South Africa has much to offer when it comes to food. And sure every local foodie may know all of the best spots in the country's major cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, but what about all those undiscovered hidden gems just waiting to be explored?
If you’re up for a food adventure in SA, here are some of the foodie destinations that everyone has
to know about.
Makabeni Road (and surrounds), Khayelitsha
There is a whole road in Khayelitsha just waiting to be discovered by food lovers. Home to businesses such as The Milk Restaurant and Bar, Khayelitsha Pizza and 4Roomed eKasi Culture, there is plenty to eat when you pop through here. And if you take a four-minute drive from here to Khwezi Crescent, you will find the famous Spinach King with all the healthy treats he has to offer. These businesses are some of the many that have been struggling under the impact of Covid-19. In a recent report, Cape Town Tourism highlights that their members - many of whom are SMMEs - have lost a total of R2bn and just under 12,000 jobs in recent months. Businesses like these need the support now more than ever and what better way to support and discover an area than through its food?
The Kruger National Park
You didn’t see this one coming, did you? With franchise names and small stops usually, all you have on offer, the addition of the Kruger Station Precinct to the park is a welcome addition for visitors to South Africa’s wildlife Park. This family-centric lifestyle destination oozes old-world charm on what is a refurbished railway station. Here guests can find the Enroute Grab ‘N Go Deli and the Departing Soon coffee and ice cream cafe, where visitors can either enjoy the delectable foods while sitting in the open seating area or where they can quickly stop for a takeaway while, well, en route to their next adventure. The Round in 9 (bar and casual dining) and 3638 sit-down family restaurant are perfect for families wanting a longer, more leisurely stop, while the Li’l Gricers play zone and the 360° cinema (opening soon) will keep the whole family entertained. There are even a dedicated biltong bar and a petit four station. What more could you ask for?
Kruger Station Precinct - © Kyle Lewin
This up-and-coming foodie haven is already on the map for many who are in the know, but if you’re not a regular to the city or the area, it’s probably not yet on your list. With restaurants such as Pron (People’s Republic of Noodles), the trendy Whippet Cafe, Picola Pizza and Pasta (who call themselves the number one pizza place in Johannesburg) and Cheese Gourmet - a deli and restaurant dedicated to, well, all things deliciously cheesy - you will not go hungry when visiting Linden.
Okay, so the Midlands Meander isn’t a hidden gem as many people have made their way along this route. However, if you’re a foodie and not much of a road tripper, you might have missed the fact that the Meander is worth the trip just for the eateries that you can stop at along the way. Hartford House Restaurant, for example, offers up a fine dining experience and is perhaps the most famed restaurant in the area. The Windmills Kitchen is perfect for those wanting options as there are several food stalls all under one roof here - ideal for those travelling in a group and when no one can agree on what or where to eat! There is something for everyone in the Midlands.
Clarens, Free State
This one is mainly for those not from Gauteng as many Gauteng locals enjoy the drive out to Clarens and surrounds for a long weekend, so they're pretty much caught up on the fact that this small Free State town is an amazing food destination. There’s a cute and quaint restaurant on almost every corner, along with a deli, bakery and even a brewery. At only 12,68 km² in size, Clarens is truly a small town filled with big flavours. Must-try places include Clementine's Restaurant and Bar, Treat Restaurant, Clarens Kooperasie - just as a start! If you find yourself in this delightful town, do a walk around the main square and up a few side streets to discover more hidden gems dotted about.
Many people don’t visit hotels unless they are staying there, but if you did some research on hotels in your area, we’re pretty sure you will be pleasantly surprised to discover several unknown places. Level 7 Restaurant and Cigar lounge and Sky Bar located at Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, OR Tambo is the perfect example of one. Located on the top floor of the hotel, this new addition to the Jozi restaurant scene is one of the latest projects by renowned Joburg restaurateur Desmond Mabuza. The food is fine dining with dishes such as beetroot stained salmon, baby lobster, coffee-rubbed fillet and much more on offer.
So, head out (safely) and discover all these and other lesser-known foodie places in and around South Africa. With international travel still not on the cards for many of us, 2021 is the year of exploring our backyard.