The Best Fine Dining Restaurants in South Africa

16th May 2019 // By Alex Martin

In the latest installment in our ongoing South Africa series, Elite Traveler celebrates the rapidly growing fine-dining scene. Here, we take a closer look at five of the best restaurants in South Africa.

The Michelin Guide has yet to stretch to South Africa, but the fine dining scene in its major cities is unquestionably on the rise. The country’s unique mix of cultures and a wealth of fertile land has inspired inventive cuisine not seen anywhere else on earth.

South Africa’s restaurants may not be eligible for Michelin stars, but here we list five that would certainly be in the running.

The Test Kitchen

The Test Kitchen was the only African restaurant to be included in Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants in the World, finishing 46th in the 2018 results. Housed in an old biscuit mill in Cape Town’s trendy Woodstock, it has long been regarded as the continent’s best restaurant.

Head chef Luke Dale-Roberts is behind its success. He has opened a number of successful restaurants across the world, but, as the name suggests, The Test Kitchen has been the scene of his most daring dishes.

Dale-Roberts specializes in pairing ingredients and flavors that a traditionalist would never serve together. Guests embark on an 18-course sensory experience beginning in the Light Room and moving into the Dark Room with a mixture of traditional fare and creative small plates.

Smoked Scallop Sashimi, Mushroom Ponzu, Jerusalem Artichoke / ©AndyLund


The tiny beachside restaurant in the village of Paternoster stormed into the limelight earlier this year when it took top prize at the inaugural World Restaurant Awards in Paris.

It was the culinary underdog story of the year: the restaurant’s six staff had no formal training when it opening in 2016 and can only feed 20 people per sitting.

Head chef Kobus van der Merwe makes use of the lush West Cape by foraging daily for ingredients along the seashore. The menu is everchanging as a result, but his philosophy of interfering with the produce as little as possible remains the same.

Despite their success, the prices remain incredibly cheap. The tasting menu is priced at R850 per person ($60) with an optional wine pairing at R550 ($40). Unsurprisingly, reservations are incredibly hard to attain with sittings sold out months in advance.


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