Johannesburg Restaurants and Dining

(Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa)

Photo taken in the Sandton district's Mandela SquareAs a rule, dining out is a special and important part of living in Johannesburg. Restaurants are real social hubs in the city. Consequently, there is no shortage of fine eateries, all of which offer a variety of cuisine. This ranges from seafood and steak, to ethnic and international dishes. Eating out at restaurants in Johannesburg can often be a lively and extremely entertaining experience.

Restaurants generally open for lunch service from Monday to Friday. Evening meals are served throughout the week, although many dining venues do close on Monday. In the evening, Johannesburg restaurants open from around 18:30, and close at around 22:00, while some may stay open later. As in many large cities, it's always advisable to book a table in advance, particularly if you know that your chosen dining option is popular, or during special festivals or holiday periods. Cafes and coffee shops open during business hours, from 09:00 to 17:00.

Picture of al fresco diners in Sandton's Mandela Square

What to Eat

Johannesburg is such a mix of different cultures and traditions that menus often include a variety of different of cuisines. Local African specialties include 'phutu' - porridge made from cornmeal, and 'potjiekos' - a type of stew that is served in Soweto. Other popular Soweton dishes include 'umngqusho' - corn and bean stew, and 'chakalaka' - a chili and bean salad. Mozambican fish dishes can also be found on the menu, as can 'bobotie' - a traditional Cape Malay dish. South African ostrich burgers are also a favourite.

Mall photograph

Where to Eat

If you're looking for an unforgettable dining experience, then head to The Rand Club, situated at the centre of Johannesburg. This long-established club is luxury personified and, when it opened in 1887, was said to be a match for its London gentlemen club counterparts.

Johannesburg's northern suburbs are home to some great restaurants. In fact, wherever you're staying, there's sure to be a decent restaurant not too far away. If you're looking for something special, it's worth heading out to Melville and Parkhurst. These suburbs have a long-established reputation for being the place to find that special dining experience. Times are changing, however, and it's now also worth noting that the Melrose Arch, Parktown North and Greenside neighbourhoods also have a great deal to offer in the way of restaurants.

Image of the northern Rosebank shopping centreNo visitor to Johannesburg should leave without sampling some of the city's finest South African cuisine. The best place to do that is within the city's best-known township, Soweto.

Stopping off at a cafe for coffee is a popular pastime for Johannesburg's locals and visitors. There are a vast number to choose from, ranging from pleasant pavement cafes in the suburbs, to chic city coffee shops where you never know who you're going to bump into.

Johannesburg is unusual in that a number of its classy eateries can be found within the city's huge shopping centres. It seems that combining retail therapy with fine dining is a popular pursuit here. For visitors on a tight budget, there is usually also a selection of restaurants to suit everyone.

Open-air dining is also popular in Johannesburg, particularly among its office workers. Many street sellers offer the chance for a fast snack. Usually these operate from under makeshift stalls and sell traditional 'fast food', including 'Xhosa mqushu', rice, tripe and chicken stew.