South Africa's most sought after foodie destinations

Private Property South Africa
Taryn Isaac

Fancy going on a culinary journey through South Africa? Check out these marvellous travel destinations that boast the best foodie spots worth travelling the country for.

Whether you choose to wine and dine amongst the natural beauty of the Cape Winelands or explore the rustic delicacies of the West Coast, South Africa has a few spectacular settings where the finest dining experiences can be shared:

1. Cape Town – Enjoy wine tasting in the Winelands

The Cape Winelands is an ideal place to go on an exciting wine tasting adventure. It is home to the picturesque wine-making towns of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl, which house some of the country’s oldest and most beautiful wine estates.

Franschhoek is considered the gourmet capital of the Cape Winelands. The town boasts several excellent vineyards and is also loved for its traditional Cape fare and French haute cuisine.

Paarl, on the other hand, is renowned for its award-winning red wines. Most of the wine estates in this town have beautiful green expanses, like the Fairview Estate, which is an ideal spot for an outdoor cheese and wine tour.

And for those who prefer to wander off the beaten track, there is a variety of alternate wine routes which can be explored along Route 62 - a phenomenal tourist highway which stretches from Cape Town to Constantia and Port Elizabeth and is said to be the longest wine route in the world.

A favourite stop for many tourists travelling along this route is the Robertson Valley, which is home to more than 50 estates and offers a great combination of good food and wine. The valley is rich in grapes, olives, fruit and dairy farms and offers an abundance of wine, sweet jams and creamy cheeses to try out. Here, you can also go on a brandy tour at the Klipdrift Distillery or enjoy a cheese and wine picnic on the beautiful lawns of the Montagne Deli in Bonnievale.

Whatever you choose to do in the Cape Winelands, you are almost guaranteed an experience you won’t forget.

Cape Winelands vineyard with mountains in the distance

2. West Coast – go on a seafood voyage:

The Western Cape is rich in fish and seafood delicacies, with the Cape Rock Lobster a particular favourite.

The area itself is phenomenal, from its sparkling waters and white sandy beaches to its dramatic mountain ranges and carpets of stunning spring flora.

Many South African seafood lovers flock to the chilly waters of the West Coast to experience the taste of the Cape Rock Lobster at various seaside restaurants in Langebaan, Saldanha, Lamberts Bay and Jacobsbaai.

The West Coast Highway - also known as Route 27, is another seafood mecca where snoek, mussels and crayfish are a way of life. Here, you can explore a number of open-air beach restaurants that excel at this type of rustic cuisine.

Die Strandloper restaurant, located at the water’s edge of Langebaan Lagoon, is one spot where you can wine and dine with the wind in your hair and the sand between your toes. The restaurant boasts some of the best sunset views, with the freshest seafood cooked to perfection on an open fire. A few of their must-try traditional treats include paella potjie, angelfish, snoek, grilled haarders, fresh mussels and waterblommertjie bredie.

Die Strandkombuis restaurant, located on the famous sixteen-mile beach is another firm favourite. Specialising in mouthwatering seafood cuisine, this haven of goodness promises to be an experience you won’t want to miss.

Image of lobster

3. Durban: experience a taste of India

Durban is a seaside paradise where tourists can explore the best in surfing, scuba diving, fishing, sailing and soaking up the warm sun.

It’s also a city which promises to bring a smile to any food-lovers’ face. Durban is renowned for its diverse food from all over the world, but it is especially loved for its spicy Indian dishes.

And while the popularly known “bunny chow” might be the city’s most celebrated snack, experiencing an authentic taste of Durban’s Indian cuisine doesn’t stop there. From casual curry dens to impressive waterfront restaurants, the city boasts a number of places where one can experience a true taste of Durban’s heat.

The Oyster Box in Umhlanga Rocks is a great place to enjoy a Durban curry. The Ocean Terrace Restaurant is set majestically on the dramatic shoreline of the Indian Ocean, overlooking the famous Umhlanga lighthouse. The restaurant offers an all you can eat buffet, with an impressive selection of fine Indian cuisine and locally inspired dishes to impress even the most discerning diner. Here, you can enjoy local favourites like Tandoori chicken, Singapore fish curry, spicy lamb vindaloo or the famous chicken and prawn curry.

And if you’re still feeling nibbly, you can head to the city’s beachfront where you can taste a few other popular treats, while exploring the iconic Golden Mile. Catch a ride with a rickshaw or spend the afternoon surfing along the city’s beautiful coastline, before ending off the night with some of Durban’s most popular street food. Try out their spicy fried mealies, masala pineapples on a stick, or indulge in a wide variety of Indian sweetmeats.

Curry buffet

4. Johannesburg: go on a game meat safari

While Johannesburg may be known as the City of Gold, it’s the city’s game meat scene that has our attention.

Despite being the economic hub of South Africa, Johannesburg is also admired for its beautiful bushveld, game reserves and hunting farms, which are ideal for those looking to experience an outdoor adventure. Here, you can visit the Pilanesberg and Black Rhino Reserve not far from the city centre, explore Predator World in Rustenburg or tour the Johannesburg Zoo in Parkview.

For meat lovers who want to experience a taste of exotic wildlife cuisine, this vibrant city has a number of suitable restaurants to try out, like:

  • The Tribes African Grill Steak House at Emperors Palace
  • The Butcher Shop and Grill in Sandton
  • The Butcher Block in Rosebank and Woodmead
  • The Bull Run in Sandton

The Carnivore restaurant is a favourite amongst Muldersdrift locals, where you can sample as much game meat as possible. Overlooking the Krugersdorp hills, the diner is situated around a huge open fire with a number of Masaai tribal spears that hold a variety of exotic meats. It also boasts an indigenous garden, a magnificent water feature and a stunning thatched walkway, to deliver a true experience and taste of Africa.

While the restaurant does provide standard fare like chicken, lamb, and different cuts of pork and beef, it’s their wide selection of exotic game meats which sets them apart from other eateries in and around Johannesburg. At the Carnivore restaurant, diners can eat as much meat as they like and have a wide choice to choose from, like crocodile, eland, waterbuck, wildebeest, ostrich, zebra and giraffe.

Whether you’re trying it for the first time or are a connoisseur, the Afrocentric décor, scenic views and unique ambience make this a destination you don’t want to miss out on.

Sliced Game meat on a carving board

5. Port Elizabeth: Enjoy the best sushi in town

The Eastern Cape is a region of great natural beauty, boasting rugged cliffs, rough seas and luscious dense greenery. But it’s Port Elizabeth, the province’s largest city, that we’ve got our eyes on. From its long stretches of golden sandy beaches to its secluded lagoons and towering cliffs, Port Elizabeth is undoubtedly a must-see tourist destination.

The city has also over the years developed a vibrant, sushi scene that’s worth exploring. Port Elizabeth has a wide selection Japanese-inspired restaurants which serve up the best sushi experience to satisfy your appetite.

The Fushin Sushi and Eastern Cuisine restaurant is undoubtedly the forerunner when it comes to this type of dish in Port Elizabeth. Situated in the picturesque neighbourhood of Richmond Hill, the restaurant also expands into the Fushin Lounge and Fushin Street Bar, leaving diners spoilt for choice.

For experts and newbies alike, Fushin has something for everyone. The restaurant offers an impressive menu which includes the likes of Alaskan snow crab, Peruvian scallops and Australian eel. Fushin is also loved for its vibrant atmosphere and luxurious surroundings. Patrons can enjoy a meal in the indoor lounge or head outside to the street bar to marvel over the city’s charm.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a great sea view, then the Blue Waters Café in Summerstrand is the ideal place to be.The Blue Waters Café is situated on the shores of Port Elizabeth’s pristine coastline and offers an unrivalled view of Summerstrand's pier, harbour and the ocean. At the restaurant, you can experience an elegant dinner date overlooking the moonlit waves or enjoy a cosier, intimate setting next to the fireplace.

And aside from the restaurant’s great ambience, their menu doesn’t disappoint either. The Blue Waters Café boasts a unique sushi offering. Here, you can try out their California jalapeno rolls, Berry salmon and Springbok carpaccio roses, or revel in the restaurant’s traditional options, like Tofu, Nigiri, Maki and Sashimi.

If you’re still not convinced, there are several other suitable restaurants located close by for you to visit, like:

  • Yi Pin located in Marine Drive
  • Foo Jiu Sushi located in Heugh Road
  • Fu Ling Kitchen located in Sunridge Park
  • Komorebi Sushi Bar located on the Main Road

plate of sushi with a sea view

With so many restaurants and world-class flavours on offer, there’s no doubt that Port Elizabeth is a must-see foodie destination for any sushi lover to explore.

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