Dining Delights

From new openings to tried-and-tested favourites, the trendy to the off-the-beaten-track, those that require bookings well in advance to those who don’t accept reservations… these are our picks for the must-visit destinations to wine, dine and drink right now

By Steve Steinfeld
Salsify - 'lamb - the ugly bits' - karoo rib & crisp sweetbread, hereenbone, smoked tomato & kakiebos

New | Cooper Wine Bar – Cape Town

Having recently opened its doors in Cape Town’s CBD, Cooper Wine Bar, or “Mr Pants 2.0” as it’s referred to in the industry as a nod to its Joburg counterpart, sees restaurateur and avid wino Shayne Holt bring his much-loved wine-bar concept to the Cape. 

Expect to find a host of local and international wines – including some serious heavy hitters and exceptional vintages – all, for the most part, available by the glass. It’s the kind of space that’s as well-suited to a pre-dinner drink as it is for a long evening spent with good friends having ‘just one more’ glass. 

If you’re wondering where the names come from, Mr Pants is Shayne’s cat, so it only made sense that his dog, Cooper, got a wine bar named after him too. 

32 Parliament Street, Cape Town

Wednesday – Saturday 4-10pm

No reservations

Fine | Salsify at The Roundhouse – Cape Town

The award-winning Salsify at The Roundhouse, helmed by chef Ryan Cole, is undoubtedly serving up some of the best cooking in South Africa right now. Inspired by nature and driven by the seasons, Ryan presents an exceptionally elegant multi-course tasting menu celebrating the beauty of the Cape’s produce.

Salsify’s seasonal room

An ardent fisherman and in line with Salsify’s fervent dedication to sustainability, the chef and his team catch all the fish served on the menu. It is this connection to the ocean which has no doubt inspired its latest transformation… the historic building’s inner chamber named “the seasonal room” now features an impressive ceiling installation made from ocean plastic sourced along the Cape’s beaches, drawing attention to the plight of plastic pollution in our oceans. 

Not to be missed, this August, the chef will be inviting a host of industry friends into the kitchen to join him for a series of collaborative lunches. ‘Salsify and Friends’ will see chefs Luke Dale Roberts, Dale Stevens, Mmabatho Molefe and Ivor Jones join Ryan in the kitchen where they’ll cook alongside one another to serve up what is bound to be a Sunday lunch to remember. 

The Roundhouse, Roundhouse Road, Camps Bay


Lunch Tuesday – Sunday

Dinner Tuesday – Saturday

Reservations: reservations@salsify.co.za

Casual | RIVA Restaurant – Cape Town

There are few dishes more comforting than a well-made bowl of pasta, and there are few places in South Africa better than RIVA when it comes to making such dishes. Situated in De Waterkant, the casual eatery started by two friends from Italy specialises in both seafood and pasta – and they do both really well.

At RIVA it’s all about beautiful ingredients, simple cooking, traditional recipes and plenty of warmth, comfort and flavour. The casual space, candle lit and cosy, proves to be a fabulous setting for this kind of food. 

Begin with a creamy buratta, thin shavings of carpaccio and fresh tomato bruschetta before moving onto one of their mouthwatering mains. Think gorgeous strips of silky pappardelle served with crayfish tails, al dente paccheri rounds served with prawns, clams and mussels, or perhaps the fish of the day served in a rich and deep, saffron bouillabaisse.

Naturally, a meal of such nature wouldn’t be complete without a tiramisu and a coffee to end the evening. 

24/4 Napier St, De Waterkant, Cape Town
Monday- Saturday 6:00-10:30PM
Reservations: 021 418 0657

Trendy | The Pot Luck Club – Johannesburg 

Luke Dale Roberts’ famed Woodstock eatery landed in Joburg earlier this year and brought all the bold, globally inspired tapas it’s become renowned for to Rosebank’s Oxford Parks. 

Along with all the small plate goodness, they’ve brought along with them one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets – The Pot Luck Club brunch. 

A longstanding favourite of those in the know, the brunch is a multi-course culinary extravaganza with the option of bottomless Cap Classique to boot. In line with their regular menu, the brunch offering draws from cuisines around the world and features enticing and eclectic dishes, such as bloody Mary oysters, brioche topped with porcini, asparagus and hollandaise as well as the PLC classic, Arnold Bennett.

Potluck Club

As the menu moves from breakfast to lunch, expect dishes such as ravioli filled with leek and ricotta or duck served with textures of apple and vanilla alongside a lentil cassoulet. Dessert may call for the tonka bean madeleines with chocolate and passion fruit pâté de fruit. 

Though the bubbly is highly recommended, the cocktails aren’t to be missed either, so go all out at the make-your-own bloody Mary bar or relish the spicy-meets-sweet libation that is their Thai Green Curry martini. 

199 Oxford Road, Dunkeld, Randburg, Johannesburg


Lunch and Dinner Monday-Saturday

Brunch is served every Sunday from 11h00

Reservations: 010 745 3999

Contemporary | Embarc – Johannesburg

The popular Parkhurst eatery has in the few years since opening become a mainstay on Joburg’s dining scene. Set along the bustling Fourth Avenue, Embarc is where chef Darren O’Donovan serves up his take on modern dining, drawing from South Africa up to Europe and through to Asia. 

Realising that Joburg wasn’t all too interested in fine dining and tasting menus, Darren has taken his fine technique and created a series of elevated, refined small plates, well suited to sharing amongst the table or to be used as building blocks to create your own multi-course dining experience. 

Think babotie filled wontons with an apricot chutney, and beef tartare with punchy components of red onion, pickled radish and capers. Perhaps the delicate pockets of mushroom tortellini are more to your taste, or the luxe lobster risotto with saffron, champagne and parmesan.

Those looking for a meatier option will relish in the likes of the Black Label braised oxtail croquettes and the pork belly served with a deep-fried mac and cheese – at Embarc there’s something for everyone.

Pair the dishes of your choosing with one of the many fine wines on their exceptionally well-curated wine list. 
Corner 13th Street and 4th Avenue, Parkhurst, Johannesburg


Lunch and Dinner Wednesday – Saturday

Reservations: 081 848 6480

Off the Beaten Track | The LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate – Durban

Tucked away in the quiet suburb of Cowies Hill, Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal is where you’ll find Summerhill Guest Estate, home to the award-winning The LivingRoom. It is here where chef Johannes Richter has been making waves with his hyper-local, hyper-sustainable, hyper-seasonal approach to fine cooking. 

Merging his fine training from years spent abroad with his love for Japanese technique and his dedication to endemic ingredients, the chef creates a truly spectacular multi-course dining experience – one which earned the restaurant the title of Restaurant of the Year at the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards. 

From ingredients through to crockery, the chef sources as much as he possibly can from local growers and suppliers – this in addition to growing plenty of the fresh produce himself in Summerhill Estate’s lush gardens.

From the golden nugget pumpkin – farmed by husband-and-wife duo Dion and Chisomo Bean on their permaculture farm up in Howick – around which the first course is built, to the free-range guinea fowl which is accompanied by elements of aMathungulu and green banana, each of the seven courses is carefully considered and expertly created. 

The livingroom - braised lamb neck with beetroot and buttermilk
The livingroom-braised lamb neck with beetroot and buttermilk

The menu and experience as a whole is truly a glorious showcase of the bounty of produce found in KZN. An experience which champions the beauty of endemic ingredients and is underlined by a fervent dedication to sustainability every step of the way. 

Summerhill Guest Estate, 9 Belvedale Rd, Cowies Hill, Pinetown


Dinner Tuesday- Saturday

Lunch Saturday

Reservations: 063 529 1966

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