62 of SA’s best outdoor eating spots

February 18, 2014 (Last Updated: January 11, 2019)
SA’s best outdoor eating spots

South Africa’s ever-changing landscape offers a cornucopia of restaurants waiting to be explored. We’ve compiled a must-have list of SA’s best outdoor eating spots so that you can plan to feast all over the country.

IN THE GARDEN

1. Johannesburg:

CASALINGA
This elegant, Italian, country-style restaurant in Muldersdrift strives for simplicity and intimacy. Lush, green lawns dotted with trees in the expansive garden create the perfect atmosphere for the romantic at heart. Potato gnocchi ai piacere and pappardelle mafia with fresh tomato, chilli and olive oil remain stalwarts. R300pp. 087 941 1223; casalinga.co.za

LA VIE EN ROSE
A secret garden with white and pink detailed tables where you can get comfortable and indulge your senses. A sanctuary away from the din of the city, with a fusion-inspired menu that gives you the option of indulging in your favourite comfort food, tucking into something light or taking the high road into luxurious decadence. R100pp.
011-268-6144011-268-6144; lavieenrose.co.za

2. Durban:

THE POT & KETTLE, BOTHA’S HILL
Situated in the awe-inspiring Valley of a Thousand Hills, and known for home-style cooking and breathtaking views. Magnificent gardens provide a backdrop in which to lose yourself in the unspoilt romance of the South African countryside. R80pp. 031-777-1312031-777-1312/54; potandkettle.co.za

3. Cape Town:

FRAÎCHE AYRES, ROSEBANK
This relaxed culinary haven offers honest to goodness food made fresh from the heart. Sumptuous salads, great specials and generous portions await. R90pp. 021-686-6004021-686-6004; fraicheayres.co.za

BABYLONSTOREN
Stroll through the extraordinary three and a half hectare fruit and vegetable garden to discover a glass conservatory offering light lunches, special sandwiches and a delightful home-made cordial, frothy coffee and a variety of local, imported or fresh, garden herb teas. R130pp. 021-863-3852021-863-3852; babylonstoren.com

LA PETITE FERME
High up on the mountain overlooking the Franschhoek Valley, and world renowned for its approach to rustic, contemporary cuisine. Give in to smoked forest mushroom tart, petit poussin, cassoulet and lemon curd
parfait with rainbow macaroons, before sprawling out over manicured lawns. R180pp. 021-876-3016021-876-3016; lapetiteferme.co.za

4. Out of town:

LA LAMPARA, BALGOWAN
Disappear down a tree-lined driveway to discover a beautiful outdoor terrace covered with creepers; the perfect place to sit and admire the grassy paddocks and the old red brick outbuildings. R180pp. 082 416 0195082 416 0195

CLEMENTINES, CLARENS
Saunter down a little side street and you’ll find this delightful restaurant with a splendid garden dining area offering mountain views by day and fairy-lit magic by night. Cape Malay curry, oxtail, confit duck and baked Camembert are among the long list of favourites. R100pp. 058-256-1616058-256-1616; clementines.co.za

STORMSVLEI FARM STALL & RESTAURANT
Manicured lawns, a variety of trees, shrubs and plants offer the perfect place for delicious, freshly prepared, rustic food. Bird song adds to the atmosphere and, if you are lucky, you will hear the call of the fish eagle from the nearby Sonderend River. R100pp. 079 713 0257079 713 0257; stormsvlei.co.za

MADRE’S KITCHEN, STANFORD
All about wholesome, country living, the restaurant serves food for the soul and beautiful gardens can be fully savoured by virtue of a picnic or wine walk, or perhaps even a charming game of boules after a lazy afternoon’s indulgence. R120pp. 028-341-0647028-341-0647; madreskitchenstanford.co.za

WITH A VIEW

1. Johannesburg:

THE SAN DECK, SANDTON SUN
Swinging weaved chairs and daybeds in the terraced garden make for perfect lazy afternoon extravagance.
An opulent lunchtime menu makes way for evening’s Afrocentric finger foods. R180pp. 011-780-5147011-780-5147; sandtonsun.com

2. Durban:

THE OCEAN TERRACE AT THE OYSTER BOX
One of Durban’s most popular outdoor eating venues with gorgeous views across the Indian Ocean. Freshly harvested oysters from the hotel’s own oyster beds, accompanied by a glass of bubbly or a cocktail, are worth the visit alone. R200pp. 031-514-5000031-514-5000; oysterboxhotel.com

MOYO PIER BAR AND RESTAURANT
Float above the ocean at the end of UShaka Pier on Durban’s North Beach, while sipping on delicious wines with fresh oysters and prawns. R130pp.
031-332-0606031-332-0606; moyo.co.za

3. Cape Town:


TOBAGO’S BAR AND TERRACE AT THE RADISSON BLU HOTEL
Feel the sea breeze as waves crash a stone’s throw from your table. The panoramic sea view is the inspiration behind the fresh menu: gourmet sandwiches and platters to suit every palate or a brunch buffet for late-morning decadence. R175pp. 021-441-3414021-441-3414; radissonblu.com

DUNES BEACH RESTAURANT & BAR, HOUT BAY
Situated right on the beach, Dunes occupies one of the most unique positions in Cape Town. A wide selection of salads, seafood, grills and pizzas satisfy all tastes while the beach house atmosphere makes this the perfect spot for mellow lunches, sundowner cocktails and family fun. R100pp. 021-790-1876021-790-1876; dunesrestaurant.co.za

AT A MARKET

1.      Johannesburg:


NEIGHBOURGOODS MARKET
Make your way through the hustle and bustle of charcuterie, breads, cheeses and baked delights, steaming paella and oysters on ice, up the stairs to the rooftop lined with wooden benches and fashionable folk soaking up the sun.
Saturdays; neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za

JOZI FOOD MARKET
You’ll find this charming market under a collection of colourful umbrellas on the lawns of the Pirates Sports Club in sunny Greenside. Expect to be greeted personally by the local artisans proudly displaying their home-made treats.
Saturdays; 076 469 8995076 469 8995; JoziRealFoodMarket

PRETORIA BOEREMARK
You can’t get fresher than this delicious jumble of indigenous fruit and vegetables still dusted with specks of farm soil and anything home-made that you could possibly dream of, plus the best melkkos you’ll ever encounter.
Saturdays early (5 – 9am); 082 416 3900082 416 3900; pretoriaboeremark.co.za

HAZEL FOOD MARKET, PRETORIA
One of the largest dedicated food markets in the country, featuring over 70 food stalls. Think artisan breads, herbladen pâtés and gooey cherry nougat as well as an abundance of traditional fare. Saturdays; 083 554 5636083 554 5636; hazelfoodmarket.co.za

  1. Durban:

SHONGWENI FARMERS MARKET
Revel in an array of fresh food and soak up the early morning sunshine just 20 minutes from the heart of Durban.
Unique breakfasts abound and can be enjoyed while sitting on hay bales contemplating your next buy. Saturdays;
031-777-4686031-777-4686; shongwenimarket.co.za

THE LITCHI ORCHARD
Leave your car and your worries under the decade-old litchi trees at Seaforth Farm, Salt Rock, and take a leisurely stroll towards the open-sided shed where you’ll discover a treasure trove of local, seasonal produce, fresh from the farm. The market is intricate and intimate with litchi picking in season (December). Saturdays; litchiorchard.co.za

  1. Cape Town:

PORTER ESTATE PRODUCE MARKET, TOKAI
Nothing but nature and scrumptious eats – Porter Estate is one of the more intimate markets in Cape Town, but it’s no less remarkable: fresh juices squeezed on site, moerkoffie in tin mugs, soft scrambled eggs enrobed in bacon and sandwiched in huge buns, and wanders through the woods.
Saturdays; 082 334 5434082 334 5434; www.foodwithastory.co.za


IN THE WINELANDS

COSECHA, NOBLE HILL WINE ESTATE, PAARL
Savour Latin-inspired dishes featuring herbs and chillies picked daily from the garden. Sweeping views of the Simonsberg Mountains, vineyards and the farm dam create a backdrop for the ‘guaquistadors’ to prepare their tableside guacamole. Picnics can be enjoyed next to the dam. R100pp, picnic R175. 021-874-3844021-874-3844; noblehill.com

DIEMERSDAL FARM EATERY, DURBANVILLE
Pristine white benches and tables line this grassy plateau where luscious hills roll into exquisite mountain views. Tapas creations and the ‘dish of the day’ menu changes daily; much of the seasonal produce stems from the kitchen garden and orchards. You can also choose to dine under a canopy of vines overlooking the hills and grazing horses. R170pp. 021-976-1810021-976-1810; diemersdal.co.za

DE GRENDEL WINE ESTATE, PANORAMA
Laid-back elegance resides atop the Tygerberg Hill. Wrap-around glass encases the conservatory while stone and wooden features adorn the veranda looking out onto vines, Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. R300pp.
021-558-7035021-558-7035; degrendel.co.za

HILDA’S KITCHEN, GROOTE POST, DARLING
Relax at a stone table under an ancient cork tree and enjoy Groote Post wines and a leisurely lunch while watching the little ones play in the courtyard under the shade of an expansive vine. Stylishly modern, country cooking using locally sourced fresh produce with children’s options available. R150pp. 022-492-2825022-492-2825; grootepost.com

THE TABLE, DE MEYE, STELLENBOSCH
Wonderfully rustic, radiating country-style charm, The Table celebrates the simple pleasures of sitting down to a beautifully cooked meal in perfect surrounds. The dining area extends out onto the lawn and under the oak trees, where guests are seated at rustic tables and presented with seasonal country fare on mismatched platters. R250pp.
072 696 0530072 696 0530; thetablerestaurant.co.za

THE KITCHEN AT MAISON
The Kitchen spills out onto a deck overlooking ornate lawns and vineyards. Expect unpretentious food, with an emphasis on freshness and flavour. Try the ‘tomato plate’: plum, Rosa and vine-ripened globes simply presented with basil from the garden and buffalo mozzarella. R250pp. 021-876-2116021-876-2116; maisonestate.co.za

BAROUCHE FAMILY RESTAURANT, BLAAUWKLIPPEN
Located on the slopes of the Stellenbosch Mountains, the menu is light and wholesome with a modern take on tradition, or picnic baskets for those seeking solitude. R150pp. 021-880-0133021-880-0133; blaauwklippen.com

UNDER THE OAKS

  1. Johannesburg:

MOYO ZOO LAKE
By day you’re immersed in green grass, tall pine trees and a tranquil lake and as the African sun sets, cocktails on the deck and live music set the tone for an extraordinary evening of fine dining and soulful vibes under the stars. The tagines and oxtail are among the most celebrated dishes. R180pp. 011-646-0058011-646-0058; moyo.co.za

GIA’S ON MONTROSE
Nestled in one of the most beautiful and established nurseries in Joburg, Gia’s offers the tranquillity you least expect from a coffee shop situated right in the heart of Sandton. R100pp. 011-326-5074011-326-5074

  1. Durban:

BLUE ZOO CAFÉ AND TEA GARDEN
Situated in one of the most picturesque settings in Durban, the food is easy-going and unfussy, offering a range of breakfasts, light lunches and enchanting teas. R100pp. 031-303-3568031-303-3568; bluezoorestaurant.webs.com

  1. Cape Town:

THE GARDENER’S COTTAGE
An institution of fine food set under the 100-year-old camphor trees in Newlands, offering delicious, boldly flavoured food. Eggs Benedict, croissants, the ‘all green salad’ with chicken livers and bacon, and the butternut pasta are a must. R75pp. 021-685-7639021-685-7639

CAFÉ BONBON, LA PETITE DAUPHINE GUEST FARM
Set among old oak trees with a backdrop of the majestic 200-year-old wine cellar and surrounding Franschhoek mountains. Dainty blue and white tablecloths, French elegance in the detail and sweeping views of the vineyards complete the milieu. The menu embraces seasonal ingredients and showcases regional produce. R180pp. 021-876-3936021-876-3936; lapetite.co.za

CATHARINA’S, STEENBERG
Lingering lunches in the sun, live music on the lawn on Sundays and the sound of children’s laughter sailing through the air. Chef Garth Almazan takes reverence in the freshest and tastiest fare: the marron risotto and tomato consommé will have guests utterly beguiled. R240pp. 021-713-2222021-713-2222; steenberghotel.com/dine/catharina

EIGHT AT SPIER, STELLENBOSCH
A serious farm-to-table eating experience: produce is either grown on the farm or sourced from nearby farmers. A small and seasonal menu focuses on health and whole foods. The terrace is light, sunlit and surrounded by trees but there is also a magical ‘picnic’ option from Eight to Go deli that you can pre-order before adventuring into the beautiful landscape. 021-809-1188021-809-1188; spier.co.za

ON THE BEACH

THE PRAWN SHAK, DURBAN
Sheer decadence in the wilderness. A bar where there are swings for bar stools so you can wriggle your toes in the sand or sit atop a sand dune at the picturesque Amatikulu Lagoon, and indulge in a plentiful seven-course long and lazy lunch. Prawn tails, prawn bisque, prawn curry… prawn heaven. R170pp. 083 303 4746083 303 4746; shak.co.za

DIE STRANDLOPER, LANGEBAAN
Open-air, casual, sand underfoot, blue skies above, and a magnificent view of the Langebaan Lagoon. Meals are served in individual courses over a leisurely three to four hours: black mussels in wine, seafood curry, white stumpnose, smoked angel fish and crayfish. R190pp. 022-772-2490022-772-2490; strandloper.com

THE GRAND CAFÉ & BEACH, GRANGER BAY
Positioned on a private beach in Granger Bay, a view of Table Bay frames the horizon with the Green Point Stadium, Signal Hill and Table Mountain forming a unique backdrop. The beach café menu focuses on fresh, light dishes – their long, rectangular pizzas are a firm favourite. R200pp. 021-425-0551021-425-0551; grandafrica.com

LEMON GRASS RESTAURANT, PLETTENBERG BAY
Beautifully situated right on the water’s edge, this terraced restaurant was carefully designed without walls so as not to spoil the phenomenal, panoramic views, which stretch from the gently lapping lagoon all the way to the Tsitsikamma mountain range. From the freshest fish and seafood, to mouth-watering meats and game, the menu draws influences from traditionally local cuisine. R120pp. 044-533-5520044-533-5520; lemongrassplett.co.za

DIE WALSKIPPER, JEFFREYS BAY
Sit at quaint wooden tables with your feet in the sand, enjoy crisp chardonnay out of enamel cups and feast on fresh seafood cooked on open fires. The tin roof structure leading onto the beach lets the view and the surroundings dictate the ambience. R250pp. 042-292-0005042-292-0005

MUISBOSSKERM, LAMBERTS BAY
A restaurant on a dune, next to the sea, in the middle of nowhere – what more could you wish for! Protected from the wind by a thick hedge of muisbos and sheltered with shabby-chic shade cloth nets, it’s rustic and magical. Tuck into angelfish, yellowtail and crayfish, home-made bread and Hanepoot ‘korrelkonfyt’. R250pp. 027-432-1017027-432-1017

MILKWOOD RESTAURANT, HERMANUS
Renowned for fantastic breakfasts and lavish lunches with a menu that emphasises what is fresh and what is caught that day. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the otters and kingfishers that inhabit the river. R180pp. 028-316-
1516; themilkwood.co.z

IN A COURTYARD

1. Johannesburg:

SALVATION CAFÉ, 44 STANLEY
The ideal place to relax and indulge in a menu that offers an odyssey of flavours, from five spice tempura calamari to the famed Salvation burger and luscious, seasonal salads. An exquisite brunch-come-lunch venue. R100pp. 011-482-7795011-482-7795; salvationcafe.co.za

THE OTHER SIDE RESTAURANT, MONAGHAN FARM
Settle in between the dams and trees in this expansive landscape and treat yourself to the à la carte menu, Sunday buffet or a heavenly picnic surrounded entirely by nature. R190pp. 087 630 0742; monaghanfarm.co.za

LA CAMPAGNOLA RESTAURANT, BRYANSTON
The alfresco courtyard is a tree-dappled space with terracotta planters, touches of Tuscany and a beautiful fountain. Head chef Luca Mantoan serves superb Italian cuisine that rivals the sensational surrounds. R160pp. 011-463-4199011-463-4199; lacampagnola.co.za

THE CANTEEN, ARTS ON MAIN
Sit outside in the sunshine and observe the inner city Joburg fashionistas wandering through the dynamic and diverse locale. One of their famous milkshakes before a meander through the market is a must. R120pp. 011-334-5947011-334-5947; artsonmain.co.za

2. Durban:

MARKET RESTAURANT
Situated in a quiet courtyard behind a classic 1930s colonial building at the foot of Durban’s Berea. A central fountain surrounded by a ring of leopard trees provides all-year mottled shade and at night the courtyard comes alive as twinkling fairy lights add to the magical atmosphere. R120pp. 031-309-8581031-309-8581; themarketrestaurant.co.za


3. Cape Town

CAFÉ ROUX, NOORDHOEK FARM VILLAGE
Sit at comfy banquettes under the oaks and loquat trees or in the enchanting family area overlooking the playground.
Food is best described as ‘relaxed bistro fare’ – gourmet burgers, home-made pasta, linefish and a selection of luscious salads, sandwiches and wraps. R120pp. 021-789-2538021-789-2538; caferoux.co.za

SOCIETI BISTRO
Alfresco dining in the hedged courtyard with views of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak, and gurgling water from vintage fountains to soften the sound of traffic. Fairy-light-draped trees add to the enchanted, secret garden feel. During the summer months the menu focuses on ‘lighter’ meals, taking their inspiration from different provinces throughout Italy. R170pp. 021-424-2100021-424-2100; societi.co.za

ON THE DECK

1. Johannesburg:

AL FIUME
Uniquely positioned to take advantage of mountain vistas, river rapids and indigenous gardens. Dine on the beautiful tree-lined wooden deck, built literally ‘on the river’. Best known for the curried prawn linguini and olive oil rubbed fillet. Live jazz every Sunday. R180pp. 071-862-9750071-862-9750; riverplace.co.za

ROOTS GOURMET RESTAURANT
Indulge your senses at one of the country’s top fine-dining spots. Famous for its delectable French, African and
Asian cuisine, Roots creates new menus daily. Enjoy a six-course dinner, a four-course lunch or a four-course breakfast with exquisite food and wine, while enjoying breathtaking views of unspoilt South African veld. R300pp. 011-668-7000011-668-7000; forumhomini.com

TASCA DO SOL, WESTDENE
A vibey spot with a picturesque open terrace set in front of the Westdene Dam, it’s the perfect place to unwind and witness the most spectacular sunsets in Jozi. Traditional Portuguese fare with hints of African flair and live music on weekends adds to the appeal. R120pp. 011-482-8478011-482-8478

2. Durban:

BEL PUNTO, UMDLOTI
Sit on the deck under the stars and watch the moon rise over the ocean. Prepare to be spoilt with outstanding panoramic sea views no matter where you’re seated. It’s a modern and casual chic restaurant with food that echoes the atmosphere. Dishes burst with authentic southern Italian flavours; sample the prawns padella, crab soup, fresh linefish and to finish, of course, their home-made limoncello. R150pp. 031-568-2407031-568-2407; belpunto.co.za

3. Cape Town:

SEAFORTH RESTAURANT
Set on the white sands of Simon’s Town and just metres above the sea at high tide, the Seaforth deck is the perfect place for a sun-drenched lunch. Let the penguins entertain you as you savour seafood platters, crisp pizzas and the best cocktails this side of the peninsula. R140pp. 021-786-4810021-786-4810

CHAPMAN’S PEAK RESTAURANT
Ideal for sultry summer days and prolonged sunsets, it’s the perfect balance of beach, ocean and harbour views. Their legendary calamari served in a cast-iron skillet washed down with a glass of one of their delectable sauvignon blancs is worth the drive. R180pp. 021-790-1036021-790-1036; chapmanspeakhotel.co.za

TOKARA
This fine-dining restaurant is situated 400m above sea level on top of the Helshoogte Pass and offers guests dramatic views over Stellenbosch and False Bay. Touches of glass, steel and bronze add aesthetic panache to the open-air deck and are echoed through Richard Carstens’ intelligent take on modern South African cooking. R300pp. 021-885-2550021-885-2550; tokararestaurant.co.za

  1. Out of town:

THE OLIVE GARDEN, HILLCREST
The saucy sounds of samba, Italian folk music and old jazz classics from the owners’ collection spanning the past 30 years make for a memorable experience. Famous for their meze platters and a sensational Sunday roast. Ask about their wasabi eggs. R120pp. 031-768-1314031-768-1314

COFFEE ON THE ROCKS
Perfectly perched on the cliffs at De Kelders, it’s an eccentric place with an equally eccentric menu; homecooked roasts and decadent cakes are enjoyed a stone’s throw from the blue waters of Walker Bay. Southern Right whales bask in the sun, dolphins surf the rollers and Great Whites stealthily cruise by. R100pp. 028-384-2017028-384-2017; coffee-on-the-rocks.com

MARIANA’S, STANFORD
A charming cottage opens out onto a scenic garden with veranda seats shaded by idiosyncratic beach umbrellas. It’s quaint, authentic and homely, and an eccentric blackboard menu changes daily. R150pp. 028-341-0272028-341-0272

DE KAAP, KLEIN KAROO
Sit outside on the shady veranda and soak up the peaceful vineyard and mountain scenery behind the lovingly restored 1880 farmhouse. Slow food is at the core of a menu that aims to be as relaxed and rewarding as the environment. R100pp. 072 693 4052072 693 4052; de-kaap.co.za

HOMEWOODS, KENTON-ON-SEA
A celebration of all that screams ‘holiday’: upstairs deck, wooden benches, umbrellas and tree tops swaying in the breeze. Calamari, fish and chips, and burgers – nothing fancy, but that’s what makes it great. R90pp. 046-648-2700046-648-2700

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