(Image by Cube Tasting Kitchen)
La Colombe, Constantia
One of Cape Town's most lauded restaurants, in an exceptionally beautiful setting that thrives on classic fine-dining with innovative dish creations. At La Colombe, excellent service is guaranteed, as well as colourful plates that have been assembled with a plethora of flavours, and herbs that come straight from the La Colombe garden. They offer both a gourmand and a reduced gourmand menu.
La Mouette, Sea Point
La Mouette is so special for multiple reasons. They've somehow managed to stay slightly off the radar in the cliquey fine-dining realm, which has made the restaurant feel more friendly and less intimidating. Or that could be the warm, cushiony bright-coloured interior. The food is so good though, they could fast become the popular kid at school who is simply too busy for you - and I hope they do. They offer well-balanced and original dishes that have me singing their praises every time I visit.
The Test Kitchen, Woodstock
The one and only. No one can deny that this one needs to be ticked off the list before you can say you know a thing about Cape Town dining. It's always number one in the country, and to make sure it stays that way, Luke Dale Roberts took things up a notch last year with a revamp that created a the Dark Room and the Light Room. They both offer different experiences and menus of Luke's inventive dishes like vanilla salted peach and rose scented fois gras, and the signature Peking quail sandwich.
Chef's Warehouse, Bree Street and Beau Constantia
The highly regarded 'tapas for two' experience proves time and time to be one of the most pleasurable dining experiences in Cape Town. And now we have a choice between tapas in the city or tapas overlooking the verdant hills of Constantia. Each dish is designed to thrill the senses, with a menu that changes daily, a price that won't have you evaluating your meal, and generously portioned courses that enable blissful sharing the way tapas intended.
Greenhouse at The Cellars Hohenort
Greenhouse offers a very unique experience that draws inspiration from the natural environment of South Africa. Chefs Peter Tempelhoff and Ashley Moss, pay homage to the many elements of South Africa's historical cuisines, and recreate modern, vibrant dishes that indulge the senses. The tasting menu is specially developed for the season and can be enjoyed with wine pairing and as a vegetarian option.The menu features things like Hermanus abalone, seaweed daatjie, mielie muffin and springbok to name a few.
Signal Hill Restaurant at The Cape Grace
Signal Hill at one of Cape Town's signature hotels, is the epitome of luxury. The space emanates old-world class with dark wood surfaces, lush carpeting and opulent crystal chandeliers. The restaurant celebrates the Cape's diverse and rich heritage drawing flavour profiles from the Dutch and English settlers, Asian traders, the French Huguenots and native African culture. The tasting menu has been carefully created to showcase the abundance of lovely local ingredients SA has, with dishes like sweetcorn risotto and barbecued quail and seared salmon with coconut and curry leaf ice cream.
Luke Dale Robert x The Saxon, Sandhurst
Joburgers rejoiced when Luke Dale Roberts decided to share his sort-after cooking in their city. And this combined with the collaborative effort of The Saxon's Candice Philip, set the tone for a riveting dining experience. To spice things up, they've just updated the tasting menu which sees things like Marron in concrete ball, herbed seared tuna tataki, ragout of octopus and fois gras bourguignon.
Cube Tasting Kitchen, Maboneng
Cube recently moved premises and now sits in the historical Cosmopolitan complex, which has provided a complete decor transformation, breathing new life into the restaurant. The space embodies a raw aesthetic with exposed brick walls and steal chairs, but is refined with white table cloths, silver service and intricate haute cuisine. Next to the restaurant, The Cosmopolitan Bar offers a more laid-back experience with Cube's signature dishes and a variety of interesting drink options.
DW Eleven-13, Dunkweld
A Johannesburg institution that inspires with its evolutionary style of dish creation and consistently wows its diners with fresh innovative cuisine. The food harnesses classic French fine-dining but combines this with flavours from around the world and sustainable, locally-sourced ingredient. The set menu is affordable and indulgent and features dishes like Karroo lamb, seared wagyu crudo and basil sago.
Winehouse at Ten Bompas
Chef Johannes De Bruin, who acquired much of his technique working at Cube Tasting Kitchen, creates dishes that are both energetic and elegant. He works with simple ingredients and focuses on showcasing and intensifying their natural flavour. Many of the items on your plate will have been pulled from the restaurant's garden that day. The space is chic with warming golden light and soothing tones of blue. The Summer dinner menu offers 5 courses with the option of wine pairing.
9th Avenue Bistro, Windermere
Durban is rather lacking in the fine-dining department however 9th Avenue makes up for this. Dishes are served as colourful explosions on a plate, displaying the richness of seasonal and local ingredients. Husband and wife duo, Graham and Gina set out to offer Durban a refined gastronomical journey at 9th Avenue. The menu plays with bistro classics, reinventing them. The current tasting menu offers dishes like madeira cream and butternut ravioli and salmon gravlax with cucumber relish and homemade crème fraiché.
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- Ceili McGeever