From award-winning top restaurants to local eateries, the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged South African eating establishments. With many South Africans suffering in an uncertain economic landscape, many restaurants are trying to survive by rebranding, offering diversification and food deliveries.

Thankfully, the XXL Edition of Restaurant Week South Africa has come at a great time. “Restaurant Week is one of the crucial activations set up to assist to rebuild the industry that has suffered severe and in some cases, irrecoverable losses during Covid-19,” says Ishay Govender-Ypma, Food and Culture Journalist based in Cape Town.

“Participating restaurants are offering good value specials between 1 April and 2 May 2021, and while splurging on restaurants isn’t a privilege many can afford especially right now, this a great way to celebrate those missed milestones last year by taking your friends and family out if you can afford it. I’ve practiced strict social distancing until now and I’ve found the restaurants I’ve attended have been fastidious about Covid safety protocols.”

During Restaurant Week South Africa diners will have the opportunity to explore South Africa’s 100 top restaurants for a great price on their newly designed website www.restaurantweek.co.za

Exclusively during this month, 100 of SA’s best restaurants will serve a Restaurant Week Special at a set price: Starting from R145 for a 2-course lunch and starting from R245 for a 3-course dinner. The participating restaurants have limited availability to ensure social distancing. There are also a number of restaurants that have chosen to work in shifts.

In Cape Town, Ishay recommends Emazulwini restaurant by chef Mmabatho Molefe — set in Makers Landing at the cruise terminal. “She serves modern Zulu cuisine and her food is thoughtful and gorgeous. There’s currently a 6-course menu special at R300 per person. My other Cape Town picks are Grub and Vine, Pilcrow & Cleaver, La Boheme and Salsify. All offer beautiful meals at different price points.”

“Considering the financial strain placed on both the restaurant industry as well as on many a consumer (owing to the lockdown) – I think this year’s Restaurant Week could not have come at a better time, says Joburg based Steve Steinfeld is a food and wine journalist. “It allows for patrons to support their favourite independent chefs and eateries at an accessible price point. Locals should take full advantage of the fact that they get to experience some of the best restaurants our country has to offer at such budget-friendly pricing – all the while helping our restaurants get through these difficult times.”

Cape Town restaurants participating during this XXL Edition are:

126 Cape Kitchen and Café, Anatoli, Beyond Restaurant, Bilboa, Blanko, Bobo’s, Botany Café, Bouchon Bistro, Café Charles, Canal Café, COPA Restaurant, ëlgr, Emazulwini Restaurant, ERTH, Foxcroft, FYN Restaurant, Gambas Seafood Bistro, Gigi Rooftop at Gorgeous George, GINJA, Greenhouse, Grub & Vine, Homespun by Matt, KONG Bar & Grill, La Boheme, Meloncino, Osteria Tarantino, Paranga, Pilcrow & Cleaver, RIVA, Salsify at The Roundhouse, Surfshack, The Athletic Club & Social, The Bungalow, The Conservatory & Zenzero.

Winelands restaurants participating during this XXL Edition are:

96 Winery Road, Delaire Graff Restaurant, Epice, FABER, Gabriëlskloof Restaurant, Gåte, Grande Roche Restaurant, Haute Cabrière, Idiom, Jardine Restaurant, Jewell’s, Knorhoek Restaurant, Kunjani Wines & Restaurant, La Residence, La Petite Colombe, Le chêne, Le coin Français, Le Petit Manoir, Ōku, Protégé Restaurant, Taphuis at Lanzerac, The Eatery & Wine Bar at Silver Forest, The Manor at Nederburg, The Table at De Meye, Tuk Tuk Microbrewery & Yama Sushi Emporium.

A reminder to remain safe when visiting a restaurant by wearing a mask, social distancing and sanitising regularly and to stay home if you or your table companions have any cold or flu symptoms.

By Lauren Manuel McShane