I love eating out. I like to be served. I am extremely fortunate to travel relatively regularly and experience new restaurants, guest houses and hotels as well as supporting those establishments I know I will enjoy.
2014 was an interesting year, because I also moved into a new suburb and had to explore the nearby eateries to find myself a regular haunt like I used to have.
For me, Medeo, at the Palazzo Hotel was the best restaurant I went to this year. Why? Service, quality of food and ambiance. Upon booking, it was asked if it was a special occasion, and upon hearing it was a birthday, I was greeted with birthday hugs and wishes from the waitress upon arrival as well as a specially decorated piece of cake with wishes applied to the plate. That aside, it has to have been one of the most tastiest lunches I have ever had – grilled salmon with fresh vegetables – sounds simple, but go there, try it, you will see what I mean. The whole environment was just perfect. Wonderful table linen and glassware.
Close on its heels was Budmarsh Country Lodge in the Magaliesburg with their dinners. A five course experience which was not only tasty and scrumptious, but creative leaving you satisfied but not feeling overfed like a beached whale. Nice table napkins of linen and fine glassware.
Leeuvenhof Country Lodge in Limpopo rates highly. Again a four course spectacular food event. We even called out the Chef to pay our compliments. Service, food, courtesy – fabulous. Also good cutlery, linen and glassware. Even in the bar, watching the Springboks pummel the All Blacks…. it was cosy, comfortable and fun.
Not forgetting our neighbouring Zambia and Thorntree River Lodge, whose home cooked meals were to die for and ignore lunch for….. courtesy and hospitality second to none….as one stares into the mighty, magnetic Zambezi River flowing by, filled with hippos and tranquility. After an early morning game drive – at 0530 – the divine breakfast of fresh fruits, and a cooked breakfast suited my palette perfectly. Thorntree is unique: it has good food, fine accommodation, and an abundance of love, care and peacefulness offered to you from the moment you step through their doorway from the Manager to every staff member involved in your stay.
There have been a few disappointments….. Throbless Strawberry in Douglasdale remained as unappetising as it did about four years ago; Modo Mio (oh give me strength Oh!) in Craighall we loved and raved about until the last three visits showed us the staff were just too occupied with their own loveliness and often out of basic food items like cheese – hello it is an Italian restaurant – to bother too much about the patrons .. sorry folks I think you have lost us.
Craft in Parkhurst – overpriced and not that great. A no returner!
Tony’s Spaghetti in Randpark Ridge is ok, but it was extremely annoying to note that when I sat, I couldn’t get a waiter or menu until I waved my arms irritatingly, and then three male patrons walked in and were swamped with service before even sitting down. Hrmpph! Thumbs down Tony’s even if your salmon pasta was not bad.
The newbies in the area that have caught my taste buds so far include Salvatore in Randpark Ridge – have not had a bad steak there in five visits; Chilling Thyme for it’s fun music and chilled out atmosphere. Olive’n Twist I would go back to.
The Black Horse Brewery in the Magaliesburg earns its stripes, great food, great out-in-the-country feel – just book or be disappointed. Good service. Nice cutlery.A returner for sure!
My regular lovelies that I will return to include Satori in Linden where their pizza's are the best in town, J's Diner in Blairgowrie which gives me one of the best burger options around; and of course Bistro and Vine in Parkhurst who not only offer offer a tremendous burger but also a great fillet steak and pepper sauce and the best Orange Crème Brulee in the world! Café Espresso also in Parkhurst retains its trendy, cash only, good quick food option.
Having been fortunate to experience Dubai this year, I cannot say I have had a bad meal there. The food has always been fresh and tasty. The breakfasts at the Hilton on the Creek were brilliant and I ate more of their breakfasts than I think I have eaten anywhere else in the world. There was a funny place at the Souk Madinak Jumeirah called Brewster's….where having walked all morning I slumped in and had an amazing fish burger, some vino and desert…. all for R520.00 … whoa, way to go !
As a burger fundi I must say I have not been knocked over by the burger offerings this year. I have been impressed by the increase in standards of fine dining, which seem to rise higher towards the level of perfection than I have previously experienced and what a joy to taste what these Chef's are putting in front of me, a novice, who enjoys good food, good dining and ambiance.
So, impress me 2015…. the burger bun is thrown down…. !