On 19 November 2023, the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards will be announcing their Special Awards and star-rated restaurants at the gala awards ceremony to be held at the Grand Arena at GrandWest in Cape Town. 

The star nominees are: 

  • Acid Food & Wine Bar (Randburg, Johannesburg)
  • ARKESTE by Richard Carstens (Franschhoek)
  • Belly of the Beast (City Bowl, Cape Town)
  • beyond (Constantia, Cape Town)
  • Cavalli Restaurant (Somerset West)
  • Chefs Warehouse at Maison (Franschhoek)
  • Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town)
  • CHORUS (Somerset West)
  • Creation Wines Tasting Room (Hemel en Aarde, Hermanus)
  • Dusk (Stellenbosch)
  • Eike (Stellenbosch)
  • ëlgr (City Bowl, Cape Town)
  • Epice (Franschhoek)
  • FABER at Avondale (Paarl)
  • Farro (Botrivier)
  • Fermier (Pretoria)
  • Foxcroft (Constantia, Cape Town)
  • FYN (City Bowl, Cape Town)
  • Le coin Français (Franschhoek)
  • La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)
  • La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)
  • Les Créatifs Restaurant (Sandton, Johannesburg)
  • Madre Stanford (Stanford)
  • Meraki by Charlie Lakin (Hillcrest, Durban)
  • Nevermind (Cape St Francis)
  • Ouzeri (Cape Town)
  • PIER (Cape Town)
  • Post & Pepper (Stellenbosch)
  • Protégé (Franschhoek)
  • Proud Mary (Rosebank, Johannesburg)
  • Restaurant Klein JAN (Tswalu, Northern Cape)
  • Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch)
  • Rykaart’s (Stellenbosch)
  • Salon (Woodstock, Cape Town)
  • Salsify at The Roundhouse (Camps Bay, Cape Town)
  • Séjour (Houghton Estate, Johannesburg)
  • Spek & Bone (Stellenbosch)
  • Table at De Meye (Stellenbosch)
  • The Chefs’ Table (Umhlanga, Durban)
  • The Jordan Restaurant with Marthinus Ferreira (Stellenbosch)
  • The living at Summerhill Guest Estate (Pinetown, Durban)
  • The Melting Pot (Elgin)
  • The Orangerie Restaurant at Le Lude Wine Estate (Franschhoek)
  • The Pot Luck Club Cape Town
  • The Pot Luck Club Johannesburg
  • The Red Room by Chefs Warehouse (Cape Town)
  • The Test Kitchen Fledgelings (Cape Town)
  • The Waterside Restaurant (Cape Town)
  • Upper Union (Cape Town)
  • Wolfgat (Paternoster)
  • Zioux (Sandton, Johannesburg)

“The star-rating format implemented for the first time last year has allowed for more inclusivity,” says Melissa Cumming, head of Eat Out. “To be included on the star-rating shortlist, each restaurant has scored a minimum of 70 points. This is already a major achievement as the quality that we’ve come across in 2023 is exceptional. The star rating criteria include service; décor/ambience; the menu; how ingredients are used to convey your story; your techniques; execution; presentation; beverages, brand promise, perceived value, and overall consistency. It’s a comprehensive score card and over 90 restaurants were visited by the judges and rated on Eat Out’s online rating tool.” 

Mirroring last year, the judges in 2023 are not anonymous. This year’s judging panel, in addition to chief judge Donnelly, are chef Karen Dudley and food activist and cookbook author Mokgadi Itsweng – for their second year. Woolworths Head of Product joins them: Food Business Development, Marisa Munroe, the remarkable sommelier, wine judge and founder of Mosi Wines and Spirits Joseph Dhafana and writer, publisher, editor and broadcast personality Herman Lensing.

“It has been such an honour to work alongside such a diverse and experienced judging panel,” says Donnelly. “Each of them has brought their perspective, cultivated over decades, so this shortlist does represent the diversity of excellence that South African restaurants have to offer. There are several new inclusions this year. They include restaurants in Randburg, Hillcrest, Pinetown, Tswalu and Cape St Francis. The judging has been far-ranging across the provinces to find the gems.”

For the second consecutive year, Woolworths Food proudly assumes the position of title sponsor. According to Zyda Rylands, the CEO of Woolworths Food: “the past few years have presented unprecedented challenges which have been met with extraordinary innovation and determination by both chefs and restaurant owners. We feel truly honoured to once again have the privilege of contributing to the acknowledgement, appreciation and celebration of culinary brilliance in South Africa.”

The Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards gala evening will see the announcement of South Africa’s top restaurants, as per its star rating system. One star will be awarded to those restaurants who scored 70 – 80, two stars to those scoring 80 – 90 and three stars to those scoring 90+, with Restaurant of the Year awarded to the establishment with the highest score.

The Special Awards to be announced are the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant of the Year, Eat Out Woolworths Financial Services Chef of the Year, Eat Out Woolworths Wine Service Award, Eat Out Highland Park Rising Star Award, Eat Out Woolworths Financial Services Service Excellence Award, Eat Out Valpré Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award, Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award, Eat Out Lexus Style Award, Eat Out Best Destination Restaurant and Eat Out Retail Capital Best New Restaurant Award.

By popular demand, the Eat Out Chefs’ Chef Award is back in 2023 and is sponsored by BIRKENSTOCK. This award is bestowed upon a chef by their peers and imparts the respect and recognition that the individual is viewed within the industry. This prestigious accolade acknowledges their culinary achievements and underscores their role as a source of inspiration and leadership within the restaurant community. 

New Special Award announcements to look forward to are the Eat Out Cacao Barry Dessert Award, Eat Out Patron Mixology Award and Eat Out Woolworths Trailblazer Award.

Limited tickets to this year’s Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards will be available from Friday 27 October via Quicket.