We all knew it already, but now it’s public knowledge that little old Durbs by the Sea is a destination city. In case you hadn’t read about it yet, Durban just made the top 52 list of place to visit in 2015 compiled by the New York Times! I’m a firm advocate for my city and am stoked that it’s finally getting its due – we’ve been ranked at number 7! I thought now was a good time to do a recap of some of my favourite Durban spots for eating out, categorised by breakfast, lunch and supper, plus a dose of markets and tourist attractions which will showcase our city at its best. So if you’ve got a visitor in town or you just feel like discovering the city you live in yourself, here’s my Durban low down:
Breakfast: On a sunny day, you can’t beat the dapple-shaded courtyards at either Freedom Cafe or Market on Marriott Road (Gladys Mazibuko Road). Both have personality & charm and menus to suit both health nuts and fry-up aficionados. Pop into Shoppe while you’re at Market – Sonia Vosloo sources homeware, decor and art from all over SA. If you want a beach view then head to Circus Circus on the beachfront promenade and take a bike ride afterwards to work it off – bikes can be hired at various spots along the promenade. Cycle down to uShaka, cool off with a drink at Moyo and then head back towards the Moses Mabhida Stadium. A spectacular 360 degree of the whole city can then be taken in by taking a ride up in the sky car to the top of the stadium.
Lunch: Head to Parc Cafe for Brett Gentles seasonal menu using locally sourced artisanal produce and homemade products and live music over lunchtime on Saturdays & Sundays. Or for the tastiest chicken and tjips ever – make a stop at the beachfront or Stamfordhill branches of Afro’s Chicken Shop – their coleslaw is amazeballs too. And if you’re after dinkum Indian cuisine, then Palki on Musgrave Road is the business. While you’re in the Morningside hood, grab a coffee at The Coffee Tree inside Anthology at Windermere Centre – sublime coffee and wonderful treasures curated by Terry Angelos.
Dinner: Unity does the best starter platters in town – mix and match up to 5 starters and they’ll arrive on a bread board. 9th Ave Bistro is the place for a decadent, romantic dinner for two (this team also run Boiler Room Cafe inside the Lion Match office park on Umgeni Road and that’s a must-visit for lunch). My Italian roots crave a good pizza and pasta, so I head to either Spiga on Florida Road or Lupa up in Westville or Hillcrest.
While you’re in town: Don’t miss sundowners at The Oyster Box Lighthouse Bar – magnificent view over Umhlanga & back to Durban city – hand made cocktails at Lucky Shaker near Gateway (they do mean fish tacos too), drinks and an old school boogie at The Dutch in Umhlanga and pop past Remo’s bakery for a cronut. (There’s a pharmacy next door with an awesome gift shop in the back called Catalyst – worth a visit). Coffee is also memorable at The Factory Cafe inside Colombo Coffee in Umbilo or at Savior Coffee in Stamfordhill – grab a bite there and sit at their long harvest table and you’re sure to bump into a few Durban creatives and pop into the leather shop next door too. If you’re in Durban on a Sunday, get the best fresh produce, baked goods and foodie delights at The Morning Trade Market in Rivertown. And every month look out for a variety of markets on the first and last weekends of the month – I recommend the I Heart Market, Wonder Market, Market at the Square or Litchi Orchard Markets.
If you live in Durban – support local!
Please feel free to leave your recommendations on where to eat and what to do in Durban in the comments section.
[All pics were taken from the Facebook pages or websites of these places – if there are any objections to their use, please email contact me using my contact form]
National Geographic Traveler – Durban feature | Ask Ashe17th June 2015 at 6:34 PM
[…] chatting about Durban and all it has to offer tourists and residents alike. I had just recently written this article on Durban so I rattled off all the places I would recommend to an out-of-towner and put him in touch […]
National Geographic Traveler – Durban feature |13th May 2015 at 6:34 PM
[…] chatting about Durban and all it has to offer tourists and residents alike. I had just recently written this article on Durban so I ratteld off all the places I would recommend to an out-of-towner and put him in touch […]
Vavious27th January 2015 at 11:32 AM
Tx for thye heads up. I’m looking forward to an awesome weekend.
Darrel17th January 2015 at 11:47 AM
bucherboys over rated over priced
Alan lazarus15th January 2015 at 6:05 AM
What about the best steaks in Durbs Butcher Boys
Graham14th January 2015 at 10:23 PM
Seriously! How can you write all this stuff? Its just PR blurb. Reality is, Durban restaurants are awful, Spiga don’t even know what Italian food is.
Ask a local about Moyo, and everybody I talk to says they run out of stock, service is terrible. Spectacular venue though, shame about the rest.
I love Durban and I fiercely defend it above all places in South Africa, but lets be honest, its not great for restaurants and service. Maybe its the humidity that gets to us, but I sadly Durban does not deliver on restaurants (I hate to say the words Cape Town)
Far better to go and buy some lovely fresh fish from Bartho’s and cook it yourself
Michael14th January 2015 at 6:33 PM
Great list, but personally I would put Mali’s in the former Goble Rd ahead of Palki for curries.
imran14th January 2015 at 3:23 PM
You forgot to mention the best place to have a bunny chow! What’s durban food without the bunny.
Bryan Courtney14th January 2015 at 12:45 PM
Loving that list. You should ad ‘So Whipped’ at Gateway, where the climbing wall used to be. Its a new spot for artisan coffees and decadent cupcakes, choc brownies, Macaroons, all baked on site… too good!
Trevor14th January 2015 at 8:23 AM
I just returned from 2 weeks in Cape Town and let me tell you something… We give Durban unnecessary flack for service and variety. Durban rocks!
Miroda14th January 2015 at 8:18 AM
Great list. I just think you missed out on Neo Cafe and Marco Paulo. They’re amazing.
Stewart Jones13th January 2015 at 10:14 PM
All great recommendations but one major omission…. Afros on the beachfront serves a legendary bacon and egg sarni not surpassed anywhere tony knowledge and I do consider myself to be a bit of a bacon sarni Fundi! In the best setting in Durban on a beautiful morning… You don’t even feel guilty !
askashe14th January 2015 at 6:57 AM
I need to get my butt down to afros a bit earlier in the day me thinks ;)
Nicholas Bell13th January 2015 at 8:45 PM
Great list, a fine selection of places.