Looking for a place to book guests for a memorable lunch or dinner in Joburg? I’m often asked the question – so I’ve jotted down my tips. I’m not trying to be comprehensive at all, but rather to list places that offer a uniquely Joburg experience as well as innovative food – and be fairly easy to get to from Sandton and Rosebank.
I strongly recommend the revitalised parts of downtown Joburg (including Maboneng, Braamfontein and Newtown) as these offer insight into the city’s history and an experience of its contemporary culture. The older ‘Parks’ suburbs around Rosebank (Parkhurst, Parktown North, Parkview etc) are leafy and relaxed; their village atmosphere enables visitors to experience the city very differently to what they expect.
Urbanologi – this ticks so many boxes; historic warehouse setting, exceptional fusion tapas-style food, craft brewery right there, well-chosen wines, Haldane Martin interiors, celebrity chef.
Cosmopolitan – Dario de Angeli’s new restaurant opens properly in November in a magnificent 1899 Victorian building in hip Maboneng, understated and elegant.
Che – vibrant warehouse space with meat cooked Argentine-style on open coals.
Canteen – chilled lunches under olive trees in a courtyard surrounded by galleries.
Gentleman’s Arthouse – Eccentric opulence in a former Edwardian washhouse, best booked for private events (combine with local design shopping at Work Shop New Town).
Love Food – Fresh and quick self-serve-style lunch on the way through town.
Food markets open all weekend at Joziburg Lane and Fox Street Sheds, Saturdays at Neighbourgoods and Sundays at Arts on Main. If you have a group, markets are best done early before they get too crowded.
Coobs – sophisticated, quite smart and on a vibey street, cooking with local produce from their own farm.
The National – sister to Coobs but more casual bistro style.
Parkhurst’s 4th Avenue offers the best sidewalk café feel, including Hudsons for gourmet burgers, Stella E Luna's relaxed Italian food. I sometimes recommend visitors to just go there early, walk the street and choose.
Linden’s scene is growing with places like Ritual Café, The Whippet, Rosto and PRON.
Leopard – magically eclectic menu, relaxed but chic, arty crowd in this Bohemian suburb.
7th Avenue has several new eateries – try La Luna, Pablo Eggs-go-bar, Federal or La Santa Muerte – lots of bars for young pax looking to party afterwards.
Eatery – industrial décor, sophisticated menu, good wines and craft beer in a suburb next to Sandton’s hotels.
Marble – new and glamorous, with prices to match. I recommend the bar for drinks - elegant, great view of the sunset.
Milk Bar – Vibrant African décor, light daytime food and good coffee, set among the art galleries of the very cool new Keyes Art Mile.
Chains, malls and hotel restaurants tend to feel as if they could be in any city so they’re not on my list, but there are some good exceptions such as Tasha’s.