34 Best Restaurants in Johannesburg, South Africa


$$$$ | Melrose Arch Fodor's choice

This is fine dining at its finest, according to the 2021 Luxe Restaurant Awards which conferred the title of Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year on Basalt. This intimate, dinner-only establishment prides itself on attention to detail with immaculate plating that plays on a fusion of color, texture, and storytelling. It hosts chefs-in-residence who design tasting menus (from three to seven courses; price quoted for seven courses), with options for meat lovers, pescatarians, and vegetarians, that can be complemented with a wine pairing selected by an experienced sommelier. It’s a memorable culinary experience that is accentuated by a sophisticated, yet comfortable, atmosphere in The Peech Hotel’s heritage house, with its parquet flooring, Basalt-gray walls and backlit bar.

61 North St., Johannesburg, South Africa
Known For
  • a romantic night out where the prix-fixe menu is served at a leisurely pace
  • quality service and attention to detail
  • regularly changing menu in line with seasons and fresh produce
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch, Reservations essential, Children aged 16 or over are welcome

Black Horse Restaurant

$$ Fodor's choice

Set in manicured, terraced gardens that stretch out onto paddocks where grazing Friesian horses idle away afternoons, the family-owned Black Horse Estate Restaurant predominantly serves bistro staples like burgers and wood-fired pizzas, though Stables Café, open during the week, can easily accommodate walk-ins. While you’re here, you can also do a tasting and tour of the craft brewery, run by one of the country’s youngest female brewers, and gin distillery (1 hour, R287.50 for both). It’s such a popular weekend venue for families, bikers, cyclists, and out-of-towners that it’s essential to book if you want to secure a place for lunch.


$$$$ | Parkhurst Fodor's choice

While Parkhurst is known for the countless restaurants that line 4th Avenue, the refined space at Embarc is in a league of its own making fine dining accessible to all through its relaxed environment. Fusing high-quality local produce and artisanal products with international flavors, coupled with a thoughtful combination of contrasting flavors and hues to create delectable dishes that can be eaten as starters or shared as mains. Embarc is owned by a chef-sommelier duo who pay utmost attention to every aspect of this welcoming establishment. Highly recommended, especially if you only have one night out on the town.

Corner 13th St. and 4th Ave., Johannesburg, South Africa
Known For
  • co-owner is a sommelier who compiled an extensive collection of local and international wines
  • supporting small artisans and sustainable suppliers
  • displaying and selling local artworks that enhance the ambience of the space
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.

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$$$$ | Rosebank Fodor's choice

The relaxed fine-dining, Mediterranean-inspired fare at Ethos has as much appeal as its decor and design, which is characterized by beige hues, Doric columns, brass accents, and flowing ceiling baffles. Dishes are carefully curated to highlight how the natural flavors of various foods also complement each other in terms of texture, color, and thoughtful presentation. Servers are astute in advising how to best pair meals with the restaurant's extensive collection of South African wines. 


$$$$ | Saxonwold Fodor's choice

A golf cart whisks you up the hill followed by a glass elevator ride to this chic establishment with an infinity fountain that appears to overflow into Zoo Lake and faces the direction of Sandton and Rosebank. It's a popular sundowner spot as it beautifully displays Jo'burg's urban man-made forest and the menu showcases seasonal, regional cuisine with vegan and gluten-free options, but has a particular flair for South African meats, such as lamb chops, oxtail, pork belly, and a selection of locally-bred Wagyu prime cuts. Though it's based at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, the majority of its diners are not hotel guests—testimony to how good it is.

Little Addis Cafe

$ Fodor's choice

Kassa and his friendly staff serve up affordable and delectable Ethiopian cuisine at this small restaurant at 44 Stanley—there's a selection of options for meat lovers and vegans (as Ethiopians regularly fast by not eating animal products). While the decor may be simple, comprising of a few photos and paintings of Ethiopia, the food steals the show like Beyaynetu, a vegan combo dish where lentil stew, pumpkin, chickpea gravy, sautéed spinach, curried potatoes, pickled beetroot, and tomato salsa is laid out on injera (a sourdough flat bread). The food is intended to be shared and eaten with your hands, ask Kassa can show you how, after you thoroughly wash your hands at the outdoor sink (you can also ask for cutlery). Top off your meal with a traditional coffee—after all Ethiopia is said to be the birthplace of coffee. 

Tortellino d'Oro

$$ | Oaklands Fodor's choice

This small and unpretentious restaurant and deli has legendary food, especially the pasta. Try the Parma ham and melon as an antipasto, and then get a pasta for your main course, such as the tortellini, which is filled with a mixture of ham, mortadella sausage, chicken, and Parmesan cheese, then served with mushroom cream, or butter and sage sauce. The service is as outstanding, as is the food, and there’s an excellent wine list. Be sure to book ahead. Run by an Italian family, Tortellino’s is popular for both lunch and dinner.

Pretoria St. at Victoria St., Johannesburg, 2192, South Africa
Known For
  • <PRO>outstanding service</PRO>
  • <PRO>excellent wine list</PRO>
  • <PRO>authentic pasta</PRO>
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Sun., Reservations essential

Wandie's Place

$$ | Dube Fodor's choice

Smartly dressed waiters in ties serve truly African food—meat stews, sweet potatoes, beans, a stiff corn porridge, traditionally cooked pumpkin, chicken, and tripe laid out in a buffet of pots and containers—to a steady stream of hungry patrons. The food is hot, the drinks are cold, and the conversation flows, especially if you happen to meet Wandie, who frequently still runs operations. While you may end up here on a private tour or with a tour bus, it's big enough to cope. It's not that difficult to find, and parking is safe, but it's probably better to organize a visit on a guided trip. The decor is eclectic township (a bit makeshift), and the walls are adorned with signatures and business cards of tourists and dignitaries who have dined here.



This small, casual restaurant offers memorable food and quick, professional service, whether you choose to sit down or grab a quick bite. The atmosphere can be quite noisy and energy-packed, as friends catch up over lunch and businesspeople chat animatedly about work over a plate of legendary potato rostis: try one with smoked salmon or a pepper fillet. Many people return to this local favorite which was founded in 1992 and hasn't changed its menu since.

Bertrand Café

$$$ | City Center

One of the coolest places to be seen in Maboneng, Bertrand Café exudes a shabby chic style with its mirror and portrait walls, chandelier, mix-match pops of color, and bookshelves lined with bric-a-brac. The food is a fusion of French and African flavors thanks to inspiration from the Congolese co-owner Bertrand Mampouya. 


$$$$ | Parkview

This intimate, modern eatery specializes in small plates that cater to conscious foodies and those with restrictive diets—vegan, keto-friendly, or gluten-free or lactose-free options available. The minimalist decor draws focus to the flavors and colors of the food, which is meant for sharing so as to avoid order envy—three plates per person should do the trick. It's ideal for a quick bite at lunchtime or a leisurely dinner. Outside of the most popular signature dishes, the menu changes seasonally (three times a year) and can be complemented with a selection of local wines from smaller wine estates with a deliberate focus on female and Black female winemakers.  

66 Tyrone Ave., Johannesburg, South Africa
Known For
  • quality ingredients that keep sustainability in mind
  • unsigned Nelson Makamo mural on the wall
  • weekend brunches (closed for brunch during the week)
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. and mid-Dec.–mid-Jan.

Café Riche


In a building dating from 1905, Café Riche is one of the better coffee shops in the center of town. It also serves tramezzini (toasted sandwiches) and salads.

2 Church Sq., Pretoria, 2001, South Africa
Known For

Doppio Zero

$$ | Rosebank

Doppio Zero serves wholesome, tasty Mediterranean-inspired meals with ingredients like grilled halloumi, fresh tomato, arugula, avocado, and salmon. More substantial meals such as pastas and pizzas are also on the menu. The outdoor seating is delightful on warm days. This chain of restaurants is found across Johannesburg, but the Rosebank branch is well located if you are peckish after a morning shopping at the nearby Rosebank Art and Craft Market or Rosebank shopping centers.


$$ | Rosebank

This cozy, atmospheric restaurant is always busy because of the quality of its food and the gorgeous bucolic murals on its walls that complement the retro design elements, making it oh-so Instagram-worthy. The all-day menu serves breakfast, light lunches, high tea coupled with its in-house baked goods and treats, and dinner. Glenda’s prioritizes seasonal produce and supports local farmers and sustainability efforts, which gives it an even greater appeal. 

Gourmet Grocer

$ | Melrose Arch

Stop by for an on-the-go breakfast or picnic take-away, or a sit-down coffee and brunch at the old-style Gourmet Grocer. This is a specialist grocer, deli, bakery, coffee shop, and restaurant, all rolled into one, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for, whether it’s a scrumptious bagel, toasted sarmie, healthy snack, or decadent treat from their niche, family-run suppliers. It also sells fresh and frozen homemade meals, and stocks craft beers as well as a decent selection of wines. If you like their coffee, you can buy their Birdhaven blend to take home, which is roasted on site at Cofeffe Coffee Bar & Roastery. It’s within safe walking distance of The Peech Hotel and the James and Ethel Gray Park, and deliveries within a 5 km (3 miles) radius are free.

Hell's Kitchen


The neon "Be naked when I get home" sign draws lots of attention, but so do the antlers on the wall, black subway tile bar, and the checked floor of this 1920s New York-esque speakeasy. Try their signature Hellfire, a cinnamon-infused whiskey, to go along with your braai (barbecue) meat, pizza, or burger.

JFF Rooftop Farm

$ | City Center

Surely one of the most picturesque coffee shops in town, this is a fusion between a tea garden and an open-air, urban farm that sells indigenous plants, flowers, and herbs. Bask in the sunshine at this matchbox-sized, inner-city establishment as co-owner Ashleigh "Ash" Machete gives you tips on how to best look after your plants while you sip on your coffee. 

Jo'Anna Melt Bar


Known for its hearty toasted sandwiches like the Popeye with a beef patty, bacon, caramelized onions, tomatoes, gherkins, cheddar, and a squirt of mustard and ketchup, Jo'Anna Melt Bar's name speaks for itself. Wash it down with the Give Me Hope Jo'anna—a mixture of locally-made Klipdrift brandy, passion fruit, and pineapple syrup shaken with a shot of red wine and a dash of bitters—at the seemingly oversized bar, which is the central feature of this small establishment. The eponymous drink is named after Eddy Grant's iconic song, Gimme Hope Jo'anna (a reference to Johannesburg), which he wrote after visiting South Africa. It was scathing of the apartheid government and encouraged freedom, which lead the ruling National Party at the time to ban it. And what better way to pay tribute to the country's liberation struggle than by "squeaking your takkies" (dancing) when the jukebox or karaoke get going in the evenings.

7 7th St., Johannesburg, South Africa
Known For
  • you can also order from Dukes Burgers next door
  • half-price toasties on Tuesdays
  • seating around the bar


$$$$ | Rosebank

Famed for award-winning chef and co-owner David Higgs (whose cookbook, Mile 8, can be purchased on-site), Marble plates epicurean meals that can be expertly paired with wine. The open-plan kitchen is the restaurant’s focal point, where the chef’s table presents an intimate look into how Higgs and his team prepare food over a live wood fire in a quintessentially South African manner. Marble draws its elegant style from its location along the Keyes Art Mile (opposite the Everard Read Gallery and next to Circa) which is accentuated through its high ceilings, plush bar, and sweeping landscape views that flaunt Jo'burg's sunsets. Head sommelier Wikus Human—named Best Sommelier in South Africa for 2021 by the South African Sommeliers Association—curated his cellar from scratch when the restaurant opened in 2016. He can advise how to pair your meal based on your preference and budget, whether it’s with a R300 bottle or one that will set you back R250000; though the average ranges from R400–R700 for a white wine, and R800–R1500 for a red, and he’s not afraid of disgorging a premium bottle by the glass. Because of its off-site storage facilities, Marble has the opportunity to store and age wines, giving oenophiles the chance to savor older vintages.

corner Keyes and Jellicoe Aves., Johannesburg, South Africa
Known For
  • multiple awards since it opened
  • interior design shaped by four local artists and artisans
  • premium flame-grilled meat
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Mike's Kitchen, Parktown

$$ | Parktown North

At Mike's Kitchen in Parktown, you'll find an extensive menu with hearty fare and a convivial atmosphere. The steak house is housed in an old mansion called Eikenlaan, which was built in 1903 for James Goch, a professional photographer and the first to use flash photography in South Africa. In 1985 the home was turned into a franchise of the Mike's Kitchen steak-house chain. There's a garden for kids to play in.

Modena Italian Eatery

$$$ | Parkhurst

It's hard to find a table inside without a dinner booking (even during the week) at this father-and-son-owned restaurant simply because the food always delivers on taste, portion size, and how it's plated. The jovial ambience and pastel colors reminiscent of a Modena sunset add to the flavor of their modern Italian fare. With handmade pasta by chef son Vassilios Holiasmeno and Neapolitan-style pizzas (the kind where the dough is left to rise for at least two days before being wood-fired) on the menu, you can't go wrong for a quick breakfast bite, hearty lunch, or a romantic dinner date at this corner-side eatery, where locals return again and again.

Nice on 4th

$ | Parkhurst

This easygoing, unpretentious café serves only breakfast, brunch, and lunch, but is always busy, mostly because the food is so fresh and good. Breakfast is a specialty—do try one of their six wholesome breakfast egg baskets—but you could also pop by for high tea and a taste of their homemade cakes. The croissants are also good, as are their home-baked pies, and the popular half and half—a mixture of a egg basket and crumpets.

Corner of 4th Ave. and 14th St., Johannesburg, 2193, South Africa
Known For
  • fresh ingredients
  • healthy breakfasts
  • busy atmosphere
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner

Old East Precinct


The Old East Precinct is a suburban development in Hazelwood with a village feel to it, as a wide selection of coffee shops, restaurants, bars and bespoke stores line the leafy streets of Hazelwood Road and 16th Street. If you’re hungry, you’ll have plenty to choose from here, from Lexi’s Healthy Eatery (our number one choice which serves a selection of vegan, but not only, dishes) to Alfie’s Pizzeria and Deli, and you can never go wrong with Cowfish, which as the name suggests serves a combination of fish, seafood and meat-lovers dishes, alongside cocktails. The gelato at Aroma Coffee Roastery is a must (you’ll recognize it from the giant mural of a tucan at its entrance) and pop by Spout Coffee Company housed in repurposed shipping containers for a cuppa and baked goods. Once you’re satiated, you can browse the handmade leather goods at Freedom of Movement and go off in search of some of the murals and artworks that give this precinct even more character. Certain establishments may be closed on Mondays.

Parea Taverna

$$ | Illovo

At this Greek taverna, music floats above the buzz of conversation, a souvlaki spit turns slowly near the door, and a refrigerated case displays an array of meze (small appetizers)—which you can also select as a takeaway, if you're on the go. Start with a meze platter of souvlaki, feta, olives imported from Greece, tzatziki, and dolmades, followed by the line fish, grilled on an open flame with olive oil and lemon, or kleftiko (lamb slow-cooked in a clay oven) and a carafe of wine. On weekend evenings, belly dancers perform between the tables against a backdrop of murals of Santorini, and Greek dancers do the Zorba, while patrons partake in "controlled" plate breaking—all while sipping on a glass of ouzo. The dress is casual and the atmosphere very relaxed. Choose from the set or à la carte menus. In summer, most people sit outside beneath the faux grape vines at the street-side tables.

3D Corlett Dr., Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
Known For
  • unbeatable selection at meze cafe
  • produce sourced from Greece
  • Chef Jabu, who has been there since it opened in 1993
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential


$$$$ | Sandton

Thanks to the Bermar preserving system, you can sip on bubbles by the glass at this high-end establishment while you feast on Neapolitan-style pizza prepared in an imported pizza oven, topped with handmade local Buffalo Mozzarella and served on terracotta pizza plates. But don't assume this is just an Italian restaurant or a fancy pizzeria, as renowned chef and business partner David Higgs (the very same of Marble Restaurant) adds signature dishes like wood-fired pawns, smokey Bistecca alla Fiorentina, and frutti di mare onto the ever-changing menu, to be degusted with the restaurant’s extensive wine collection. The window seating gazes upon the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the heart of the financial district, where after dusk the street is lined with flashy sportscars—indicative of its patrons. You’ll need to book a table to partake in its energetic vibe, particularly from Thursday through to Sunday when the bar with its live DJ set becomes the place to be seen before or after dinner.

corner Maude St. and Rivonia Rd., Johannesburg, South Africa
Known For
  • serves limited edition and rare vintage Champagne and Méthode Cap Classique (South Africa’s alternative)
  • the bar, separated by the front of house, is a lively nightlife venue
  • design is prioritized, like the giant cupped hands in the bathrooms by Damien Grivas
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Sophiatown Bar and Lounge

$ | Newtown

Although not in the same league as the more famous Nambitha and Wandie's traditional township restaurants in Soweto, the Sophiatown Bar and Lounge in Newtown is popular and much easier to get to. The restaurant is decorated with photos and murals of 1950s musicians like Miriam Makeba, and patrons gather around braziers on chilly winter nights. Jazz music vies for attention with the rather boisterous crowd, and the place has the feel of a shebeen (township bar). The food is a good example of black South African cuisine. A specialty is pap-and-wors—a traditional South African maize-meal porridge (pap) that is white and stiff with boerewors (a South African sausage). The restaurant serves other dishes popular in the townships such as mogodu (tripe) with samp (stewed corn kernels) and beans, as well as ostrich steaks or burgers. Simpler meals like steak and fresh salads are also served.

The Butcher Shop and Grill

$$$$ | Sandton

This is a good place for hungry meat lovers, specializing in prime South African meat (as well as Wagyu and Argentinian beef) that have been aged to perfection by Alan Pick, the butcher-owner. Kudu, springbok, ostrich, and other game are staples on the menu, and only the most tender cuts are served, but there's also chicken or line fish options. End your meal with a classic South African dessert like Malva pudding. The interactive butcher shop features prominently in the restaurant, and special cuts can be ordered for the meal or to take home. 

Nelson Mandela Sq., Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
Known For
  • prime location at Nelson Mandela Square
  • interactive butchery for in-house and take-home orders
  • excellent South African wine cellar

The Carnivore


Don't come expecting a quiet romantic lunch or dinner, as the huge space lends itself to a loud and sometimes frenetic scene. Game meat such as warthog, impala, and crocodile vies with tamer fare such as pork and mutton for space around an enormous open fire in the center of the restaurant. Great hunks of meat are brought around to your table on Masai spears and carved directly onto your plate until you surrender by lowering the flag on your table. It's an African twist on the traditional Argentinian churrascaria. A limited vegetarian and pescatarian à la carte menu features uniquely African dishes such as aviyal (a spicy mixed vegetable dish cooked in coconut milk) and maafe (a vegetable and fruit curry with peanuts).

69 Drift Blvd., Muldersdrift, 1739, South Africa
Known For
  • Sunday eat-as-much-as-you-can lunch
  • churrascaria-style service
  • vegetarian and pescatarian options
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

The Cradle


The Cradle is a great choice for a lunch or dinner if you're spending the day or more in the Cradle of Humankind area, which is about a 90-minute drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria, but it's only open on weekends. Tables here overlook a 7,413-acre game reserve. The overall impression is one of space and silence. The frequently changing menu is impressive, including among other dishes sage pork chops, springbok shank, veal saltimbocca, and venison-and-pancetta stew. The extensive wine list has many local specialties.

Trabella Pizzeria

$$ | Illovo

Trabella's strength is its pizza, whether it's with the Brie and cranberry topping; or smoked salmon, sour cream, and caviar, sprinkled with spring onion. If you can't decide which one to choose go with Tracy's Special, which includes every topping, with a vegetarian or meat-lovers option; the pasta and gnocchi are also good choices. This restaurant faces the street on a busy street corner, with two other chain pizzerias within walking distance, in an accessible but not attractive position.

Oxford Rd. 3, at Corlett Dr., Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
Known For
  • peanut butter chocolate cheesecake
  • wheat-free and gluten-free pizza bases (at additional charge)
  • fresh porcini mushrooms
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No lunch Sun.