Best new Joburg restaurants and bars of 2023

18 Jan 2024
True to form, Joburg served up a smorgasbord of new restaurants and bars last year. Rosebank, The Parks, Melrose and Atholl were particularly popular areas for newcomers to the city’s food scene. With so much variety already on offer, you’d be forgiven if you haven’t yet explored all that Joburg delivered in 2023. To make it easy to decide where to eat next, here’s our round-up of some of our favourite new eateries we visited – and recommend you do too.


Food I Love You
offers a menu that is a thoughtful blend of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and African influences, and features seasonal produce. What’s more, owner Mpho Phalane’s food is both beautiful to look at and delicious to eat, and the setting of this restaurant creates a powerful sense of place, being part of the Old Fort and prison complex at Constitution Hill.
Discover a feast of flavours at Mpho Phalane’s Food I Love You. Photo: Food I Love You.

A fun, quirky, and colourful and spot in Braamfontein's Juta Street precinct, Loco serves up tasty tacos and tequila cocktails, among other easy eating and drinking delights. The menu is designed as an all-day affair – breakfast, lunch, or dinner is served, and the cappuccino (if that's all you have time for) gets top marks. 


After a two-year hiatus, Pantry by Gemelli reopened in June 2023. A sister to the popular Italian restaurant Gemelli, the space has been renovated so it’s bigger and brighter, making for a sophisticated all-day breakfast spot with a cocktail list that ensures the perfect boozy brunch.
Pantry by Gemelli serves delectable all-day breakfasts. Photo: Pantry by Gemelli.


Opened in mid-2023 and located at Design Quarter in Fourways, +258 A Taste of Mozambique is an authentically Mozambican food hall, deli, frozen fish store, and indoor and outdoor restaurant wrapped in one. Bringing the culture of Maputo to Joburg, the focus is on fresh seafood, authentic produce and products, Mozambican beers, and a universe of options when it comes to the menu.


The Gallery Art Bar is an art exhibition space and well-stocked bar and event venue located in the Illovo Muse building where you’ll also find Babylon, Beefcakes and Hogshead. It's the space to find edgy adults-only parties and evenings with a bit of kink (if that's what floats your boat!). 


The Social Table in Maboneng is a place that's been created to welcome you with a plate of South African food, served with a modern twist. Expect classics like magwinya and mince, beef stew, oxtail, and Sunday lunch dishes like mogodu and pork trotters with veggies and samp.
The Social Table in Maboneng serves up South African food with a twist. Photo: The Social Table.


Aduna Bistro, located at the swanky African Pride Melrose Arch, is an elegant and contemporary dining experience that fits right in with the hotel's "hip five-star" status. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it also boasts a gorgeous bar area perfect for after-work drinks.

Padel and Social Club at James and Ethel Gray Park in Melrose is a café and bar surrounded by padel courts. The restaurant has a coffee counter if you're on-the-go, and casual food to re-fuel post-match. The drinks menu is compact yet comprehensive, and there's a menu for little champs as well. 
Fuel up after your padel game with a bite and drink. Photo: Padel and Social Club.

Parreirinha is a close to 50-year-old institution that moved from La Rochelle in the south of Joburg to Melrose Arch in the north. As good as new in this setting, this unpretentious and hugely popular spot has always had its menus enclosed in a flip file, but the dishes are anything but ordinary. Expect lots of garlic and chilli in the Portuguese flavours and speciality dishes that include bacalhau (cod), prawn cakes, steak and delicious prawns.

Chef Freddie Dias from Séjour at The Houghton Hotel opened a new fine-dining restaurant at The African Pride Hotel in Melrose Arch in 2023. Meaning 'living room' in Swahili, Sebule focuses on live-fire cooking, bold flavours, and spice, with steaks and seafood taking centre stage.
Sebule is chef Chef Freddie Dias's new fine-dining restaurant. Photo: Sebule.

Meaning deli or market in Hebrew and Arabic, Shuk Delicatessen showcases a tantalising spread of freshly prepared mezze, bagels, flatbreads, Turkish rolls, dips and bakes at the BluBird Shopping Centre. If building your own isn’t your thing, there’s a great selection of Ottolenghi-style dishes to tickle your fancy.


Chef Dario De Angeli offers diners a far more casual, poolside menu at The Clico Boutique Hotel. The al fresco option is set up in the sunlit terrace area named 400 Degrees that boasts a state-of-the-art pizza oven serving up authentic Neapolitan-style pizza using Chef De Angeli’s signature slow-fermented dough.

Positioned neatly between Proud Mary and Krispy Kreme, Coco Safar has taken up prime restaurant real estate in the centre of Rosebank’s The Zone piazza. And that's a good thing, as Coco Safar isn’t just any café and bakery, it's where you’ll find one of 'The World’s Best Croissants', according to our reviewers (and epicurean authority Food and Wine). The range is incredible, and we suggest going early to secure your flavour – from white chocolate pistachio to heavenly almond. Coco Safar also produces limited-edition croissants, so if you are a fan, keep your eyes posted on their social pages. 
Coco Safar offers you a taste of the world's best croissants. Photo: Coco Safar via Instagram.

From the creators of Proud Mary and Mamasamba, New York-Italian-inspired eatery Fugazzi tops the list of Rosebank’s trendy restaurants with moreish antipasto, sourdough pizzas, and ice-cream sundaes. We love the addition of American diner-style menu items like meatball parm subs, crispy chicken waffles, blueberry hot cakes, and lemon whoopie pie shakes.

A first in Joburg, Joy Jozi is "a place where kids can take their adults". It’s a family playground and experiential venue that offers a treat on the food front, having originally been devised by top chef Luke Dale Roberts and his team. The simple yet refined menu offers Neapolitan pizzas, signature burgers, steaks, and salads paired with cocktails and delicious milkshakes.

Joy Jozi is a playground for kids and adults alike. Photo: Joy Jozi.

Meaning "cheers" in Japanese, Kanpai at Keyes Art Mile combines three of our favourite things by weaving Japanese influence into its dishes: sushi, tapas, and bubbles. The menu has plenty of variation in terms of food, as well as curated bubbles and signature cocktails.

From the same team that brought us Joy Jozi, Livy’s is an oasis of play for parents, or as they like to put it, an "all-day social club". With both padel courts and a restaurant, the idea is that people can play padel and enjoy a drink or a meal afterwards, whilst others can come for a delectable bite and soak up the social scene.
Come experience the thrill of the all-day social club that is Livy's. Photo: Livy's.

A sister restaurant to Qbar at Oxford Parks in Rosebank, Qsushi is an upmarket sushi bar designed to show off wines by Cape Town wine farm Quoin Rock by pairing them with the freshest and best, new-style sashimi and sushi.

The Artistry is a collaborative space for casual dining, live music, and theatre by musician J'Something. Open every day of the week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu features simple, delicious small plates, burgers and pizza, with a few Portuguese-inspired dishes that give a nod to J'Something's heritage like flambéed chouriço and garlic chili prawns. The restaurant is designed as a three-level experience, with rooftop seating, live music below, and a street-level lounge bar.

The Pot Luck Club replaced the fine-dining Test Kitchen Carbon in Oxford Parks, and we think it's much more well-suited to the energy of Joburg. Open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, the experience here is steeped in indulgence, from the richness of dishes to the sampling of varied tastes.
An experience at The Pot Luck Club is steeped in indulgence. Photo: The Pot Luck Club.


The Spanish word for 'kisses', Besos joined the strip of restaurants located at The Woods Shopping Centre in Craighall Park last year as a sophisticated little spot. It is open seven days a week for brunch, lunch and dinner. They pride themselves on seasonal, classic food and promise to serve uncomplicated modern classics.
Besos is a sophisticated spot at The Woods Shopping Centre. Photo: Besos.

We're pleased to report that the team from Glory chose 2023 to make a permanent home for themselves in Parktown North. Glory's menus take inspiration from Southeast Asian ingredients, with every plate a beautifully styled affair. If you go to a sit-down (Glory also offers takeaway boxes of their crispy chicken – the best in Joburg) ignore the menu. Specify your dietary limitations on booking, and simply enjoy each course.

Green Dot Café took the place of Morning Glory In Parkwood, in 2023. It's a bright and inviting space where you can enjoy a coffee or a more extravagant iced coffee frappe (with ice-cream!) while you work inside or outdoors. Also on offer are toasties (our favourite is the Bombay Toasted – a toastie with coriander mint sauce, turmeric-infused potatoes and other delights), smoothie bowls, waffles and other sweet treats, and Mediterranean flatbreads to fuel you through the day. The café is halaal-certified.
Shop breads, pastries, cakes, artisanal cheeses and more at The Green Dot Café. Photo: The Green Dot Café.

Mother-In-Law is a cheeky take on a traditional Indian restaurant that opened in January 2023. Gone is the restrained décor, and sometimes curtains, and the quiet. In its place is a joint with a tattooed proprietor with impressive guns (biceps are the only gun of which we approve), a superb smile, great cocktails, a lovely open bar area and flavoursome dishes to tantalise the palate. 
Mother-In-Law is no ordinary Indian restaurant. Photo: Mother-In-Law.

The latest addition to Parktown North's nightlife is Neighbarhood where the invitation is to come and enjoy a trifecta of food, drinks and vinyl music (exclusively). The kitchen serves up wood-fired sourdough pizza which goes down perfectly with their offering of cocktails and wine sourced from smaller, boutique wineries.

is a quaint deli in Parktown North serving up freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes alongside artisanal cheeses, cured meats and deli fare. It's a great place to stop for a quick coffee and a sandwich and to stock your pantry with their jams, spreads, oils, olives and spices. Pop by over weekends to catch their collaboration with neighbours Glory to bring you an exotic weekend sandwich bar extravaganza for brunch. This is the place to find Vietnamese-style bánh mì. Keep an eye on their social pages for news of these pop-ups. 


EL&N London
 launched as a branch of the "most Instagrammable café in the world" at Mall of Africa. If that's your jam – then we recommend a visit. Apart from its backdrops and photo booths that offer inspiration for selfies, the pretty mocktails and speciality lattes are just as much fun to photograph, paired with a sweet treat from the pâtisserie counter. And if you're looking to sink your teeth into something more substantial, take your pick from the all-day casual brunch menu, grills, burgers, pizzas, pasta, flavourful sides and small plates.

For a full guide to what to do in Joburg, check out our online events calendar and subscribe to our weekly newsletter published every Thursday morning. 

Padel and Social Club

James and Ethel Gray Park, 69 North Street, Melrose St, Syferfontein 51-Ir


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