Eating out in Durban
Did you know?
The bunny chow has its roots in a time when apartheid legislation prevented Zulu people from eating inside restaurants owned by South Africans of Indian origin. An edible takeaway vessel was devised and curry in a half loaf of white bread is now the quintessential taste of Durban.
Durban's restaurants, eateries and hospitality establishments reflect the cosmopolitan diversity of South Africa's port city where a year-round summer climate lends itself to al fresco dining.
When eating out in Durban (eThekwini), your choice of cuisine is extensive, with African, Indian, Mediterranean or European-inspired menus, or perhaps you're in the mood for more traditional or contemporary fare.
Trendy and busy dining hubs are to be found in Florida Road, Lilian Ngoye Road (formerly Windermere), Umhlanga north of Durban and in Hillcrest.
Florida Road standouts include Quarters Hotel Brasserie, a trusted fine dining option; Butcher Boys classic steakhouse; House of Curries; Spiga d'Oro for Italian fare; Bangkok Wok for Thai fusion food and Cubana for an eclectic African vibe. The road is long and jam-packed with eateries. Nearby, the 9th Avenue Bistro is an award-winning restaurant, while Delfi specialises in Greek delicacies.
In and around Lilian Ngoye Road bars and cocktail lounges vie for patrons alongside restaurants such as Vintage India, which caters to discerning curry lovers; Society for sushi and tapas; Billy the Bums for American-inspired dishes and La Brasseries for a la carte magnificence.
Umhlanga offers diners everything from the Cuban cool of Little Havana to the old-school charm of French-Creole fine dining bastion, Ile Maurice and the elegant tradition of the Oyster Box. Franchise, Olive & Oil also has an excellent reputation for great food and good service.
For an unbeatable view head skywards to the Roma revolving restaurant overlooking the harbour or sit at the waterside at Wilson's Wharf and listen to laid-back vibes as you sip on a long draught.
Adventurous foodies shouldn't forgo a visit to the shabby-chic Britannia Hotel. Do not be put off by the fact this gracious 19th century hostelry is hemmed in by light industrial workshops; rather concentrate on the best bunny chows in town – half-loaf of bread filled with curry.
For a taste of traditional township shisanyama (meat cooked over an open fire) try the trendy Max's Lifestyle Tavern in Umlazi township – comes with live traditional music!
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Roma Revolving Restaurant
32nd Floor, John Ross House, Margret Mncadi Avenue
Tel: +27(0)31 337 6707
1299 Umgeni Road, Lower Morningside
Tel: +27 (0)31 303 2266
Quarters Hotel Brasserie
101 Florida Road, Morningside
Tel: +27 (0)31 303 5246
170 Florida Road, Morningside
Tel: +27 (0)31 312 8248
9th Avenue Bistro
Shop 2, Avonmore Centre
Ninth Avenue, Morningside
Tel: +27 (0)31 312 9134
9 McCausland Crescent, Umhlanga
Tel: +27 (0)31 561 7609
Olive & Oil
Shop 19, Chartwell Centre, 15 Chartwell Drive, Umhlanga Rocks
Tel: +27 (0)31 561 2618
Granada Square,16 Chartwell Drive, Umhlanga Rocks
Tel: +27 (0)31 561 7589
Max's Lifestyle Tavern
Area Drive, V Section 1328, Umlazi
Tel: +27 (0)31 906 1393
How to get here
Travel to Durban on the N3 from Pietermaritzburg, or the N2 from the North or South Coast. There are daily flights into Durban's King Shaka International Airport from around South Africa and from international destinations.
Best time to visit
Durban has good weather all year round – even winter temperatures rarely dip in below the teens.
Tours to do
Plan a trip to the restaurants, pubs and eateries of Florida Road.
Public transport in the form of metred taxis, buses, and even a rickshaw – an elaborately decorated, hand-drawn carriage, is available.
What will it cost
Prices vary, depending on your needs. A meal at an average restaurant (starter, main meal, dessert and moderately priced wine) will cost in the region of R250 to R350 per person.
Length of stay
Spend a week to 10 days in this fun coastal city and make a holiday of it.
What to eat
Seafood, good old South African steak or traditional boerewors (spiced sausage), a Durban curry and definitely a bunny chow.