Eat Out

JOHANNESBURG

Smoking

Wi-Fi

Take-Aways

Kid-Friendly

Winner: Best Everyday Eateries

Bookable on the Eat Out app

Johannesburg CBD and Central suburbs

’86 PUBLIC

BEST FOR A quick bite before a night out. FOOD The compact menu has just five pizzas, but that’s all you need. Classics such as the option with bacon, salami, green pepper, onion, mushroom, avocado and garlic or a good old faithful of bacon, avocado and feta will do the trick. The pizza bianca with figs, rocket leaves, prosciutto and balsamic glaze is also delicious. Or make your own! Choose from one of four bases and your type of crust, then add your selection of toppings. Aside from pizza, crowd favourites are the chicken wings with dip and ribs in 500g or 1kg portions. For a healthier option, try the ‘86 Public salad, which has a special dressing. DRINKS Comprehensive list of wines, beers, ciders, spirits and cocktails. Non-alcoholic DRINKS are available too. SERVICE Quick and friendly. AMBIENCE Unpretentious, casual and cosy with views of Braamfontein’s bustling streets. DJs attract the student crowd in the evenings. (TF)

198 Oxford Street, Illovo; 068 109 4904; avg main meal R120lunch: Tue to Sun dinner: Tue to Sun

BA-PITA

BEST FOR Casual meals with friends, first dates and family outings. FOOD Ba-Pita specialises in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean street FOOD: kebabs, shwarmas, laff as (stuffed and rolled flatbreads) with all the trimmings, hummus, tzatziki, falafel and an array of grain- and legume-based salads packed with nuts and herbs. They make everything in-house and flavours are subtle and fragrant with touches of cumin, za’atar and sumac throughout. Highlights include moreish falafel served in bowls thickly smeared with hummus; unapologetically garlicky baba ganoush; lamb and mince koftas with tzatziki; and any one of the laff as. It’s tasty, wholesome FOOD that should draw in the crowds. DRINKS Craft beer, hipster cocktails, and a short, well-priced wine list. SERVICE Swish and seamless. AMBIENCE It’s a big space with ample seating, vaulted ceilings ornamented with hanging plants and Moroccan lanterns, and walls embellished with mosaic tiles. (KL)

Shop 2, No. 17th Street, Melville; 010 020 8363; avg main meal R75 lunch: Mon to Sun

BAHA TACO

BEST FOR A Mexican-inspired food experience. FOOD You’re greeted by a big chalkboard menu behind the serving counter, filled with staples like nachos, tacos, quesadillas, and a selection of other specialties. You’ll also notice the chef chopping up fresh ingredients in the open kitchen, using the same traditional cooking methods she used to use in the FOOD market stalls of Johannesburg, where this eatery has its origins. Order a variety of tapas to share, like the hand-made chicken quesadillas, the famous goat empanadas, and pulled-pork soft-shell tacos, which are almost overshadowed by delicious refried beans and myriad of other toppings. For good measure, add cheesy nachos to your order, too. For dessert there’s another classic: churros with chocolate sauce. DRINKS Imported beers, local wines, and mojito and margarita cocktails. AMBIENCE Situated on the quaint end of Grant Avenue, the restaurant is pub-like and rustic. (MK)

Shop 3 Tarquin House, 38 Upper Grant Avenue, Norwood; 076 694 7400; avg main meal R150lunch: Tue to Sun dinner: Tue to Sun

BAMBANANI

BEST FOR Play dates and kiddies’ parties. FOOD The menu here focuses on what the little people will eat, from make-your-own pizza to mini fish and chips, though grown-ups aren’t left out. For starters, try fried calamari rings, and for the main event, the lamb cutlets are succulent and flavourful, served with perfectly roasted baby potatoes that taste like they came straight from the spitbraai. At the end of the day, the traditional malva pudding with vanilla ice cream is a good option for dessert. DRINKS Extensive coffees and soft drinks and an adequately stocked bar. SERVICE Usually good, including friendly child-minders. AMBIENCE There’s a street-level deck, good for a cocktail, a warm and comfortable inside area, and a backyard with monkey swings and climbing castles, all geared to keeping the kids entertained, including a pizza-making area. (MK)

85 4th Avenue, Mellville; 011 482 2900; avg main meal R120breakfast: Mon to Sun lunch: Mon to Sun dinner: Mon to Sun

BREEZEBLOCK

BEST FOR Catching up in a relaxed setting. FOOD Breezeblock is all about brunch, and sports an all-day breakfast menu. This includes beans and bangers, made with free-range pork sausage, grilled and packed with herby flavour, on a bed of south Indian-style curried beans, and served with your choice of bread. The generous portion of eggs Mirza, with perfectly smoked aubergine, seasoned with mint, turmeric and tomato, is another favourite. Vegetarians will relish the interesting oatmeal options or pancakes. The lunch menu has tasty and crunchy salads with the freshest of greens, and for a sweet treat, try the butternut dumplings drizzled with butterscotch sauce. DRINKS Playful, quirky and serious wines. SERVICE Attentive and warm, ensuring repeat customers. AMBIENCE Retro tiles, mid-century furniture, a well-spaced layout and nostalgic decor, combined with the immaculate indigenous garden, make the space warm and inviting. (ZK)

29 Chiswick street, Brixton; 076 705 3992; avg main meal R80breakfast: Tue to Sun lunch: Tue to Sun

CALEXICO

BEST FOR Birthday parties. FOOD Mexico meets New York in this small restaurant/bar. Nachos, pico de gallo, smashed avocado, cheddar and sour cream jalapeños as well as the hot artichoke-and-jalapeño dip with tortilla chips will make a fun start. For mains, move onto something like the chipotle rotisserie chicken – in half and full portions – with salt-and-vinegar shoestring fries on the side. The quesadilla with chicken and beans is particularly tasty, finished off beautifully with a cold Corona and a slice of apple pie or chocolate brownies and ice cream. DRINKS There’s a full bar with beers and ciders on tap, and a selection of cocktails. SERVICE Warm and friendly. AMBIENCE Moody and quirky with a vinyl corner and a variety of knicknaks on display. There’s a spacious deck for hot summer days and roaring fireplace in winter. (AM)

44 Stanley Avenue; 011 482 5791; avg main meal R100lunch: Tue to Sun dinner: Tue to Sun

CHE ARGENTINE GRILL

BEST FOR A mid-week dinner for two. FOOD The famous empanadas could easily make a whole meal, and come with a variety of fillings, but do also try the provoleta, a decadent smoked provolone, and the grilled chorizo, popping with paprika, parsley and pepper. But the main attraction here is the meat, lovingly cooked on the grill with coarse salt the only seasoning. There are also short rib, rib-eye, and fillet on the bone, but the aranita steak really stands out, and is as tender as it looks. Once you’ve tried the chimichurri sauce on the side, you’ll want to take a whole bottle home. The flan del Rio de la plata is a perfect portion of creme caramel served with the restaurant’s signature dulce de leche. DRINKS Beautiful Malbec wines and yummy cocktails, too. SERVICE Personalised and attentive. AMBIENCE You’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into a secret spot for only those in the know. (ZKV)

128 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood; avg main meal R245lunch: Tue to Sundinner: Tue to Sat

THE COUNTESS

BEST FOR After-work drinks, dinner with friends, parties and functions. FOOD This is quintessential American smokehouse fare, and the burgers keep the crowds coming back. The Chilli Burger is fantastic, but the simple BBQ burger, topped with aïoli, tomato and gherkins, proves that sometimes simpler is better. The onion rings here are the stuff of dreams: enormous and perfectly crisp. The chicken wings and pork ribs are tender and sticky sweet; and the 18-hour brisket is comfort food at its best. (Rather skip the pastas and salads also on offer.) For dessert, the signature pot de crème, a twist on the traditional crème brûlée, is delicious, as is the dense chocolate brownie. DRINKS A list of easy-going and affordable wines, an amazing selection of craft gins and tonics, craft beers on tap, and excellent coffee. SERVICE Friendly but laid-back. AMBIENCE Steampunk décor and a great outside deck makes this space OTT and fabulous. (EO)

Shop 1, 27 Boxes, 75 3rd Ave; 011 482 7361; avg main meal R135breakfast: Tue to Sunlunch: Tue to Sundinner: Tue to Sat

FRESH EARTH CAFE & RESTAURANT

BEST FOR Conscious eating. FOOD This breakfast and lunch spot offers an ever-expanding selection of vegan and vegetarian fare as well as abundant choice for those following a low-carb, sugar-free or banting diet. Delicious all-day breakfast options include a delectable quinoa, herb and butternut frittata with basil and gorgonzola, parmesan-doused wild mushrooms on toast with a poached egg, and gluten-free golden flax flapjacks with strawberries and honey. Lunch is all about choice – and virtually everything is made in-house. The hummus bowls are very enticing, with home-made hummus, falafel balls, crunchy vegetables and rich dressings. The spinach-and-feta phyllo pie is wholesome and generous, as is the deconstructed burrito bowl. For dessert there’s waffles and ice cream and an array of delicious baked treats. DRINKS A great selection of smoothies, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, and 100% organic coffee. SERVICE Relaxed but efficient. AMBIENCE A neighbourhood eatery that’s quiet and calm, unpretentious and laid-back. (KL)

103 Komatie Street, Emmarentia; 011 646 4404; avg main meal R85 breakfast: Mon to Sun lunch: Mon to Sun

GALATA

BEST FOR A quick, light meal or a work meeting. FOOD Most of the meals are Turkish-inspired, ranging from breakfast, sandwiches, pastas and platters to burgers and a few vegetarian options. Meals worth trying are grilled chicken breast served with spicy, crispy and delicious chips, and the mixed omelette served with sucuk (Turkish spicy sausage), mushrooms and mozzarella. There are just a few options for vegetarians. The freshly baked cakes and sweet treats on display are tantalising from the moment you walk in and the cakes are indeed delicious and worth the visit alone. DRINKS No alcohol, but order a special tea in a pot. SERVICE The staff members are friendly and well-informed about the menu and are always on hand to explain the Turkish meals in detail. AMBIENCE It’s located in a busy student area, so if you want to experience the hustle and bustle of student life, you can find a seat outside under the patio umbrellas. The interior is intimate and cosy. (FN)

87 Juta Street, Braamfontein; 011 339 1492; avg main meal R80breakfast: Mon to Sun lunch: Mon to Sundinner: Mon to Sun

GEMA TRATTORIA AND PIZZERIA

BEST FOR No-frills lunch and dinner dates. FOOD A simple list of starters includes a salad with just tuna, lettuce and olives, as well as soups and a selection of cheese and cold meat platters. The rest of the menu is just as simple – napoletana, bolognese, carbonara, arrabiata, and sea food pasta dishes are all on offer, with portions as generous as the fresh, natural flavours that come through with every dish from this home-cooking style Italian establishment. Their thin-based pizza is satisfying, with fresh and seasonal toppings. Outside of the pizza and pasta, the lamb shank is a favourite with Gema’s most frequent customers. For dessert, sorbets are available in a variety of flavours – orange, lemon, pineapple, coconut – with tiramisu and home-made ice cream also on offer. DRINKS Full-service bar with limited selection of local wines. SERVICE Friendly and knowledgeable. AMBIENCE Unpretentious, comfortable and welcoming. (SN)

143 Queen Street, South Kensington; 011 622 9716; avg main meal R100lunch: Tue to Sun dinner: Tue to Sun

THE GREAT EASTERN FOOD BAR

BEST FOR Sharing with friends FOOD The perfect location to order a variety of small plates for the table. The go-to starter is the sashimi tacos: the trout ceviche with pickled lemon and wasabi is an exquisite palate cleanser. Other starters portions include the famous hot and spicy vegetable gyoza dumplings and the crispy scallion pancake with kimchi pickle. Vegan options such as the cauliflower nuggets and the marinated oven-roasted tofu are also delicious. The Korean fried five-spice chicken comes highly recommended, especially with a side of jasmine-coconut rice. For dessert, choose between a hibiscus panna cotta or a vegan coconut panna cotta with granadilla syrup. DRINKS The small and compact offering including sake. SERVICE Attentive and well-informed, with waiters able to guide you through the ordering process. AMBIENCE Intimate and casual. (MK)

Post Office Centre, 30 Rudd Road, Illovo; 011 268 2128; avg main meal R120lunch: Tues to Sundinner: Tues to Sun

LA PETITE MAISON

Romantic dinners and relaxed lunches. This French-inspired bistro offers an eclectic, refined dining experience. The seasonal menu is as petite as the restaurant; however there’s also a vegan menu on request and a charcuterie-and-cheese platter on offer over lunch. To start, choose between wonderfully rich squid and squid-ink risotto with Cape Malay spiced prawns, and a fresh and delicate ostrich tartare with deep-fried mushrooms, crushed coriander, ponzu and avocado. Mains include perfectly crispy duck with five-spiced plums and a spiced lamb rack with harissa, prunes and caramelised onions. For dessert, opt for the delicious tiramisu. An excellent, reasonably priced boutique wine list. Enthusiastic. This idiosyncratic, romantic little spot is

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