(work in progress)
One of Pretoria's best kept dining secrets is the Spiced Coffee restaurant at Ludwigs Roses farm, just north of Pretoria, on the way to Bela Bela and Polokwane. It's a popular weekend outing, with people travelling the 45 minutes from Johannesburg for lunch. It is also an excellent stop off if you're driving from the north and fancy a bite to eat, but fancy something a little more stylish than the highway fast food joints, as it's no more than a 2km detour from the highway.
I declare my bias up front: Heike Taschner-Jeske, the restauranteur, is a friend of mine, and her son and mine are best friends (they're the garden gnomes photobombing this catalogue photo). However, I take my food very seriously, and mere friendship isn't enough to cloud my judgement on what's good to eat. Fortunately in this case, there were no concerns over conflict of interest!
The restaurant has a delightful menu which combined South African classics such as bobotie (a delicious spicy mince base which is topped with a savoury custard and baked) with Mediterranean-inspired fare and some comfort food (such as burgers) that will keep kids and less adventuous eaters happy. And, being of good German stock, kafe und kuchen (coffee and cake) is presented with due reverence for this much loved tradition!
It's all freshly prepared, beautifully presented and generously proportioned. Heike's hallmark is the use of her rose-inspired product range, including rose petal jam, rosehip syrup, rose chutney and rose salt, which are also available for purchase.
This is a particularly popular venue for family and romantic events: rarely does a weekend pass when there aren't a couple of weddings, kitchen teas, baby showers or significant birthdays catered for on the premises, with the larger events being hosted in the Rose Barn venue next to the restaurant.
While you're here, take the opportunity to wander around the rose farm - the largest in Southern Africa - or perhaps participate in one of their periodic events, including their popular Run of The Roses or Action Man events for kids (see their website for more details).
The State Theatre has had several restaurants over the years, but none of them actually seem to make a go of it. They seem to become tatty so quickly, and Capellos was as awful after a while as its predecessor, so it was not with very high hopes that I stepped into the Afro Lounge. Wow! Was I in for a surprise!
The décor is attractive and understated. Upstairs are lots of little conversational spaces, the “lounge” in Afro Lounge. Downstairs are formal tables for eating. Lovely Afro-centric art fills the walls and the map of Africa on the landing on the stairs between the lounge and the more formal dining area is lovely. There is a garden with a water feature for the smokers.
The door between the garden and the lounge where I sat was open and I sat close to the garden, so I expected to be able to smell smoke, but not a whiff intruded to spoil my meal.
After my order was taken and before my food was served, I was presented with a basin in which to wash my hands. Warm water was poured over them and they were then dried. This is often done in “African” themed restaurants. Incidentally, it is an authentic, although very rural African custom, a symbol of hospitality and a practical gesture in a society where running water is literally not “on tap”. It is labour intensive where both water and fuel needs to be gathered and the first time I experienced this custom was in Nongoma, the home of the Zulu king (although I was not visiting royal houses, but very simple kraals).
The food is contemporary Afro-fusion food and I had the lime chicken breast and salad (R62) with a side order of rice (R25). This is a light meal and with a cold drink (R16) it was adequate to sustain me for the evening. Sadly the chicken was somewhat tough and although it was prettily presented. It also had no particular flavour of lime or anything else. The salad was a bed of lettuce with green, red and yellow peppers with onions, green olives and feta cheese and it was delicious. The rice tasted overwhelmingly of tomato paste but it was very nicely cooked to al dente. I was given a side plate with my cutlery and paper napkin (upmarket restaurants have no business using paper napkins) and when I lifted the napkin the plate had an enormous chip out of it.
The ambience was welcoming and leisurely, the music soft, the service was courteous, prompt, efficient and the toilets were well maintained. Let me mention the friendly and dignified service again. I felt as if I were visiting a royal kraal. Or as if I were royalty visiting the Afro Lounge. It more than compensated for a less than perfect meal.
The Afro Lounge is situated between the Drama and Opera at the State Theatre, cnr Prinsloo and Church Streets Pretoria. They are open seven days a week from 09:00 till late and they have a breakfast menu as well as their other meals. Phone (012) 549-0180 http://www.afrolounge.co.za
Favorite Dish: No favourite dish. Only eaten there once.
Hatfield is Pretoria's student quarter, and as any self-respecting budget traveller will know, if you're travelling on a shoestring budget, the best way to eat affordably is to go where the equally impoverished students go!
The main street in Hatfield is pretty well wall-to-wall fast food outlets, cheap restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. Some of the internationally recognised names include Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds, whereas local chains such as Steers, Spur and Nando's are all well represented. There are a number of pizza outlets.
The restaurant itself is a very high standard one, well situated in Arcadia (the typical Embassies' neighborough). If can stand with this, the food is very well prepared, presented and chosen.
Favorite Dish: I had great Karoo lamb, great "Potjie" containing kudu meat; nice ostrich and kudu billtong (dried meat).
The list is larger of course, adn it's worth notiicng that it contains lots of local foods and very little "international" cuisine!
Mt favourite "was" [is still] LA MADELEINE now relocated
=== but here is a change
=== THE PRIDE OF INDIA owned by Kishore Bhima
>>> it has just been voted into SA's top 100 restaurants.
>>>It's PRICEY, aimed at the New influx of International Diplomats
Favorite Dish: examples from menu ( R12 = us$1 )
===Dal Khabila-The black lentil delicacy incorporating tomato and ginger simmered overnight in a traditional clay oven tandoor enriched with cream, butter and a secret blend of spices@R32 or
A boneless chicken dish in cinnamon and gravy which is one of the favourite dishes of the Great Mughai Emperor @R42
===Jhinga Tikka Masala-A delightful combination of prawns in a spicy tikka masala sauce@R80
We came here on recomendation from our daughter and her partner, as they had been before and recommended the five course special.
The five course consists of just that, each with a different glass of wine or liquor with each course. It worked out £25 a head which we thought was good value. The portions were enough and everything we ordered we really enjoyed.
The service was excellent and they were very atentive and the surroundings were very relaxed and had a nice atmosphere.
I loved this little Coffee Shop and would come back again and again if I lived there. My daughter had been here before and she said you'll love this place Mum, and she was right.
It's just outside of Pretoria in a place called Groenkloof. The display counter offers so many tempting cakes and pastries and when you go further in, you well see freshly made quiches, lots of healthy salads and many other delights.
We had a quiche salad and cappuccino's and was not dissapointed, it was really nice and very well presented too. I'm very fussy about my coffee and this came tops with me. The service is excellent and the food. It's only a small shop and it's also made to look quite Englishy too, like a trendy tea shop.
I also brought some herbal tea to take back home to the UK and some cakes to eat at my daughters!
Would really recommend you try this place.........
Squires is a franchise steakhouse which offers consistent, reasonably good quality.
The atmosphere was pleasant and the rugby game that was being played was being screened outside. I opted, on an autumn evening, to sit indoors out of the night chill.
The menu is predictable with salads and various meat dishes and has some “gourmet” steaks. There is a vegetarian platter which my escort chose. I had the Supreme Steak which has the steak sliced open and mushrooms and bacon inserted inside. I asked for it medium rare and it arrived somewhat more medium than rare. The vegetarian platter contained, inter alia, tinned asparagus served warm. Ugh! The rest looked ok.
The service was both friendly and efficient and I felt well attended but not smothered.
The pricing of Squires is at the high end of “average”.
Favorite Dish: Steak. I like steak.
This is a very big restaurant with a very extensive menu. The food we had was very good and authentic. Prices are not cheap, but worth the money.
The wine list is not very extensive, but ok. There is also bar in the restaurant.
Favorite Dish: All good
Although it is often voted as one of the top ten restaurants, I do not think that the food is always outstanding.
I had lunch and dinner there quite often, and was dissapointed with times. Still, some good food, but at a price! I suppose you could describe the food as French with some South African ingredients (like springbok etc)
They also hosts groups of tourists.
If you would like to have a fine dining experience, Brasserie de Paris would be a much better choice.
Favorite Dish: Trio of duck
This is my favourite restaurant in Pretoria. A very nice French restaurant.
From the rooftop you do have some great views of the city. The restaurant has relocated from Hatfield to Waterkloof, where it is now in an architecturally beautiful building.
The food is of high quality, as is the service.
It is always an enjoyable experience to dine here.
Favorite Dish: Tomato tart with black pepper sorbet
A nice and different restaurant. The speciality is seafood, and in Mozambique style. A very nice atmosphere with live music some evenings.
Worth a visit, especially if you like seafood.
They also have other Portugese starters.
THIS RESTAURANT RECENTLY CLOSED DOWN!
Favorite Dish: PRAWNS
A very big restaurant. The food is very average and expensive.
The menu looks great, as does all the pictures of the food (which is not on the menu).
The last time I went there (April 2008) the food was actually bad, especially the veggies.
It seems that it has closed down - I am not surprised
Favorite Dish: No real favourite
This Indian restaurant is award winning for many years now.
It has well trained staff and authentic indian food.
I think the food has even become more refined recently. They also have a selection of Indian beers.
The wine list is one of the best in Pretoria.
Favorite Dish: Any reccomendation by Mitch, he would gladly assist you in choosing your meal.
This is a vey popular reastaurant in Pretoria. I had many visits to Pachas. The food is good and you can have some interesting and unique dishes here (with South African influence). For starters, try either the creamed mushroom soup with biltong or the Springbok Carpaccio. Good main courses include Oryx and South Aftican lamb curry. Unfortuanately the desserts don't match the rest of the menu.
The wine list is ok, with some good SA wines.
Favorite Dish: Mushroom soup with biltong - very unique
Smoked Springbok Carpaccio - most probably my favourite here