Bored of bistros and sidewalk cafés? What you need is a trip through a gastronomic wonderland. We’ve compiled a list of the most intriguing eateries in Joburg and just beyond, ready to dazzle you with out-of-this-world flavours and surreal décor. Right this way…
French Toast Koffie Kafee, Hartbeespoort
Wouldn’t it be nice to be strolling down the Champs Elysee right now, chewing on a Nutella crepe purchased from the roadside, the Eiffel Tower looming just ahead…We can’t teleport you to the City of Lights, but we can recommend the next best thing – in Hartebeespoort, nogal! French Toast Koffie Kafee was established on a film set, so it has its own Iron Lady and love-locked bridge. Take a seat outside to enjoy the café vibe, and feast on fillet with blue cheese sauce sandwiched between – you guessed it – French toast.
Greensleeves Medieval Kingdom, Sterkfontein
Hear ye, hear ye! Escape the tawdriness of modern times with an old-fashioned feast, the likes of which Anne Boleyn would give her head for. Toast your roast with a glass of traditional mead, just one of five courses. Dressing up is optional, but what could be more fun than donning your kirtle and headdress for a night of old-fashioned revelry?
The Rabbit Hole, Krugersdorp
Alice would definitely approve of this venue; a mosaicked masterpiece where colours clash and lanterns sway. Most famous for their thin-based pizzas, the restaurant’s gigantic burgers also deserve a special mention.
Bergbron Plaaskombuis, Northcliff
Take a step back in time to an era when agas warmed the stoep…This traditional kitchen serves egte, regte boerkos, from jaffels to bobotie, in a setting so authentic it wouldn’t surprise you to see old Oom Schalk having a puff on his pipe in the corner (with apologies to Herman Charles Bosman – we know it isn’t anywhere near the Marico).
The Gentleman’s Arthouse, Newtown
Any good Victorian would no doubt raise their eyebrows at the goings-on at this heritage site in Joburg’s inner city (that’s what a few glasses of absinthe will do!), but they’d feel right at home amongst the décor and vintage-inspired menus. It’s fantastical, and fantastic – but beware, the Gentleman’s Arthouse is open by appointment only.
Her Majesteas Salon, Heidelberg
If there was one thing those Victorians knew how to do, it was take tea. Her Majesteas Salon pays tribute to this tradition, with old-fashioned favourites like scones, Eton Mess and shortbread. There’s a full breakfast and lunch menu, too.
Railways Café, Centurion
The rustic décor definitely makes this live music spot fit comfortably into the ‘quirky’ category, but what we really love about it is its commitment to the community; not only promoting local artists but also offering a feeding kitchen.
Chez Fong, Houghton
It’s not a regular restaurant, but it’s not a pop-up, either. Chez Fong is a dining occasion hosted once a week at a charming old Houghton manor. Diners are invited to indulge in an Asian-inspired eight course feast that bursts with fresh flavours, and no evening is ever the same. Chef Su-Yen Thornhill, who prepares the dishes in front of you, doesn’t plan ahead, so it’s always a (very pleasant) surprise.
- Lisa Witepski