28 Best Restaurants in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

9th Avenue Waterside

$$$$ | Victoria Embankment Fodor's choice

Durban desperately needed a first-rate seafood offering and this upmarket restaurant perched at the scenic harbor delivers. Think crispy fried calamari with black garlic aioli and pickled cauliflower, grilled baby crayfish with passion fruit and lemon verbena coconut broth, and magnificent seafood pasta. However, chefs also cater beautifully to vegetarians with dishes such as exotic mushroom and butternut cavatelli with vanilla, maple sauce, and mushroom gnocchi with sundried tomato foam. Everythingpurées, clamshell bisque, cilantro gelis made from scratch in the open kitchen and seasonal sustainability is a core focus with meat sourced from the Midlands, fish freshly line-caught from this very coast, and the comprehensive wine list support female wine-makers. It's one of Durban's finest gastronomic experiences, with excellent service to match. 

Govinda's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant

$ | Chatsworth Fodor's choice

This is an inexpensive yet excellent vegetarian restaurant catering to Hare Krishna devotees, who do not use onions, garlic, or mushrooms in their food. The traditional Indian rice dish biryani (breyani as it's known locally) is a favorite. Try the thali, a mix of several dishes of the day.

Jack Salmon Fish House

$$ | Glenashley Fodor's choice

A short drive north of the city, the small suburb of Glenashley has an elevated position that offers diners a pleasant sea view, but this restaurant's fresh seafood, prepared in unique and traditional ways, is the drawing card, with excellent service keeping the place busy during lunch and dinner. For starters, opt for the sushi or the Falkland Island calamari tubes stuffed with prawns and peri-peri dressing and then char-grilled. The catch of the day—dorado, swordfish, or Cape salmon—or Thai-inspired seared tuna as well as the variety of seafood platters are recommended mains. If you have room, round out the meal with a panna cotta—flavors change daily.

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Mahā Café

$ | Beachfront Fodor's choice

This casual cafe restaurant in the reinvigorated Point Waterfront district is great for coffee (especially if you’re averse to the crowds of uShaka Marine World) and a fancy breakfast that won't break the bank. Vegetarians will love mixed mushroom with dune spinach on sourdough with nasturtium and sunflower seed pesto, while classic orderers might enjoy the herby pork sausage or generous croque monsieur, and the counter is always stacked with pastries and tarts. 

Spiga d'Oro

$ | Morningside Fodor's choice

Perched at the top of the ever-popular Florida Road, Spiga is something of a Durban institution, and it certainly represents the attitude and overall feeling of Durban—unpretentious with an animated atmosphere that makes diners feel part of the crowd. The Italian menu is not always classical in its interpretation, but you can count on it being delicious and a good value (pasta dishes come in medium or large portions). The bruschetta di pomodoro is a good way to start, with lots of ripe, well-seasoned tomato on grilled bread, and the Linguine di Casa, made with prawns, olive oil, chili, and a Napoletana sauce, is perennially popular. And, if you enjoy taking your time over a meal, there are no overzealous staff trying to turn your table. Be prepared for a wait.

The LivingRoom @ Summerhill Estate Culinary Retreat

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Don’t let the relaxed homey feel fool you; this is the most exciting meal you can have in the Durban area right now. Each course of the sustainable nose-to-tail menu is bold, flavorful, and carries a Kwa-Zulu Natal story, told by the head chef, German-born, Durban-raised Johannes Richter, who incorporates the property's fresh produce with handcrafted items like fish sauce made by fermented specimens caught on the annual sardine run and homemade sourdough served with lashings of spiced masala butter, as well as local ingredients such as maas (traditional milk) and amaranth (a protein-packed grain). Come hungry and take your time.

9 Belvedale Rd., Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Known For
  • exciting fine dining
  • creative vegetarian options
  • a great spot for date night
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: 7 courses R730 / including wine pairing R1,255

9th Avenue Bistro

$$$ | Morningside

This is one of few upmarket restaurants in the city to indulge in a six-course tasting menu, though the à la carte options are plentiful, too. Think gin-cured salmon, creamy shellfish orzo, and roast lamb rump—classics with a twist, done perfectly. The setting (in a small shopping center) is simple, but don't let appearances alone sway you—this is one of Durban's finest gastronomic experiences, with excellent service to match. The wine list contains a great choice of South African and international wines, and your waiter will be able to advise on any unfamiliar local labels.

9th Ave., Durban, KwaZulu Natal, 4001, South Africa
Known For
  • international and local wine list
  • loyal customers
  • fine dining
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No lunch Mon. and Sat., Credit cards accepted



This is an Argentinian-styled mecca for red-meat lovers where steaks are cooked on an open charcoal fire and South American music dictates the atmosphere. There's also an on-site butchery where local grain-fed beef is aged and cut to size to suit all appetites. Cuts are served with a choice of sauces (mushroom and red wine, cheese, or garlic to name a few) and vegetable sides. Alternates include deboned chicken and freshly seared tuna. Their exclusive Malbec is an obvious wine choice, with a range of other high and low vintage reds and whites to choose from.

Bel Punto


Follow your stomach 15 minutes north of Umhlanga to Umdloti where you'll dine on Italian fare with a contemporary twist. The seafood is outstanding—think line fish baked in the wood-fired pizza oven and perfectly cooked calamari or prawns done in a garlic, white wine, tomato, cream, and chili sauce. Italian staples like pastas, pizzas, and risotto also hit the spot. The wine list is noteworthy and waiters are knowledgeable, although there are sometimes delays with food when the restaurant is busy. To make the most of the gorgeous sea views, book for lunch or an early dinner.

Cargo Hold

$$$ | Beachfront

You might need to book several weeks in advance to secure a table next to the shark tank here, but if you do it'll be one of your most memorable dining experiences. Enjoy a carpaccio of smoked ostrich or tomato veloute—while massive ragged-tooth sharks drift right by your table and sand sharks stir up the sandy bottom. Aside from the array of generous seafood platters, Cargo Hold also serves beef fillet with oxtail phyllo and confit duck with an orange glaze. The restaurant is done up like a shipwreck; both floors have tank frontage.  The view of the shark tank is best from the bottom floor, so ask for this when booking. The restaurant is part of the building known as the Phantom Ship, accessed from the promenade next to the ship's giant propeller; you don't need to pay admission to uShaka Marine World to eat here.

Dockside Shack


You'll dine on wooden picnic tables at this rustic no-frills seafood shack near (but not on) the bay, where the food is fresh, plentiful, and unfussy—fresh lobster, prawns, whole grilled fish, and a range of salads. Cocktails are taken seriously, and you'll find a surfeit of colorful frozen drinks plus wine and beer. There's entertainment on weekends.

Elephant & I


The question is what won't you find to eat at this popular restaurant in the Boardwalk Inkwazi shopping center. You name it, they've got it: from burgers, wraps, salads, bagel sandwiches, and paninis, to a jumble of international dinner dishes, like moussaka, lasagna, quiche, shepherd's pie, or stir-fry, topped off with dessert. Early opening hours are a big bonus, all the better to enjoy an extensive menu of breakfast classics or a muffin and a great selection of coffee drinks. If you want to come for dinner, be aware that they close early evening (3 pm on Sunday), so call to check. Wi-Fi is offered here—a big draw card.



Although it's on the Hotel iZulu property, you don't have to be a guest to eat at this excellent restaurant. Only the finest ingredients are used, and they are locally sourced whenever possible, like South African cheeses, lamb from the KZN Midlands, venison, and fresh seafood. Try the Hotel Izulu curry of the day—always delicious. Dining is fairly formal but lunch is best enjoyed poolside. There's an excellent wine cellar, so take the opportunity to sample some of the best South African wines.

Havana Grill

$$$ | Beachfront

Attention to detail and freshly prepared, quality food combine to make this one of Durban's finest restaurants serving steak—prepared and aged in the in-house butchery—and seafood. It offers spectacular sea vistas (ask for a table with a view when making your reservation) and a chic interior, with white leather-upholstered chairs, wall-length couches, and antelope horns on the walls. Try the tasting platter for starters (minimum of two people sharing): a mix of nachos, jalapeños stuffed with cheese, grilled calamari, bruschetta, lamb, and spring rolls. For mains, consider the grain and grass-fed rump duo with a side of both peppercorn and red wine sauces; seasonal varieties of venison; or line fish (likely swordfish, dorado, or Cape salmon). There's a good domestic wine list, but take the opportunity to make a selection from a walk-in cellar lined with lesser-known wines.

20 Suncoast Blvd., Durban, KwaZulu Natal, 4001, South Africa
Known For
  • fresh seafood
  • local wine list
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Parents with young children are requested to make sure little ones are on their best behavior, Reservations essential

John Dory’s

$ | Maydon Wharf

You won't find the most exceptional seafood here, but the views, affordable price range, and menu variety more than make up for it. Order a gourmet milkshake and watch all the yachts and boats bobbing about in the Durban harbor.  

Boatmans Rd., Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Known For
  • half-price sushi specials
  • decadent milkshakes
  • upper deck views

Joop's Place

$$ | Morningside

No trip to South Africa would be complete without a good traditional steak, and without a doubt, Joop's (pronounced yopes) is the best and most popular steak house in Durban. It goes without saying that most customers are regulars. It has an intimate, homey atmosphere, though the interior design is certainly nothing special. The food is the true focus, with Joop—a butcher by trade—himself selecting and preparing the steaks in an open kitchen. The specialty here is panfried steak; the pepper steak and Hollandse (Dutch-style) biefstuk (a center-cut fillet panfried in black butter and flambéed in brandy) are tasty favorites. The exceptionally hungry should try the 800-gram (about 21-ounce) T-bone.



The menu features mainly North Indian dishes that are so large and filling that—take our word for it—appetizers are not needed. Standout curries include butter chicken, lamb gosht pasanda (done in an almond-and-cream sauce with saffron), and the navratan korma (mixed vegetables cooked in cashew gravy with fruit). The interior provides a sophisticated dining experience, which continues onto an enclosed terrace. There's a good, reasonably priced buffet on Friday and Saturday nights and a carvery for Sunday lunch.

La Spiaggia


As close to the Indian Ocean as you can get, this restaurant overlooking the main bathing beach has outside tables that are always packed with families sipping milk shakes or friends sharing a bottle of wine and having a bite to eat off a menu with broad appeal. Not the best food on offer in the area, but an unbeatable location.

O'Connor Promenade, Umhlanga, KwaZulu Natal, 4321, South Africa
Known For
  • Kahlúa coffee milkshake
  • sea views
  • pizza

Love Coffee

$ | Morningside

On Lilian Ngoyi Road in Windermere, which some say is the "new" Florida Road, Love Coffee is your best bet for noncommercial, top-notch coffee in a veritable hole-in-the-wall, of the contemporary, well-designed kind. The bran muffins, rooibos cappuccino, fresh juice, packed salads, toasted sandwiches and brief breakfast menu are highly recommended.

Milky Lane


Take respite from the summer sun and enjoy a cool treat at this ice-cream parlor, one of 20 or so restaurants, fast-food outlets, and coffee shops in the Suncoast Casino complex. Even in winter, the creamy ice-cream waffles and creative shakes are a welcome indulgence. You'd do well to enjoy your cone at one of the other popular branches along the Golden Mile, too.

Miners' Rest Tea Shop


In a delightfully restored pre-1913 miner's cottage at the Talana Museum, the tea shop serves light refreshments as well as more substantial home-cooked meals. The food is excellent and the atmosphere most welcoming. Destroyed by a fire in 2010, it's been reconstructed to its former glory. You can also take advantage of the braai and picnic sites on the museum grounds, and the Sunday buffet is very popular. You'll need to book ahead for this.



Sample the authentic tastes of Mozambique without ever crossing the border at this funky, vibrant restaurant. The eatery's rustic charm extends from the interior design to the service to the food, which has Portuguese, Arab, Indian, and Goan influences. Seafood and chicken are specialties and appear in some irresistible combinations—try the specialty seafood platter—and you can enjoy a cocktail while the kids are entertained in their own section. Dining here is definitely a case of eat, mess, and be merry. It's usually busy, so not ideal for a quiet rendezvous, but this diner has been so successful over the past decade that several franchise stores have since opened across the country. 

Olive & Oil


You can't go wrong with the fantastic and well-priced Mediterranean-inspired fare here. The best way to start your meal is with a meze platter to share before moving on to main courses like calamari, steaks, pastas with Sicilian and Moroccan flavors, and the easy-on-the-budget pizzas. The large restaurant is not suitable for a romantic night out, but it's great for families and offers consistently good food and service. If the weather's warm, try for a table on the verandah.

Roma Revolving

$$$ | City Centre

In business since 1973, this slowly revolving restaurant, which takes about an hour to do one full rotation, offers what has to be the most spectacular views of the city, especially the harbor. It's run by the original Italian owners, and the extensive menu runs the gamut from pasta to seafood. From old-school waiters to the hard-to-resist dessert trolley, there's something pleasingly old-fashioned about the place. The restaurant perched atop a high-rise building has been renovated, though it maintains the kitsch carpeted walls, red leather interior, and Italian statues and frescos at the entrance. It's a popular choice for birthdays and weekend dinners.

Margaret Mncadi Ave., Durban, KwaZulu Natal, 4001, South Africa
Known For
  • kitschy setting
  • old-school vibe
  • special-occasion dinners
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch Mon.–Thurs. No dinner Sun., Reservations essential

Royal Coffee Shoppe

$ | City Centre

This is a popular, if old-school meeting place for daytime breaks and for pre- and post-theater crowds. Crystal chandeliers, etched glass, formally dressed staff, and live piano music in the nearby lounge at lunchtime create a rich atmosphere of old-time colonial Durban. The café serves light breakfasts and lunches as well as coffees, teas, cakes, quiches, salads, and sandwiches.

The Hot Spot Food Fusion


A welcome change from the soulless chain restaurants that dominate the wharf, this humble mom-and-pop restaurant (opposite the parking area, not the waterfront) serves up its own delightful mix of Italian-Indian cuisine. Portions are large and you can choose from a variety of Indian dishes, like spicy lamb curry, butter chicken, and traditional garlic naan, along with burgers and fish and chips. Everything is served fresh and with a friendly smile.


$ | Morningside

This L-shape restaurant opens onto a veranda overlooking the buzz of Florida Road. A red-and-black interior with ornamental silver mirrors and loads of celebrity photographs creates a vibe in keeping with tasty Spanish cuisine. A spicy, hot tapas selection—think grilled crispy baby calamari, panfried sardines, grilled artichoke hearts—with Catalonian flatbread makes for a light meal, and you can add more if you're hungry. House-made sangria is a good accompaniment.


$ | Maydon Wharf

This popular spot overlooks the Durban harbor and often hosts live music. It serves breakfast until late, as well as lunch and dinner.

14 Boatman's Rd., Durban, KwaZulu Natal, 4001, South Africa
Known For
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