Top 5 Johannesburg Eating & Drinking Experiences
JHBLive list to places that not only offer a good meal, but that can unexpectedly turn into a bloody good time.
by Michael Balkind Posted: 2017/10/12
These venues were chosen because they are authentic. They are, in other words, all distinctly Joburg. They have great food and excellent atmosphere. They’re the kinds of places that offer a good meal, of course, but that also often turn into a bloody good time.
Owner Nick Scott arrived on the Jozi best chef list via the now famous Great Eastern Food Bar. His CV includes a background in advertising, vintage building restoration and even a stint as a Drum and Bass DJ. Nick’s food offers a complement to Japanese and Korean cuisine while redefining classics such as the Ramen, Korean fried chicken, rice and noodles. The dishes at Glory are transformed into the chefs’ originals, with signature flavours delivered from handmade in-house spice combinations.
The Glory vibe is a mix between a back yard Asian kitchen that somehow found its way into a courtyard, morphing into an intergalactic bar-at-the-end-of-the-universe experience within. Expect a good party with DJ’s from Thursday to Saturday, as well as some live acts. Don’t be surprised if you see some internationals too.
Recommendations: It’s best to go in a group so you can order as many menu items as possible and share, getting your tongue a taste of everything. Glory is an experience. If you want to eat and leave on schedule, go for lunch. But to get the full experience of feast, drink and dance, book a baby sitter.
For more info click here
2. The Troyville Hotel
Peri Peri turned Nando’s into one of the world’s most successful global fast food chains – this unique culinary vibe is one of few positive legacies left by the Portuguese colonization of Mozambique.
Post war, many Portuguese immigrants settled in our city, bringing this now world-famous flavour with them. So, if Maputo is the capital of Peri Peri, the Troyville Hotel is its Jozi ambassador. The hotel overlooks parts of the Ellis Park stadium and Hillbrow City. As such, it’s one of few places to offer the full mish mash of South African people and culture. The beer, for some weird reason, tastes much better on tap here than anywhere else.
It’s hard to pin down what makes this hotel so unique. Its menu is identical to most famous Portuguese restaurants. Yet somehow the pink flamingo room, the classic pub, the glass house restaurant and the city views create ingredients as fresh as the food itself.
Recommendations: Sunday lunch on the stoep is killer. Order a starter of chicken livers and squid heads, together with a beer on tap. Follow it with a main course of either the prawns or baby chicken (and another cold draft). Make sure you take good friends along, Drink lots of tequila to drive your hunger on to dinner.
For more info click here
3. Living Room Jozi
As the name suggests, the Living Room, is an open rooftop space immersed in living plants. There are plants are the walls, plants in the pots, plants on the ceiling and plants hanging in picture frames. This place is fresh in all senses. The bar is tastefully decorated with custom made wood work and vintage décor. Mixed with owner Tarryn Jacobson’s obsession for stemmed photosynthesising creatures, the aesthetic makes you feel like you’re in a treasure chest within a jungle on a secret island somewhere far away. Except you’re not. The Living Room is city roof top bar and its vistas are unmistakably Jozi, including a full frontal view of Ponte, Hillbrow and the east side of the CBD.
The Living Room is open for lunch and dinners on most days of the week. It sits in the heart of Joburg’s darling neighbourhood, Maboneng, arguably Africa’s creative and artistic capital and without doubt the epicentre of cultivated white boy facial hair.
Recommendations: The view and décor is enough to get the Living Room onto a top venue list, but Sundays at the Living Rooms are one of our city’s best kept secrets. On Sundays this treasure chest comes to incredible life to the sounds of Joburg’s best spin masters, marinating on a dance floor in one of the best demonstrations possible of just how diverse Johannesburg is.
Visit living room website
4. The Orbit
South African art is going through a super Sonic BOOM. Our painters and sculptors are being profiled in some of the world’s best galleries and are sought after by the most serious global collectors. Why? Probably for similar reasons that South African jazz is about to explode on the world scene. Marcus Wyatt, Carlo Mombeli, Siya Makuzeni, Feya Faku, Kesivan Naidoo, Kyle Shepard , Benjamin Jephta, Herbie Tsoali… Just a few names who are part of a collective of artists driving our new jazz movement. This is an original sound that is distinctly South African, and that is also becoming world famous.
As big as this scene is getting globally, most of these artists are unknown in the local main stream music market. In fact, they would be completely invisible if it weren’t for the consistent platform The Orbit has provided.
The Orbit is a restaurant, a bar and a live music venue. It’s in the heart of Braamfontein, which is in the heart of the Johannesburg creative renaissance. It’s simple: The Orbit is a major organ in the body of what’s shaping to be one of the most exciting creative cities on planet earth. The story of the Orbit is the glory of South African Jazz.
Recommendations: Get there, and get exposed.
For contact and address details click here
It’s not in town, or even near town. It’s in the middle of Illovo, right near Rosebank Mall. Nonetheless, this father, son and family run Greek restaurant is a Jozi institution. Never (ever) will you go there and not find one of the family members welcoming regulars, or making sure the kitchen quality is up to the highest standards.
Breaking plates, belly dancers and Uzo quickly turn a normal night into ladies dancing tables and men hugging while singing Greek songs. There is nothing better than a Parea feast, full stop.
Parea is always open and never disappoints.
Recommendations: There’s no clear start or end to this experience, so, in no particular order, make sure you try the muscles in tomato sauce and feta, grilled haloumi (best in the city), whole silver fish, meze lamb chops and, my favourite dish of all, a little pakaniko shredded cabbage salad.
For contact and address details click here
Disclaimer: Johannesburg is full of hidden experiences; this fast ageing author doesn’t get out as much as he would like to, and has listed only venues he has personally experienced. If you have ideas about venues that should make our next list, we would love to hear from you.