AmEx pays tribute to SA fine dining

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 8:02 AM

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Some of South Africa's top restaurants gathered last night for the Western Cape leg of the annual American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards.

Newcomers to the awards include 95 Keerom in Cape Town, Delaire Graff Restaurant in Stellenbosch, Kitima in Hout Bay,  Makaron in Stellenbosch and The Leopard in Johannesburg.

Five restaurants were recognised for reaching their 10th American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards, namely, De Oude Kraal in Bloemfontein, The Greenhouse in Constantia, Hartford House in Mooi River, La Pentola in Pretoria, and The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek.

The regional spread of the 89 accolades awarded included 27 restaurants in Johannesburg, 17 in the Cape Peninsula, 16 in the Cape Winelands 16, eight in KwaZulu-Natal, six on the Garden Route, six in Pretoria, four in North West, two in the Free State, and one each in the Klein Karoo, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

In true fine dining style, the Cape Town leg was held at Cavalli Wine and Stud Farm in the Cape Winelands, while the Johannesburg event was held on September 8 at Thava Indian Restaurant.

In its 17th year, the awards' main aim is to pay tribute to restaurants that consistently achieve excellence, creativity and provide an undeniably exquisite culinary experience.

"The awards continue to reflect the country's rising culinary spirit and serve as a catalyst in championing the enhancement of the fine dining industry and experience in South Africa. As the exclusive issuer of American Express in South Africa, we are honoured to be associated with this initiative as it not only celebrates South African restaurateurs but also promotes fine dining," said Pamela White: Head: Corporate Card Services at Nedbank.

This year saw Tamsin Snyman, author, publisher and Academy Chair for the region African & the Indian Ocean Islands for The World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards at the helm of the American Express Platinum Fine Dining judging panel, having been handed the baton by long-time restaurant critic Victor Strugo who held this position since the inception of the awards.

"The 2015 list of restaurants has stabilised considerably after the restaurant industry saw a lot of movement within the top echelon of restaurants in South Africa. This has persuaded us to revisit our judging criterion, which has been in place since inception," said Snyman.

An additional condition for restaurants to be selected for these awards was the acceptance of the American Express Card and their commitment to honouring one dinner reservation (for up to four people) by a Platinum Card member who books within four days of the desired dining date.

The full list of 2015 Award winners are:

  • Johannesburg (27):  Balata, Bellagio, Bellgables, BiCE, Butcher Shop & Grill, Café del Sol, dw eleven-13, Five Hundred,  iL Tartufo, Jazz Maniacs, La Campagnola, La Cucina  di Ciro, La Scala, Le Soufflé, Mastrantonio, Neh!, Osteria Tre Nonni, Red Chamber, Roots, Sel et Poivre, Signature, Sophia’s Bistro, Thava, The Leopard, Wangthai, Wombles, Yamato
  • Cape Peninsula (17): Aubergine, Azure, Bistro Sixteen82, Bistrot Bizerca,  Buitenverwachting, Catharina’s, The Foodbarn, GOLD Restaurant, The Greenhouse, Haiku; il Leone, Kitima, Myoga, Nobu, Planet Restaurant, Signal
  • Cape Winelands (16): 96 Winery Road, Bosman’s, Bread & Wine, De Grendel, Delaire Graff Restaurant, Fraai Uitzicht 1798, Grande Provence, Makaron, Mimosa Lodge, Overture, The Pavilion, Pierneef at La Motte, Reuben’s (Franschhoek), Rust en Vrede, The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, Waterkloof
  • KwaZulu-Natal (8): Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse, Hartford House, Harvey’s, Ile Maurice, 9th Avenue Bistro, Roma Revolving Restaurant, Spice, Sugar Club
  • Garden Route (6): La Locanda (George),  Zinzi (Plettenberg Bay), Serendipity (Wilderness), Transkaroo (Great Brak), Pembreys (Knysna), The Orchid Room (Knysna)
    • Pretoria (6): La Madeleine, Brasserie de Paris, La Pentola, Mosaic, Ritrovo Ristorante, Zemara
    • North West (4): De Hoek (Magaliesberg), Rambling Vine (Magaliesburg); Silver Orange (Hartbeespoort), Stef’s Kitchen  (Hartbeespoort)
    • Free State (2): De Oude Kraal, Seven on Kellner
    • Eastern Cape (1):   Hacklewood Hill (Port Elizabeth)
    • Klein Karoo (1):  Su Casa (Oudtshoorn)
    • Mpumalanga (1):  Zest (Nelspruit)

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