Las Iguanas, a UK mid-market restaurant brand, will open its first outlet in South Africa in June 2017 in Johannesburg.

The brand specialises in Mexican, Brazilian and South American food and cocktails.


“South Africans are always hungry for new places to dine, and Las Iguanas will fill the gap with this well established concept,” says Stelio Nathanael, chief operating officer of Gold Brands, which is bringing the brand to South Africa.

In addition to its existing brands of Chesanyama, Blacksteer, 1+1 Pizza Pasta, Opa!Pitaland and Chicken Wild Wings, Gold Brands has added UK brands from the Casual Dining Group – Las Iguanas, Café Rouge, Belgo and Bella Italia, to its expanding portfolio.

“The idea behind the brand was to create a fun, happy place that made people feel good about themselves and life in general. Twenty five years down the line, it is still doing just that,” says Mos Shamel, MD of Las Iguanas, which started in Bristol in 1991. Known for its vibrant colours and atmosphere, the outlet now has 53 sites.

High street favourites

An integral part of its identity is its extensive cocktail offer, which boasts a variety of classic South American serves, such as mojitos, caipirinhas and margaritas. Its food menu draws inspiration from flavours across South America, featuring a large range of tacos, alongside a selection of Mexican classics and tapas style small plates. Its Buenos Aires burger also won the UK Casual Dining Magazine National Burger Awards in 2017.

Mark Nelson, managing director of Franchising and Concessions at CDG, said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring our brands to South Africa and reach a new audience. Our brands are regarded as high street favourites in the UK and we are confident they will thrive in this new market.”

Las Iguanas will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, with specials added daily. A bespoke children’s menu is available, which has been designed with Aardman animations, the animation company behind Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, so that it is easily navigable for children.


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