Eating out in South Africa in 2019


What’s eating out in South Africa going to be like this year?

South Africans love food. Good food, of course.

Eating out in South Africa has become very costly. Yet we still choose to spend our hard-earned money on fantastic dining experiences. This is because our restaurants provide delicious foods and drinks! And, they also change their menus and services according to what their customers want.

If you’re planning on eating out a lot this year, here’re the trends you can expect to see in our restaurants.

-1. Clean eating options

Restaurants have supported those who want less refined sugar, dairy and gluten. Now, they’re also supporting the clean eating movement. Clean eating basically shifts the focus on “healthy eating” from weight loss. People are more concerned about what’s actually good for their bodies.

Award winning chefs from all around the world are supporting clean eating, which includes:

  • Avoiding deep-fried and processed foodsclean eating
  • Using natural instead of refined sugars
  • Adding lots of fruits and vegetables to dishes
  • Using healthy cooking techniques to get the most nutrients from healthy foods
  • Eating a balanced meal, which includes protein, carbohydrates and fats.

-2. Organic ingredients

We are more aware of pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic fertilisers and growth hormones in non-organic foods than ever before. This had led to more and more organic ingredients are being used in restaurants. 

Organic foods are often more expensive, which has prevented most South Africans from buying them. But now organic produce is becoming more and more affordable so we will see more of these foods served in restaurants.

-3. Veganism

Veganism is spreading like wildfire. People want to leave a smaller environmental footprint. More and more South Africans are consuming plant-based foods. Restaurants are offering delicious vegan meals to those who refuse to eat foods that aren’t plant-based.

Restaurants have adapted to this trend easily, especially seeing as though there are so many creative ways to offer plant-based meals. Zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice and pizza crust and milk alternatives, such as almond or rice milk, have become common kitchen ingredients.

-4. Catering for intolerances

Many restaurants in South Africa will cater for the following intolerances:

  1. Gluten – The phrase “Gluten-free” has become increasingly popular. This is because of the awareness of the allergies gluten causes. Because following a gluten-free diet is extremely challenging, a lot of people are opting for a reduced gluten diet.
  2. Dairy – More than 50% of the global population are unable to digest dairy. This has also brought on the dairy-free movement, which is said to help prevent digestive issues and improve skin’s appearance.
  3. Sugar – A lot of South Africans are also reducing their refined sugar intake. Refined sugar is linked to obesity, cancers, heart disease and other body issues. Sweeteners and other sugar alternative are becoming more popular in restaurants.

-5. Food for the brain

A lot of research has been done on which foods that help increase brain power. These foods are becoming popular ingredients in dishes. Ingredients such as eggs, berries, spinach and nuts are popular in many dishes.

-6. Local ingredients & dishes

Restaurants are using more local ingredients. It’s a great way for restaurants to get access to fresh meat and produce while supporting local farmers. The increased use of local ingredients will also influence seasonal dishes offered by restaurants.

Another trend we hope to see this year is more restaurant creating popular local dishes. With a country rich in history and culture, creating authentic South African dishes will enrich our dining experiences. We will see a lot of concept restaurants offering speciality dishes – especially local dishes.

-7. Paleo diet

More restaurants are adding paleo dishes to their menus. The paleo diet consists of foods that we presume early humans consumed. Meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts (no processed foods, of course) are included in the paleo diet.

-8. Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is known as one of the most healthiest diets in the world. This type of diet consists mainly of:


healthy eating

  • Plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes
  • Replacing bad fats with healthy fats, such as olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour food


Many people who want to eat a healthy diet but not limit their food options enjoy this diet.

-9. Take away boxes

This has been an ongoing trend. Because eating out can be expensive and perhaps to preserve the environment by wasting less food, most people are taking their leftovers home.

-10. Photo-friendly

photo-friendly dishes

An ongoing trend that’s here to stay. People love sharing aesthetically appealing images of their food. For some, presentation counts more than taste. Restaurants know this and make a lot of effort in the actual appearance of their dishes.

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