South Africa's major centres – Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg – offer superb bistro restaurants. And if you look further afield, to places like the Cape Winelands, you'll be amazed at the quality of bistro dining available. Some of the country's best chefs specialise in giving a new interpretation of the French bistro, with delicious results.

Did you know?

9th Avenue Bistro in Durban was named best bistro in the 2012 Eat Out Awards.

Bistro dining in South Africa has come of age over the past 10 to 15 years – the bistro eatery has gained in popularity, offering an intimate dining experience in which food and ambience are equally important.

The Western Cape has some great bistro options. Whether you are in Cape Town itself, the Cape Winelands or a small intimate setting on the West Coast, quality bistro dining is available. Some notable bistros in these areas include The Brasserie in Constantia; Hemelhuijs restaurant in the Cape Town city bowl; Babel on the farm Babylonstoren in the Cape Winelands; Bistrot Bizerca in Heritage Square; and Gaaitjie Salt Water restaurant on the West Coast.

In Durban, 9th Avenue Bistro continues to bring in accolades for being a rather fine bistro, while Cafe 1999 in the Berea area has a great reputation for consistently good bistro food.

In Johannesburg, the popular Cnr Cafe Bistro and Deli in Craighall is recommended, while Bistro Vine, along the Parkhurst 4th Avenue restaurant strip, offers a delicious French bistro menu that is consistently good.

The Gray Restaurant in Boksburg is run and managed by the flamboyant Philippe Wagenfurher, who has invented a bistro menu that has locals talking.

Somewhat off the mainstream culinary map, East London is home to the Two Dogs Bistro, which offers outdoor seating and a delicious menu. Yum Yum Deli is a popular eatery in Tzaneen, in the province of Limpopo, that is known for its fun atmosphere and creative menu, while the Silver Orange Bistro near Hartbeespoort Dam in the North West province (and about an hour's drive into the country from Johannesburg) is a country bistro with a great reputation. Try its Scottish salmon on lemon mash or the tempura fillet before diving in to the decadent desserts.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

The Brasserie
Tel: +27 (0)21 712 1363

Bistrot Bizerca
Tel : +27 (0)21 423 8888

Hemelhuijs restaurant
Tel: +27 (0)21 418 2042

9th Avenue Bistro
Tel: +27 (0)31 312 9134

Bistro Vine
Tel: +27 (0)11 327 4558

Gaaitjie Salt Water
Tel: +27 (0)22 752 2242

Cafe 1999
Tel: + 27 (0)31 202 3406

The Gray Restaurant
Tel: + 27 (0)11 823 4184

Two Dogs Bistro
Tel: +27(0)43 748 2557

Best time to visit

Different restaurants have different opening and closing times; consult the individual websites or visit the Eat Out magazine website,, for updated information.

Around the area

If you're in the Cape Winelands make sure you visit some of the wine farms to buy local wines. When in Durban, visit the Moses Mabhida Stadium and take a trip in the SkyCar to get a fantastic view of the city. If visiting the restaurants of Parkhurst in Johannesburg, there are a number of design boutiques in the area worth visiting.

What will it cost

Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant. However, most restaurants have menus on their websites if you'd like to check prices beforehand.

What to eat

Try the moules frites from Bistro Vine, the braised oxtail at 9th Avenue Bistro, or the mushroom risotto at Societi Brasserie.