15 top spots for lunch in Durban

Posted by Vuyi Qubeka on 10 March 2014

Known for great curries and Eastern cuisine, Durban offers a variety of tantalising tastes. If you’re looking for a great place to have lunch in Durban, try one of these top spots.

Update: I had the chance to update this list when on assignment in Durban (read: a day in Durban). While some readers were keen to try out the original recommendations, some of you were disappointed I left certain others out. Well, I listened and while on assignment in Durbs, I thought I’d visit some of the places you suggested. Mark Smith, you were right on point, Bar Ba Coa and Butcher Boys left me stumped. And Harsha, Olive and Oil serves delectable, fresh food I could devour everyday. Keep the suggestions coming!
Find top spots for lunch in Cape Town and Johannesburg here


Top spots for lunch in Durban

top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Taco Zulu, people, burger, drinking

Where to go for lunch in Durban?


1. Freedom Café, 34 St Marys Ave, Greyville

Freedom Café is a spirited foodie hotspot in a red shipping container with extended glass. It boasts eccentric ceramic sausage-dog salt and pepper holders and mirrored walls with crazy hairdos (tsuch as that of Marge Simpson and other celebrities) that sit atop your head in the reflection when seated. The brainchild of award-winning cookbook writer, ad man, design guru and entrepreneur Neil Roake, the detailed expression has certainly evoked some attention.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Freedom Cafe, burger

Photo courtesy of Freedom Cafe

Head chef Lucy Markewicz uses her culinary skills to create everyday classics infused with a contemporary twist. Try the New Yorker hot dog with pickled cucumber and fried onions atop a generous Frankfurter, immersed in a brioche hot dog bun and served with fries. Alternatively, try one of the handcrafted organic salads, scrumptious open sarmies, and fuller mains on the menu. There is also a gorgeous selection of pastries.

Simply put, this venue is a well thought out lunch spot in Durban with spunk, a dose of quirk and plenty heart. If not for the roll of XXX mints that accompanies your bill at the end of your meal, or for the regular pop-up events, you have to see it just for its amazing design!

Contact Freedom Café

Tel 031 309 4453 / 031 309 4434, email [email protected], www.tastefreedom.co.za


2. Spiga d’Oro, 200 Florida Rd, Berea

Spiga d’Oro, in the heart of Berea, serves some of the best lunch meals I have ever tasted outside of my mother’s kitchen. Consistently offering quality, authentic Italian food at reasonable prices, the eatery has become an iconic Durban restaurant with an always-charming vibe and stand-out dishes.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Spiga d'Oro, durban restaurant

Photo courtesy of Spiga d’Oro

The combination of listening to the sounds of water streaming from a fountain, the herb-filled planters mounted on the walls and a toasty interior makes for a flawless lunch spot. Try the caprese salad layered with tomato, fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto, fresh chopped rocket and olive oil. If that sounds a little incomplete, the focaccia topped with marinated brinjal, cream cheese, parma ham and rocket makes for the perfect summer meal. Spiga also offers a small selection of tremendous cocktails, so be nice to your meal and order a little cocktail to go with it. You won’t regret it.

Contact Spiga d’Oro

Tel 031 303 9511, email [email protected]Find Spiga d’Oro on Facebook 


3. Taco Zulu, 237 Florida Road, Morningside

If the idea of corn, enchiladas, beans and chilli peppers gets your tastebuds dancing, then Taco Zulu is worth a visit. Located in the core of Durban’s hippest restaurant district, Taco Zulu keeps the fiesta going and cervezas (beers) flowing. The menu focuses on Mexican-style fare: think tacos, quesadillas and almost anything Mexican you can imagine.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Taco Zulu, burger

Photo courtesy of Taco Zulu

For those less taken by Mexican flavours, there is also sushi, burger and pizza options (they even have a taco pizza as well). Light meals are generously portioned and well priced. Try the trinchado: steak strips pan-fried in a homemade peri-peri sauce, served with a dash of cream and crostini on the side. For something with spice, have the sweet potato and chorizo.

Taco Zulu is a fun spot and perfect for end-of-week lunch breaks. Reserve a picnic table on the patio, or on the ridiculously comfy couches inside. The vibe is infectious so bring a sense of adventure and try something new and ex-spicing.

Contact Taco Zulu

Tel 031 303 9584, email [email protected]www.tacozulu.co.za


4. Unity Bar and Brasserie, Silvervause Centre, Musgrave

Unity Bar and Brasserie is a pub with all the elements of a trendy, craft beer-drinking hole: topless barmen quench the thirsts of bearded hipsters, rugby fans, and unpretentious beer lovers alike.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Unity Bar,, burger

Photo courtesy of Unity Bar

The philosophy here is one of food that’s fresh, and flavours that are real, local and honest. Anticipate good-value comfort classics like mash and sausage, beer-battered fish and chips, and some legit Durban curries complete with poppadum and roti. This brasserie is an equally suitable choice for something quick, yet satisfying or for hour-long lunches. If perfection was a meal, than that meal would be a bunny chow at Unity Bar. Dig into the chicken and prawn bunny chow (who knew the two ingredients could be friends? Try Luke Nair’s chicken and prawn curry recipe here). The lamb and bean bunny chows are just as tantalizing.

If you like your dessert with a dose of sport, stick around for a game on the big screen and try the caramel popcorn sundae. Yummy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Contact Unity Bar and Brasserie

Tel 031 201 3470, email [email protected], www.unitybar.co.za


5. Moyo, uShaka Pier

African-themed restaurants can sometimes feel contrived and cheesy. Moyo, uShaka Pier is a bespoke, contemporary restaurant that is anything but.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Moyo uShaka Pier, durban restaurant

Photo courtesy of Moyo uShaka Pier

Situated on Durban’s foreshore, Moyo is the first restaurant that extends 150 metres into the sea and the only place from where you can view the sunset over the Durban city skyline. A distinctive choice for a sophisticated African experience, Moyo presents an unforgettable ambiance that celebrates the beauty of Africa and the industry of her people.

The food is designed to appeal to the cultured palate: inventive Afro-fusion dishes include air-dried kudu bresaola with strawberries, feta, cocktail tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and Dijon vinaigrette, or ostrich berbere (Ethiopian spice mix), served with Zimbabwean nhopi dovi (a peanut and pumpkin mash). Pair that with a bottle of M’hudi Pinotage to complement an easy Sunday lunch with a surge of Moyo class. It’s not cheap, but definitely worth splashing out.

Contact Moyo uShaka Pier

Tel 031 332 0606, [email protected], www.moyo.co.za


6. Market Restaurant, 40 Marriot Road, Greyville

Market Restaurant is a world-class garden restaurant situated in an upmarket suburban area, off the touristy beaten track. The interior is decorated with white chairs, wooden floors and yellow accents splashed around the venue. Enjoy a late lunch in the courtyard shaded under the leopard trees, with the hum of water running from the fountain. Market is idyllic for discreet business meetings, romantic dates or lingering ladies’ lunches.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Market Restaurant, durban restaurant

Photo courtesy of Market Durban

Though the menu is small, it caters for most tastes and will speak to the foodie in you: everything looks delectable. Try the sage roasted butternut, bacon and pine nut, cream penne or the brinjal cannelloni, stuffed with ricotta, feta and baby spinach, topped off with tomato relish. For dessert, try the cinnamon and banana hotcakes accompanied by crème fraiche and honey.

Contact Market Restaurant

Tel 031 309 8581, email [email protected], www.themarketrestaurant.co.za


7. Remo’s Fratelli, 14 Flanders Dr, Umhlanga

When the actor Kevin James exclaimed, ‘There’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap,’ I’m almost certain he was referring to a pizza from Durban’s Remo’s Fratelli. At Remo’s family values and love are tangible and the passion for great food can be found among the staff, its patrons and the owners alike.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Remo's Fratelli, pizza

Photo courtesy of Remo’s Fratelli

Think fresh cakes, croissants, quiches, brownies, imported meats and cheeses, olive oils, pasta and sauces. Plus there is the option to customise an individual slice of pizza. Remo’s is incredibly popular, so book ahead and relish in a relaxing Sunday lunch when Remo’s serves up a great roast!

Contact Remo’s Fratelli

Tel 031 539 5955, email [email protected], www.remos.co.za


8. House of Curries, 275 Florida Road, Morningside

At an average spend of R80 – main course and a drink included – House of Curries is a primed-up, shebeen-vibe spot with authentic Indian dishes at a steal.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, House of Curries, curry

Photo courtesy of House of Curries

One of our top 12 best curry restaurants in Durban , this modern shebeen in the heart of busy Florida Road is an ideal place to hang out with friends for a good lunch in Durban and mingle on Fridays and Saturdays. Depending on how long you stay, the venue transforms into a vibey dance club, with good music, beers and late-night munchies.

If you appreciate your samosas, get an assortment of four for R18 and choose from: potato, chicken , mince, cheese and sweetcorn. Or try the poori patha, an age-old delicacy of marinated madumbe leaves rolled and served between roti-like pastry. The chip chow – a large plate of chips, topped with a curry of your choice then smothered in melted cheddar cheese – is a great starter shared among the table. If you’re still not entirely sold, try the classics: butter chicken; fish, prawn and vegetable curries and naan will definitely satisfy.

The food is superb, it’s simple, it’s fun. Give it a try!

Bring the taste of India into your own home with these great curry recipes

Contact House of Curries

Tel 031 303 6076, Find House of Curries on Facebook


9. Daruma, 63 Snell Parade

The layout offers diners the opportunity to eat teppanyaki style (food is cooked on a hot griddle in front of you) or – for those looking for a more private dining experience – a regular table. Book in advance if you’re looking for a front-row seat into the world of teppanyaki eating.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Daruma, sushi

Photo courtesy of Daruma Durban

With good food, awesome ambiance and affordable prices, Daruma is well suited for a Saturday lunch treat. Watch a smiling chef prepare a prawn tempura (traditional Japanese style light and crispy fry) in a specially designed 100% copper tempura nabe (pot) while crayfish, king-size prawns, white fish and various vegetables simmer in creative infusions all around you. Fresh from the sea, Daruma’s prawn tempura is a cut above the rest. If you are not in the mood for seafood, perhaps the beef set menu will satisfy.

Contact Daruma

Tel 031 362 1322, email [email protected], www.daruma.co.za


10. Gringo’s Mexican Canteen, Lighthouse Center, Chartwell Drive

At Gringo’s Mexican Canteen, brightly-coloured chairs and tables are set against panelled walls with wooden blocks, giving the venue a rustic, friendly and easy-going feel. If you’re looking for an outdoor lunch equally as relaxing, head to the patio outside and enjoy Durban’s endless summers. Gringo’s is the kind of restaurant where one should go with a big group of friends or colleagues for a half day out of the office (call it a team-building lunch). Try the jalapeno bombs, they’re simply delicious. Another winner is the chicken burrito served with chips.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Gringo's, durban restaurant

Photo courtesy of Gringo’s Durban

Gringo’s is a  Mexican Canteen with heaps of flair where tequilas, margaritas, burritos, fajitas and the bits in between come together to please. Gringos and non-Gringos alike are sure to enjoy an afternoon of sun in the fun and a bit of spicy in the tum.

Contact Gringo’s Mexican Canteen

Tel 031 811 4258, Find Gringo’s on Facebook


11. Drop Kick Murphy’s, 219 Florida Road

Drop Kick Murphy’s (no doubt inspired by the band) instantly gets the cool badge just because a name with such quirk (even when borrowed) deserves further enquiry.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, Dropkick Murphy's, durban restaurant

Photo courtesy of Dropkick Murphy’s

Drop Kick Murphy’s is a live music venue and bar that features an unlikely combination of hip-hop, punk and hardcore acts on a Friday night. During the day however, the venue is an upmarket pub with more sophisticated trimmings than what you’d usually expect. The food is good, homely and pure comfort. Enjoy a juicy, pure, beef cheese burger creation paired with a light and refreshing African pale ale.

Contact Drop Kick Murphy’s

Tel 031 825 1858, or find Dropkick Murphy’s on Facebook


12. The Factory Café, 369 Gale Street (Magwaza Maphalala)

This is one of those spaces you walk into and think, ‘This is exactly the place I had been meaning to visit.’ It is a place so nostalgic, so perfect you feel as though you are sharing in the owner’s dream.


top spots for lunch in durban, lunch spots, food, The Factory Cafe, durban restaurant

Photo courtesy of The Factory Cafe

Situated in the industrial section of Durban, this coffee shop features a historic Colombo coffee roaster which adds to its trendy, grunge vibe. It is unique in that it is a coffee destination that doubles as an entertainment space and music venue. Expect freshly roasted artisanal coffee, tasty treats, exclusive teas, fresh juice and a light seasonal menu.

The café has been known to host live music on Saturdays from 11h00 and is always populated with creatives and indie-acid blend of music and, of course, the sweet aroma of coffee. Be sure to try the aggressive chocolate blend – a stella cuppa – or the cacao gelato – an ode to chocolate and coffee yumminess.

Contact The Factory Café

Tel 031 205 3283, email [email protected], www.factorycafe.co.za


13. Bar Ba Coa, Shop 1 Lighthouse Mall, Umhlanga Rocks

Bar Ba Coa is the perfect eatery: an airy space with lots of sunshine, a setting where each table feels to be in the perfect position, serving damn good food (and by food, I mean meat). Of course they serve other delightful bits (I had to close my eyes for my dessert but we’ll get there), that utterly spoil the palate.


bar ba coa, steak, restaurant

Chimichurri fillet steak – nothing better.

You walk in and feel comfortable almost instantly. The big, open windows have a lot to do with it and the light changing little as you step inside. The walls are a bold red adorned with wooden photo-frames, and old black and white images contrast the walls’ deep hue. It’s stunningly designed, but not over-the-top or off-putting. The beef and biltong carpaccio, stuffed with biltong and drizzled with chimichurri (a green Argentinian sauce used for grilled meat) is a great twist to biltong and/or standard beef carpaccio. You have to try it. Prepare your palate with the in-house red Sociales. Perfectly balanced, and just the drink to compliment your steak. For mains? The fillet champion is simply great – medallions with brown mushrooms, topped with red wine jus. Delicious! Because simplicity is always a comfort, go for Mozart’s ice cream on a cone option. Their ice creams are rich and creamy and you can mix the three options if you like.

Contact Bar Ba Coa

Tel 031 561 4106, email [email protected], www.barbacoa.co.za


14. Olive and Oil, 149 153 Bulwer Road, Glenwood

“The olive has had a huge impact on all the important civilisations of the Mediterranean for at least 4 000 years, evoking feelings of harmony, vitality and health” – so says their website. I don’t know about all of that, but their food is hearty and made with passion. I had the gorgonzola and bacon fillet, served on crispy rosemary potatoes. The temperature of the food when it arrives, as well as the consistency of each ingredient was magic, cooked just right. I chose the crumpets served with ice cream and syrup for dessert. I know. Just the sound of it, right? This place was homey, the staff didn’t try too hard and the specials were many.


Tel 031 201 6146, email [email protected], www.oliveandoil.co.za


15. Billy the Bums, 504 Lilian Ngoyi Road, Morningside

Billy the Bums is the sort of place you visit for a late lunch, right before a big night out. You know, the sort of place where you go to line your stomach. Billy the Bums serves food that is tasty and generous in its portions. It has the same owners as Bar Ba Coa, mentioned above, and the trend is the same – great food and equally good vibe. I had a cheese burger – straight up, not shaken, or stirred – and like most cheese burgers should, this one touched sides – hard! The fries deserve their own sentence. They are all that fried starch should be: devilishly satisfying.

Go on a Thursday and on the weekend to transition from after work drinks and good food, to a buzz that often leads to a serious jam with guest DJs like Euphonik, Roger Goode and DJ Fresh. Guests always come looking sharp and ready to impress. Also, they have unplugged Wednesdays now where any burger and 500ml Black Label beer will cost you R80!


031 303 1988, email [email protected], www.billythebums.co.za


Looking for more things to do in Durban?

The best markets, restaurants and street food in Durban

Durban’s best curry restaurants

Winter restaurant specials in Durban


You may also like

yoast-primary -
tcat - Restaurants
tcat_slug - restaurants-food
tcat2 -
tcat2_slug -
tcat_final - food-and-drink