HUMNEWS and Savvy Traveller have teamed up to catalogue a selection of dining and accommodation options for post World Cup visitors to South Africa. This short list of discerning recommendations has been validated by our team and are unreservedly recommended.
Protea Hotel Fire and Ice: Cool and trendy - come here to meet friends at the large bar. Within the popular Melrose Arch shopping and dining complex.
Piza e Vino and Orient: Delicious pizzas and a decent wine list come together in an informal setting. Also within the trendy Melrose Arch complex. For contemporary Asian cuisine try the Orient at 4 High Street. Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes, including dim sum and Peking Duck.
Shayona: Operated by Gujaratis as a non-profit organization. Come here for first-rate vegetarian curries, rotis and pappadums. Incredibly, the menu changes every day - depending on what the chef finds in the markets. 74 Church Street in Mayfair. Open Tuesday to Sundays.
Lucky Bean Restaurant: The chic and diverse neighbourhood of Melville deserves some time. One stand out is the Lucky Bean (formerly Soulsa) at 16 7th Street. Its name is derived by the elegant tree mural indoors. Owners Natasha Pinuc and Conway Falconer embrace HUM's philosophy to life: "We love good food, we love wine and we love the idea of people getting together." Food is described as "funky and fresh" and good service and a decent wine list rounds out this unpretentious eatery. Try the red bean burger, Thai-style wraps and for dinner - prawn and chorizo risotto.
Circle Bar, Rosebank Hotel: Voted as the best bar in the country. We like the plush leather seats and ever changing colour pods. In Rosebank.
Rosebank Flea Market: Voted Joburg's premier flea market for 10 consecutive years. Come here for an amazing selection of African arts and crafts to freshly-baked bread, olives (pictured below), Polish meats - even wigs. We were intrigued by the wooden masks from Congo and the traditional wired embroidered crafts from Zimbabwe. Skilled African artisans can be found from Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Togo and Senegal. At the corner of Craddock Ave and Baker St. in Rosebank. Sundays only from 9am to 5pm. The African craft market is open daily.Bloemfontain
Villa Bali Boutique Hotel: Friendly service, comfortable, quiet and safe. What more can you ask for? Walking distance to the city's main shopping mall.
The Block & Cellar Restaurant: Attached to the Southern Sun Hotel, this is where you come for excellent steak, including ostrich steaks (pictured below). Extensive wine list, cigar lounge, friendly service. Derives its name from the block where diners can select top quality cuts of grained beef. For a South African starter, try dry or wet biltong - cured meat.
Greater Cape Town
One and Only, Cape Town: This has been THE venue in Cape Town to watch the World Cup games. But come here for impeccable service, a great bar scene, excellent food (Nobu and Gordon Ramsey's Maze) - and free Wi-Fi and parking!
Bukhara: Indians represent one of the largest ethnic groups in South Africa, so little wonder some of the best culinary treasures are to be found here. This is North Indian cuisine at its best. Get seated near the open kitchen and watch the army of chefs work their magic. The tandoori chicken is an absolute must! Some diners claim they detect an "African twist" on Indian cuisine - and indeed, the beef served here is true South African. The original of four Bukhara outlets in the Rainbow Nation, this one is located in the central business district at 33 Church Street.
The Grand Cafe and Beach: When a former Miss Universe suggests a venue, you don't ask questions! Finding the Grand takes some detective work as it is discreetly tucked away near the Green Point soccer stadium, on the waterfront. But tenacious travellers are rewarded with a splendid and unique setting. The main restaurant is in a converted warehouse and even features a small shop selling local souvenirs and artifacts. Dine and drink inside or outside - on its own private beach overlooking Granger Bay. Globetrotter/owner Sue Main's has brought artifacts from around the world to make this a very special venue. Her creations range from a 3-foot long pizza to cray fish sandwiches.
M'Hudi Winery, Kraaifontein: The only black-owned winery in South Africa. We recommend the Pinotage. An extremely warm welcome is extended to all guests. M'Hudi was started by family members passionate about agriculture and wine, who left their regular jobs and overcame substantial obstacles to work magic with grapes. This is a rustic winery but look out for great things in the future!
Diemersfontein Winery, Wellington: Few words in our lexicon of love for wine match up with our affection for Diemersfontein wine. The Carpe Diem Pinotage, with hints of chocolate and coffee, is nothing short of sublime. Set aside an entire day for this winery, to allow for a proper wine tasting and a lazy lunch at the winery restaurant.