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The 18th edition of these esteemed awards marked the introduction of a definitive list of the country’s 100 exceptional restaurants by American Express, the authority on extraordinary experiences and saw the highest number of first time recipient restaurants receive recognition.

Twelve restaurants in the Western Cape, including the much feted Babel at Babylonstoren and Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch join the esteemed list. In Gauteng, thirteen restaurants including District Six Eatery in Emmarentia, Bistro Michel, and Level Four are some of the contenders that have made the grade, while four restaurants in Kwazulu Natal such as Abingdon, Thai Café, Parc Café, Esiweni Private Game Reserve are now part of this exclusive culinary club.

This year saw the introduction of six categories nationally for the awards, which are judged on criteria which include quality and creativity of cuisine, service, wine list, décor and ambience as well as overall excellence:
• Chef-Patron restaurants
• Wine Farm restaurants

• Game Lodge restaurants
• Hotel restaurants
• Business Consortium restaurants
• On Trend

Reflecting on the journey, convenor of the American Express culinary judging panel, Tamsin Snyman said, “The awards now reflect the growth and diversity of new restaurants in our country, along with a tangible elevation of our culinary talent. South Africa is truly owning its place as a foodie nation, and this is manifested by the arrival of a wide variety of new avant-garde and contemporary establishments which have emerged in the past few years. More importantly, our best restaurants are reflecting the dynamic and multicultural nature of our country, encompassing a wide spectrum of styles, ethnicities and ambiences.”

Tamsin Snyman is joined on the judging panel by Anna Trapido, a renowned author, journalist, broadcaster and commentator on food and wine, as well as Jackie Cameron, chef, author and owner of the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine. The judging process focusses on the selected restaurants’ standards which are re-evaluated annually by the judges. As such, the annual nominations for the awards are not renewed automatically as consistent quality is a must.

‘We are delighted to bring this year’s Awards as part of our longstanding partnership with American Express®. As the exclusive issuer and merchant acquirer of American Express-branded cards in South Africa, we are able to offer our clients access to the best restaurants and culinary experience. This also serves as a much needed support for South Africa’s culinary industry which boasts impeccable high gourmet and service standards which we are proud to celebrate through the awards,’ explains Pamela White, Head of Corporate Card for American Express at Nedbank.

Here is the full list of restaurants that received awards:

Babel at Babylonstoren – NEW
Camphors at Vergelegen – NEW
Foliage – NEW
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve – NEW – GAME LODGE
Indochine – NEW
Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge – NEW – GAME LODGE
Kwandwe – NEW – GAME LODGE
Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve – NEW – GAME LODGE
Phinda Forest Lodge – NEW – GAME LODGE

Singita Sweni Lodge – NEW – GAME LODGE
Springfontein Eats – NEW
Willoughby & Co – NEW
95 Keerom – RENEW
96 Winery Road – RENEW
Aubergine – RENEW
Azure – RENEW
Bistro Sixteen82 – RENEW
Bistrot Bizerca – RENEW
Bombay Brasserie – RENEW
Bosman’s – RENEW
Bread & Wine – RENEW
Buitenverwachting – RENEW
De Grendel – RENEW
Delaire Graff Restaurant – RENEW
Fraai Uitzicht 1798 – RENEW
Gold Restaurant – RENEW
Grande Provence – RENEW
Greenhouse – RENEW
Hacklewood Hill – RENEW
Haiku – RENEW
il Leone – RENEW
Jordan Retaurant – RENEW
Kurland Restaurant – RENEW
La Colombe – RENEW
La Mouette – RENEW
Myoga – RENEW
Nobu – RENEW
Overture – RENEW
Pierneef à La Motte – RENEW
Planet Restaurant – RENEW
Rust en Vrede – RENEW
Signal – RENEW
Su Casa – RENEW
Terroir – REINSTATE
The Foodbarn – RENEW
The Kitchen at Maison – RENEW
The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français – RENEW
Transkaroo – RENEW
Waterkloof – RENEW
Zinzi – RENEW
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse – 10th AWARD
Mimosa Lodge – 10TH AWARD
Pembreys – 10TH AWARD
Abgindon – NEW AWARD
District Six Eatery – NEW AWARD
Esiweni Luxury Safari Lodge – NEW – GAME LODGES
Japa – NEW AWARD
Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve – NEW – GAME LODGES
Les Delices de France – NEW AWARD
Level Four – NEW AWARD
Londolozi Game Reserve – NEW – GAME LODGES
Makanyi Private Game Lodge – NEW – GAME LODGES
Mrs Simpson’s – NEW AWARD
Parc Café – NEW AWARD
PRON – NEW AWARD
Taste of Thai – NEW AWARD
9th Avenue Bistro – RENEW
Balata – RENEW
Bellagio – RENEW
Bellgables – RENEW
Bistro Michel – RENEW
Butcher Shop & Grill – RENEW
Café del Sol – RENEW
Culinary Table Restaurant –  RENEW
De Hoek – RENEW
De Oude Kraal- RENEW
dw eleven-13 – RENEW
Fumo – RENEW
Hartford House – RENEW
il Tartufo –  RENEW
Ile Maurice – RENEW
La Cucina di Ciro – RENEW
La Madeleine – RENEW
Le Soufflé – RENEW
Mastrantonio (Illovo) – RENEW
Priva Gastrolounge – RENEW
Red Chamber – RENEW
Ritrovo Ristorante – RENEW
Roots – RENEW
Signature – RENEW
Silver Orange – RENEW
Stef’s Table – RENEW
The Leopard –  RENEW
Zest – RENEW
Mosaic – 10TH AWARD
Spice – 10TH AWARD
Sugar Club – 10th AWARD

 

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