A delicious lunch in a unique location is always a good reason to travel to a different part of town. Add in stylish new attractions like the AfricaRise shopping emporium showcasing top African fashion brands in the beautiful Magnet House and the chance to join one of several brilliant guided walking tours led by locals, if you are looking for something special to do in Joburg, the place to start is in the heart of the historic City Centre.
Town Treasure by JoburgPlaces (formerly Thunder Walker)
Town Treasure is a bar, restaurant and store on Fox Street, behind Gandhi Square is set in the historic Somerset House Arcade. Built in 1906 the arcade originally housed the United Building Society, and included a banking hall and a safe deposit section. Town Treasure is located among the bank vaults. According to an article by James Ball on The Heritage Portal, in addition to Somerset House being one of the oldest surviving bank buildings in the city it is also one of the few remaining glass-roof galleries in South Africa. Even in its current state of having been partially restored, it is spectacular. And visiting conjures all sorts of ideas about what early Joburg must have been like. This is also the home base of JoburgPlaces walking tours who offer a variety of booked city experiences.
Lunch is served at tables inside, and also along the sidewalk on Fox Street. The menu is a taste of South Africa with its eclectic migrant heritage, with dishes that include fragrant Cape Malay curries, vegan chakalaka salad, bobotie and a Chinese chicken Chow Mein which we didn't try but was recommended by a reliable source. This is casual fare, tasty and comfort food. We loved the dombolo steamed bread that accompanied our dish.
110 Fox Street (between Rissik and Joubert Streets) Marshalltown. Open Tue-Sun.
Johannesburg's oldest private member's club welcomes the public for lunch daily in its exceptional long bar, an institution since the Club's founding. The Rand Club opened in 1887, just one year after Johannesburg got its city status at the height of a mining boom, but it was installed in this building designed by Leck & Emley in 1904.
The Rand Club is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu that includes curries, pasta dishes and burgers as well as vegetarian options. For dessert go for a South African tradition – malva pudding with custard or the equally popular creme brulee. There's also a nice selection of cakes if you would like to pop by for tea.
The Rand Club has been thoughtfully and beautifully restored and is a breath of fresh air in the City Centre. Make sure to book an appointment for a visit to James Findlay's Collectable Books & Maps stocking rare and antique books and posters in the basement. It's a treat, and there's also Bridge Books, a contemporary bookstore located on Commissioner Street, next door to the Rand Club.
33 Loveday Street. Lunch is by reservation – email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve. Open 09:00–19:00, closed Sun.
Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School
This culinary school, formerly in Maboneng, has relocated to City Central on Commissioner Street, in what was once a historic banking hall. A training facility for young chefs, this is also one of the best budget lunch stops you can find, with daily specials.
Make sure to arrive early as menu items at Conception by Johannesburg Culinary & Pastry School disappear quickly. There is also a patisserie – to stock up on some take-home items. And you'll find a streetside display on Commissioner Street of the school's pastry talents during the morning.
As mentioned prices here are super low with lunch dishes such as 'The Jozi Burger' and a samp mqushu risotto priced under R50. The malva pudding here is adventurously infused with rooibos. Lunch is served on the mezzanine level overlooking the impressive multi-volume former banking hall, and on a fine day you can enjoy eating out on the terrace.
85 Commissioner Street. Lunch is served from 11am. Closed Sat, Sun. (Photos kindly supplied by James Findlay).
Located in Jewel City Precinct, Hillbrewed is a great stop for excellent coffee in the city. The coffee shop has plenty of space and a lovely well-lit interior if you are keen to make a workings stay of it. There's also a cafe menu with tasty breakfast and lunch options plus freshly baked cakes. Founder Tebogo Mabye and his team have created a welcoming spot in this part of the city.
Outside you'll find an excellent array of street art in this well-maintained precinct, so it's also a popular location for taking photographs. Hillbrewed is a 15-minute walk or short Uber ride from Gandhi Square precinct.
It's a city – use your smarts. Leave your valuables at home, don't walk while talking or looking at a cellphone, obey traffic lights and watch out for speeding taxis, be in the moment and enjoy the sights.
42 Phillips Street, Jewel City Maboneng
Please note that opening times are subject to change so always check before visiting.