The boisterous city of Bloemfontein comes with a rich cultural heritage. It’s one among three of South Africa’s national capitals, the others being Johannesburg and Pretoria, and is home to a population of almost 370,000.
It will come as little surprise that Bloemfontein, which is also a transport hub of some importance, plays host to a vibrant restaurant industry. And there is, as you’d expect, something for everyone. Those who like to overindulge in their carbs can fill up on authentic Italian; avid carnivores (cheetahs aside) can partake in steaks cooked to perfection; while the coffee aficionados may get their morning, afternoon, and evening fix from one of the many cafés to be found on almost every one of the cities many sidewalks.
Atma Vegetarian Restaurant, Westdene
One for adventurous vegetarians, though non-vegetarians will possibly also delight in this establishment. Atma plays host to sumptuously authentic Indian vegetarian foods, whereby you can select from their samosas, their pakoras, their Thal, and various formats of flat Indian-styled breads. There’s no doubt that when you leave Atmas, you’ll not be fit for a single bite more.
Avanti Italian Restaurant, 2nd Avenue, Bloemfontein
Just as Italian cooks have a reputation for, Avanti maintains the celebration of fresh ingredients. The busy blackboard menu represents all things – from starters, through to main courses, and then ending in desserts – all of which change around on a weekly basis in accordance with the season and availability.
Arguably one of the highlights is the pistachio and pepper crusted fillet, which is served together with potato dauphinoise and sweet roasted onions.
Bella Casa, President Steyn Ave.
Famed for their delicious pizza, Bella Casa additionally proffers an extensive menu which features steak, pastas, and an assortment of other Italian dishes. The restaurant is housed within the confines of a beautiful Edwardian-styled house, just to add that little extra to the overall enchantment.
Coco C Restaurant and Chocolatier, Loch Logan Waterfront
The velvet sofas and the crystal chandeliers are most certainly impressive facets, but they’re not the only impressive aspect to Coco C Restaurant and Chocolatier. After all, the menu caters to a true gourmet cuisine experience. Take just that one single look at (and bite into) the pork belly together with its fortified chocolate sauce, and you’ll understand why the complements are frequently showered upon this place.
De Oude Kraal Restaurant, N1, South Bloemfontein
Just as you would if you were intent on going to the dentist, at De Oude Kraal Restaurant, to enjoy lunch/ dinner here, you need to make a prior appointment. And that’s where the similarities end with the dental practitioner. The menu arrives in either five or six courses. South African cuisines are prepared with fervor and real skill by Chef Marie Lombard, while Marie’s husband, Gerhard Lombard, knows all about the choicest of South African wines which best compliment the extraordinary food
Full House Sushi Bar, Maretha Maartens St.
If your desire is for authentic Asian cuisine, then the Full House Sushi is on the locals’ recommended list, lodged where it belongs, right at the top of that list. Among the standout dishes, we have the calamari fried rice and also the spring rolls, though this is merely for starters.
Margarita’s Seafood & Steaks, Milner Rd.
The owners of Margarita’s, Nicos and George Papadoulakis, focus wholeheartedly on producing the best steaks and seafood dishes in the vicinity. The matured beef steaks, fillets, and rumps, are all prepared to absolute perfection, while those with a penchant for seafood are accommodated by way of lobster, prawns, and Mediterranean sole.
Nagoya Restaurant, 2nd Ave.
Entirely fluent with respect to Chinese cuisines – though not so fluent in the art of the English language – Nagoya’s staff are friendly and inviting. As a starter, it’s a recommendation that you opt for the wonton soup, though, really, everything served here is to be admired and thoroughly cherished.
New York Restaurant, Medene Centre
Made up to look like an ‘80s New York steakhouse, along with the portraits of many jazz era aficionados bedecking the walls, New York Restaurant is, irrefutably so, the local’s top steakhouse.
Among the standout dishes, the Rump Jack Daniels is rubbed down with mustard, pan fried together with lemon and crushed peppercorns, beautifully flamed with whisky, and then finalised with Demi-glace sauce.
Picnic, Rhodes Ave.
Offering wholesome, entirely unfussy food, Picnic has been aptly named. Put together your own meal along with the freshly baked breads and the tapas-styled condiments, inclusive of pickles, cheese, and onion marmalade. Picnic is a funky locale which is ideal either for an unrushed breakfast or a mid-week lunch along with friends.
Actually, the restaurant is something of a gem, with its residence in a rather gloomy part of the town. Chef Kim Brackenridge, who is also co-owner of the establishment, simply works wonders inside the kitchen. Try the mushroom and Parmesan risotto together with the truffle oil, then finish with the lemon and ginger crème brûlée. Deliciously sumptuous affair, so it is.
The Terrace at Oliewenhuis, Harry Smith St.
Located within one of Bloemfontein’s most tranquil of gardens, The Terrace affords a most relaxing setting and a semi-Mediterranean menu. And it’s ideal for the kids – there’s a Neo-Dutch styled mansion house which hosts a particularly dainty African carousel.