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10 new restaurants on my dining radar

by | 23 March 2023

The warm weather is about to come to an end but, before it does, let’s reflect on the restaurant openings that helped make this summer so memorable.

There was no shortage of new and exciting restaurants and bars joining the Dineplan platform, but here’s who’s currently on my radar and where I’ll be making my next reservation.

Cape Town & surrounds

The Mother City is known for its incredible food scene, which seemingly grows by the day. These are the openings that caught my eye this summer.

EDGE Restaurant

Gardens, Cape Town

Showcasing African heritage on a plate, EDGE delivers a dining experience unlike any other. Their summer pop-up at the Mount Nelson provides the perfect historic background to Vusi Ndlovu’s food, which incorporates recipes, stories, techniques and ingredients from all over the continent.

Please note, the EDGE Restaurant pop-up at the Mount Nelson has now closed.


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Upper Union Restaurant

Gardens, Cape Town

Having already found a warm reception and audience, Upper Union is another newbie that feels like it’s been part of the town scene for years. And, from the food to the cocktails to the space itself, it’s not hard to see why it’s become so popular in such a short space of time. Whether you opt for a selection of small plates, or the chef’s set menu for the table, you’ll notice the strong influence and celebration of local ingredients and suppliers.

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District Six, Cape Town

From the team behind the wildly popular Belly of the Beast, yet-to-be-open Galjoen promises to be an intimate space serving a set menu that celebrates sustainably-sourced seafood, with a uniquely South African feel (and a nod to ’80s nostalgia). As soon as they formally open their doors, I’ll be there.

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StrangeLove Cocktail Lounge

Salt River, Cape Town

StrangeLove might be a newcomer to the bar scene, but the brand behind it is one of Cape Town’s first artisanal distilleries – Hope on Hopkins. Taking over the distillery’s tasting room, StrangeLove offers a menu of curated and classic cocktails, using their world-class spirits, that can be paired with snacks, so you can truly settle into your evening.

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JAN Franschhoek

La Motte, Franschhoek

Michelin-starred export, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, returns to his South African roots with his residency at La Motte – but for a limited time only. If you can wangle a reservation, you’re in for a truly memorable dining experience, centred around a seasonal set menu that uses the best produce sourced from the farm and nearby surrounds.

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A long-distance romance means I regularly visit Joburg, and every time I go up, there’s a new spot to add to my list.

Acid Food & Wine Bar

Parktown North, Johannesburg

Easily one of the most exciting restaurant openings of 2022, Acid has already established itself as *the* spot to be in Joburg. The ever-changing menu draws on Thai influences, so expect lots of heat (and acid, of course) and punchy flavours, complemented by a banging wine list featuring a selection of the coolest and most interesting local winemakers. Despite the young team running the show, Acid feels wise and confident beyond its years and is producing some of the country’s best food at the moment.

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Sandton, Johannesburg

With musician J’Something behind it, you just know Artistry is going to deliver the entertainment. The multi-level, multi-experience concept combines a hotel and apartments with a rooftop bar and restaurant, as well as regular live music, so whether you’re after some bar snacks, a hearty burger or even a restorative breakfast the morning after, Artistry has you covered.

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Liberté French Food & Wine

Craighall Park, Johannesburg

Adding a little je ne sais quoi to Joburg, Liberté will have you living out your best Emily in Paris fantasies. Pop in for a light breakfast or a bistro-inspired lunch or dinner, or pick up freshly-baked croissants or bread from the in-house bakery.

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Rosebank, Johannesburg

With the Proud Mary team behind it, Mamasamba was destined to be a sure-fire hit. Drawing on Latin-American flavours, expect to find zippy ceviche and asado-style grilled meat, all intended to be washed down with punchy house cocktails.

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Modern Tailors

Rosebank, Johannesburg

While not strictly new, Modern Tailors has been on my radar for a while. Inspired by the street food of India, they promise a ‘delicious assault on the senses’ with a menu that features pani puri, pav bhaji and an extensive tandoori and curry selection. Keep the spice at bay with a curated cocktail or a glass of a refreshingly cool local wine and dive right back into the feast on offer here.

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jess spiro

Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a chef, freelance food writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She has a soft spot for roast chicken and a well-blended Negroni.

All views and opinions expressed in this article represent that of the author, Jess Spiro, and do not represent that of Dineplan or the companies we work with. While we make every effort to ensure that the information we share is accurate, we welcome any comments, suggestions, or correction of errors.

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