It is not the first time that Eat Out has broken its own rules in choosing the chefs eligible for the previous Top 20 Restaurant lists (until 2016, The Pot Luck Club of Chef Luke Dale-Roberts having been snuck in, when it had only been open for 11 months and two weeks in 2014), and this year the same has happened in the Top 30 list for the first time. Three restaurants had not opened by 1 November 2016, the cut-off date for eligibility for the Awards this month, according to Eat Out’s own rules, yet are included in its shortlist! Missing from Eat Out’s List is JAN Restaurant in Nice, our country’s best South African restaurant, and awarded a Michelin-star in 2016 and in 2017! 

Eat Out has not announced why it chose to increase the list to thirty ‘Top Restaurants’, its wording in its announcement, and why it waited so long to announce the list, when the shortlist has always been released in October. The Top 30 Restaurant shortlist for 2017 is as follows, and was announced earlier today:

#.  Camphors at Vergelegen in Somerset West

#.  Chefs Warehouse & CanteenEat Out must have been scraping the barrel this year, awarding this restaurant Best Tapas restaurant in the Eat Out Everyday Eateries Awards a few weeks ago, as well as a finalist for the ‘Top Restaurant’ Awards! How can one restaurant feature in two sets of restaurant awards, at such different levels of awards? Chef Liam has made it into the top Finalist list in the past two years, but has not made it into the Top 10 list in 2015 and in 2016. One would have thought that he would have declined the Award nominations by now, to save himself and his team the embarrassment!!!  This restaurant should not be in the shortlist!

#.  Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia –   This restaurant opened on 23 November 2016, Emma informed, after checking with a colleague. This restaurant should not be on the shortlist! 

#.  DW Eleven-13 in Johannesburg

#.  Faber at Avondale, outside Paarl 

#.  Fermier, in Willows, Pretoria

#   Foliage in Franschhoek, the only restaurant in the village to make the list, in part due to chef changes at Grande Provence and The Kitchen at Maison

#   Foxcroft in Constantia 

#   Greenhouse in Constantia

#   Hartford House in the Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal

#.  Indochine at Delaire Graff

#   Jardine Restaurant in Stellenbosch

#   Jordan Restaurant in Stellenbosch 

#.  La Colombe in Constantia

#  La Mouette in Sea Point 

#   La Tête on Bree Street, not eligible to be shortlisted, as the restaurant opened after the Eat Out Awards in 2016, a bizarre move in that Chef Giles Edwards cooked at the Award event without having opened his doors. This restaurant should not be on the shortlist! 

#   Luke Dale-Roberts @ Saxon in Johannesburg.

#. Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House in Stellenbosch

#.  Marble in Johannesburg

#.  Mulberry & Prince off Bree Street

#.  Overture outside Stellenbosch 

#   The Pot Luck Club in Woodstock

#   The Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West

#.  Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient outside Pretoria

 #   The Shortmarket Club off Bree Street

#   Terroir outside Stellenbosch 

#.  The Test Kitchen in Woodstock 

#.  Thali Indian restaurant in Gardens, which opened at the ‘end of November’, its Chef John van Zyl told me!  This Restaurant should not be in the shortlist! 

#.  Wolfgat in Paternoster. 

Restaurants which should have made the Top 30 Restaurant shortlist, but did not, are the following:

#.  JAN restaurant in Nice, which has been operated by South Africa’s Best and most Proudly Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen!  There is nothing in the Eat Out rules to prevent JAN from being in the 2017 Top 30 Restaurant shortlist, other than the cost of flying the judges there to evaluate the restaurant!

South African focus continues to grow at JAN Restaurant in Nice, soon to be joined by MARIA!

#.  Benguela on Main in Somerset West

#.  Tokara in Stellenbosch 

#.  Pierneef à La Motte in Franschhoek. 

#   Karoux in McGregor, which has regularly won Best Bistro and /or Best Country-Style restaurant in the Eat Out Best Everyday Eateries awards in the past few years. 

#   Locanda restaurant at Villa 47.

A month ago we predicted the Top 30 shortlist as follows: 

Eat Out Top 30 Restaurant shortlist 2017 : a prediction!

A number of restaurants are not eligible for the Top 10 Restaurant Awards this year due to chef changes in the past twelve months:

#.  Grande Provence: Chef Darren Badenhorst has left, to open his brand new Le Coin Français in Franschhoek. Chef Guy Bennett has taken over as Executive Chef

#.   Delaire Graff: Chef Michael Deg left the main restaurant at the end of September. He has moved to Cavalli Estate.  Chef Kieran Whyte of Charango has taken over the Kitchen. 

#.  The Stack: Chef Warwick King moved to Delaire Graff a few months ago. Chef Jason Kosmas is the new Head Chef.

#.  The Kitchen at Maison: A Top 10 restaurant in 2016, but no longer eligible due to Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg leaving at the end of October, to open Janse & Co in Cape Town in December. Chefs Warehouse at Maison opens in December. 

#.  Rust en Vrede: Top 10 last achieved in 2015. Chef John Shuttleworth has left, to return to the U.K., and has been replaced by Head Chef Fabio Daniel.

The following restaurants opened during the course of the last year, but did not meet the opening deadline of 1 November 2016, to be eligible for the Awards this year: Reuben’s Franschhoek, Thali, Chef’s Warehouse Beau Constantia, La Petite Colombe (taking the space of the former Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français), Tintswalo, and La Tête.

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Twitter: @Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram:@chris_ulmenstein