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JJust like the city itself, the dining scene in Jozi is constantly changing. New spots come and go, as do trends, but the must-tries remain (and they have you coming back for more and more). These are Joburg’s best restaurants.
At Coalition you’re in for an Italian treat. The laid-back pizza joint offers a Neapolitan-inspired experience, meaning 00 flour, a two-day rising process, crushed tomatoes for the base, home-made fior de latte mozzarella, and baking at 400°C for a perfectly puffed crust. Classic toppings include coppa, thyme, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichokes and olives. The oven-roasted beef short rib is an absolute must. For dessert it’s a toss-up between tiramisu, panna cotta and affogato.
The gourmet burgers here are the stuff of legends but there are also street food-style dishes like the bacon-wrapped hotdog and the beef prego. Recently they introduced their South African take on a corndog - the pap dog. Boerewors (South African sausage) is coated with pap (maize meal) infused with chakalaka (a tangy tomato and onion mix). Clearly there’s no shying away from local flavours here.
DDW Eleven-13, Dunkeld West
Marthinus Ferreira’s establishment dazzles the palate with every bite, and tantalises the imagination with wondrous creations. Tasting plates change seasonally. Previous highlights have included chicken liver mille-feuille bites; truffle-infused sous-vide hen’s egg; seared tuna sashimi with oyster coulis, citrus and fennel; and bresaola and pickled veg, slaphakskeentjies (cooked onion salad) and dukkah. Desserts are fabulous too.
Épicure by Chef Coco, Morningside
Multi-award-winning chef Coco Reinarhz’s eatery is inspired by Africa as a whole. Even breakfasts get a proudly African spin, with dishes such as Tunisian-style shakshuka (tomato and roasted pepper paste), baked eggs with Algerian-style merguez lamb sausage, and Xhosa-style South African crumbly phutu pap porridge with a side of amasi fermented milk. There are also sharing plates with delightful names like Hunter’s Reward (South African-style grilled venison loin with biltong butter and sweet potato wedges) and Dukkah Delight (Egyptian dukkah-spiced beef rib-eye with bulgur wheat and roasted aubergine baba ganoush). Sit back and taste the continent.
Level Four Restaurant, Rosebank
This is a popular spot in Jozi. The menu showcases classic ideas carefully crafted using contemporary interpretation and bold flavours. The clever combinations of flavour and texture will keep you coming back for more. Added to the delectable food is the urbane setting, the superb service and the limited-edition CWG auction wines.
La Boqueria, Parktown North
This eatery presents a global culinary journey in an impressive setting. Wines are of the small-batch boutique local variety and accompany dishes like cured Norwegian salmon with ponzu dressing and poppadoms, octopus marinated in lime and coriander, and tapas of lamb empanadas and smoked pork neck croquettes. Though the menu spans just one page, you’ll be hard-pressed for choice.
Marble Restaurant is the place to be seen in Johannesburg. The brainchild of chef David Higgs and entrepreneur Gary Kyriacou, Marble opened to much anticipation and didn’t disappoint in the slightest. The restaurant takes live-fire cooking to elegant and inspired heights, with a menu that is somewhat of a journey, boasting flavours ranging from complex Mediterranean inspirations to light Thai infusions and Argentinian barbecue grills. All this is conjured up using local and seasonal ingredients.
Momo Baohaus, Greenside
The rule of thumb is that if you’re sitting at a Momo-related establishment, you’re going to eat well. The best way to eat here is to settle in for a couple of hours, with an empty stomach and a host of friends ready to share. There’s a range of bao buns with fillings like pulled lamb with hoisin, tempura prawn with pickled ginger, and a vegetarian option of fried tofu with mayo. Other standout dishes include the Firecracker Prawns, which come with puffed vermicelli, sriracha, tagarashi spice and wasabi mayo. For dessert, opt for the deep-fried buns that come with a salted caramel dip.
Saigon Suzy Asian BBQ & Rock ‘n Roll Bar, Parkwood
This popular eatery is all about choice - the menu itself comes as a checklist and the ‘Wok n’ Roll’ section allows you to build up a plate of your own with options like udon noodles, pork belly, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and peanut satay sauce. The drinks menu is as extensive, covering everything from sake to cognac and champagne. If you’re going with friends, you could also book for their karaoke package that includes a personal waiter and a touchscreen karaoke system featuring more than 10 000 international songs.
Describing itself as an Asian fusion restaurant, Urbanologi serves up mouthwatering and sublime meals worth a visit and worth every return visit thereafter. The menu is divided into sections of raw, cured, steamed, fried and kushiyaki, each with vegan and vegetarian options. Dishes could include duck pancakes with kimchi, spider steak with passion fruit labneh and yakitori chicken with chimichurri.
AAbout the author
Lindsay September is a content producer at Eat Out Magazine. While she likes wine, she’d much rather snuggle up with a cup of Italian hot chocolate. She is perpetually on the hunt for the best carrot cake and, if given the opportunity, she would smother nearly anything in basil pesto.
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