Known for great curries and Eastern cuisine, Durban offers a variety of tantalizing tastes. If you’re looking for a great place to have lunch in Durban, try one of these top spots.
Freedom Café, 34 St Marys Ave, Greyville
Freedom Café is a spirited foodie hotspot in a red shipping container with extended glass. It boasts eccentric ceramic sausage-dog salt and pepper holders and mirrored walls with crazy hairdos (tsuch as that of Marge Simpson and other celebrities) that sit atop your head in the reflection when seated. The brainchild of award-winning cookbook writer, ad man, design guru and entrepreneur Neil Roake, the detailed expression has certainly evoked some attention.
Head chef Lucy Markewicz uses her culinary skills to create everyday classics infused with a contemporary twist. Try the New Yorker hot dog for R60 with pickled cucumber and fried onions atop a generous Frankfurter, immersed in a brioche hot dog bun and served with fries. Alternatively, try one of the handcrafted organic salads, scrumptious open sarmies, and fuller mains on the menu. There is also a gorgeous selection of pastries.
Simply put, this venue is a well thought out lunch spot in Durban with spunk, a dose of quirk and plenty heart. If not for the roll of XXX mints that accompanies your bill at the end of your meal, or for the regular pop-up events, you have to see it just for its amazing design!
Contact Freedom Café
Spiga d’Oro, 200 Florida Rd, Berea
Lunchtime often presents the best interval for a little comfort food for your day, and if it’s lunchtime comfort food you’re looking for, Spiga d’Oro is the place to go. Consistently offering quality, authentic Italian food, the eatery has become an iconic Durban restaurant with an always-charming vibe and stand-out dishes.
The combination of listening to the sounds of water streaming from a fountain, the herb-filled planters mounted on the walls and a toasty interior accompanied by the perfect hint of crisp in the air makes for a flawless lunch spot. Try the elegant-yet-simple Caprese salad layered with tomato, fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto, fresh chopped rocket and olive oil. If that sounds a little incomplete, the focaccia topped with marinated brinjal, cream cheese, parma ham and rocket makes for the perfect summer meal. Spiga also offers a small selection of tremendous cocktails (and who doesn’t like tremendous, right?) so be nice to your meal and order a little cocktail to go with it. You won’t regret it.
Spiga d’Oro is a gem in the heart of Berea easily serving some of the best lunch meals I have ever tasted outside of my mother’s kitchen. Their charm certainly lies in their reasonable prices and great service!
Contact Spiga d’Oro
Taco Zulu, 237 Florida Road, Morningside
If the idea of corn, enchiladas, beans and chili peppers gets your tastebuds dancing, then Taco Zulu is worth a visit. Located in the core of Durban’s hippest restaurant district, Taco Zulu keeps the fiesta going and cervezas (beers) flowing. The menu focuses on Mexican-style fare: think tacos, quesadillas and almost anything Mexican you can imagine.
For those less taken by Mexican flavours, there is also sushi, burger and pizza options (they even have a taco pizza as well). Light meals are generously portioned and well priced. For R49 try the trinchado: steak strips pan-fried in a homemade peri-peri sauce, served with a dash of cream and crostini on the side. For something with spice have the sweet potato and chorizo for R80.
Taco Zulu is a fun spot and perfect for end-of-week lunch breaks. Reserve a picnic table on the patio, or on the ridiculously comfy couches inside. The vibe is infectious so bring a sense of adventure and try something you new and ex-spicing (see what I did there?)
Contact Taco Zulu
Unity Bar and Brasserie, Silvervause Centre, Musgrave
Unity Bar and Brasserie is a new age keg-come-pub with all the elements of a trendy, craft beer drinking hole: topless barmen quench the thirsts of bearded hipsters, rugby fans, and unpretentious beer lovers alike.
The philosophy here is one of food that’s fresh, and flavours that are real, local and honest. Anticipate good-value comfort classics like mash and sausage, beer-battered fish and chips, and some legit Durban curries complete with poppadum and roti. This brasserie is an equally suitable choice for something quick, yet satisfying or for hour-long lunches. If perfection was a meal, than that meal would be a bunny chow at Unity Bar. Dig into the chicken and prawn bunny chow for R79 (who knew the two ingredients could be friends? Try Luke Nair’s chicken and prawn curry recipe here). The lamb (R49) and bean bunny chows are just as tantalizing (recipe: make your own lamb bunny chow at home).
If you like your dessert with a dose of sport, stick around for a game on the big screen and try the caramel popcorn sundae. Yummy doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Contact Unity Bar and Brasserie
Moyo, uShaka Pier
African-themed restaurants can sometimes feel contrived and cheesy. Moyo, uShaka Pier is a bespoke, contemporary restaurant that is anything but contrived and cheesy.
Situated on Durban’s foreshore, Moyo is the first restaurant that extends 150 meters into the sea and the only place from where you can view the sunset over the Durban city skyline. A distinctive choice for a sophisticated African experience, Moyo presents an unforgettable African ambiance that celebrates the beauty of Africa and the industry of her people.
The food is designed to appeal to the cultured palate: inventive Afro-fusion dishes include air-dried kudu bresaola with strawberries, feta, cocktail tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and Dijon vinaigrette, or ostrich berbere (Ethiopian spice mix), served with Zimbabwean nhopi dovi (a peanut and pumpkin mash). Pair that with a bottle of M’hudi Pinotage to complement an easy Sunday lunch with a surge of Moyo class.
The sensory arrangement of fare and wine will appeal to the passionate side of your taste buds taking you into a sophisticated realm of African fantasy. Prices aren’t cheap, so do budget ahead.
Contact Moyo uShaka Pier
Market Restaurant, 40 Marriot Road, Greyville
Market Restaurant is a world-class garden restaurant situated in an upmarket suburban area, off the touristy beaten track. The interior is decorated with white chairs, wooden floors and yellow accents splashed appropriately around the venue. Enjoy a late lunch in the courtyard shaded under the leopard trees, with the hum of water running from the fountain. Market is idyllic for discreet business meetings, romantic dates or lingering ladies’ lunches.
Though the menu is small, it caters for most tastes and will speak to the foodie in you: everything looks delectable. Try the sage roasted butternut, bacon and pine nut, cream penne (R70) or the brinjal cannelloni, stuffed with ricotta, feta and baby spinach, topped off with tomato relish (R69). For dessert, try the cinnamon and banana hotcakes accompanied by crème fraiche and honey. Market is a delicate treat, evidenced with care and passion and certainly worth a call.
Contact Market Restaurant
Remo’s Fratelli, 14 Flanders Dr, Umhlanga
When the actor Kevin James exclaimed, ‘There’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap,’ I’m almost certain he was referring to a pizza from Durban’s Remo’s Fratelli. At Remo’s family values and love are tangible and the passion for great food can be found among the staff, its patrons and the owners alike.
Think fresh cakes, croissants, quiches, brownies, imported meats and cheeses, olive oils, pasta and sauces. Plus there is the option to customise an individual slice of pizza. Remo’s is incredibly popular, so book ahead and relish in a relaxing Sunday lunch when Remo’s serves up a great roast!
Contact Remo’s Fratelli
Hooters on the Rocks, 2 Lagoon Drive, Umhlanga
I know what you’re thinking: busty girls with too-tight tees, why? Well, because the food at Hooters on the Rocks is that good and (I suppose) the ‘view’ works for some too. The real view, however, looks out onto the rocks over Umhlanga Beach. So, if you’re looking for a case of eat, drink and be merry, Hooters on the Rocks is the perfect weekend spot for lunch in Durban. Watch the game, revel in some beers and enjoy an All-American meal (with all the trimmings: fried food and ridiculous portions) with the mates. The restaurant can accommodate 180 guests and has more than 23 televisions, plus an indoor and outdoor bar.
Arrive hungry and savour the Daytona boneless chicken wings with curly fries and cheese sauce. Order an ice-cold Big Daddy with that or choose from an array of litre long beers on offer. The menu features a wide variety ranging from seafood and sandwiches to their signature spicy chicken wings.
If you’re not averse to a little cleavage, this casual beach-themed atmosphere is great for a family lunch outing, providing a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere looking onto the beach. Monday quiz night is also a great option to consider for a little weekday entertainment.
Contact Hooters on the Rocks
House of Curries, 275 Florida Road, Morningside
At an average spend of R80 – main course and a drink included – House of Curries is a primed-up, shebeen-vibe spot with authentic Indian dishes at a steal.
Known for serving some of the best curries in Durban, this modern shebeen in the heart of busy Florida Road is an ideal place to hang out with friends for a good lunch in Durban and mingle on Fridays and Saturdays. Depending on how long you stay, the venue transforms into a vibey dance club, with good music, beers and late-night munchies.
If you appreciate your samosas, get an assortment of four for R18 and choose from: potato, chicken , mince, cheese and sweetcorn. For R28, try the poori patha, an age-old delicacy of marinated madumbe leaves rolled and served between roti-like pastry. The chip chow – a large plate of chips, topped with a curry of your choice then smothered in melted cheddar cheese – is a great starter shared among the table. If you’re still not entirely sold, try the classics: butter chicken; fish, prawn and vegetable curries and naan will definitely satisfy.
The food is superb, it’s simple, it’s fun. Give it a try!
Contact House of Curries
Tel +27 (31) 303-6076, Find House of Curries on Facebook
Daruma, 63 Snell Parade
At Daruma, your food is cooked in front of you – reason enough to try this great spot for lunch in Durban at least once. The layout offers diners the opportunity to eat teppanyaki style (food is cooked on a hot griddle in front of you) or – for those looking for a more private dining experience – a regular table. Book in advance if you’re looking for a front-row seat into the world of teppanyaki eating.
With good food, awesome ambiance and affordable prices, Daruma is well suited for a Saturday lunch treat. Watch a smiling chef prepare a prawn tempura (traditional Japanese style light and crispy fry) in a specially designed 100% copper tempura nabe (pot) while crayfish, king-size prawns, white fish and various vegetables simmer in creative infusions all around you. Fresh from the sea, Daruma’s prawn tempura is a cut above the rest. If you are not in the mood for seafood, perhaps the beef set menu will satisfy your wish.
Gringo’s Mexican Canteen, Lighthouse Center, Chartwell Drive
Gringo is a term, largely used in Spanish speaking countries, often used in a disparaging sense when referring to an English-speaking person. You definitely won’t feel disparaged when you visit this hub of devilishly flavoursome Mexican meals though!
At Gringo’s Mexican Canteen, brightly-coloured chairs and tables are set against panelled walls with wooden blocks, giving the venue a rustic, friendly and easy-going feel. If you’re looking for an outdoor lunch equally as relaxing, head to the patio outside and enjoy Durban’s endless summers. Gringo’s is the kind of restaurant where one should go with a big group of friends or colleagues for a half day out of the office (call it a team-building lunch). Try the jalapeno bombs, they’re simply delicious. Another winner is the chicken burrito served with chips.
Gringo’s is a Mexican Canteen with heaps of flair where tequilas, margaritas, burritos, fajitas and the bits in between come together to please. Gringos and non-Gringos alike are sure to enjoy an afternoon of sun in the fun and a bit of spicy in the tum.
Contact Gringo’s Mexican Canteen
Tel +21 (31) 811-4258, Find Gringo’s on Facebook
Drop Kick Murphy’s, 219 Florida Road
Drop Kick Murphy’s (no doubt inspired by the band) instantly gets the cool badge just because a name with such quirk (even when borrowed) deserves further enquiry.
Drop Kick Murphy’s is a live music-venue-come-bar that features an unlikely combination of hip-hop, punk and hardcore acts on a Friday night. During the day however, the venue is an upmarket pub with more sophisticated trimmings than what you’d usually expect. The food is all good, homely and pure comfort. Enjoy a juicy, pure, beef cheese burger creation paired with a light and refreshing African pale ale.
Offering seamless design: great ambience and décor, food that’s homey and comforting, a great beer selection and live music, Drop Kick Murphy’s is just one of those musts for a great lunch in Durban.
Contact Drop Kick Murphy’s
Tel +27 (31) 825-1858, Find Dropkick Murphy’s on Facebook
The Factory Café, 369 Gale Street (Magwaza Maphalala)
The Factory Café is one of those spaces you walk into and think, ‘This is exactly the place I had been meaning to visit.’ It is a place so nostalgic, so perfect you feel as though you are sharing in the owner’s dream.
Situated in the industrial section of Durban, this coffee shop features a historic Colombo coffee roaster which adds to its trendy, grunge vibe. The Factory – which oozes industrial chic – is unique in that it is a coffee destination that doubles as an entertainment space and music venue. Expect freshly roasted artisanal coffee, tasty treats, exclusive teas, fresh juice and a light seasonal menu.
The café has been known to host live music from 11h00 and is always populated with creatives and indie-acid blend of music and, of course, the sweet aroma of coffee. Be sure to try the aggressive chocolate blend – a stella cuppa – or the cacao gelato – an ode to chocolate and coffee yumminess. In short, The Factory Café boasts liquid gold that you’ll love! Every muffin is a dream and as playful in its flavours as the coffees on offer.
A complete and pleasing package: love of all things local, authenticity and creativity, The Factory Café should be a definite lunch destination on your Durban itinerary.
Contact The Factory Café
All info taken from http://www.getaway.co.za/food/restaurants-food/top-spots-lunch-in-durban/