Did you know?
The Red Leaf Restaurant on Beyerskloof wine estate in Stellenbosch serves a pinotage hamburger.
South Africans love their meat, so a good, juicy burger is usually always a win on any restaurant menu. While fast-food burgers are easily available at places like MacDonalds, Steers or Wimpy, there are numerous eateries that take the invention of the luxury hamburger very seriously.
There are so many variations on the traditional hamburger. From lamb patties, to ostrich burgers or grass-fed beef burgers served with traditional French fries, sweet potato chips or crisp, organic onion rings. The list really is endless, and visitors are spoilt for choice. When visiting Johannesburg or Cape Town, visit Beefcakes Burger Bar and order a chilli vodka burger (complete with jalapeno chillis and a vodka salsa) or the gourmet burger that has camembert and cranberry jelly as well as a choice of patties.
In Cape Town, at Gourmet Burger in Cavendish Square in Claremont and Long Street in the city centre, you can enjoy the lamb and feta cheese burger or opt for the aubergine and goat's cheese burger (vegetarian). The Dog's Bollocks, off Buitenkant Street, is a hole-in-the-wall eatery that sells great burgers on a first-come, first-served basis each evening. Be warned, though, their burgers sell out quickly. Try the pepperberry blue (blue cheese and pepper burger) and you'll be coming back for more. Bistro Sixteen 82 at Steenberg in Constantia Valley offers a delicious Steenburger served with truffle aioli (a type of French mayonnaise), which is legendary as is the cheese burger at Clarke's on Bree Street.
In Johannesburg, you'll find that a number of steakhouses make excellent burgers, too. Try The Local Grill, the Grillhouse, and the Thunder Gun steakhouse. The Gourmet Garage in Sandton is a place where burger aficionados hang out. Here you can enjoy burgers you won't find elsewhere such as the monkeygland, peanut butter or peppadew burger (peppadews are South African sweet piquanté peppers). There is also a Gourmet Garage in the Montecasino entertainment complex in Fourways.
Dukes is a restaurant in the popular area of Greenside that offers a wide range of burgers including a few delicious vegetarian options. Fire and Ice Hotel in Melrose is known for its Jawbreaker burger. A little further afield, Pretoria's favourite burger spots include Ed's Diner where the Baconator (with bacon of course) and the Hand Stand (with lots of chilli) are winners.
Another sure bet for a great burger is the family friendly Spur group of steakhouses which are located throughout South Africa.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Cape Town: Sovereign Quay, 40 Somerset Road, Green Point
Tel: +27 (0) 425 9019
Johannesburg: 198 Oxford Road, Illovo
Tel: +27 (0) 11 447 5266
Gwen Lane, Sandton
Tel: +27 (0)11 883 2266
Gourmet Garage, Montecasino
Shop number 64, Montecasino Complex, corner William Nicol Drive and Montecasino Boulevard
Tel: +27 (0)11 511 0526
The Local Grill
40 7th Ave
Johannesburg Cnr 7th & 3rd Avenues
Tel: +27 (0)11 880 1946
Best time to visit
The opening times for each restaurant differ, so it's a good idea to make a booking beforehand. A number of restaurants are also closed on Sundays and/or Mondays. Kitchens also close at around 9pm so ensure you arrive in good time.
Around the area
If you're visiting the Montecasino Complex in Johannesburg, make time to visit the beautiful bird gardens that form part of this entertainment complex.
Tours to do
If you're visiting Johannesburg and can get a small group of people together, you may want to book a beef appreciation evening at The Local Grill steakhouse.
Having your own car means more flexibility.
What will it cost
An average main course will cost in the region of R80. Some restaurants charge for all the extras (chips, onion rings etc). Check the menu.
Where to stay
There are literally thousands of accommodation options in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. In Johannesburg you could stay at The Palazzo at Montecasino, part of the same entertainment complex where you will find the Gourmet Garage. In Cape Town there is a wide variety of accommodation available, a popular choice is the Fire and Ice Hotel (the hotel restaurant is known to serve a mean burger or two).
What to eat
Burgers, burgers and more burgers. If you haven't had a lamb burger before, it's worth a try and South African lamb is exceptionally good.