Review – Lucky Rodrigo

Where: Corner of The Hillside Street and Alpine Way (It’s at the shopping centre there), Pretoria, South Africa

Telephone number: 0728534468/ 0829255674

Opening times:
Monday – Tuesday: 08:00 – 18:00
Wednesday – Saturday: 08:00 – 00:00

Good for:
- An afternoon with friends
- Cute dates
- Encouraging a foodie addiction

There are few places in Pretoria that excite the foodie in me. I consider myself an Indiana Jones of discovering these places because I have become wary of being subjected to generic food chains that produce the same tasting food. One of these discoveries is Lucky Rodrigo, just off Lynnwood Road in Pretoria. I discovered this place because one of my friends recommended it. He visits Shivas, a nearby pub, far too often and decided to check out Lucky Rodrigo one day and loved it. Now I love it.

Lucky Rodrigo is a quiet restaurant in a quiet area. It has a pretty random location considering a lot of upcoming cafes and delis are located in Arcadia and Hatfield. I could say that the area is in the perfect suburbia and walking into the restaurant transports you back into the 70′s. I could imagine that Lucky Rodrigo could have been the perfect almost bunker looking restaurant back then if Russia and America decided to get it on and screw the world.

Grilled Chicken Burger (R40) and Peach Bos Ice Tea (R16)

You have a menu of burgers, main meals and a single dessert. It is a simple menu but everything is well priced and really tasty. It is R40 for all burgers and each burger comes with either a huge plate of chips or a salad. It seriously makes me happy because on top of liking good food, I believe I prefer good cheap food and that’s not even considering the total mouth-gasm of the dessert. I was extremely full from the burger and my R16 Bos Ice Tea but as I had heard about the dessert I made my stomach shut up and ordered it. The single dessert is a Butterscotch Sauce covered Malva Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s probably their only dessert because they do it so well. It made me so happy that I’ve just gone back for the dessert, especially when I haven’t had time or space for a burger.

Malva Pudding with a Butterscotch Sauce (R30)

The only thing you need to prepare yourself for is that the service at Lucky Rodrigo is lacking. It feels like a student-run affair. I recall the last time I went that our waiter actually forgot about our dessert  and we ended up waiting 20 minutes for nothing, which really sucked. However, I’m willing to overlook it because I love the food. There is also no alcohol served at Lucky Rodrigo.

So I suggest you make your way to Lucky Rodrigo and make yourself happy. They recently launched a new menu so you will find me there!

  • Christo de Beer

    Awesome little venue, great to get away from the usual super-buzz of the mainstream places.
    Btw, they have recently acquired their license, so alcohol is now served (including some awesome craft beers)

  • De Villiers Keet

    It’s true that this place has nice food and a nice ambience. I’ve been here three times in the past two months or so. The first time was a very very good experience. Excellent burgers, a chill laid back vibe and a really friendly and helpful waitress.

    The other two experiences were increasingly worse, with the last being absolutely awful beyond words. It seems that Lucky Rodrigo has rather exploded in popularity, resulting in a heavily overcrowded bar and restaurant. Rather than have a maximum capacity policy and turning patrons away until space opens up, they seem to be content with letting the place fill up until one can barely move and a point where I’m certain is actually a genuine safety hazard.

    Upon arrival on our last visit, they were already busy and as their kitchen isn’t very large, we waited a good while for our burgers, but this was still acceptable. The food was again tasty as usual, but only one of the three of us actually got the sauce we asked for with our burgers. One of our party had to wait nearly 2h30min for his prego sauce, by which time his burger was ice cold, and the other never got his mushroom sauce.

    Just after receiving our food we received word of our other three friends who were nearly there, so we preemptively ordered food and drinks for them. When they arrived the restaurant had really started to fill up and it turned into a massive mission just to accomplish getting one drink. One of the extra three party members received his burger promptly, but the other had to wait for a good 40mins more for her food. The last member of our party only eventually received his burger when we decided to call it a night and leave. This after about 2 hours of continually asking about said burger and being assured of its imminent arrival.

    I have never in my life walked out of a restaurant without paying, but in this case I would have done it gladly without any hint of conscience. The service was atrocious. We had to order the same drink for our female friend three times from three different waiters before eventually receiving one of them when she was halfway through her food (this after ordering said first drink preemptively before they even arrived.) We ordered two gin & tonics multiple times, which never arrived. We also received a beer we never ordered. And as I’ve mentioned, one of our party only got his burger when we were actually about to leave, much later.

    The bill was the worst of all. After much sitting around, not receiving any drinks or food, despite many attempts, we gave up and asked for the bill, despite multiple orders still “pending.” We had to ask for our bill three times before finally receiving a correct one to pay. The first time a waiter brought our bill, it had only been printed half way before it seems the machine ran out of paper, so we had to call another waiter and request the full bill so we could please pay the full amount. The second time the bill we received was for a completely different table. By the third time we received the correct bill at last, after more long waiting. If it had arrived 5 seconds later it would have been met with an empty table and some cash just left on the table to assuage some consciences.

    This makes me really sad, because this restaurant has a lot of potential, but is ruining the experience of everyone by allowing the place to fill up to near stampede level. Waiters and kitchen and bar staff are simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume, which leads to horrific service which just ruins one’s night. Despite the fact that when the food that eventually arrives is actually quite good, and the vibe of the place when it’s not filled to overflowing is actually very pleasant, our experience over three visits regressed from good to bad to shocking bad.

    Please, Rodrigo’s, get your act together.