It's cooler than cool, in fact I think I’d call it ‘hipster chic’. The Maboneng Precinct is one of the most dynamic examples of up and coming central Joburg: clean, safe and newly renovated, it’s a plethora of boutique clothing stores, galleries, theatres and of course, restaurants.
But with so much ‘cool’ to choose from here’s a guide to help you find the chill to fit your bill:
Eat your heart out: a deli-style, quirky little spot for all day breakfasts and Israeli inspired flavours: The Shakshuka, Israeli breakfast and potato latke are all worth trying and the veggie burger patty is just dreamy. Lots of delicious options that are both vegan and gluten free. Go for breakfast/brunch/lunch with the ladies.
Little Addis: My favourite spot. Ethiopian food that is both authentic and out of this world. Kassa is the owner with a heart as big as his smile and plates of food to match. It’s about eating with your hands and getting stuck in so steer clear if you’re a prissy eater. You have to try his famous meat and veggie injera platters: beautiful pancake-like flatbread topped with portions of slow cooked lentils, lamb, beef, beetroot, cabbage, potato, sweet pumpkin and spicy chicken that I would honestly kill for. No liquor licence so bring your own or pop next door to the Bioscope and grab a beer. Go for lunch/dinner anytime/all the time.
(Mon-Sat, 12pm-close, 0826838675)
The Canteen: The poshest of the lot: a pretty and rustically charming space in the courtyard of Arts on Main where you can relax under the olive trees and watch the fashionistas strut between the galleries and boutiques. Things to try: canteen burger, chicken livers, Scottish salmon, beer battered fish and chips, great steaks from Braeside (grass Fed) and unbelievable Milkshakes. I’d go for lunch with friends - old and young or opt for dinner as a date for a touch of romance. Fully licenced with a great wine list and a good selection of craft beers.
(Tues-Sun, Breakfast-close, 0113345947)
Blackanese: You’ll find a full menu of traditional sushi fare as well as special afro-fusion creations and noodle dishes. It’s casual, but they pride themselves on their great service and ‘something different’ approach. Treat your chopsticks to strawberry or biltong California rolls as well as the sweet piquant fashion sandwiches, they also do a fish braai on the sidewalk on Sundays. Go for dinner if you feel like something different. No Licence so BYOB.
Pata Pata: The home of Maboneng soul food; it’s a fusion of African and Eurocentric cuisine. It’s all about the detail: awesome décor, a real buzz in the air, plus a short, but very sweet, wine list all add to the charm. Opt for slow braised oxtail with the Meinert Merlot or the Mozambican and lamb curries with one of their large selection of beers. Go for dinner during the week with a crowd or take some tourists on the weekend to experience the vibe and the live jazz and reggae.
(Tues-Sun, lunch-close, 0110747140)
The Chalkboard: Not really a restaurant, more of a cool bar with great craft beers on tap and pizzas daily. They have the most amazing, intimate cinema, screening great new and old movies with big bucket seats and the freedom to take your beer and nosh in with you. Go for a quick bite before watching a flick or an easy going drink amongst interesting and arty folk.
(7 days a week, 11am till late, 0110397306)
Sha’p: A seriously rustic pop up shisanyama stand on Kruger Street. Get a real taste for African braai flavours with Chicken, wors, steak and boerie all braai’d right in front of you and served to you on the sidewalk. And of course, try the pap, chakalaka and coleslaw, and, if you’re in the mood, ask about their famous ‘paptarts’. Go for a quick late night bite and some shisanyama education.
(7 days a week, lunch-10pm, 0728103109)
House of Baobab: East African meets West African with this seriously eclectic spice haven. Beautifully detailed décor and a relaxed atmosphere lend themselves to laid-back lunches and dinners. Opt for Senegalese dishes like the Ceebu Jen (Whole hake cut into pieces and cooked in spiced tomato, butternut and brijgal or the Baobab chicken (chicken cooked in coconut water, onion, tomato and their secret spice mix). They also do great vegetarian dishes. Go for a relaxed evening with relaxed people who want to try something different. No Licence.
(Tues-Sun, 12pm-10pm, 0110391632)
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