Is it just me and my oblivious Eastern Cape upbringing, or have hotels really upped their game in the restaurant department? I was never exposed to much more than the Holiday Inn’s buffet and the Catburg Hotel’s spitbraai so I have nothing to really compare to the hotel restaurants I have been to lately – and they have been rather impressive.
Reuben’s at The One&Only hosted us for a lunch recently where we got taster portions of all their new menu items. His pork belly is still the best in the west and the clever flavour combos he comes up with will astound you. So, find out for yourself what one of SA’s top chefs, Reuben Riffel, will be conjuring up this summer. Get down to the hotel, grab a cocktail at their trendy bar, book a table at Reuben’s and join the conversation.
The Mount Nelly
The Mount Nelson has also upgraded (if that were possible) their Planet Restaurant and it is without a doubt THE most romantic setting I have seen for a fine dining experience in a long time. If you are planning to go down on one knee soon, I’d tell you to book a table for 2 in the conservatory of The Planet Restaurant. And surely as far as chefs with big reputations go... you don't get much better than Rudi Liebenberg.
The Townhouse Hotel
I then had the pleasure of dinner at Trees – the Townhouse Hotel in Cape Town’s city centre has totally refurbed their restaurant and the result is a gorgeous, stunningly decorated hotspot with a sizzling chef who cooks steaks to perfection and whose double-baked mussel soufflé will bring you to your knees. They are running a fabulous opening special. I suggest you go. Immediately.
Inn on the Square
Then there is Dish Restaurant at Inn on The Square in Greenmarket Square. A vibier venue in Cape Town city centre you could not find for lunch (or dinner on a summer’s evening). Good local food at great prices. Check out our review and make up your own mind.
The Fire & Ice Hotel
The Food24 team also had a RADICAL burger tasting at The Fire & Ice Hotel in December – not an ideal time to be lunging at burgers and drinking fish-bowl size milkshakes… but we persevered and we were not disappointed. Seriously good fun was had building burgers and choosing from a myriad of sauces, and their milkshake flavour selection is just sick. Chocolate Maltezer… Peanut Butter and Banana… do you want me to go on… Check out our gallery, it’s like a best of "burger, sauce and shake" compilation CD .
Radisson Blu (Port Elizabeth)
I was in PE for Christmas and apart from being utterly blown away by the very cool restaurants that have opened up in Richmond Hill, I had the pleasure of having lunch at Filini at the beachfront Radisson Blu Hotel. A fresh, and tastefully done up restaurant with great views and a suitably cosmopolitan menu. The food was impressive and the service attentive – take a look at the gallery to see how they indulged us. Not blow-you-out-of-the-water expensive either with a good selection of Mediterranean style dishes. They also have a very cool bar area with a deck where you can enjoy drinks while watching PE’s surfers ride the “Pipe”.
So that’s it – my fair share of hotel restaurants over the festive season. It's reassuring to know that many tourists who are visiting SA are being offered quality dining venues an elevator ride away, and if we locals know about these places, we can enjoy them too.
Please comment below, or post a review, if you have a favourite hotel restaurant that we should know about.