Ayoba Mexican Cantina is just one of many brunch spots.
Dietary requirements, exercise regimens and lifestyle commitments have made the simple act of sitting down with friends or family for a meal a complex one.

When breakfast is a smoothie for one and bacon and more bacon for another, or when lunch is gluten-free, carb-free, lactose-free or whatever else is trending, brunch may well be a solution.

In-between major meals, and certainly not “coffee”, brunch is that breezy, casual space between commitments, whether it’s fetching and dropping kids at school or before a more serious “lunch meeting”.

There are plenty of options:

Ayoba Mexican Cantina, Ballito

Ayoba Mexican Cantina not only whips up Mexican food with flair, it also has a gorgeous view of the pool. Best enjoyed on a sunny day, Ayoba is famous for their Fritto Mixto, a medley of crispy fried calamari, prawns, red snapper and whitebait served with cilantro aioli, creamy guacamole and a fresh salad for R165 for two people. Or perhaps tuck into Nachos Di Gringo, a deep pan filled with crunchy nachos, tomato salsa, BBQ steak strips and crumbly feta cheese at R185 for two people. Ayoba is one of those places that prides itself in good cuisine where people can order tapas-style to share. If you do not feel for food, enjoy one of their margaritas either frozen or shaken from R65, or their non-alcoholic range from R50. Located at Zimbali Coastal Resort & Estate. Call 0325385000.

St James on Venice, Morningside


This 4-star boutique hotel in Morningside is renowned for its brunch offerings. Serving up halaal friendly meals, St James on Venice prides itself on creating solitude for all types of visitors. Try the salmon benedict with poached eggs, halloumi, smoked salmon and sriracha hollandaise sauce (R95) or Shakshouka with North African baked eggs in spicy tomato sauce (R70). Vegans will love their Vegan Benedict with wild mushrooms, crispy potato rosti, roasted aubergine and crispy leeks for R80. The outside seating is perfect for those balmy summer mornings and a freshly prepared juice (from R25) or smoothie (from R35) is a perfect refresher. Located 100 Venice Road, Morningside. Call 0313129488

Antique Café, Berea

Another Morningside gem that has a quirky but homely setting, its decor of exposed beams, chandeliers, mismatched wooden tables and chairs and vintage objects is inviting - the perfect place to escape from the world, and catch up with friends. The menu is equally fascinating.Popular choices are the Brioche French toast with treacle sugar, berries, Crème anglaise and nutella (R72) or the creamy sweetcorn scrambled eggs with crispy lamb rashers and spring onion (R78). Their drink offerings are exciting.

Zara’s Café, Ballito Lifestyle Centre

Owner Maro Zaroudoukas is so hands on that guests would probably become best friends with her once they leave. A perfect brunch spot, this spacious restaurant offers each guest a personalised touch and Zaroudoukas does not mind sharing some banter and offering her favourite picks of the day. The harvest table offers a range of treats, from Greek biscuits to muffins to thick custard slices. Or tuck into the savoury scones with crispy onion and cheese (R31) or smoked salmon and cream cheese croissant (R49). Also, try their range of pastas from R60. To quench your thirst, try their famous cappuccino (R19), milkshakes (R36) or smoothies (R39). Located Ballito Lifestyle Centre. Call 032 586 3204

The Market Restaurant, Morningside

This garden café, situated in a quiet courtyard behind a classic 1930s colonial building in Morningside, is one of those places that one goes to escape. The central fountain, its ring of Leopard trees and 18th century garden furniture set the perfect tone for a brunch session with friends.

Try the baked camembert topped with honey, almonds and thyme infused berries (R89) or the butternut souffle gorgonzola cream, pistachio and caramelised onion (R75). If possible, order one of their famous wines. Located at 40 Gladys Mazibuko Road, Greyville. Call 031309 8581.

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