South African restaurants on World’s Best list

For the first time, two South African restaurants have made it onto UK-based Restaurant magazine’s prestigious World’s Best 50 Restaurants list.

(Image: La Colombe restaurant, Cape Town)

Brand South Africa reporter

At the announcement of the 2006 awards in 10 April, Cape Town’s La Colombe was placed 28th – and named the best restaurant in Africa and the Middle East – and Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek 38th.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards were started informally in 2002 by Joe Warwick, editor of Restaurant. Now in its fifth year, the 2006 list was compiled in a new way: the world was divided into 20 voting regions, each of which was headed by an appointed chairperson who selected a voting panel for their respective region.

The list is almost entirely dominated by restaurants from Europe and the US, making South Africa’s winners all the more remarkable. The only other developing country restaurants to feature were India’s Bukhara, at 46th place, and Brazil’s DOM restaurant, at 50th.

This is the third time Le Quartier Français has made the list, while La Colombe’s strong showing as the region’s best restaurant is its first placing.

La Colombe
At 28th place on the World’s Best 50 list, La Colombe lies among the vineyards of the Constantia Uitsig Estate outside Cape Town. Opened in 1997 by executive chef Franck Dangereux from Provence, France, and co-owner Marlene McCay, La Colombe has won the Business Day National Best Restaurant of the Year Award five times, and a Platinum Award for its wine list.

Dangereux has a classical French training, honed in the Michelin-star kitchens of Roger Verge and Louis Outhier. His food combines the cooking styles of his native France with South African ingredients, and is served in a Provence-style dining room with walls and woodwork painted sunshine yellow and sky blue.

Restaurant specialities include delicate deboned quail, and pan-fried sole and aubergine on toasted brioche surrounded by snails in a garlic cream, finished with a star anise jus.

Dangereux’s cookbook, Feast, was named one of the three best chef cook books in the world in 2004.

Le Quartier Français
Le Quartier Français hotel takes its name from the town of Franschhoek, meaning “French corner”, which was founded by French Huguenots in 1688.

Lying in the heart of the Cape winelands and surrounded by the Franschhoek mountains, the hotel’s real draw is the accomplished cooking of Dutch-born Margot Janse.

She presides over the Tasting Room, Le Quartier Français’s fine dining restaurant, where she prepares individually tailored menus that make the most of the Cape’s rich larder, accompanied by the finest local wines.

The restaurant was placed at 38th, with its speciality dishes made from South African game – impala, warthog, springbok and more.

Le Quartier Français has won numerous awards, including Tatler magazine’s Best Small Hotel in the World for 2006. Last year it was named the best restaurant in Africa and the Middle East in the World’s Best 50 Restaurants awards.

The World’s Best 50 Restaurants

  1. El Bulli, Spain – The World’s Best Restaurant and Best Restaurant in Europe
  2. The Fat Duck, UK
  3. Pierre Gagnaire, France – Chefs’ Choice
  4. French Laundry, US – Best Restaurant in the Americas
  5. Tetsuya’s, Australia – Best Restaurant in Australasia
  6. Michel Bras, France
  7. Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV, Monaco
  8. Per Se, New York
  9. Arzak, Spain
  10. Mugaritz, Spain – Highest New Entrant
  11. El Raco de Can Fabes, Spain
  12. Nobu, London
  13. Gambero Rosso, Italy – Highest Climber
  14. Gordon Ramsay at New Hospital Road, London
  15. Alain Ducasse’s Plaza Athenee, France, Paris
  16. Jean Georges, New York
  17. Le Cinq, France
  18. Daniel, New York
  19. Oud Sluis, Holland
  20. Chez Panisse, US
  21. El Celler de Can Roca, Spain
  22. Pascal Barbot’s L’Astrance, France
  23. Hof Van Cleve, Belgium
  24. La Maison Troisgros, France
  25. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France
  26. Charlie Trotter’s, US
  27. Le Gavroche, UK – Outstanding Value
  28. La Colombe, South Africa – Best Restaurant in the Middle East and Africa
  29. Enoteca Pinchiorri, Italy
  30. Rockpool, Australia
  31. Le Calandre, Italy
  32. Le Bernardin, New York
  33. Noma, Denmark
  34. Restaurant Dieter Muller, Germany
  35. St John, UK
  36. Hakkasan, London
  37. Martin Berasategui, Spain
  38. Le Quartier Français, South Africa
  39. Chez Dominique, Finland
  40. L’Ambroisie, France
  41. Schwarzwaldstube, Germany
  42. Dal Pescatore, Italy
  43. Bocuse, France
  44. Alain Passard’s L’Arperge, France
  45. Gramercy Tavern, New York
  46. Bukhara, India – Best Restaurant in Asia
  47. De Karmeliet, Belgium
  48. Oaxen Skargardskrog, Sweden
  49. Comme Chez Soi, Belgium
  50. DOM, Brazil

Source: The World’s Best 50 Restaurants List

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