Buffet Restaurants in Pretoria

Buffets, Restaurants and Erstwhile Dining in Pretoria

The face of the Jacaranda City, Pretoria, has changed a lot of late. It’s very different from what it was when the baby boomers of the 1940s and 50s were babies. Then, it was a South African city which was home to many of the country’s civil servants, army and air force personnel, employees of South African Railways, the Prison Service and tertiary academics. Today, it’s a modern, cosmopolitan world class city.

Hotel Restaurants

In the mid-20th century, dining out in SA was a rarity.  Pretoria had few independent restaurants – the closest most people came to dining out occurred at roadhouses or when staying over at a hotel.

Hotels usually offered full board accommodation, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner according to a set menu, from which diners made a selection. White jacketed waiters served each course to patrons seated at tables.

Generally, no one left the table from the moment they were seated until the meal was over – totally unlike buffet style meal service, which only became really popular sometime later in South Africa.

The Buffet

It is said that “buffet” was the French word for a “sideboard”, a piece of furniture holding containers from which meals were served. In Afrikaans, “buffet” is still used similarly.

In the latter 20th century, English speaking countries began using the word to denote a meal service in which diners helped themselves from an array of foods displayed on serving tables or in a bain-marie.

Buffet meals offer several practical advantages.
  • People can see and select exactly what they want, and in which quantity – they love to “pick and choose” food, one of the reasons why buffets are so popular
  • Dine at your own pace
  • Great way to serve meals to large numbers of people, placing less strain on a busy kitchen and serving personnel
  • More relaxed, less formal
  • Typically, diners may eat as much as they like, paying a reasonable set price for an entire buffet meal


Beautiful Buffet Restaurants in Pretoria

We operate a number of superb establishments in and around Pretoria. All have dining facilities and options; some specialise superb buffet meals.

  • The Bell Room at Villa Paradiso is equipped to present divine buffet style meals to wedding reception guests.
  • Other on-site venues at Villa Paradiso and in Pretoria can also be set up for buffets
  • Pretoria’s inimitable Monument Restaurant, located in a nature reserve in the foothills of the Voortrekker Monument, is a must for a leisurely Sunday buffet of note. The fare on offer speaks for itself; that’s why delighted diners return again and again. It seems hard to believe that some of our regular buffet guests once enjoyed roadhouse fare, in the days before buffets


Before Buffets – Roadhouse Dining

Stopping in one’s car to eat at a roadhouse was once the only alternative to hotel or home cooked meals; buffets hadn’t arrived in Pretoria yet, roadhouses had. Upon arrival, you’d park your car, remain seated within and place your order with a waiter.

As soon as he returned with a loaded roadhouse tray and its contents, you adjusted your window just so, allowing the tray to be secured to the partially open window glass. There you sat, eating in your vehicle – the very antithesis of our modern buffets.

One assumes that the prevalence of roadhouses and their fast food menus can be attributed to early American influence throughout South Africa. Pretoria’s roadhouses were popular and well supported, also a place when teenagers “hung out” with peers.

Many a roadhouse accommodated café style tables and a juke box blaring inside the main building – a huge drawcard for youngsters who instantly took to the new trend in popular music – rock n roll – much to parents’ dismay.

Besides hamburgers and hotdogs, a mixed grill was a firm roadhouse favourite for hungry diners. On your plate, you could expect to find a piece of steak, a lamb chop, a portion of sausage (usually boerewors or a pork sausage), a fried egg, tomato (usually grilled) and potato chips.

Milkshakes featured prominently, as did floats – a combination of one’s favourite fizzy soft drink with a scoop of vanilla ice cream floating on the liquid and gradually melting into it. Those were the days, but people are more selective now.

Join Us at the Monument

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. Yes, our buffet desserts are delightful, but there’s a lot more excellent food to try at our Monument Restaurant Sunday buffet before you partake in pudding. Moreover, you won’t dine in the uncomfortable confines of your car.
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