If you’re visiting South Africa for the first time, figuring out where to eat can be a daunting task. But don’t fear, I’ve compiled a list of authentic and affordable South African restaurants for all of your daily food needs. From dinner to breakfast and coffee break to dessert, I’ve got you covered!
Breakfast – Wimpy
There is no time for sleeping when you visit South Africa for the first. With a full day of exploring ahead of you, you’ll need to start your day off with a delicious breakfast that will fuel you for the day. You can find exactly that at Wimpy. Every South African knows about Wimpy and just saying the name brings back so many fond memories. It is a diner style fast casual restaurant that serves a large variety of foods including burgers, steaks, etc., but they are best known for their impeccably delicious breakfasts. So, in order to start your day off right I recommend ordering a classic wimpy breakfast that comes with eggs, bacon, toast a slice of grilled tomatoes and more. It’s completely customizable and will give you exactly what your body needs for the day. If you’re feeling adventurous and indulgent I suggest enjoying your breakfast with a Wimpy milkshake (they serve shakes all day) in either strawberry or chocolate (if you really want to try something new though, give the bubblegum flavor a try, complete with rainbow sprinkles and all). If it’s too early for a shake, you can’t go wrong with a Wimpy Coffee, don’t bother getting a regular, go for the large. I promise you’ll thank me later.
Mid-Morning Coffee – Mugg and Bean
After a busy morning of shopping in one of South Africa’s malls or touring through the city your body will be in dire need of some caffeine. After you’ve been there once Mugg and Bean will be your go-to place for coffee and other delicacies. South Africans, much like the Europeans, have a ton of coffee shops and in my opinion Mugg and Bean is the best of the bunch. With a modern yet relaxing vibe, you’ll get exactly what you need to get you by until lunch. I recommend either a Cappuccino or Latte if you need some caffeine, but if you’re not in the mood for hot coffee, they have a number of different options for you to choose from including smoothies, teas, milkshakes, Milo, and so on. If you’re feeling like a little snack I encourage you to try anything in their dessert case, you won’t be sorry. (My favorite is the carrot cake, but their decadent chocolate cakes and cheesecakes and exquisite as well.) They also have a full menu of food options that you can choose from, if you have a chance while you’re on your vacation you should definitely have something off of their menu for breakfast or lunch. Their chicken mayo on a croissant is incredibly, but then again, everything on the menu is so no matter what you decide on you can’t go wrong.
Late Lunch – Nando’s
A few hours after your mid-morning coffee break and even more exploring, you realize that you’re starving! For something quick, easy, and super yummy you’ll have to check out Nando’s, another well-known name in South Africa, the UK, and even in some cities in the US. ‘ was started in South Africa by a Johannesburg native (people in the UK will tell you otherwise, that it was started in the UK, but don’t listen to them) and is famous for their peri-peri chicken (for more information about what peri-peri is check out my blog: Braai, It’s What We Do). Again, you can find a variety of dishes here, but you can’t go wrong with their chicken or chicken sandwiches. Either of which will hit the spot and hold you over until dinner later. I also recommend trying their Peri-naise (spicy mayo) sauce as well as other Nando’s original sauces that are at each table.
Dinner – Ocean Basket or Spur
There’s so much to see that you spend the rest of the day adventuring and perhaps even taking a nap. Later in the afternoon it’s supper time and because I can’t determine which I prefer, you have two options.
- Ocean Basket – If you’re in the mood for seafood, look no further, Ocean Basket is the place for you. Here you’ll find an assortment of different seafood dishes including prawns (no, I don’t mean shrimp. They are called prawns), calamari, fish, and so much more. I recommend ordering a platter with yellow rice, that way you have the opportunity to try a little bit of everything. They even sell sushi now, but the platters are your best bet.
- The Spur – If you’re feeling like something meatier, you should check out The Spur. a well-known steakhouse in South Africa. Much like the other places discussed here, Spur has a large menu with a big variety of options. I suggest you order either the ribs, the steak, or their burger. Each meal comes with chips (French fries) and fried onion strings, the most delicious thing ever. Spur also has their own line of sauces and you have to try their white sauce and their barbeque-like sauce, which takes the already yummy food to a whole other level.
Dessert – Milky Lane
Last, but not least, you’ll want something sweet to wrap up an exciting and eventful day. Go to the nearest Milky Lane, which is normally in relatively close proximity to The Spur. Milky Lane is famous for their ice cream and waffles, but offer a diverse range of ice creams and other sweet treats. Depending on how much room you have saved for dessert I recommend ordering one of their waffles with ice cream, if you don’t have that much room you must at least get a soft serve cone with a Flake, a pure chocolate bar made of ribbons of shaved chocolate. My mouth is watering just thinking of it!
I hope the next time you visit South Africa that you’ll give these restaurants a try. They truly are impeccable, affordable, and a must when you’re in South Africa. Enjoy!