The annual Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards are regarded as the most prestigious culinary competition in South Africa. Recently, the country’s top restaurants and chefs were awarded the highest culinary honours for 2019.
How does one judge a top restaurant? The judging process is run by a team of experts who remain anonymous to each other and the restaurants being judged. With input from the Eat Out community, a list of restaurant candidates are drawn up. From here the judges visit each establishment and rate the food (75% of the overall score), service (20% of the overall score) and ambience (5% of the overall score).
So, which restaurants should be on your list? According to the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, here are the top 10 restaurants in South Africa for 2019:
1. La Colombe, Constantia, Cape Town
Set in the hills of Constantia and surrounded by lush greenery, you’ll escape to a feast of foliage and decadent eats at La Colombe. Dishes are presented with a natural flair – expect flowers, leaves and herbs that not only give a vibrant colour to the plate, but delicious flavour, too.
La Colombe’s signature dish is tuna served in a tuna can with avocado and Asian flavours. Crack the can open for a fine-dining experience at its best!
2. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town
The Test Kitchen in the downtown bustle of Woodstock has long been an Eat Out Awards favourite, and has also been regularly listed as one of the best restaurants in the world. It’s not hard to see why.
The restaurant offers two set menus, one in the Dark Room, the other in the Light Room. The food is tailored to the ambience each room provides, with one being dark and mysterious, the other light and vibrant. Sit back, relax and enjoy the onslaught of small plates (the Dark Room menu serves 12 courses!)
3. The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Somerset West
The Restaurant at Waterkloof, the number one restaurant in the 2018 Eat Out Awards, is an experience beyond its food (which is delicious). As you dine you’ll be treated to a view of a spectacular vista across the Helderberg mountains and surrounding vineyards. In an effort to maximise this view, the restaurant is extended from itsuilding with a floating glass promontory.
The menu regularly changes, but is generally inspired by French cuisine, inspired by the head chef’s heritage. Visit The Restaurant at Waterkloof for an incredible overall experience.
4. Wolfgat, Paternoster
Wolfgat needs no introduction to culinary awards. Earlier this year the small restaurant along the sleepy West Coast made global headlines after being named the World Restaurant of the Year.
Wolfgat’s food is a celebration of its location. All ingredients are local and seasonal, with many of its unique flavours the result of daily foraging for greens, seaweed and herbs.
5. FYN Restaurant, Cape Town
FYN Restaurant in the heart of Cape Town is all about interplay - both in its flavours and its ambience. The food balances Japanese and South African flavours, and, with the kitchen set in the middle of the restaurant, the design challenges traditional dining boundaries.
6. La Petite Colombe, Franschhoek
La Petite Colombe is the sister restaurant of La Colombe, the top restaurant on this list. Like La Colombe, La Petite Colombe brings its beautiful outdoors into the restaurant – not only with food presentation but also with glass walls that retract entirely to leave no walls. On a beautiful sunny day you’ll feel like you’re having a garden party even when sitting inside the restaurant. As you dine, enjoy the fresh air and views of the Franschhoek mountains.
7. Eike, Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch, in the heart of the Cape Winelands, is also known as the City of Oaks, and in Afrikaans it is called “Eikestad”. Eike sits in a historic building in the City of Oaks and celebrates this heritage by paying a homage to traditional nostalgic South African food with a creative twist.
8. Salsify, Cape Town
Salsify is located at The Roundhouse, high on the slopes of Lion’s Head overlooking Camps Bay. Over the years The Roundhouse has been home to many famous restaurants and now its latest face can be added to the list.
Salsify is all about creating an opulent culinary journey. Traditional fine-dining items are given a fresh face with vibrant flavours. Paired with magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean and Camps Bay in the distance, you’ll be blown away by more than the food.
9. Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient, Pretoria
The only restaurant in the top 10 not in the Western Cape, Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient is a welcome addition to the list for foodies in Gauteng. Prepare to step into a whimsical dining room of gold, wood, glass and archways. It’s a fairy-tale castle with indoor water fountains and elaborate decorations.
The food is just as fun. Think colourful dishes and showstoppers seasoned with interesting herbs and garnishes. If you’re looking for a memorable night out, this’ll be where to go.
10. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia, Cape Town
A modern, sleek and casual fine-dining experience is what you’ll find at Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia. The menu is tapas-based and made to share. The food is local and seasonal with most of the produce grown on the premises.
Sip delicious wine from the Beau Constantia Wine Estate as you enjoy a relaxing meal and take in the glorious views of the surrounding Constantia Valley.
Not a fan of fine dining?
Fancy flavours and set menus are not for everyone. Are you looking for a wholesome, tasty meal? Here are the best every day eateries in the Western Cape.