If you have a flair for creating noteworthy cuisine and yearn to sample unusual dishes or food presented with never-seen-before techniques, then it goes without saying that you need to visit a Michelin star restaurant – or at least one of similar standing. With the introduction of the famed TV series, Masterchef, it’s certainly created a cultural buzz and a renewed interest in food. While South Africa doesn’t technically have “Michelin” star restaurants, our country is still home to a number of high-end restaurants that are of Michelin Star quality.
The red Michelin Guide grades restaurants according to their quality, and thus the name “Michelin Star Restaurant” was adopted. The rating system varies from very good through to “exceptional cuisine worth a special journey”. Many UK, Europe, Australian and Asian restaurants are rated by the Michelin guide.
If you’ve ever wanted to sample a dessert that looks like massive golden sphere or dine on delectable gourmet dishes, then we recommend these 4 high-end restaurants. Trust us, there are plenty more restaurants deserving of a place in our top 4 (you’ll have to use something called Google to find the others), but these are our favourites :
Cape Town Top Restaurants
The Test Kitchen is located in the heart of buzzing Cape Town in the artistic and creative hub of Woodstock. Luke Dale-Roberts comes with a wealth of international experience and has opened up numerous restaurants across Asia. His space is contemporary and the vision is pure genius.Luke focuses intently on flavour and pairing ingredients that “technically” shouldn’t pair well with each other.
Securing a spot in the World’s Best Restaurants Awards 2013, The Test Kitchen made an impressive leap to No. 61.
* The below images are courtesy of The Test Kitchen website
Located in the quiet valley of the Cape Winelands region is the much-talked-about La Colombe restaurant. This Asian-French inspired restaurant has, over the years, consistently received worldwide acclaim. It is now one of the top-rated restaurants in South Africa. Owing to the success of the Constantia restaurant, La Colombe has now opened another restaurant at the foothills of the mountain range in the popular Franschhoek Winelands region.
Originally located amidst the vineyards of Constantia Uitsig, it has now under new ownership and has moved to a prime position on the Silvermist wine estate. It’s elevated position ensures exquisite views of the Constantia Valley extending as far as False Bay and Hout Bay.
La Colombe was nominated in the world’s top 50 restaurants and is famed for being a top-notch fine dining establishment, settling nicely into its high ranking status as one of the world’s best. Executive chef James Gaag has international training and gained experience at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
* Images courtesy of La Colombe and Claire Gunn
Johannesburg Top Restaurants
Tucked away in the Crocodile River Valley in a conservancy, is the Orient Hotel. This uniquely designed hotel has a distinct Moorish architecture, which gives rise to a unique mix of Mediterranean and African inspired spaces. It’s quite an extraordinary place and certainly looks like a rather stately oasis that would not be out of place in a desert landscape.
Within this rather luxurious hotel, there is a top-rated restaurant, not known to many. Chantal Dartnell, an award-winning chef, heads up the Restaurant Mosaic, a restaurant offering a sense of finesse combined with a complete sensory experience. Chantal gained much of her experience in glamorous Paris and the style of her restaurant is heavily influenced by French architecture and style. The theme? Art Nouveau! The restaurant is intimate, romantic and plush – a perfect space to enjoy a sumptuous dining experience.
Level 4 restaurant is located in the five-star 54 on Bath boutique hotel in Rosebank, and certainly sets the bar high when comes to fine dining in South Africa. The cuisine is classic with a heady mix of contemporary techniques, and flavours are a unique combination of British-inspired dishes mixed with an African flair. This would make sense given that the executive chef is none other than Matthew Foxon who appeared on the BBC Masterchef series. Matthew lived in London and was at the helm of the kitchen at the Greyhound Pub in Battersea and at the Rosendale. His experience in South Africa spans numerous five-star hotels in Johannesburg and Pretoria, which means he comes with a wealth of experience.
Level 54 offers signature dishes with flair and provides a culinary journey from table to tummy, ensuring that it consistently remains one of Johannesburg’s fine dining restaurants.