8 South African Restaurants For A Date She’ll Never Forget

In Jo'burg or Cape Town? Choose one of these incredible dining options this spring/summer.


Nadim Nyker |

Summer is abound, the nights are getting warmer and that’s all the reason you need to get out. So up your game and impress the partner in your life, you both deserve a lot more than ‘Netflix and chill’. Lucky for you (and us), we’ve experienced some of SA’s best restaurants, so follow our lead.

We’ve been eating a lot over the last few months, and have put together a list of SA dining experiences to remember. These restaurants will bless you, your rand, and your appetite. Try them – you can thank us later.

Blowfish Restaurant

 

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We’ve placed Blowfish on the top of our list on purpose. There are few places that live up to their level of quality seafood at an affordable price point. Take your date out for a Sunday lunch or for a romantic sunset dinner and you’re bound to find an option that suits you best.

Location is another reason why Blowfish comes highly recommended on this list. Located along the coast, we enjoyed a panoramic view of the ocean and an eye-catching view of Table Mountain, too. The setting is breathtaking, and coupled with the sounds of the ocean, allows a revitalising space to unwind.

What we love: Blowfish started serving sushi 18 years ago, and still they’re true innovators, constantly adding to their menu.

Our favourite: They most recently launched the CANNAfornia roll – a salmon and prawn sushi roll, accompanied with a dressing infused with cannabis oil. Also infused with strawberry mayo, it’s easy on the pallet for first-time sushi eaters, too. 

You Asian Tapas & Bar

 

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Yu is exquisite. The restaurant’s staff bring a hearty, warm feel and the food can compete with the South African fine dining greats. But Yu is about sharing, creating a tapas experience that will leave you talking till the end of the night.

The restaurant draws its look from across the asian continent and brings an experience unlike anywhere else in Cape Town’s city bowl. When visiting Yu, be prepared to taste everything and get the most out of their variety of dishes, bringing unfamiliar flavours to life.

What we love: Yu’s location is ideal for a night out in Cape Town’s city bowl and forms part of The Onyx Apartment hotel. And if you ask nicely, you could take your date upstairs to their fourth floor entertainment bar, and grab a post-date drink with an unforgettable view of the city bowl.

Our favourite: You have to try their Peking Duck, no pressure.

Bombay Brasserie

Bombay Brasserie is on top of our list for a reason: it’s one of the best Indian dining experiences you’ll find. They serve a combination of dishes, from south India’s pungent flavours, to sweeter north Indian dishes, bringing you the ultimate Indian eating experience. This signature fine dining restaurant has recently undergone a transformation, and have upgraded their look, too.

Their food portions and quality are worth the price tag. They’re also fashioned on the iconic Bombay Brasserie based in London, making this restaurant a unique, cosmopolitan experience.

What we love: Bombay Brasserie does wine pairing with Indian food, and it works brilliantly. Who knew? Try it with their chef’s menu, check it out here.

Our favourite: Their popcorn and goats cheese chaat had us mind-blown, try it.

Gate Restaurant at Quoin Rock

 

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Think bourgeois club in Sandton but on a wine estate in Stellenbosch. Quoin Rock is opulent and ostentatious and the most innovative wine estate we’ve been to yet. Their wine is matured for longer, giving it a more robust taste and they are all for a luxurious fine dining experience – just look at the architecture. The venue is eye-catching and one your date will be talking about for time to come.

Find their menu here.

What we love: Their chef, Rikku O’Donnchü, boasts a ton of world class experience – he starred in BBC’s hit series, MasterChef: The Professionals, where one of his dishes were described as ‘borderline genius’. He’s also worked at the three Michelin starred The French Laundry in London with Masterchef Thoms Keller.

 

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Our favourite: Their caviar macaron, smoked potato mousse, vodka jelly, with a gold and silver leaf boasts a blast of flavour. It’s called From Russia With Love on the menu.

DW Eleven 13

 

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DW Eleven 13 is one of Johannesburg’s hidden gems celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. Based behind a shopping centre, its stunning fine dining experience is unassuming from the parking lot outside. This is the place to go if you’d like to surprise your partner with an unforgettable dining experience. Thinking of a double (or even triple) date? The venue is a fantastic option for group dining.

What we love: Its service is second to none, your glass of water or wine will not go half-full.

Our favourite: Their four course menu is a must, try out their Sous-vide lamb.

Carnelian at The Rock

 

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It’s time to dress up, and the elegant Carnelian, based in Sandton’s Design Quarter, is one of the best places to do so. Carnelian is an extension of the already impressive The Rock restaurant, and offers a variety of themed dining rooms for a fine dining wine, cocktail and tapas experience.

What we love: Each room is uniquely designed, providing an exclusive dining experience per room. Our pick? The Living Garden Room (see below).

 

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Our favourite: Their lamb chops with mango atchar and yoghurt labneh. This lip-smacking dish is divine and well portioned, too.

Firefish

 

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Location is everything, and when it comes to Cape Town’s popular V&A Waterfront, Firefish is on one of the best spots on the wharf. Overlooking the picturesque docking area, the restaurant is flooded with natural light and glass walls. Pro tip: get there before sunset and dine into the evening – the view is a great way to set the tone for the rest of the evening and relax.

What we love: Firefish boasts a tantalising drinks menu. They’re also part of the Kove Collection’s group of restaurants, which offer a variety of superb wines.

Our favourite: Their grilled baby kingklip. Find their menu here. 

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