Where to eat out in Joburg – Christmas and New Year holidays

14 Dec 2023
During the Christmas and New Year holidays Joburg's frenetic pace tends to slow down as many Joburgers head off to the beach or family in rural areas. While lots of Joburg bars and restaurants choose to close their doors at the start of Christmas week until early into the New Year, there are an increasing number of places that remain open throughout the festive season if you're looking for somewhere special to eat out.

If you're looking for New Year's Eve Dinner ideas, read our rundown of where to celebrate New Year in Joburg.


Rosebank, with its buzzing shopping precinct, is busy throughout the holidays and The Zone@Rosebank is a good bet if you’re looking for a local chain café to grab a casual lunch. A block over at Oxford Parks is another good bet for enjoying some lively nightlife and dining during the quiet season. Some of our new favourites in this area like Ethos, Qbar and The Shortmarket Club will stay open throughout the season, so here are a few more suggestions, vetted by the JIYP team. 

400 Degrees at Clico
With resident Chef Dario De Angeli at the helm, Clico Boutique Hotel's 400 Degrees restaurant in Rosebank is your go-to for casual, al fresco dining. The poolside space hosts a Hendricks Gin Bar and a state-of-the-art pizza oven serving up authentic Neapolitan-style pizza made with De Angeli’s signature slow-fermented dough and a wonderfully eclectic mix of toppings. There’s also a range of antipasti, pasta and risottos as well as ‘fire-cooked’ fillet, chicken, picanha and line fish from the pizza oven. Open throughout.

Acid Food & Wine Bar
We don’t say this lightly: everything on the menu at Parktown North's Acid Food & Wine Bar is fantastic, and it’s hard to choose standouts. The lunch menu differs slightly from dinner in that the selection is smaller, but the chicken wontons in a Szechuan chilli oil broth is a dish so comforting you’ll happily trade it for any chicken noodle out there, and the prawn toast on milk bread with roasted peanuts and cucumber ajaat is sublimely simple. It's the kind of menu where you order one of everything and share. Closed Dec 23 – Jan 5, 2024. (They may open for walk-ins, keep an eye on Acid's Instagram for details.)

The word for Coalition's wood-fired pizzas is 'accomplished', made according to authentic Neapolitan methods and topped with the freshest buffalo mozzarella. The pizza menu at this Park Corner spot changes seasonally and features just a handful of select choices, including pizza bianco (with no tomato) and vegetarian as well as meat options. A choice of tiramisu, affogato or salted caramel tart for dessert rounds out the menu and there's a reasonably priced selection of Italian-style South African wines. Closed Dec 24 – Dec 26. 

Level Four
Renowned for top-notch service and a picturesque rooftop terrace, 54 on Bath's hotel restaurant Level Four never fails to impress. The menu is classic cuisine with a contemporary twist, heightened by the restaurant's elegant surroundings. For something different, try the afternoon tea – a splendid affair from top to bottom. Accompanied by your choice of loose-leaf tea, a Kir Royal cocktail or a glass of Perrier-Jouët Champagne, enjoy a fantastical assortment of sweet and savoury treats presented on a towering, tiered stand. Closed Dec 16 and Dec 25 – Dec 26.

Mamasamba is a vibey restaurant at The Zone@Rosebank; an indoor jungle with emerald green tiles, hanging plants and tall palms. On the menu, you’ll find small plates inspired by Latin American street food, Nikkei sushi, coal-smoked meat and wood-fired seafood. Open Dec 25 and Jan 1, 2024. 
Sublime sushi at Mamasamba. Photo: Mamasamba.

In the landmark Keyes Art Mile development, you can treat yourself to some fine dining at celebrity Chef David Higgs's rooftop restaurant Marble. At the heart of the rooftop restaurant is the live-fire grill in the open kitchen, a spectacular flame cooking up everything from meats and seafood to freshly baked bread. You can try out this restaurant on selected days during the Christmas and New Year's week and their New Year's Eve dinner is something to consider. Closed Dec 25 – Dec 26 and Jan 1 – Jan 2, 2024. 

Proud Mary
Proud Mary's expansive bar and bistro (part of voco Hotel The Bank in Cradock Avenue) has one of the sexiest bar counters in the neighbourhood and an impressive wine and cocktail menu to match. Describing itself as "a modern eatery" the menu boasts an extensive breakfast and lunch selection, a 'seafood raw bar' (think oysters, ceviche, and sashimi), picanha steaks, salads and a variety of small plates and 'cafe plates' – all exquisitely presented. Open throughout, booking is advisable. 

Saigon Suzy
The luxurious karaoke rooms alone are a reason to visit Saigon Suzy, a hip Asian-inspired joint in Parkwood that attracts an energetic crowd. The food is Asian fusion with plenty of tasty choices ranging from small plates to baos, and the menu comes with checkboxes so you get to complete your order with ease. Closed Dec 25, Dec 26 and Jan 1, 2024.

The Shortmarket Club
The Shortmarket Club at Oxford Parks is comparatively less formal than Luke Dale Roberts's Cape Town original, but no less indulgent. The dishes require an adventurous palate – nothing on the menu is run-of-the-mill. This is global cuisine, taking classic dishes and adding a modern touch. And where Roberts goes, Asian inspiration follows. Standouts include the Japanese pancake with crispy calamari, burnt honey glaze and citrusy yuzu, and the tangy miso verjuice beef tataki with crispy shallots. Call ahead for opening times. 

Kolonaki Greek Kouzina
Be transported to a Greek island in Parkhurst while feasting on authentic grilled octopus or chicken souvlakia on the atmospheric terrace at this busy Greek restaurant, Kolonaki Greek Kouzina. Named for Athens' chic suburb of Kolonaki, it's perfect for family lunches. Operating from 11:00 – 16:00 on Dec 24, Dec 25 and Dec 31. Closed Jan 1, 2024. 
Kolonaki's Greek cuisine is perfect for family lunches. Photo: Kolonaki Greek Kouzina.

Jolly Roger
One of Joburg's most infamous dive pubs, 'The Jolly' never closes. Ever. You can even come and drink beers and scoff pizzas at the bar while you sink coins into the jukebox on Christmas Day. Even load-shedding has little effect on Jolly Roger's 17 hours a day, 365 days a year stamina. 


Not an exclusively seafood restaurant, but the flawless fish dishes are the main attraction at Bellagio in Illovo. Grilled kingklip liberally slathered in lemon butter and herbs, gigantic langoustines and seared tuna steak feature prominently. The pasta menu is the real deal, straight from a Ligurian fishing village. Not the place to be in a hurry, Bellagio is more suited to lazy weekend lunches on the terrace, Mediterranean style. Open half-day Dec 24, closed Dec 25 – Dec 26.

Joy Jozi
For kids, this is the best of the best. Adults will love it too. A first in Joburg – Dunkeld's Joy Jozi is "a place where kids can take their adults". The family playground and experiential venue features a twisty children's slide, action court, tree house, bicycle track, mini-splash park and kids' vegetable garden. On the food front, Joy Jozi is a treat, delighting parents and kiddies in equal measure with their simple yet refined menu: Neapolitan pizzas, signature burgers, and steaks and salads are paired with a selection of swish cocktails and delicious milkshakes. Closed Dec 25 – Dec 26 and Jan 1 – Jan 2, 2024.

The Pot Luck Club
Restaurant legend Chef Luke Dale Roberts brought his Pot Luck Kitchen to Joburg with its enticing small plates of robust flavours, and an energetic atmosphere. The Pot Luck Club is not a place to visit with people who do not enjoy sharing plates, as that's half the joy. The experience here is steeped in indulgence, from the richness of dishes to the sampling of varied tastes. Brunch-goers, don't leave without trying the Arnold Bennett, an eggy and cheesy dish served in a small pan that's worthy of the famous English author's namesake. Call ahead for opening times.


After admiring the impressive Christmas lights display at Melrose Arch, visit one of the many popular terrace restaurants on the Melrose Piazza always busy at this time of year, such as TashasPiza e Vino or The Grillhouse. Almost all of Melrose Arch's many restaurants and bars (which number more than dozen) stay open throughout the festive season, making this one of the liveliest places to go out in the evening during the Christmas week. 

Named after the little grapevine inside their previous location at La Rochelle, Parreirinha in Melrose Arch is an unpretentious and hugely popular spot. Hundreds of men’s ties hang from the ceiling, adding character to what is already a colourful place. The menus is loaded with garlic, chilli and Portuguese flavours, and the speciality dishes include bacalhau (cod), prawn cakes, steaks and delicious prawns. Call ahead for opening times.

Sebule is the new flagship restaurant at The African Pride Hotel at Melrose Arch, and it has a menu that focuses on live-fire cooking, bold flavours and spice, with steaks and seafood being the main event. Sebule, meaning 'Living Room' in Swahili, has smoked gnocchi with chargrilled asparagus, asparagus velouté and Parmesan that's got people talking. If steak is your thing, Sebule's signature dry-aged 500g ribeye on the bone is the way to go. Join them for a delightful set menu Christmas lunch where you'll be treated to West Coast mussels, braised beef shortrib and a summer Christmas trifle. Open Dec 24 for lunch and dinner a la carte and for dinner on Dec 31. 


As contemporary as it is cheeky, Mother-in-Law in the Colony Shopping Centre isn't your traditional Indian restaurant. Gone is the restrained décor, and sometimes curtains and the quiet, and in its place is an energetic atmosphere, great cocktails, a lovely open bar area and flavoursome dishes to tantalise the palate. The menu is compact with small and large dishes, bunnies, sandwiches, extras and sweets. We love the mutton curry, fried corn with chilli powder, the paneer and peas, and the chilli prawns. Closed from Dec 25  Jan 4, 2024. 


At this petite and unassuming family-run Korean restaurant just off Parkmore's 11th Street (five minutes drive from Sandton City) every detail is intended to be as authentic as possible. The wines and spirits at Banchan are all imported directly from South Korea, the tofu and kimchi are homemade and even the exotic teas, such as the unusual cinnamon blend with ginger, are created in-house. Scores of local Koreans frequent Banchan to enjoy an authentic taste of home, while every effort is made to accommodate diners new to Korean cuisine. Call ahead for opening times. 

The Bull Run
Succulent steaks cut by the in-house Italian butcher, top-rate service from a close-knit team, excellent salads, a superb wine list and knockout interiors make The Bull Run a Sandton institution. No-fuss culinary sophistication is the guiding thought behind the menu with an impeccably curated selection of steaks, seafood, wines and cocktails. Operating every day during the Christmas week, this classy steakhouse is an option for the holiday revelries. Call ahead for opening times. 
The Bull Run
The Bull Run has retained its reputation as a fine steakhouse. Photo: The Bull Run.

Café 28
There are more than a few reasons to visit Café 28 in Inanda with its large patio and garden, and a view over an immaculate nine-hole golf course. Hidden away in an office park in the heart of Sandton, this is the place to make a pilgrimage to for what we think is the best Neapolitan pizza in Joburg. Just like the guild pizza restaurants of Naples, Café 28 imports ingredients from Italy to ensure the perfect slice – pillowy dough, feather-light, with a wide array of toppings. Of course, there's also a great selection of Italian beers to go with it. Closed Dec 25 – Dec 27, and trading from 12:00 noon to 17:00 from Dec 28 – Jan 1, 2024.

Olives & Plates
Located inside Hyde Park Corner's Exclusive Books, Olives & Plates is a modern all-day Mediterranean restaurant with a fresh and lively atmosphere. Blush pink flowers climb the walls, there's soft lighting by night and by day natural illumination from the floor-to-ceiling windows, and a lively buzz. The breakfast and lunch menus go beyond the usual Mediterranean offerings and also include other classic café favourites like eggs Benedict, granola bowls and burgers. If you’re craving pasta for dinner, we recommend the butternut and sage conchiglione – heavenly! See their festive operating times for each location here

Saint Pazzo Italiano
Located in The Marc building, this knockout, super-sexy space is a sister restaurant to Marble, so you better bring an appetite and a budget to match. It's definitely the go-to place if you favour Champagne with your pizza. The pizzas here, fresh from the gold mosaic pizza ovens, take inspiration from Milan’s pizza masters. Closed Dec 25 – Dec 26 and Jan 1 – Jan 2, 2024.

Jasmine Fusion contemporary halal fine dining
This fully halal restaurant is fast earning a reputation as a fine-dining hotspot. Jasmine Fusion offers a blend of cuisines with recipes influenced by Malaysian, Moroccan and Singaporean origin. Famous for its saucy Malaysian prawn curry, risottos and Moroccan lamb tagine. Above all, their cuisine not only caters to the Muslim community but for anyone looking for a fine-dining experience. Closed Dec 24 – Jan 4, 2024.

Red Chamber
Our favourite Chinese restaurant, hidden on the second floor of Hyde Park Shopping Centre, Red Chamber will be open for most of the festive season. Along with Chinese classics like firecracker kingklip and sizzling beef, we’ll be stopping by for their steamed dumplings and spicy brinjal pot. Closed Dec 25, Jan 1 – Jan 2, 2024.


The Artivist
This effortlessly cool bar, eatery and gallery in Braamfontein, The Artivist will be serving good food and cocktails throughout the holidays. We love their beef tongue parcels and skop with steamed dombolo. And to wash it down, you have to try their rich, silky whisky sour. Closed Dec 25, Jan 1, 2024, but call ahead to confirm. 
The Artivist's good food and cocktails appeal to Braamfontein's post-student, young professional crowd. Photo: The Artivist.

Turkish Kebab House
Enjoy a feast of authentic Turkish cuisine this festive season at Turkish Kebab House in Mayfair. Order a Mix Grill platter (the platter for two feeds three comfortably) and you’ll find the table heaving with a range of starters before the freshly grilled meats and chicken pieces arrive. These include a range of fresh salads like pickled red cabbage and carrots, spicy Ezme (a finely chopped tomato and chilli blend) with delicious Cacik (creamy yoghurt with fine slivers of chopped garlic and mint) plus huge, pillowy flatbreads to mop it all up. And after lunch, stop by the shop and butchery to buy marinated meat and kofte to braai at home. Closed Dec 25, Jan 1, 2024.


The Old Oak Restaurant & Family Centre
Hidden along the greens of the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club is a child-friendly restaurant The Old Oak. For the kids, there’s a massive playground equipped with a climbing wall, dedicated colouring books and pencils, and a special kids' menu. For us adults, there’s an excellent wine list and contemporary food menu including wagyu burgers and hand-stretched Neapolitan pizzas. Closed Dec 18, Dec 19, Dec 25 and Jan 1, 2024. Closed from 16:00 on Dec 24 and from 15:00 on Dec 31. 

The Houghton Hotel's Séjour is a destination venue that appeals to both the hotel's well-heeled guests and locals. Described as "fine without the fluff", the dishes produced by Chef Freddie Dias are eclectic and creative. Mixing flavours and styles from a variety of culinary traditions, the menu is a global experience with wide-ranging influences, from the Americas to the Far East. Open Dec 25 for a set menu Christmas lunch (read our highlights of Christmas lunches, brunches and dinners in Joburg here). 

Rest assured you can get excellent Indian cuisine throughout the holidays at Thava in Norwood, who will not be closing at all in December. Enjoy a  full-size meal or smaller ‘tapas’ portion of any dish. Owner Mathew Abraham comes from Kerala so his food combines flavours from the region like chicken chettinadu or Kerala coconut prawn curry. 

Tortellino d’Oro
Our favourite old-school Italian restaurant, Tortellino d’Oro in Oaklands, is staying open for most of the festive season. Book a lunch and enjoy authentic, homemade pasta, or pop into the on-site deli – packed with pasta, sauces, freshly baked bread, and delectable desserts for all your holiday catering needs. Closed Dec 25, Jan 1, 2024.

Ribs & Burgers
Juicy burgers and lip-smacking ribs are the order of the day at this casual eatery at The Neighbourhood Square in Linksfield. The emphasis at Ribs & Burgers is on the quality of the food and you'll taste it immediately – grass-fed beef burgers placed on a seeded brioche milk bun. There are also carb-free versions of all the burgers on the menu (lettuce cups filled with rocket, tomato, onion salsa and vinaigrette) and great options for vegetarians that include a veggie stack and Moroccan falafel. Closed Dec 25, Jan 1, 2024. For a list of all their Joburg eateries go here.


Delicious surf and turf at Waterfall Corner. Photo: Cowfish. 

This restaurant at Waterfall Corner is part of a vibrant, all-rounder restaurant chain with an Asian fusion menu as quirky as its name, offering sushi, seafood and a burger line-up, plus a focus on cocktails. Expect surf and turf dishes at Cowfish, as well as noodles and poke bowls with something to satisfy picky eaters and adventurous ones, whether you crave seafood delights, prefer hearty grilled meats, or are more keen on vegetarian options. The dim sum platters are a great choice for snacking on while you settle on a main course. If you are a fan of creative cocktails, opt for the sassy 'Flaming Gin and Juice' and try one of the bespoke house mixes, perhaps a 'Cinnamon and Sage Gin and Tonic'? Closed Dec 25. 


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