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Where to eat in Johannesburg – a feast for the food lover

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Johannesburg is a vast melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, people from all corners of the world flooding to and eventually settling there in search of fortune after the discovery of gold in 1886. The food, as a result, is a direct reflection of this and screams variety; with almost every cuisine thinkable being served up across the city, allowing the traveler to sample a myriad of both local and foreign tastes.

Peter Thompson

My Destination local expert on

Johannesburg

Thanks in part to a booming farming industry, meat is incredibly widespread and consequently popular amongst South Africans, with locally reared lamb and beef finding its way onto almost any menu. Seafood too is incredibly popular, particularly in the Cape, where fishermen bring in boats groaning full of slippery hake, kingklip and tuna.

 

Because of this multicultural skew, there is no real one dish that shouts South Africa. Pap – a ground corn side dish similar to mashed potato, although denser and more filling – is a firm favourite amongst the locals; as is boboetie – a Cape Malay curry with sweet sultanas – and of course biltong – cured beef or game that is spiced and sliced and served as a snack.

 

Parkhurst

 

This snug, leafy corner of Johannesburg is heaving with character and charm. The Wolfpack near the top of the street is famous for its enormous burgers, alternative sides; like polenta fries, Asian salad and wasabi onion rings with aioli, and craft beers and ciders on tap. Down the other end is Stella e Luna, an unpretentious Italian serving up paper thin pizza with imported pepperoni from New Jersey and creamy mozzarella, as well as traditional chicchetti – Venetian style tapas - in warm, earthenware pots. 4th Avenue also boasts an army of breakfast spots, with Vovo Telo, Nice, Coffee Roasters and Melissa’s oozing bonhomie, home-made breads and local, quality ingredients generously dolloped onto every plate.

 

Wolfpack, 21, 4th Avenue. Tel: +27 871 502 491• Stella e Luna, Cnr of 12th Street & 4th Avenue. Tel: +27 11 447 0669• Vovo Telo, Cnr of 12th Street & 4th Avenue. Tel: +27 11 447 5939• Nice, Cnr of 14th Street & 4th Avenue. Tel: +27 11 788 6286• Coffee Roasters, Cobbles Centre, 4th Avenue. Tel: +27 823 782109• Melissa’s, 38, 4th Avenue. Tel: +27 11 447 2975

 

Braamfontein

 

Braamfontein, the very Northern tip of the Johannesburg CBD, is an area that hosts a riot of young entrepreneurial ventures. The now renowned Love Food shows off rich coffees, artisanal products and an honest, homely deli that caters for both the veggie lover and the carnivore. Juta Street is clamouring with young faces and hip hairstyles, the specialist pizza at ’86 Public attracts a buzzing swarm of hungry people daily. For the more refined, antique-flouting, water-feature loving types, there is 44 Stanley. Once 1930’s industrial buildings, this corner has been converted into a collection of foodie stops and boutiques with craft beer and pulled pork sandwiches from The Stanley Beer Yard, robust and hearty Italian fare from Il Giardino Degli Ulivi and modern South African cuisine from Full Stop Café.

 

Love Food, 4 Ameshoff Street. +27 836 026511• ’86 Public, Cnr Melle & Juta Street. +27 611 571823• 44 Stanley, 44 Stanley Avenue. +27 11 482 4444

 

Illovo

 

Close to Sandton, this district has become a foodie haven in the last few years, drawing visitors from miles around. The Rabbit in the Moon is a Mediterranean inspired restaurant with a highly coveted beer garden. The unfussy menu offers hand crafted pizza, perfectly cooked pasta and an assortment of fresh salads and sandwiches with everything made on site. The Fishmonger dishes up freshly grilled fish and chunky fish cakes, while Yamato satisfies every sushi lover’s craving. And for the sweet tooth, Chateaux Gateaux Patisseries or The Patisserie across the road break even the most hardened dieter with red velvet cupcakes and creamy frosting, baked cheesecakes, tangy salted caramel and buttery, flaky croissants.

 

Rabbit in the Moon, 198 Oxford Road. +27 11 447 6720• Fishmonger, Thrupps Illovo Centre. +27 11 268 0067• Yamato, Illovo Mews. +27 11 268 0511• Chateaux Gateaux Patisseries, Thrupps Illovo Centre. +27 11 268 2211• The Patisserie, Post Office Centre. +27 11 268 0044

 

Sandton

 

The business capital of Johannesburg, Sandton is understandably chock-a-block with places to eat and new cuisines to try. Perhaps most popular is Mandela Square in Sandton City, a European styled piazza dominated by a towering statue of the late and great Nelson Mandela. Lekgotla, meaning ‘meeting place’ in Tswana, dishes up fusion flavors from South Africa to Morocco to Mozambique. Diners can enjoy excellent platters of local grilled meats and fish accompanied by traditional sides of pap - ground corn, chakalaka - a vegetable relish and samp - crushed corn.

 

Lekgotla African Restaurant, 5 Mandela Square. +27 11 884 9555