Johannesburg

Where to eat out in Craighall Park

02 Jul 2021
Craighall Park is one of northern Joburg's tree-filled suburbs, and like its neighbours in The Parks (which include Parkhurst, Parkview and Parktown North) it also encompasses one of Joburg's vital green lungs, Delta Park and the Braamfontein Spruit. While Craighall Park lacks the colourful high streets that define the other Parks suburbs, it more than holds its own when it comes to great places to eat out.

It's not obvious if you are an outsider, as many of the suburb's best places are tucked into small complexes along Jan Smuts or deeper into the suburb. For this article we explored the area, edged by Parkhurst in the south and bounded by Jan Smuts Avenue to the east, and the Braamfontein Spruit and Delta Park in the west.

Pronto Italian restaurant, wine bar and deli

This restaurant at the Colony Centre has long been a popular destination for consistently excellent Italian food. In the wake of the 2020 lockdown Pronto added a deli and an online shop to their offerings and significantly expanded their terrace too. A neighbourhood favourite with lots of personality and a sense of community, Pronto attracts regulars any day of the week. We love the wide choice of pasta dishes, that include an exceptional variety of vegetarian options. Happy Hour is a favourite at the wine bar running every day from 16:00–19:00 (two for one on beers and wine by the glass) and you also save if you want to order in. By using their in-house delivery service you'll get a most generous 30% off.
Outdoor seating: A large wraparound terrace offers plenty of space to enjoy a meal in sunshine.
Where: The Colony Shopping Centre, 345 Jan Smuts Ave, Craighall
 
A souvlaki plate at Soul Souvlaki

Soul Souvlaki

Authentic Greek grab-and-go food street food freshly prepared to order. The simplicity of the place is seen on the brief menu, scribbled onto a chalkboard above the tiny counter, that offers tasty home-made meals cooked with passion. Create your own meze platter or opt for the freshly wrapped lamb, chicken, halloumi or bifteki souvlaki. Cold beverages include ice tea and juices, all served in glass bottles because “it tastes better” and the coffee is made from grounds imported from Greece. The location for this pint-sized venue that fits a single table inside and has a counter outside is Shepherd Market, a quirky courtyard just off Jan Smuts Avenue between the Hyde Park Corner shopping mall and the Colony Centre. Don't bring a crowd. 
Outdoor seating: Courtyard
Where: Shepherd Market, 339 Jan Smuts Ave, Craighall Park
 
Louise and Anna
The welcoming interior of Louise & Anna

Louise & Anna 

Classic Deep South food from Louisianna, USA, this is a place to indulge in wonderfully decadent creole tastes like shrimp and grits, seafood gumbo, beef jambalaya, lobster shrimp mac and cheese and for dessert banoffee pie. Wash it down with a cocktail or two from the fun cocktail menu which comes with some entertaining descriptions, such as the Miami Vice, described as 'I'm a disco kinda guy'.
Outside seating: Balcony
Where: Albans Square, 357 Jan Smuts Ave, Craighall Park
 
Pretty in pink. The bar counter at The Royale

The Royale

Inspired by The Royal Palm Hotel in Havana, the 1950s tropical playground of high rolling Americans, salsa music blares in the background and rum cocktails are de rigeur at this lively Cuban-themed restaurant and bar. The menu is hardly gourmet, sticking more to easy casual-eating meals like burgers and chops served with a simple salad or beans and rice on the side. Generous portions, good music, great mojitos and tables that spill into an outdoor courtyard make for a fun place to welcome the weekend with friends while imagining you are in South America.
Outdoor seating: Courtyard 
Where: 357 Jan Smuts Ave, Craighall Park
 
Mastro Deli on Jan Smuts Avenue
We love the cornucopia of Italian deli goods at Mastro 

Mastro Deli

Part of the local Mastrantonio group of Italian restaurants (their most famous branch is in the Illovo Square centre), this cafe and deli opened early 2021 and hit the ground running with an exciting and extensive selection of Italian foodstuffs. As well as the usual pantry staples, cheeses and charcuterie, there's a great range of heat-and-eat meals and the most divine homemade gelato. The store has a coffee bar inside and plenty of terrace seating.
Outside seating: Street terrace
Where: Albans Square, 357 Jan Smuts Ave, Craighall Park
 
Lasagne at Dolci Cafe

Dolci Cafe

A cosy down-to-earth neighbourhood Italian café run by Chef Jackie Righi-Boyd and her actor husband Clayton Boyd, with the help of Jackie's charismatic mother Luciana (who used to run her own restaurant Assaggi). 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. Praise the day if you happen to see the spaghetti vongole on the specials menu, we can't recommend it enough! And what is an Italian restaurant without some pizza? Adjoining Dolci Cafe is Dolci Bar and Pizzeria producing great Neapolitan pizzas. While Dolci Cafe is a girlishly pretty space, Dolci Bar has a more contemporary look, centred around a long statement bar counter – a good spot to enjoy a classic Aperol Spritz. 
Outdoor seating: Terrace
Where: 28 Clarence Ave, Craighall Park 
 
The entrance to the garden at Delta Cafe

Delta Cafe

Deep in the Craighall suburbs, Delta Cafe started as a small cafe in a carefully converted old cottage looking out over the lush Delta Park and is now a busy hive of activity with a cafe, beer garden and pizza restaurant set over two outdoor covered areas. With stables on its doorstep, a kids playground in the garden and a dedicated kids menu, it's an ideal hangout for families, and you can bring your pooch too. The food perfectly matches this bucolic family-friendly atmosphere with a simple and relaxed menu of light home-style lunches such as chicken pregos, salads, and sandwiches as well as pizza made in a giant wood-fired oven.
Outdoor seating: The entire venue is an outdoor covered deck and garden.
Where: 20 Marlborough Ave, Craighall Park

Gerakaris Family Wines

One of Joburg’s best-kept secrets, this small winery founded by New Zealander Kath Gerakis in 2008 has a delightful garden setting facing onto the Braamfontein Spruit and Delta Park that is available for hire for private events such as birthdays and parties. This is a garagiste winery. The grapes all come directly from the Swartland region of the Cape and are then crushed, fermented, aged and bottled on site here in Joburg to produce a syrah and two chenin blancs.
Outdoor seating: Garden
Where: 20 Marlborough Ave, Craighall Park
 
The terrace at Vice Cafe. Photo by JoziCoffeeSpots

Vice Coffee

A trendy Aztec-style coffee spot that specialises in Mexican coffee and also offers a variety of refreshing elixirs and immune-boosting shots to get you pumped for the day. Their space is casual and inviting, and their indoor couch lounge has large windows opening onto an outdoor terrace with ample seating and an abundance of potted cacti in vivid colours. Their outdoor space is shaded with a canopy for warmer days, and is the perfect place to start your morning off with a coffee in hand and a casual bite to eat. 
Outdoor seating: Street terrace
Where: 11 Rothesay Ave, Craighall Park     

CNR Cafe 

This casual owner-run bistro on a suburban corner launched in 2003 and is still going strong. The formula for their enduring success lies in their friendly and professional service, lively atmosphere and simple, yet prettily plated bistro fare. The menu is extensive including pizzas, pastas, toasted sandwiches and salads, as well as classics like burgers, pregos and battered fish. Breakfast is served from 08:00 and as well as a huge list of breakfast dishes, there is also a choice of healthy smoothies and freshly squeezed fruit blends.
Outdoor seating: street terrace
​​​​​​​Where: Cnr Buckingham Ave and Rothesay Ave, Craighall Park

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