18 May 2006
For the first time, two South African restaurants have made it onto UK-based Restaurant magazine’s prestigious World’s Best 50 Restaurants list.
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.
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.
Franck Dangereux, executive chef of La Colombe (Image: La Colombe)
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.
- Visit the La Colombe website.
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.
Margot Janse is in charge of the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Image: World’s 50 Best Restaurants)
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.
- Visit the Le Quartier Français website.
The World’s Best 50 Restaurants
- El Bulli, Spain – The World’s Best Restaurant and Best Restaurant in Europe
- The Fat Duck, UK
- Pierre Gagnaire, France – Chefs’ Choice
- French Laundry, US – Best Restaurant in the Americas
- Tetsuya’s, Australia – Best Restaurant in Australasia
- Michel Bras, France
- Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV, Monaco
- Per Se, New York
- Arzak, Spain
- Mugaritz, Spain – Highest New Entrant
- El Raco de Can Fabes, Spain
- Nobu, London
- Gambero Rosso, Italy – Highest Climber
- Gordon Ramsay at New Hospital Road, London
- Alain Ducasse’s Plaza Athenee, France, Paris
- Jean Georges, New York
- Le Cinq, France
- Daniel, New York
- Oud Sluis, Holland
- Chez Panisse, US
- El Celler de Can Roca, Spain
- Pascal Barbot’s L’Astrance, France
- Hof Van Cleve, Belgium
- La Maison Troisgros, France
- L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France
- Charlie Trotter’s, US
- Le Gavroche, UK – Outstanding Value
- La Colombe, South Africa – Best Restaurant in the Middle East and Africa
- Enoteca Pinchiorri, Italy
- Rockpool, Australia
- Le Calandre, Italy
- Le Bernardin, New York
- Noma, Denmark
- Restaurant Dieter Muller, Germany
- St John, UK
- Hakkasan, London
- Martin Berasategui, Spain
- Le Quartier Français, South Africa
- Chez Dominique, Finland
- L’Ambroisie, France
- Schwarzwaldstube, Germany
- Dal Pescatore, Italy
- Bocuse, France
- Alain Passard’s L’Arperge, France
- Gramercy Tavern, New York
- Bukhara, India – Best Restaurant in Asia
- De Karmeliet, Belgium
- Oaxen Skargardskrog, Sweden
- Comme Chez Soi, Belgium
- DOM, Brazil