I love food. I really love food, tantalises 4 of the most important senses that we have. I’m not fussy about texture, but if it looks one way and feels wrong in my mouth – there might be a chance that I will spit it out and abandon it. Discreetly of course. A place that has yummy food will always have me in their back pocket. I am a firm believer that we eat with our eyes and nose before we taste it. If it doesn’t live up to that expectation, we will be disappointed so far Durban has not disappointed me.
While Durban does conjure up images of ice cream in the sun and condensation on tall glasses with colourful liquids in them, there’s a bit more to this place than ice cream and drinks. Everyone needs food and Durban does provide, in different forms and flavours. If you’re looking for hot and spicy or just a simple no fuss meal, you might find it all in just one road.
The first thing that springs to mind to anyone who has heard of Durban, or if you are familiar with the tastes of South Africa, is the famous Bunny Chow. Trust me, I have heard all the jokes about it, “are there really bunnies in there?” or “bunny killers”. The bunnies you find around here are exceptional, but if you are not a fan of hot food, be wary when ordering. Mild to some people are just too hot. I have to be honest here, I love curries, however, I am not a fan of too hot food, so mild all the way.
Most restaurants in the area has an italian influence over them. Pasta and pizza can be found almost everywhere, because we all can agree that it’s easy to eat and cheese rules the world. However, hamburgers can also be found everywhere because Durban has skipped the vegan and vegiterian bandwagon, or that’s what I suspect. There are vegetarian and vegan food found on various menus, but pure vegan restaurants are scarce.
I have to confess, Freedom Café is a favourite of mine. I love the giant sausage dog, the strange little building, the atmosphere and sitting under the trees in the sunshine. You can have a quick cup of coffee with a yummy treat, or have a delicious breakfast or lunch. Food does take time as they have a tiny kitchen, but I promise you it’s worth it. To keep to their theme, they have sausage dog shaped biscuits. The vibe here is fantastic, fresh and you can spend hours here if you need to write or just sit and catch up with friends, family or travelling companions. Be warned though, over weekends it can get quite busy, so if you really want to go, make sure you book beforehand.
I have a thing for italian food, I love pasta and I love pizza. You can bribe me with those two. Spiga D’Oro, found in the famous Florida Road, you will find good coffee and a busy restaurant. I can sit here for hours on the side walk and just people watch. The staff is friendly and you can sip a beer here, either locally brewed or from other breweries around the country. It may get busy, but they make sure your food is fantastic. Which is always a seller for me.
Where to eat:
If you are keen on some curries or a bunny or two, head over to Hotel Britannia’s Capsicum and let your taste buds explore the iconic Durban curry. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, a fantastic sea view and a bit pricier option The Oyster Box’s Ocean Terrace, their curry is to die for and they have a large variety. The plus point for The Oyster Box is that they have a variety of food or other restaurants choose from.
Usually when one mentions the NSA everyone thinks of the American security, however in this context when people talk about the NSA, they just mean (KwaZulu) Natal Society of the Arts, beside all of the art, they also have a café, aptly named Art that you can visit which caters to adults and children. If you do have something to drink, definitely get their spiced hot chocolate, it is an art they have mastered. If you love fresh food and fresh air, this is the place to go to.
If you feel like good food, a stone’s throw away from the beach and want to spoil yourself try The Grill Jichana, inside the Elangeni Hotel. They are on par with The Oyster Box, but the décor is quite dark with can dampen the mood a bit. But with a great wine list and food, you need to treat yourself.
Churchill House (Antiques Café) has such an interesting atmosphere. It’s as if you’re sitting in between a lost and found of pretty things. You can eat and shop with your eyes. It is such a delight and affordable. If you want a sneakpeak into history, I will definitely spend some time here.
Website: None. (Keeping with the theme.)
At the beach:
Afro’s Chicken. Oh my hat. Affordable and yummy chicken, with a sea view. I have never been so excited to have chicken at the beach. They have opened one further into town, but if you’re on holiday that’s exactly where you need to go eat your food.
Circus Circus Beach Café. If you want a pricier option but still want to enjoy the sea. This is the place to be. It is quite popular as it is right next to the skate park and if you had just a little too much food, you can hire a bicycle and stay on track with your diet. As they have two options: on the beach or covered this is a great place to go eat.
There are so much places to go eat. If you drive or walk down Florida Road you will find a restaurant that suits you and your pocket. There is such a diverse range to choose from. Durban has a lot of mouths to feed and seeing that it is a popular tourist destination you will always find a restaurant if you don’t feel like making your own. There’s also the option to buy ready-made meals in the local shops – they are sometimes just what you need.
Food may be a selling point for any destination, because you can judge people and how they interact and how long they take to eat. Durban is definitely a place to eat at if you enjoy locally sourced food and experience the diverse culture on offer.
If this got you hungry, wait until next time when I will be writing about the local markets. Now those are places to be!
Gillian believes she was born to write. Born into a family who all have the itch to see the world, she definitely followed in their footsteps. By day she's a content writer and a wannabe designer, but by night she works away on her novel. You can read her short stories here: http://thisisgillian.co.