When it comes to Alfresco dining, Johannesburg has a multitude of wonderful restaurants and bars that love to let the sunshine in. The only problem with the majority is that they’re often on the pavement or next to a parking lot.
We looked to find some great spots in Joburg that will have you stopping to admire the view, rather than the new Porsche 911 and smelling the roses, rather than the petrol fumes.
Walk through the restaurant to find a courtyard dripping in plants and elegance. Go for the stunning French, bistro-style food and superb service.
Expect spectacular views over Johannesburg from this trendy and exclusive, rooftop bar. Go for sundowners or after work drinks.
The perfect, tranquil setting next to Delta Park and the Delta Spruit; lap up the scenery from the deck or under the trees. Go for the relaxed vibe.
Full Stop Café
(image by Full Stop Café)
An extensive deck leads onto a large paved seating area surrounded by trees with a quaint fountain in the centre. Go for casual lunches and dinners.
A sweet little courtyard with a lovely fountain, elegant tables and a luscious tree providing just the right amount of shade. Go for Chef Philippe’s masterful cuisine; a la carte by night and tapas-inspired by day.
Overlooking St Stithian’s sports grounds as well as the northern horizon of Joburg, it’s a favourite spot for Friday sundowners and simple pub grub.
A Stunning fountain and dainty trees speckle the paved outdoor seating area. It’s quaint and chic. Go for great pastas.
La Vie en Rose
A garden that will set your heart on fire. It’s beautiful and feminine and all things fabulous. Go for tea and light lunches.
Mike’s Kitchen, Parktown
Situated in a national heritage building on St Andrew’s Road in Parktown, you can expect great views over Joburg and a charming, luscious lawn painted with umbrellas and pub-style wooden tables. Go for casual dining.
Moyo, Zoo Lake
If you’re not up for picnicking next to Zoo Lake, then hit Moyo where decks, gardens and patios abound. Go for buffet-style dining and serious African cuisine.
A large garden area with decking, jumping castles and an abundance of palm trees. Go for the piri-piri prawns and chicken.
Olives and Plates – The Club Restaurant
Located inside the WITS university campus, this hidden gem offers patrons al fresco dining under enormous Oaks. Go for breakfasts and light lunches.
Go for good pizzas and peace of mind as you relax in their family garden that overlooks a cricket pitch. Younger kids are watched by child-minders whilst the older ones can tire themselves out in the grounds below.
The old Burnside Café has been given a mini facelift in the form of Possum’s from Parkhurst – expect the same stunning garden and deck, but a slightly quirkier menu.
A wonderful deck, large lawn space and kids playing area make this the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Sandton city life. It’s enclosed within the Sandton Field and Study Centre so it’s completely secluded and relaxed. Go for pizzas made in the wood-fired oven.
Sel et Poivre
They have a fabulous courtyard with a huge tree dappling the tables with shade. Go for Chef Coco’s superb food and a wine list to die for.
A big restaurant with a big personality. Pub-style, outdoor seating with wooden benches and tables and boozy umbrellas. Go for fantastic Eisbein, Schnitzel and German beers on tap.
Great outdoor deck with huge umbrellas for hot summer days. Go for great draught beers, sushi in the suburbs, pizzas and an all-round good time.
A great outside deck that’s just begging for live music and summertime cocktails in the sun. Go for the great vibe, cocktails and ribs
Vovo Telo Norwood
A busy and lively little spot with a quaint, inner courtyard. Go for great breakfasts and coffee.
33 High Street & OakesBrew House
A magical spot with an enormous outside seating area shaded by massive Oak trees. Great lagers and ales made by the all-female team of Oakes Brew house. There is also superb coffee roasted on site, outstanding food and a brilliant vibe on weekends.
(The Living Room, from Facebook)
Poolside Café is exactly that – a café and drinks spot around a swimming pool. There’s also The Living Room which is a rooftop bar that’s teaming with hanging gardens and luscious plants. Go on weekends for the great parties and atmosphere.
Sit between the olive trees on wooden benches or at charming, bistro-style tables. Go for the great burgers and Sunday market scene.
Piazza at Monte Casino
Monte Casino created the Piazza, outdoor area to the glee of all those patrons, including myself, who longed to dine under real, rather than painted, blue skies. Jenda, Mugg & Bean, John Dory's, The Metropolis Lounge & Grill and Ciao Baby Cucina all have great outdoor seating areas that surround the Piazza.
(Il Giardino - image from restaurant's Facebook)
Five restaurants namely: Salvation Café, Il Giardino, Stanley Beer Yard, L8 Cafe and Vovo Telo all have courtyard areas or outside decking within a completely secluded setting away from the hectic street-scene of Milpark. Go for everything you could possibly want – breakfast, lunch, drinks, dinner, live music and so much more!
It’s nestled behind a nursery and set next to a lovely pond dappled with delightful ducks. Sit amongst the roses and under the shade of the trees. Just lovely!
Gia’s at Montrose
(image taken from Gia's Facebook)
Beautiful trees, flora, fauna and wind chimes abound. Go for lazy breakfasts and relaxed lunches.
Under the Trees Garden Café, Lyndhurst
It’s set inside Schaffler’s Nursery, so you can enjoy thriving trees and shrubs, flowers and sweet koi ponds. It’s a very laid back setting with minimal décor, letting the plants bring the place to life. Go for tea and cake, light salads or chicken pie.
A little way away:
Roots, Silver Orange, Le Sel, Casalinga and Leafy Greens all have fantastic outdoor seating areas and superb food. They’ve stood the test of time and get more gorgeous as the years go by. Go anytime for everything!
Eat on the deck at Deliliscious, overlooking the gardens and pond at Wild Woods or get a romantic picnic to enjoy amongst the trees! Go to escape the everyday.
The Other Side Restaurant
Located on Monahan farm, expect palatial, farm land views teamed with cows and rolling lawns. It’s a great place for the whole family, but booking is essential. Go for farm-fresh food and a taste of the good life.
Exquisite gardens, huge trees and a pristine swimming pool surround this stunning hotel-restaurant. Sit out on the patio so that you can fully appreciate all the beauty they have to offer. Go for supreme service and stunning set menus.
Aurelia’s, Emperor’s Palace
After some serious renovations, Aurelia’s can boast two absolutely spectacular dining areas, including a gorgeous outdoor section overlooking the pool and gardens. Go for a quick break away from OR Tambo or for something different on the weekend.
Champagne Bar, 54 on Bath
Known for their excellently priced French Champagnes, but also for their stunning rooftop garden: lollipop trees, manicured hedges, a lap pool and a croquet area set the scene for Friday’s after work or weekend indulgence.
Flames, The Four Seasons
You won’t get a better view of the Jacarandas in full bloom than from the stunning balcony and deck at Flames. You’ll lap up Joburg’s skyline in all its splendour and fully understand why they call it the world’s largest, manmade forest. Go for spoiling cocktails, Champagne and their Wagyu beef burger.
Lacuna Bistro, Maslow Hotel
Sit on the patio overlooking the manicured gardens whilst sipping on a glass of one of their delicious wines or MCC’s. Go for light bites and charcuterie boards as well as cheeky business lunches.
Pool Bar, MelroseArch hotel
The tables and chairs are literally in the pool, but don’t worry – it’s a raised area so you’ll only be ankle deep, but do bring a swimming costume for when the cocktails get you a little hot under the collar.
San Bar, SandtonSun
Another stunning rooftop deck in the centre of Sandton where you can escape the stress of daily traffic. Go for a delicious cocktail or a glass of wine from their extensive list.
The Island Bar, Southern Sun Hyde Park
A stunning dipping pool and deck where you can lounge around and watch the world below you flurry by. Go for Sushi and after work drinks.
The Medeo Restaurant, The Palazzo Montecasino
Sit on the terrace and soak up the gorgeous views over the splendid gardens and water features. Go for spoiling lunches and dinners.
The Terrace, The Hyatt Regency
A stylish bar offering great wines and decadent cigars set amongst picturesque gardens. Sip your worries away under the shade of the giant palms whilst listening to the soothing sounds of the water fountains.
The Terrace, The Saxon
(image taken from The Saxon's Facebook)
You cannot beat the service or the sheer opulence of The Saxon Hotel and the views aren’t too shabby either. Go for a spoiling drink or a light lunch on the terrace overlooking the stunning pool and gardens.
WineHouse, Ten Bompass
An elegant terrace and garden overlooks the lap pool in this magnificent restaurant. Go for seriously good food and fine wine.
- Kate Liquorish