You know what a lot of people don't realize? Is that Jozi has an impressive line-up of eateries that we should all spend a little more time being smug about, and the epicurean evolution is showing no signs of slowing down.
We have the whole package, the full enchilada people. So here's a list that will leave you weak at the knees. And hungry.
And we'd love to hear from anyone who has great places to recommend that aren't on our list.
Lucky Bean Restaurant, Melville
16th Seventh Street
Lucky Bean - I reckon you’re just lucky if you’ve been there. (I know). But seriously, what’s not to love about one of the Southern Suburbs’ most-loved, and very Jozi-esque lunch spots.
Sauvignon Blanc Slow cooked pork belly and star anise sauce: topped with calamari stuffed with chilli, lime and coconut milk jam - OR go Karoo-fusion with the Ostrich bobotie spring rolls - OR Springbok with port jus, mash and roast vegetables.
Dessert - Pear and pecan nut tart. No question.
What else - DJs on Friday afternoons and weekends; the breathtaking Lucky Bean Tree Mural (gotta see it); funky lounge/bar where you can have private parties.
Salvation Cafe, Melville
44 Stanley Avenue
This is where to get your brunch on baby. African authenticity, organic coffee, and eggs benedict to die for. Oh, and street cred points for joining in the 44 Stanley vibe of course.
Possum's Bistro and Deli, Parkhurst
Cnr 6th Street and 4th Avenue
With it's busy-busy buzzing atmosphere, Possums is quirky, colourful and has a faithful following of epicurean enthusiasts who flock here regularly for out-the-box meals. They're also proudly punting free-range and organic produce. 'Food embroidered by imagination' is their catch-phrase.
So to eat? Try free-range pork belly salad with organic vegetables and a dijon-orange dressing; Duck breast on bok choy with pomegranate glaze and ginger potatoes. Their deli also has a whole range of goodies that you'll want to take home with you.
The Leopard, Parkhurst
Cnr 12th Street & 4th Avenue
The unfussy, light, happy space is just the place to unwind before heading back to the hubbub of the afternoon at work, or for a leisurely weekend lunch or dinner. And then there’s the option of breakfast for lunch - anyone? Owner Andrew Burgener has poured her culinary heart and soul into this place, and you can taste the creativity in every bite. Oh, and they like to feed you meat from happy cows and such, always a major bonus.
With the underlying Asian influence, I’m in my happy place before I’ve even sat down. Tuck into a ‘Vigour bowl’ that comes in bento-box fashion with layering of sticky rice, veg and either crispy duck or shiitake mushrooms to top it all off. To end - DIY hot choc, thankyouverymuch. Positively lip smacking.
Nice on 4th, Parkhurst
Corner 4th Avenue & 14th Street
World famous toast pots, filled with crispy bacon and a poached egg, or smoked salmon and hollandaise. Need we say more? Except, get there early weekend mornings to get a table.
Vovo Telo, Parkhurst
Cobbles Centre, 4th Avenue
Serving up the most beautiful, made-with-love artisanal breads and pastries Vovo Telo is just an all round happy-making story, the stuff legends are made of. Hippy-chic at it's proudest, coffees that you'll keep coming back for, and deliciously creative, clever and wholesome food.
Cube, Parktown North
17- 4th Ave, Parktown North (next to Mantra)
If it's pure gastronomical fascination and pushing the proverbial foodie boat out that lights your fire, then this is the place for you. Completely down-to-earth award-winning celebrity chef Dario de Angeli’s recently turned things up a notch, and opened his Cube Test Kitchen.
Think 20 course seasonal tasting menus, with palate-tickling treats like de-constructed gazpacho, liquid apple cream pies, mushroom shots and squid ink prawns. These are just a few of his jaw-dropping signature dishes (aka works of art) that I had the pleasure of sampling recently. And all delivered with his self-deprecating charm.
The tasting menu goes for around R450, and it's BYO booze, so call ahead and they'll even give you suggestions on what to bring along so that it pairs beautifully with your food on the night.
Wombles, Parktown North
17 Third Avenue
Also in Illovo, Bassonia, Bryanston
If she really loves you, if you're really soul mates, if it's destiny, then it has to be steak, surely? And what could fit the bill more perfectly than award-winning steaks served with (somewhat retro) love. These guys live for honest-to-goodnessly delicious vleis, and they will go to any lengths to make sure you leave with a full and happy belly, smiling all over your face.
Modo Mio, Sandton
339 Jan Smuts Avenue, Shepherd Market, Randburg/Hyde Park
They have Zucchini fries. And they are drop dead delicious. And well, then there’s the dessert pizzas. Need I say more? Modo Mio is tucked away in "Shepherd's Market" off Jan Smuts (between Hyde Park Centre & the Colony) and opens onto a not-so-grand parking lot. But don’t let that put you off for one single second. It’s a cute little trattoria that deserves your undivided attention very soon.
The Good Luck Club, Illovo
3 Corlett Drive
Asian fusion is what this happening little 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. Also, next door is Wolves deli/coffee shop, so it's kind of a two for one deal for getting your happy on.
Voodoo Lily Café, Birdhaven/Sandhurst
64 St Andrew Street
For funk-less-the-fuss 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.
Cafe del Sol, Randburg
Olivedale Corner Centre, car Olive and Pres. Fouche Road
Recently voted 'Best Italian' in South Africa in the prestigious Eat Out awards 2012, we see no reason to argue with their choice. They have everything from intelligently updated twists on Italian classics, to marshmallow-fluffy gnocchi. The only problem? Be careful, it's addictive.
Ghazal, Peter Place, Sunninghill
Coachman's Crossing, Peter Place and The Square, Sunninghill
Now these guys are the kings of the curry quick fix. Truly, ask anyone around here and talk of Ghazal comes with a very firm thumbs up.
You'll be rather pleased with yourself if you start off with the 'starter platter for 1' which comes with a delicious array of treats, from vegetable samosas to onion bhajias and the most succulent tikka chicken. For mains, try their classic lamb khorma or gosht badami tender lean lamb in an almond and cream gravy or kingklip curry in a spicy and fragrant paste. Oh, and make sure you book.
Peach Cafe, Camdeboo Farm, Fourways
83 Selbourne Road, Off Church Street
Pull on your hunter wellies, or vellies (!), and head on over for beautiful rustic farm fare, and good clean farm air. The happy-making food at this absolutely charming little spot is made with love the Gautier family. Also, take your kiddies along and say hello to the ducks and even pick peaches from their orchard when in season. Love!
The Eatery, Parkmore
C/O Victoria Ave and 11th Street
You’d think it’d be hard to take two fairly green (as in newbie) green (as in sourcing happy food) restaurateurs seriously, or at least think ‘their days are numbered’ but not so of this spot. It’s far and away one of my favourite in the city. Beautiful food, sophisticated yet vibey atmosphere and the distinct impression that this is about the evolution of epicurean passion.
There you go. Now please send us your comments and suggestions below.
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