When temperatures hit just above 28 degrees, as South Africans we are ready to be outside at all times.
That means, when we are not inside with the fan blaring on too-hot days, we take every outdoor dining opportunity there is - especially when the al fresco set-ups are as dreamy and inviting as the ones we have rounded up below.
Whether you are looking to dine by the busy streets, catch up with friends and watch people on the sidewalk, or tuck away on a back patio for some sweet serenity, you should add these restaurants to your summer bucket list.
Countless SA restaurants offer outdoor seating (and rooftops), especially post-pandemic, so you will stumble upon many set-ups that are worth checking out as you roam the city you are at, but below we are highlighting a few that you can check out.
The Chocolate Garden
The Chocolate Garden is set within Africa’s first Chocolate Garden, de Charmoy Estate. It encompasses a coffee garden and a restaurant. The menu includes chocolate versions of tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, herbs, and the like, with a focus on freshness combining chocolate and botanicals.
The Chocolate Garden is also a child-friendly venue with roaming giant tortoises and an awesome play area where children can play safely to their heart's content. They also proudly offer moms baby changing and feeding rooms.
Located: 1 Robert Armstrong Road, Canelands, Durban.
The Village Table
The stylish and buzzing Village Table situated in The Pearls Shopping Centre is much more than just a restaurant – it is an experience.
The cosmopolitan ambiance is ideal for intimate dinners and group gatherings alike. fusing cuisine, cocktails, and culture in a fashionable setting.
Their menu offers a selection of Afro-Portuguese, Mediterranean, and continental cuisine with their personal flair. Fresh ingredients are guaranteed by The Village Market located in their backyard makes every dish shine and is full of colour and bursting with flavour.
Located: 6 Lagoon Drive Umhlanga, Durban.
Blind Tiger Cafe
The Blind Tiger is a place to get away from the rat race. Choose a small corner for two, or a feast for 15. Their cosy neighbourhood café and bar in Parkview in Johannesburg, serves up fresh California-inspired fusion cuisine, classic cocktails, and an interesting wine offering.
Their menu is a collection of fresh California-inspired fusion cuisine. A mixture of influences to deliver food that tastes good to the eye and the stomach – with a natural taste, smell, texture, and much character.
Located: 62 Tyrone Ave, Parkview, Randburg.
Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers
At Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, their outdoor restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can join them under the courtyard or just lay down on a blanket for a picnic to enjoy the sun and a home-cooked meal.
They cook outdoors over the fire to create an authentic and delicious meal. On their menu, you find potjiekos (stew cooked in cast iron pots over the fire), curries, salad buffets, and the South African favourite – braai.
Located: 10823A Pooe Street Orlando West, Soweto.
The Table at De Meye
At The Table at De Meye, their concept is a set, three-course, sharing-style menu consisting of locally sourced ingredients. They source local, seasonal produce for their menu.
They support local suppliers, small-scale farmers, and delis, and they buy organic as far as possible.
Their menu changes weekly (or sometimes more than weekly) depending on the fresh produce available, so their set menu is always a fresh and delicious surprise for guests visiting the restaurant.
Located: De Meye Wine Farm, Muldersvlei, Stellenbosch.
Set between the picturesque view of Table Mountain and the tranquil blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Karibu Restaurant affords you the opportunity to experience the vibrant flavours of South Africa and be part of its unique theatre of dining.
They invite you to experience the cleanliness of Africa within the luxurious setting of their restaurant where a mixed fusion of African ambiance blends itself with the flavours of their rich and diverse cultural heritage.
The restaurant chefs bring to all their dishes passion based on many years of experience. With the organic fragrances of the veld blended into their food, you can experience a true feeling of “living in Africa”.
Using only the finest ingredients, their chefs prepare the best SA has to offer – from succulent steaks and delicious seafood to Cape Malay and traditional local favourites like bobotie, potjiekos, snoek braai, pap and chakalaka, and koeksisters.
You can also enjoy their traditional ‘braaivleis’ (BBQ). Top-grade prime cuts of meat, fish, and poultry are grilled to perfection right in front of your eyes in true South African style over the coals of an open fire.
Located: Shop 156, The Wharf Centre, V&A Waterfront, Victoria Wharf, Cape Town Central.