As of August 18, 2020 South Africa enters a Level 2 lockdown meaning restaurants, bars and cafes may also now once again serve alcohol on the premises, although a 22:00 curfew remains in place.
Given the needs of social distancing and the limits on space, we recommend calling ahead to make sure the venue has space to accommodate you. If you are feeling in any way ill, or you think that you may have been exposed to someone with the virus, do not put a restaurant and its patrons at risk. Order a delivery and stay at home.
Here are just some of the many great Joburg restaurants and cafes where you can eat out this month.
Contemporary fine diningMarble, Rosebank
The heart of star chef David Higgs’s rooftop restaurant is the live-fire grill in the open kitchen, the spectacular flames cooking up everything from meats and seafood to freshly baked bread. This 250-seater restaurant, with a lounge and bar separated by a gorgeous glass wine cellar, offers surprisingly intimate seating and a wraparound balcony with a view. Impressive artworks, a turquoise ceramic-tiled wall and light wooden floors give the impression of being suspended in a cabin in the sky and the rooftop lounge bar and terrace with views stretching out towards the Magaliesberg is the perfect place for sundowners.
Marble reopens to the public from September 1, open Tue-Sat from 15:00 for dinner and drinks. Reservations can be made online at marble.restaurant
Saint, Sandton Central
Surely one of the world’s most impressive-looking pizza restaurants! Saint at The Marc in Sandton Central is a knockout space for those who favour Champagne with their pizza. Bring an appetite and a budget to match. The pizzas here, fresh from the gold mosaic pizza ovens, take inspiration from Milan’s pizza-masters with some of the chefs having spent time specially in the kitchen of Gennaro’s where dough has been rolling out since 1935.
Saint reopens to the public from September 2, open Wed–Sun from 15:00 for dinner and drinks. Reservations can be made online at www.saint.restaurant
Mosaic at the Orient, Elandsfontein
An hour's drive into the countryside from Joburg, but more than worth the trip to enjoy one of South Africa's best fine dining experiences. Head Chef Chantel Dartnall is South Africa's rising princess of posh nosh and at Mosaic she offers both a la carte and tasting menus. Any meal at her restaurant (set inside The Orient boutique hotel, a garish pastiche of a North African castle) is pricey but worth every penny. Influences are eclectic and styles vary but Dartnall's food is always delicate yet layered with clear flavours and high technical skill. Each dish resembles a work of art and tastes even better.
The restaurant reopens to the public from September 2 with a fresh spring tasting menu. Reservations are essential and can be made online via DinePlan.
Basalt Restaurant, Melrose
We have long been fans of The Peech, a discreet boutique hotel hidden in a leafy corner of the suburb of Melrose. The icing on the cake is the hotel's elegant fine dining dinner-only restaurant Basalt which is now headed by a young new Head Chef Feni Malebye-Lutalo. The intimate restaurant space effortlessly conjures a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere and the decor is a cool refined mix of grey and bronze tones and warm parquet flooring. The menu is influenced by contemporary global cuisine. Stand out dishes include the perfectly executed pan-fried linefish, handmade burrata and the inventive ten-a-day risotto.
The restaurant reopens from Friday August 28. Call +27 11 537 9797 or email email@example.com to make a reservation.
The Marabi Club / Triple 9 at Hallmark House, Maboneng
A combination of superb food, slick service from jauntily dressed wait staff, interiors that conjure Joburg in an earlier age and a moodily-lit stage on which a jazz band plays, make dinner at this underground venue in downtown Joburg a most memorable experience. At the helm is dynamic young head chef Katlego Mlambo who conjures up a constantly evolving small plates menu inspired by Mlambo's French training, fresh Asian flavours and the best South African produce.
The Marabi Club is operating a phased reopening and booking is essential. Book for dinner with live music in the club space or join the waiting list for Mlambo's 'High Steaks Experience', a steak feast lunch enjoyed on the famous Triple 9 rooftop (currently closed to the public). Reservations are essential. Make your bookings and join the waiting list online at themarabiclub.com
DW eleven 13, Dunkeld
Classic cuisine with a global twist, and a sedate but upmarket ambience in a hidden corner of the Dunkeld West Centre. Chef Marthinus Ferreira’s bistronomy-style cooking is a relaxed yet stylish addition to the Gauteng food scene, occasionally playing with modern molecular techniques but his strength is classy comfort food. If you have been missing fine dining and remarkable restaurant experiences, DW eleven 13 is the spot, made all the more intimate and personalised by the restrictions of lockdown. The new offering has become more of a brasserie-style with an a la carte menu, complemented by ingenious non-alcoholic pairings. Recognising that lunch is an easier time to eat with curfews, there's also an amazing new weekend brunch for two which is a six-course tasting-style menu.
The restaurant has reopened, bookings are essential.
Another spectacular fine-dining destination, Aurum, had been open for sit down meals since Level 3. Perched high up on the 7th floor of the landmark Leonardo skyscraper this is a beautiful space to get away from it all with sky-high ceilings embellished with a glittering statement art installation and a fantastic terrace that opens out onto a rooftop swimming pool with views for miles. Aurum offers a full a-la-carte service for brunch, lunch, and early dinner. Contact the restaurant to make a reservation at aurumrestaurant.co.za
Casual dining, neighbourhood restaurants and cafes
Thunder Walker, City Centre
The beautiful heritage building Somerset House on Gandhi Square, now known as the Thunder Walker, is a multi-functional space run by local tour company JoburgPlaces that includes an underground bar, events space and cafe. Thunder Walker serves lunches, coffees and drinks in the pretty Scatterlings Arcade area where you can also buy Thunder Walker's heat-and-eat-meals and other deli items as well as gifts, tableware, books and other treasures in the adjoining Town Treasures shop.
PRON (People's Republic of Noodles), Linden
One of Joburg's most authentic Chinese restaurants, at PRON in Linden the decor is fun, tongue-in-cheek Chinese kitsch, the atmosphere down-to-earth and the menu an homage to northern Chinese comfort food, centred around flavoursome bowls of thick, flat handmade noodles. Prior bookings are essential (no walk-ins) and there's a large terrace as well as lots of space inside. Quite simply the best Chinese noodles you'll find in Joburg. Call ahead to book a table at +27 11 782 1736.
Pablo Dos Manos, Melville
Melville's Pablo Eggs Go Bar on 7th Street, famous for its all-day shaskhuka breakfasts, has sadly closed. However, on a positive note you can still enjoy Pablo's excellent breakfasts and some amazing wood-fired pizzas at the Pablo House guesthouse restautant, Pablo Dos Manos. Not only is the food great, but the location is one-of-a-kind, perched on the top of a steep Westdene ridge with the most amazing sunset views. Phone ahead to make a reservation.
The Hussar Grill, Sandton
You'll be hard-pressed to find warmer, friendlier service this side of the city than at The Hussar Grill in Morningside Shopping Centre and the atmosphere and personal attention is perfectly suited to both family gatherings and business meetings. While it may be at the mall there's plenty of breezy seating on the huge terrace, a choice spot to sit and enjoy the famous steaks from one of South Africa's oldest and most established grillhouse chains.
Bergbron Plaaskombuis, Northcliff
Come to this homely Afrikaans 'plaaskombuis' or 'farm kitchen' in Northcliff for bulging plates of unpretentious and good value comfort food that you'd more typically find far from a big city like Johannesburg. The Afrikaans paadstal (farm shop) styled cafe is set out just as you might find at a farm kitchen in many small South African towns. A long, shady stoep (veranda), a tall shiny windmill and even an old tractor overlook verdant gardens. Breakfast is served all day and options include the sonop jaffel (sunrise toastie) with fried egg, bacon and cheese, putu pap (crumbly maize porridge) with maalvleis (minced meat) or a classic cooked breakfast with all the works, served in rustic enamel plates.
Il Contadino, Parktown North
Chef James Diack, famous for his pioneering farm to fork food philosophy, has consolidated his four restaurants. La Stalla (Melville) and Coobs (Parkhurst), now join Il Contadino at the corner of 4th Ave and 7th Ave in Parktown North, serving rustic comfort food with a contemporary Italian twist made from the finest farm-fresh organic ingredients sourced from Diack's family farm. Now open for sit-down diners, there's a fantastic terrace for an al fresco lunch.
The Grillhouse, Rosebank
This New York-style grill house, is an institution. Serving excellent spice-crusted fillet and saucy ribs, the service is also excellent here, the waiters always impeccably turned-out as they dart around moodily-lit tables wielding heaving platters piled high with luscious South African steaks.
Razor Charlie Latin Eatery, Kramerville (Cafe)
Enter the doorway into a courtyard area with overhanging lights, plenty of lush greenery, and cosy seating nooks and you'll be transported to a quirky Latin-inspired hideaway complete with signature Talavera tiles, a wall of nichos altar boxes, and vibrantly coloured furniture and artefacts. It's an Instagrammers dream. We are great fans of Razor Charlie's Mexican-inspired menu of breakfast dishes which includes their breakfast burrito and huevos a la mexicana (scrambled eggs, tomato and chilli) and tasty nacho bowls. For the more hungry the mains, served from 11:30, include a chimichurri stripped rump steak and a range of quesadillas, chicken or steak tacos.
Breezeblock, Brixton (Cafe)
This quirky 1970s retro-styled cafe brings some old-school charm to the historic suburb of Brixton. Owner David du Preez, who lives in the neighbourhood, has decorated his dream cafe using recycled materials and restored furniture found in dumps and at yard sales. The name Breezeblock comes from the neatly painted 1970s breezeblocks lining its sunny and spacious courtyard which has of late become a popular spot for those people still working from home who are in need of a change of scenery.
One block from Rosebank's Keyes Art Mile is Clico restaurant at Clico Boutique Hotel, an unfussy fine dining destination. For breakfast fans there are a feast of options, including a delicious Eggs Benedict, poached eggs draped in Hollandaise sauce, omelettes, a Clico healthy breakfast of poached eggs with grilled haloumi and confit tomatoes and indulgent flapjacks served with crème fraiche and fresh fruit. For sharp winter mornings the Rooibos maltabella with stewed fruit is delicious or opt for oats dressed with honey and Egyptian dukkah. The restaurant’s setting is a chic and intimate triple-volume glass structure that looks out onto a lush garden, making it an inviting dinner venue, or a gloriously lit breakfast or lunch spot.
Foakes at Victoria Yards, Lorentzville (Cafe)
A coffee shop, coffee roastery and bakery tucked into a tiny corner of eastern Joburg's makers community Victoria Yards, the Foakes Coffee Bar and Roastery is a shrine to sourdough bread. Choose one of the day’s breads and a variety of fillings to create a sandwich or buy a loaf to take home. The Foakes coffee meanwhile is hand-roasted in small batches onsite with Foakes currently stocking five single origin options and two unique blends. There is a delightful open courtyard to sit in, or take your sandwich and coffee and go find a quiet spot among Victoria Yards's delightful kitchen gardens.
If you feel like something a bit heavier The Fish and Chip Shop has also now reopened as has the Impi craft brewery which serves pizzas. After you've had lunch take some time to explore the many artist workshops, art galleries and craft and design studios.
Dolci Cafe, Craighall
This pretty family-run neighbourhod café in Craighall serves delicious Italian food, including Napoletan-style pizzas, homemade pasta and the most delicious chocolate-filled ravioli. Truffle pasta, porcini bruschetta, prawns with a hint of chilli, a superb beef carpaccio, and delicious veal are just some of the dishes we have tried and can sincerely vouch for. Dolci is loyal to the simplicity of Italian cooking, using few ingredients per dish but making sure that they are of the highest quality and present the most satisfying flavours. The whole restaurant opens out onto a shady streetside terrace and there's also a great pizza bar.
Pronto Italian Restaurant, Food Store & Deli, Craighall
A cosy restaurant and deli with a wraparound terrace offering plenty of space for eating while social distancing.
The menu is filled with exciting options for casual Italian fare with a fantastic choice of antipasti, salads, pasta dishes and customisable pizza options. We love the wide choice of pasta dishes, that includes an exceptional variety of vegetarian options among them linguine with Porcini, and the long-time favourite artichoke, white wine and ricotta penne dish, as well as a number of seafood and meat sauces (if you are an artichoke fan be sure to take some home from the deli – they are excellent). The sauces can all be ordered with a carb-free and gluten-free corn and quinoa penne, pleasing all tastes. Desserts are a crowd pleaser with classics like affogato, creme brulee and a hot chocolate fondant.
Leafy Greens Cafe, Muldersdrift
Travel 40 minutes north of Sandton into the countryside and you’ll find places so dedicated to farm-to-fork dining that you can actually eat at the farm itself, like Antonia De Luca’s Leafy Greens, a colourful vegetarian café located on her family farm in Muldersdrift. Perfect for a leisurely breakfast en route to the Cradle of Humankind, with this being a cafe on a working farm there is literally acres of space.
The Richmond Studio Cafe, Richmond
One of Joburg’s lesser-known neighbourhoods, Richmond is the city's unofficial media capital, home to international and local media houses and the friendly Richmond Studio Cafe is its most popular stop for coffee. During the first weeks of total lockdown, The Richmond Studio team set to work on expanding and revamping their wide streetside terrace area which now has a lovely patch of grass that has been reconfigured with comfortable social distancing in mind.
Ribs and Burgers, Sandton
Juicy burgers and lip-smacking ribs are the order of the day at this casual eatery. The emphasis is on the quality of the food and you'll taste it immediately – grass-fed beef burgers placed on a seeded brioche milk bun. The beef ribs basted in Ribs and Burgers signature BBQ sauce are also highly recommended, and there's also an option of pork ribs or lemon and herb-basted lamb ribs. With seating spilling out onto the huge sheltered sidewalk this is a refreshing out-of-the-mall destination at one of Sandton's swankiest addresses, The Marc building.
The breakfast options at this popular 44 Stanley cafe are excellent turning that morning meal into a memorable experience with a choice of 'healthy', 'sweet' and 'savoury', plus breakfast burritos. Surrounded by small and enticing design and fashion boutiques, its tables flow outdoors onto a covered veranda and into a picturesque olive-tree shaded courtyard - perfect for relaxed family meals. The kids menu makes adults envious and for lunch there's a good selection of salads, sandwiches and wraps and the most fantastic homemade soups. Fresh and healthy ingredients are top of the list here - free-range eggs and chicken and grass-fed beef.
Service Station Cafe and Catering, Melville
Carmen van der Merwe’s neighbourhood corner cafe in Melville's pretty Bamboo Centre is an institution. Sandwiched between one of Joburg’s best book stores Love Books and clothing store Convoy boutique, focused on local South African design brands, Service Station offers excellent daily breakfast and lunch fare.The airy light-filled cafe that has occupied this spot for close on 20 years is a great space to while away time between browsing. There’s a good choice of fresh and tasty casual dishes, including a daily salad selection, and Service Station has a wide range of deli items, plus plenty of frozen meal options to take home which includes lasagne, curries and pies. This is convenience food, but made to the highest standards.
Spilt Milk Social Cafe, Melville
This corner cafe on Melville's iconic 7th Street opens out directly onto the street with a lovely terrace that is great for people watching. However, the real gem is in the back, a huge sunny courtyard with loads of space that is a perfect venue for a lazy breakfast or a light lunch of their freshly made soup served with the best homemade bread.
For the best shakshouka breakfast there’s this neighbourhood cafe in Illovo with an outdoor deck perfect for sunny days, serving generous portions of food that would bring comfort to any troubled soul. Other musts are the vanilla-infused kitka French toast with mascarpone, halva and toasted almonds or the New York deli-style Reuben Special of brisket on rye. The view may be of the car park, but once your food arrives you'll only have eyes for the plate!
Che Argentine Grill, Parkwood
In 2019 Joburg's most loved Argentine restaurant moved from its original location in Maboneng to new premises in Parkwood along Art Gallery Row on Jan Smuts Avenue. The new premises have a similar rustic feel to the original and also spill out into a spacious terraced courtyard. The owners are utterly charming and during lockdown have perfected the most extraordinary sourdough bread, made in their wood-fired parilla. Outstanding. The steaks, of course, are paired with Che's chimichurri which comes standard as a side delivered just about as you sit down, an Argentinean herb-based-sauced so good that Che supplies it by the bottle. And for dessert, it doesn't get better than homemade dulce de leche.
The closest you can get in Joburg to the atmosphere of a Greek island Kolonaki Greek Kouzina has been a hit since its doors opened. Presided over by restaurateur Theo Holiasmenos and his son, chef Vassilios there is a real sense of welcome as you enter the doors of the restaurant with its enticing wraparound balconies overlooking Parkhurst's fashionable 4th Avenue. Service here is impressive and the menu beckons you to kick back and feast on meze dishes that are made for sharing and that show off the best of Greek and Mediterranean flavours.