Criaghall and Illovo have all the pleasantness of suburban surroundings, but the added vibe of being on the fringe of Sandton and Hyde Park, which I like. This also translates to having an impressive line-up of humble but well-loved restaurants that keep their regulars coming back, well, regularly. Go and find out why.
Casalottis Pizza Rapido, Craighall Park
110 Clarence Avenue, corner Lancaster Avenue
Here’s where words like ‘cheerful’, ‘family friendly’ and ‘unpretentious’ come to mind. The epitome of no-mess no-fuss Italian, with the paper for-drawing-on tablecloths that all pizza-loving kids know and love. The Casalottis pizzas also join the ranks with almost 20 years of experience, so I guess it’s safe to say that they know a thing or two about pulling pukka pizzas from the oven.
You can also get gluten-free pizza bases. Oh, AND they deliver for ten bucks. Pretty skoochie.
Corner Cafe & Bistro, Craighall Park
Cnr Buckingham and Rothesay Avenues
Hearty, fresh, wholesome food is what Corner Cafe is most loved for. Enjoy a laid-back lunch under one of their street-side umbrellas and the feel-good that come with simple, honest and food.
Shop 2, Piazza Level, Illovo Square
Get your bistro on baby. This place has classic chequered floors and the requisite Mediterranean flair (can be translated into endearingly mildly kitsch) that you would expect of any seasoned Italian eatery.
David and Mari Verte have been serving up princely pizzas and pastas for over 20 years so I guess it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about getting it right. Sitting comfortably in the upper echelons of pizza prices, this is perhaps a more thought-about eat out option rather than a frivolous last-minute grab-a-bite-joint. I mean, how many other Italian eateries do you know where you can buy bubbly by the glass?
Shop 26, Post Office Centre, Rudd Road
No, not THAT Reubens, of 5 star Franschhoek fame. But THIS Reubens. Our Jozi Reubens. And there ain’t no haute cuisine hanging around this spot thankyouverymuch. But what you will find are the best damn hot-dogs in town, and arguably in the country. Oh, and mustard mayo to die for. And honest-to-goodnessly delicious sarmis.
The Good Luck Club
3 Corlett Drive, Illovo
Asian fusion is what this spot is all about, and that means epic 'noodle bowls' (one-pots packed with flavour), super laid-back vibe but with the usual efficiency of Asian service, gorgeous creamy coconut juice, slow beers, oh, and the cutest kitty cat wall paper you ever did see. It's cracking, so fly in for some 'Lucky wings' with ginger, fish sauce, garlic, parsley and mint. Or try their dim sum to die for.
The Patisserie, Illovo
Rudd Road Post Office Centre, Rudd Road
One of Jozi's favourite cake and pastry spots for very good reason. Besides perfect cupcakes, they also offer light breakfast and lunch fare that's perfect for taking it easy in their laid-back bistro surrounds.
Voodoo Lily Café, Birdhaven/Sandhurst
64 St Andrew Street?
For funk-less-the-fuss hippy-chic and happy, organic comfort food this is the place to go. And we’re talking about a whole lot more than just lentils. Heck, they even have burgers that are almost worth marrying. And, their little deli means that you can even take home more goodness for later. Don't mind if we do.
3 Corlett Drive
“If I lived in Joburg, Wolves would be my coffice. It is an awesome little spot, with an all day breakfast, free wifi and killer coffee. Edwin, the manager, is an absolute legend and the walls are clad in small pieces of art. The couches are comfy, the cakes are to die for and the hot chocolate comes with a moustache – a chocolate one” says Robyn Campbell, Jozi coffee connoisseur of ‘I Love Coffee’ fame.
And, that's not where it ends. Bistro-style fare that includes happy-making croissants for breakfast and killer meatball subs are just two more reasons to fall in love.
Follow @food24 and @foodieliveshere on twitter.