, travellers can take in its stunning views while they sample the delectable cuisine. Like the Bientang’s seafood potjie filled with succulent line fish, prawns, mussels and calamari all simmered in a creamy Pernod and seafood veloute. Or their famous Cape seafood curry cooked in a Malay spiced coconut curry sauce. Vegetarian and chicken options are available. If you are lucky, you may spot dassie. Visit www.bientangscave.com

Catharina’s on 15, KwaZulu-Natal

Catharina’s on 15 at The Gorge Private Game Lodge & Spa embraces the “field to fork” philosophy by using its own fresh produce and incorporating essential oils crops into the sensory-dining experience. Meal options include lamb and marigold arancini, honey and rooibos glazed pork belly with pela pela peppers and feta mousse, lavender-cured salmon trout and Kalahari kreef. In addition, the hotel offers luxurious accommodation, hiking or mountain biking, a spa and birdwatching. Visit www.thegorge.co.za

Carnivore Restaurant, Gauteng

Dubbed “Africa’s greatest eating experience”, the award-winning Muldersdrift restaurant is at Misty Hills Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa. With a string of awards, including Best Traditional Restaurant and Best Restaurant to Take Tourists To, the all-you-can eat dining concept allows guests to sample game and domestic meat dishes. Vegetarian and fish dishes are also available. Visit www.carnivore.co.za/