A taste of South Africa
Travel&Food readers and writers offer their ideas on the best places for visitors to eat in the World Cup host cities
Burgers The Royale Eatery in Long Street boasts over 50 different burgers - beef, lentil, tuna, ostrich, lamb and many more. You can sample over 20 gourmet, double-thick milkshakes or head upstairs to The Waiting Room bar, which is screening all the Cup matches. 273 Long Street, phone 021 422 4536.
Curry The Curry Quest in Mowbray comes a close second to a Durban curry, as it's run by Vani and Kevin Moodley, both dyed-in-the-wool Durbanites. It started off as a takeaway, then local demand saw them offering up a handful of tables. Now they've extended into the shop next door. Try the lamb and beef curries on or off the bone, a butter chicken curry or, for vegetarians, dal, bean, brinjal or butternut curries. Durban Road, Mowbray. Phone 021 686 3157.
West Coast Fish Ons Huisie (our little house) at Bloubergstrand, near Tableview, is a great spot for seafood. In a historic thatched cottage with a view of the Atlantic, you can enjoy mussels, snoek, prawns, boboties or just plain fish and chips perfectly done. Open seven days a week 9am till 10pm. Breakfast between 9am and noon. ýStadler Road, Bloubergstrand. Phone 021 554 1553.
On the Beach Café Kima is a beachfront café in Jeffreys Bay, offering a spectacular view of one of the country's "blue flag" beaches. It offers a delicious fusion with a twist of South African food, fresh smoothies, cocktails, and home-baked cakes made to old-fashioned South African recipes. 32 Diaz Road, Dolphin Beach, Jeffreys Bay. Phone 042 293 1192.
Local For true local flavour, look no further than the South African Restaurant in Newton Park. Menu items the average visitor may not recognise but should still enjoy include potjiekos, bobotie, roosterbrood and Boere-shank. The wine list is equally patriotic and palate-pleasing. Open Tuesdays to Sundays. 24A West Street, Newton Park. Phone 072 631 4148.
Familiar franchises such as the Cape Town Fish Market and Ocean Basket trade alongside successful independent outlets such as Fushin Sushi Bar in Richmond Hill and 34 Degrees South at The Boardwalk. Prices will vary but none will let you down.
Cape Town Fish Market, Kings Court, Buffelsfontein Road, Walmer Heights. Phone 041 368 7378.
Ocean Basket, Shop 3 Block A, Fig Tree Park, corner William Moffat and Circular Drive, Walmer. Phone 041 368 5525.
Fushin Sushi Bar, Shop 5, Stanley on Bain, Stanley Street, Richmond Hill. Phone 082 865 2707.
34 Degrees South, Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex, Marine Drive, Summerstrand. Phone 041 583 1085.
Trendiest As far as lunch goes, there's no question the trendiest spot in the Windy City at the moment is Vovo Telo in Richmond Hill. Continental-style dining in a charming sidewalk café-meets-bakery-meets-pizzeria environment. Reservations are only taken for groups of eight or more people and Vovo Telo is always packed, so be prepared to wait for a table. Open Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 3.30pm and Saturday 7.30am to 2pm. 19 Raleigh Street, Richmond Hill. Phone 041 585 5606.
Bunny Chow Durban is the home of the bunny chow, a half or quarter loaf of white bread, with the centre scooped out and filled with curry. They are meant to be eaten as takeaways, hence the particularly odd assortment of places that make excellent bunnies. The winner of last year's annual competition, the Bunny Chow Barometer, belongs to the Sasol convenience store in Mount Edgecombe, open 24 hours. Find others at Govender's House of Curries, an iconic Durban hangout; or Some Like It Hot.
Sasol convenience store, 34 Sipho Sethu Road, Mount Edgecombe. Phone 0315373997.
Govender's House of Curries at 36 Circuit Road, Westmead, Pinetown. Phone 0317003128.
Some Like It Hot, 3 Umhlanga Rocks Drive, Durban North. Phone 0315631322.
Colonial Curry For an experience like something out of a novel, head to the Hotel Britannia, a listed colonial building built in 1897 and now situated next to a fly-over in a particularly unattractive part of Durban. Renowned for their authentic hot curries, they also make a mean bunny. 1299 Umgeni Road. Phone 031 303 2266.
You can't leave Durban without visiting the legendary Sunrise Chip 'n Ranch, also known as Johnny Rotis, preferably at 4am. This is the place for the world's largest rotis, the most notable being the triple cheese and chip roti. 89 Sparks Road, Overport. Phone 031 209 2020.
Fine Dining Seven on Kellner is not just one of the best restaurants in Bloemfontein, it's also one of the best in the country. The menu is diverse, from tomato soup with basil pesto to outstanding pizzas and a chicken curry that'll melt your heart. Try the malva pudding, a great South African treat. 7 Kellner Street. Phone 051 447 7927.
Choc-a-Lot Coco C Restaurant and Chocolatier has a "chocolate-drenched" approach to food and is within shouting distance of the soccer stadium. The restaurant boasts a magnificent wooden deck overlooking the man-made Loch Logan. This lake is adjacent to the city zoo and, while sipping a sundowner, you may be lucky enough to hear the king of the jungle roar. The restaurant has compiled a special menu and live entertainment for each Cup game, which can be watched on a big screen. Second floor, Loch Logan Waterfront. Phone 051 447 8523.
Farm favourites De Oude Kraal gourmet restaurant is on a family-owned Merino sheep farm, 35km south of Bloemfontein, 6km off the N1 on a gravel road. This award-winning restaurant in a beautiful, old farmhouse is known countrywide for its five-course gourmet dinners, with a different menu each evening. Farm-style cooking with a French flair, an in-house wine cellar, open fireplaces and candle light will create an unforgettable experience. Reservations are required. Phone 051 564 0636.
Emoya Estate is on a farm almost within the city limits. Enjoy a superb meal or exquisite tea-time experience, enhanced by a view of the dam, which is the watering hole to some 32 species of wild animal. Game drives, which include a "cheetah-experience", can be booked. Frans Kleynhans Road. Phone 051 436 8471.
Diner Style Stadium Food Court, an American-style cafeteria, is right opposite the Free State Stadium and around the corner from a slew of beer halls. Expect standard comfort food - Russians and chips, burgers, greasy breakfasts and boerewors rolls - the perfect post-game chow. Corner of Park Road and Ella Street. 051 444 3333.
On the road If you're travelling by road, 140km south of Bloemfontein on the N1, try the Kuilfontein Farm Stall at Springfontein, which has a coffee shop. It offers traditional South African farm fare, Karoo lamb pies, biltong and droë wors, as well as local crafts, sheepskin slippers and beadwork. Phone 083 283 7522.
Traditional At the Market Theatre complex in Newtown, Gramadoelas is an institution in the city, with a long history of authentic South African food. Their Malay dishes are excellent, as are other South African specialities, including bredies (stews). For dessert, try the koeksisters. Open for lunch Tuesday to Saturday; for dinner Monday to Saturday. Market Theatre complex, Breë Street. Phone 011 838 6960.
Trendy African A brand that has spread from Norwood to Zoo Lake, Melrose Arch and Fountains in Pretoria, Moyo offers an eclectic mix of African dishes. The dining experience includes face painting and live music. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Sunday. Shop 5, High Street, Melrose Arch, Melrose. Phone 011 684 1477.
More Meat Vast quantities of a huge array of meats feature at Carnivore, linked to the original restaurant in Kenya. This one includes exotic game meats such as crocodile, zebra, giraffe, impala and ostrich. Open for lunch noon till 4pm; dinner 6pm till midnight, seven days a week. At the Misty Hills Country Hotel, 69 Drift Boulevard, Muldersdrift. Phone 011 950 6061.
Pub Culture Dros is a popular national chain, and its branch in Kempton Park prides itself on being a typical SA restaurant catering to local tastes. It's situated 4km from OR Tambo International Airport and offers traditional draught, local wines and plasma-TV screens for watching the games. Monument Road, Kempton Park. Phone 011 972 4477.
Farm kitchen More SA flavour can be found at the award-winning Plaaskombuis restaurant at Croco Lodge on the Featherbrooke Estate, less than an hour's drive from Soccer City and less than two hours from Royal Bafokeng. It offers traditional Cape Malay and boerekos, with potjiekos and a buffet lunch on Sundays. It's a good stop-over for visitors to Maropeng and the Cradle of Humankind or the Sterkfontein Caves. Corner Eagle and Riviera Lane, Featherbrooke Estate Ext 8, Muldersdrift. Phone 011 662 1913.
Low-key Italian The best wood-fired pizza in town, and the pasta is excellent too. Trabella has a wide range of daily specials, all very easy on the wallet. The wine list, however, verges on the boring and the place has been known to chill its reds, so take your own. 3 Galen House, corner Oxford Road and Corlett Drive, Illovo. Phone 011 442 0413.
Wandie's Place has been a landmark for close on 20 years, and today packs in the tourists. Two other popular eateries for traditional fare are Sakhumzi Restaurant and Nambitha's, both in Vilakazi Street, where you'll also find the Nelson Mandela Museum and the Hector Pieterson Memorial.
Sakhumzi serves mogodu (tripe), stews, umngqusho (samp and beans), steaks and ribs and steamed bread and salads.
Nambitha's is a favourite with the Soweto elite, offering an "Englishman in Soweto" breakfast, oxtail with pap, curries fish, steaks and more.
Wandie's, 618 Makhalemele Street, Dube, Soweto. Phone 011 982 2796.
Sakhumzi Restaurant, 6980 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, Soweto. Phone 011 939 4427.
Nambitha's, 6877 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, Soweto. Phone: 011 936 9128.
It's monumental The Voortrekker Monument on the southern outskirts of Pretoria is the largest in the country and worth a visit, not least for its Monument restaurant. The Sunday buffet is the highlight and includes a spread of over 70 traditional Afrikaner dishes. Open for lunch Monday to Saturday and buffet on Sunday. Eeufees Road, Pretoria. Phone 012 321 6230.
Taste Africa Zemara is an African/French themed restaurant offering many Congolese specialities. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday to Sunday. Schoeman Street, Arcadia. Phone 012 344 1526.
Traditional Irene is a charming village south of Pretoria, housing the modest former home of General Jan Smuts. At Karoo Cattle and Land, you will find great traditional SA food, including boerewors and pap, Karoo lamb and tomato bredie. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday to Sunday. Irene Village Mall, corner Nellmapius and Pierre van Ryneveld roads, Irene. Phone 012 662 1111.
Diplomatic Country Crawdaddy's Good Food Co, in the embassy-studded suburb of Brooklyn, claims to have the most extensive à la carte menu in the country, including seafood, steaks, poultry, potjiekos, Thai food, chowders and curries. It is a landmark in Pretoria and a firm favourite with tourists. Corner Middle and Dey streets, Brooklyn. Phone 012 460 0889/0589.
Go boer Boer 'geoisie's menu boasts some real SA fare, including traditional skilpadjies - spicy ground lamb's liver rolled in caul (the fatty membrane that surrounds the kidneys); oxtail paté and numerous potjies, such as lamb stew with dumplings and tripe and trotters with onions. Open Monday to Friday, noon till 3pm; and 6pm till 10pm. Saturday 11am till 10pm. Closed Sunday evenings. Greenlyn Village, 13th Street, Menlo Park. Phone 012 460 0264.
Seafood: The Cape Town Fish Market is a restaurant, fish market and teppanyaki and sushi bar, offering fish and chips, fresh oysters, seafood curry and great seafood platters. Also meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes. Open seven days a week, 11am till 11pm. Waterfall Mall, 1 Augrabies Avenue. Phone 0145373663.
Sushi Until recently, tasting sushi in The Lowveld was about as likely as a tiger-sighting in the Kruger National Park, but now there are numerous outlets. Cicada is probably the best and the more traditional eater can enjoy a fine steak instead. Then wash it all down with a few beers at O'Hagans on the other side of the BP petrol station next door. Cicada, Sonpark Food Court, Faurie Street. Phone 013 741 1751. O'Hagans, phone 013 741 3580.
Prego rolls The Yellow Caravan offers Mozambican food during shopping-centre hours in the Pick n Pay car park, Citrus Crescent, including the best prego rolls in the business - juicy, marinaded strips of beef in warm rolls with a range of delicious, garlicky, spicy sauces. Join the masses.
Upmarket : Zest is the reincarnation of Orange, Nelspruit's best upmarket eatery of last year, which described its fare as "classic French with a contemporary twist". Zest is just as good but now also has tapas. Open 9am till 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and Sunday 9am till 3pm. At the i'Langa Mall on the N4, west of town. Phone 013 742 2217.
Out of Town
Join game rangers, fruit farmers and yummy mummies for good SA fare at Gum Treez Pub and Grill, 11km from Nelspruit, en route to the Kruger National Park. They've got snack baskets, fish and chips, bunny chow, a delicious mussel chowder and a big-screen TV. Casterbridge Centre, White River. Phone 013 750 0334.
Fez has Mediterranean and Moroccan food, plus great sushi. It's an unusual blend, but a highly successful one. Sit among the potted olive-trees at lunchtime on the best deck in town and drink sangria. Bagdad Centre, White River. Phone 013 750 1253.
The World on a plate Lowveld Tourism has organised a range of themed meals for the duration of the World Cup. All participating restaurants are offering dishes from one of the playing nations at Nelspruit's Mbombela Stadium. Go to www.lowveldtourism.com and click on the "International Food Feast" icon for details.
Taste The Deck Restaurant and Lounge offers the best quick-and-easy eating in town. With Mediterranean-style dishes such as trinchado starters, chicken wings, cocktail baskets and deck platters; and also has surprisingly good seafood and a "steaks with a difference" menu for the carnivorous. Corner Pierre and Neethling streets, Bendor. Phone 015 296 4956.
More Meat If you're into fillet, rump, sirloin, chops, racks, ribs, shanks, legs and more, the Nguni Grill is your spot. The bar here is really happening, the people rock and the food is affordable and delicious. Bendor Centre, corner De Wet and Outspan avenues, Bendor. Phone 082 314 8788.
A Fine Time The best fine-dining and wining is undoubtedly to be found at Saskia, the only real five-star joint in Polokwane. It's trendy, sophisticated and stylish, with fusion food that includes grilled prawns with a tequila mayonnaise; rolled rump of lamb with a crisp mushroom cigar; and the Fusion Seven Deadly Sins, a selection of seven small desserts. In the Fusion Boutique Hotel, corner Hans van Rensburg and Suid streets. Phone 015 291 4174.
Old Favourite The best Chateaubriand and excellent meat dishes are still served at Basil's restaurant at The Ranch, a much loved hotel that's been around for 65 years. Pleasant service, an easy atmosphere and a vibey, buppie crowd. 30km south of town on the N1. Phone 015 290 5000.
Go Country Fresh, organic produce is deliciously displayed at The Farmyard, a bistro, deli, bakery and fresh-produce market 10 minutes east of town. Their overall menu is contemporary with a touch of classic, like a smoked chicken and mango salad, oxtail with butternut mash, or kabeljou with a lemon caper sauce. Open from 9am till 5pm daily. An organic fresh produce market every Saturday and their bakery has great breads. 4km from town on the R81 to Modjadjiskloof, phone 015 263 6452.
Pap and Vleis The best meat and pap is at BM's Corner in Seshego's Zone 4, a typical township hangout that offers delicious braai meat and pap, locally referred to as chisa nyama or pap en vleis.