South Africa boasts a wide range of top restaurants and their success can be attributed to the amazing chefs who create exciting dishes for discerning patrons. Most of these restaurants have a variety of awards and accolades behind them and when taking the experience of the chefs into consideration, there’s no doubt why. Here’s our round up of ten top restaurants in South Africa by its most notable chefs. Level Four at 54 on Bath Matthew Foxon, Young Chef of the Year in South Africa in 2003 and 2004, creates British-inspired dishes with an African twist. He’s worked in five-star hotels in both Johannesburg and Pretoria and was runner up in the Salon-Culinaire South Africa in 2004. Foxon lived in London for a while, where he headed the kitchen at the Greyhound Pub in Battersea and at The Rosendale in South East London. He also starred in the BBC Masterchef series before returning to South Africa and joining Level Four.
Camphors at Vergelegen Wine Estate
Camphors, at the Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West, has an exciting menu that combines both international and local cuisines, all of which are complemented by award-winning wines. From dry-aged duck and coffee-roasted springbok to delicious desserts, each dish on Executive Chef Michael Cooke’s seasonally inspired menus is a taste-sensation.
Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort
Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort is located on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town’s Constantia Valley. Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s dishes are known to be fun and edgy, but with a traditional twist. He explores local ingredients and flavors evident of African cuisine. Dishes include “4 degrees of cheese,” consisting of South Africa’s most awarded indigenous cheese, huguenot, from Dalewood. The dish explores the cheese’s flavor profile through a range of temperatures, from freezing and cold to room temperature and hot.
La Colombe
La Colombe, situated on the Silvermist organic wine estate, is internationally acclaimed; Chef Proprietor Scot Kirton has taken its cuisine to new heights. Kirton combines Asian and French cuisine to create classic dishes with uncomplicated flavors, all made using only the freshest and most seasonal produce. Patrons can expect exciting dishes such as chawanmushi (an egg custard dish found in Japan), barbeque quail, aubergine, gem squash, and coconut.
Marble Restaurant
If you’ve visited South Africa you’ll know that locals love cooking on an open fire (i.e. braai). Marble celebrates this passion by serving South African classics from an open kitchen with a wood-fired grill as its main focus. Chef David Higgs says “We have long been fascinated by what makes South African fare unique, and we believe it’s down to us being meat and flame enthusiasts…” Guests can expect dishes like smoked kudu, caramelized pear, and gorgonzola with a sherry dressing.
Overture Restaurant at Hidden Valley Wines
Overture Restaurant is situated on the Hidden Valley Wines farm in Stellenbosch and chef and owner Bertus Basson’s dishes are all about traditional South African cuisine, but with a contemporary twist. Thanks to Basson the restaurant often tops best restaurant lists and it’s no wonder why. Dishes are inventive and the menu often includes venison, as well as seafood and meat dishes. The tasting menu, consisting of six courses, is a must and also the chef’s choice.
Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient
Chef Chantel Dartnall has been voted SA’s Chef of the Year thanks to the amazing fine-dining experience she’s created at Mosaic at the Orient. She trained abroad in Michelin star restaurants and creates beautiful dishes made from fresh, seasonal produce. The popular restaurant has two private dining rooms, and booking is essential as this restaurant tops so many local’s foodie bucket lists.
Reuben’s Franschhoek
Chef Reuben Riffel creates delicious, uncomplicated dishes at his flagship restaurant Reuben’s in Franschhoek. Reuben Riffel has charmed South Africa and opened a string of restaurants that serve uncomplicated cuisine in relaxed settings. The specials on the menu are updated daily and the wine list is sure to impress, which is apt, as the restaurant is set in the heart of the Cape winelands.
Head Chef Bianca Fogwell creates dishes that are light and simple but at the same time an exploration of flavors. She often cooks with game meat from the Forum Homini Game Reserve and changes the menu on a monthly basis, ensuring interest. The restaurant has received many awards, including the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants in SA award. Apart from fine dining, the restaurant also offers high-tea options, wine pairing and tasting, breakfast and lunch.
The Test Kitchen
Chef Luke Dale-Roberts opened The Test Kitchen in 2010 and since then it has become one of the top restaurants in South Africa. The Cape Town restaurant offers one of the most sought-after dining experiences in the country. Dale-Roberts trained in Switzerland and England before opening several restaurants in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Philippines. He headed to Cape Town in 2006 and since opening The Test Kitchen he’s added award after award to his name. He won Chef of the Year at the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards and The Test Kitchen also won the Restaurant of the Year in 2012 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards.  


The toque dates back to the sixteenth century and different heights of the toque may have represented the different ranks within the kitchen. A toque traditionally has a hundred folds and this is said to represent the many different ways in which a chef
knows how to cook an egg.

Hygienic purposes include:

  • Protecting hair from the smoke and oil in the kitchen.
  • Allowing air to circulate on top of the head (toque).
  • Preventing loose hairs from falling onto the food.
  • Absorbing perspiration from the forehead.
  • A professional chef will always wear a hat and demand that other cooks in the kitchen wear the traditional cook’s hat.


The necktie is a large triangular light cloth which is folded and worn around the neck as one would knot a normal tie. The necktie was originally worn to absorb perspiration and guard the neck from drafts in hot underground kitchens. Modern air conditioned
kitchens make the necktie out of date, however the necktie is still worn by professional cooks as a symbol and respect for the trade.



The white chef jacket is said to signify the importance and high regard of the profession. The coat protects the chest and arms from the heat of stoves and splashes from boiling liquids and to achieve this, the coat must be double breasted and long sleeved and always be buttoned up with the correct number of buttons. This allows for four layers of cloth between the heat source
and the front of the body. To protect the arms the sleeves should not be rolled up. The colour of the buttons also depicts the level of the cook/chef, a qualified chef will wear black buttons and an unqualified cook will wear white buttons.



The traditional colour for chef pants is plain black or checkered black and white, which aids in hiding the dirt that is brought about by working in the kitchen.  Although modern chef’s pants now have various colors, the purpose of the dark and patterned designs remains
the same:  to camouflage the dirt.  While the chef’s jacket is formal, the pants is loose-fitting, more relaxed and informal, as it helps chefs keep cool while doing their job.  It also gives them freedom to move.  Modern design for chef’s pants are baggy-styled, cargo or zipper-styled.  In Europe and South Africa, working chefs wear blue and white checkered pants.  Qualified chefs often wear black pants.



The apron is designed to protect the lower body from accidentally spilled hot liquids and is worn from the waist to just below the knee. The top of the apron is folded over and tied around the waist. The apron tapes are then tucked under the fold. The apron is easily and quickly changed. This allows the cook to put on a clean apron before meeting customers or entering the dining room.



Chef shoes must be slip resistant, sturdy, provide support and protect the feet. The shoes must have a protective cover over the toe area so as to avoid injury if something is spilled or dropped in the kitchen. The shoes should not absorb water or fat and should be easy to clean. Chef shoes are traditionally black and should be worn with black socks. Ensure that the shoes are
comfortable and provide necessary support as standing on hard floors all day can cause discomfort. The style can either have show laces or be a Slip-on style


You’re unlikely to come across a lot of French job titles during your quest for employment, that is, unless you’re a chef – cue the French Brigade system (or Brigade de cuisine). All modern professional kitchens run according to a strict hierarchy, with the French Brigade system used in order to ensure the whole operation runs as smoothly as possible. The structure will vary slightly depending on the size and style of the restaurant, however as a chef it’s important to know and understand the many positions held within a professional kitchen. Even if you’re not a chef, knowing what ‘sous chef’ means is a sure fire way to impress your friends while watching Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

The Life of a Chef Being a chef today is very different than it was even just a decade ago. Chefs used to be invisible workhorses hiding behind a stove, churning out glorious dish after glorious dish without much recognition from their diners. Today that whole dynamic has changed. Chefs are the reason to go to a restaurant. They are celebrated like rock stars. They’ve even become household names.

The good old Chefs coat We love to watch hectic kitchen scenes with all those frenetic activities of people in white- cutting, peeling and frying ingredients that are needed to complete an order.  Somehow, it’s different if those blur of activities aren’t done in white.  Here’s a closer look at a chef’s uniform—its significance, and a little bit of history.

Wear an apron ! Cooking is an enjoyable hobby, but what people detest the most about cooking is the mess it creates. Cleaning up the kitchen is hard work but what if you have food particles on yourself as well, this is one of the most obvious reasons as to why people wear an apron, however there are quite a few underlying reasons we are not aware of.

If you are going to be working as a professional barista (or as a professional anything), here are some words of advice that you should heed above all else: “What is crucial to your success is your ability to get along with your customers, your co-workers, and your managers. Having outstanding technical skills will not bring outstanding success. Having outstanding interpersonal skills is even more important.”