Johannesburg’s dining scene has got it covered: from hidden spots where foodies can try local fare to excellent eateries specialising in international cuisine, this South African city is full of flavour. The local estaurants can satisfy both the gourmets and street-food snackers, so we thought it was time to update our previous guide to the ten best restaurants across the many districts and suburbs of Johannesburg.
Cafe del Sol
Said to be one of the best Italian restaurants in town, Cafe del Sol’s menu is a thorough and delicious exploration of Italy’s rich gastronomy. Enjoy a dish of utterly delectable, house-made pasta for an indulgent lunch, or choose Cafe del Sol for an intimate dinner illuminated by the candlelight. While the lip-smacking Italian fare sates your appetite, let the meaningful quotes found throughout the venue of figures such as Buddha, Nelson Mandela and Albert Einstein provide you with food for thought and solace for your soul. Every great city comes with a great Italian restaurant – Johannesburg has it in Cafe del Sol.
Cube Tasting Kitchen
Johannesburg’s Cube Tasting Kitchen offers a quite unconventional dining experience. The kitchen serves 30 guests at a time; booking in advance, here, is essential. The lucky 30 are then presented with a pre-fixed, 10 course tasting menu, which is slowly revealed dish after dish over the course of no less than three hours. Such a peculiar format arises from the owners’ vision of dining as a community-building occasion, a spark to ignite conversation and give the gift of joy. Cube Tasting Kitchen’s menu is changed monthly and takes influences from the best-known international cuisines.
After years of experience in the UK and South Africa, in 2009 chef Marthinus Ferreira eventually established his own restaurant in Johannesburg, DW 11-13. Here, Ferreira pampers his guests, receiving them in a modernly elegant dining room with a menu of creative dishes firmly founded on local cuisine. Recipes like the hammed kroon duck, the oxtail wellington or the roasted hake make this one of the best fine-dining restaurants in Joburg. If you’re looking for a more casual dinner, join the restaurant’s Grazing Room alongside the many youngsters who flock to this venue, and feast on the tantalising Spanish tapas showcased in the menu.
District Six Eatery
Before Apartheid, Johannesburg’s historic District Six was predominantly inhabited by locals; but in the 1960s, the neighbourhood’s population was displaced to make space for the whites and the buildings razed to the ground. District Six Eatery celebrates the original spirit of this area, serving homely, traditional Cape Malay fare in a lively and joyful atmosphere. Old family pictures and panama hats hang on the colourful walls and overlook the cheerful clientele, who join this small but unique restaurant to have a good time in like-minded company and enjoy such delicacies as bredie (mutton stew), boboties(spiced mince meat pie) and koeksisters (doughnuts coated with syrup).
At Five Hundred, cookery becomes artistry. Part of Johannesburg’s luxurious Saxon hotel, this fine-dining restaurant sweeps gourmets off their feet with an array of carefully elaborated and incredibly exquisite dishes, prepared with fresh, local ingredients, some sourced directly from the hotel’s own vegetable garden. Highlights from the fixed four or six course menus include the scrumptious impala loin with pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes and ginger beer, or the roasted monkfish with lemon thyme and dried courgette. For the best experience, book the private dining room and watch on while Five Hundred’s talented chefs prepare your meal under your longing eyes.
Choose Koi for a delicious Asian dinner in Johannesburg. With two locations in the city, in Sandton and Rosebank, and another two in Pretoria and Cape Town, Koi is known for a surprising fusion of Japanese and Chinese cuisine with influences inspired by Western fare. decorated, the Koi restaurants blend Oriental allure with the layout of a fast-food diner, managing to accommodate its numerous customers while still maintaining a pleasant ambiance. Koi’s outlets are widely regarded as some of the best spots in Johannesburg to taste great sushi; and Rosebank’s Koi, in particular, boasts a delightful outdoor lounge for a charming al fresco dining experience.
Mythos brings the Mediterranean flavours of Greek cuisine to all food lovers in Johannesburg. The menu offers a remarkably varied spread of typically Greek delights, like the kleftiko (lamb shank with roasted potatoes), the biftekia (mince meat patties) or thepastitsio (oven-baked macaroni). But Mythos’s strongest draw is its rich selection of meze dishes, available in meat, fish and vegetarian options – vegetarians are particularly catered for in this restaurant. A local franchise, Mythos is open at multiple locations throughout Johannesburg, all beautifully bright and airy, but each one with unique traits. The branch in Design Quarter, with navy blue accents and a keen maritime vibe, is a favourite.
Tasha’s is a prominent chain of ten eateries located throughout South Africa established by skilled restaurateur Natasha Sideris, a household name in the Rainbow Nation’s cooking industry. All Tasha’s cafes offer a range of simple but fresh and delicious bites (salads, sandwiches,tramezzini, omelettes, quesadillas), which makes them a preferred choice for a satisfying brunch or lunch. One of the fundamental elements on which the Tasha’s concept is based is that each store should have its own style and spirit. This explains why every café in the chain is uniquely decorated – the branch in Johannesburg’s Rosebank features a beige to brown palette, books hanging from the ceiling on a long, quaint wood table, and more generally a relaxing and delightful ambiance. Truly a little gem of a café in Johannesburg.
Treat yourself like a pro – book a table at The Grillhouse for a top-level dining experience. The Grillhouse offers an outstanding selection of succulent meat dishes prepared with prime, incredibly tasty meat, from t-bone steaks and mouth-watering rib eyes, to lamb cutlets and venison meat. Brick walls, parqueted floors, discreet lights and geometric wine cellars give this upscale restaurant a beautifully rustic look and feel, the perfect aura to complement the exquisite grilled meats. Join the Grillhouse in either Rosebank or Sandton – if you settle on the Rosebank location, don’t forget to hop in at the contiguous Katzy’s, The Grillhouse’s exclusive club.
There’s a fine, juicy line connecting Johannesburg’s steakhouse Wombles and the African country of Zimbabwe. Wombles’s owners hail from Zimbabwe, and so does the quality, delicious beef meat that they serve their patrons in finger-licking dishes and hearty portions. Customers can make their pick from a tantalizing gamut of eleven different cuts of meat, which come to the table with a romantic touch – a decoration of colourful pansies. Housed in a stately villa, the restaurant’s stunning dining rooms, featuring arresting red walls and opulent furnishings, recreates a bygone aura of Colonial times.