Eating out in Joburg? Really that bad?

Feeling contentious about wine? Read Cathy Marston's thoughts on the Top 100 SA Wines competition.

14 Apr 2011

Hi everyone

One of our challenges as a food site based in Cape Town is trying to draw in as much from the rest of the country as possible.

Everyone knows where to eat in Cape Town, down to the minute, but there’s a real dearth of information on where to impress folk in Joburg, how to have a great yet family-friendly dinner in Durban and where to have incredible breakfast in Port Elizabeth. Which is why I was very interested to hear that Nic Dawes, editor of the Mail & Guardian, despairs of finding a fine dining restaurant in Johannesburg. And that Abigail Donnelly from Eat Out agrees with him.

Our own Joburg reviewer, Baglett, got very defensive when I drew her attention to the issue, retorting by saying that “having dinner while feeling like you are in a parking lot is a problem, [she’s] had many a crap meal while overlooking Camps Bay; it was merely masked by a hot waiter and the sound of seagulls.”

I understand that from Nic and Abigail’s point of view, this is a fine dining debate. But I worry that it’s besmirching the real culinary scene in Joburg – places where people get together night after night for a great time, not restaurants to go to once in a lifetime to propose – and undermining hardworking chefs the city over. Abigail goes so far as to say ‘that there are not even a handful of Joburg chefs who use or are even aware of high quality ingredients’. Can that be true?

The voices missing from the debate are obviously your own. From our review pages, we can see that you really love to eat at Pomodoro, Trentino's and Oyo, to name but a few. Baglett has, in full dudgeon, also made a list of her Top 10 Johannesburg Restaurants.

But I want to hear from you, Johannesburg. Tell us about your favourite Johannesburg restaurant. And I want you to ask your friends to do the same. Sure there’s a R250 voucher for the best review, but your pride is also at stake.

Don’t let yourselves down.

Love and dinner debate,


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