More often than not, our readers, friends and family have one question: “Where should I eat right now?” Restaurant obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s hot and which favourite chef has just launched the ‘it’ place of the moment. Here, our top three picks of brand-new restaurants in Joburg, all of which offer great food, high design, epic amounts of character and an ambiance to die for. Get in quick and see if you can find a new personal best birthday, anniversary, special occasion, bon-voyage, big promotion, first date or last date spot among the crop.
Level Seven Restaurant
Up on the sixth floor of the brand-new Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, Desmond Mabuza of Signature Restaurant group’s high-rise city outpost is another of those swanky establishments that the all-conquering restauranteur does so well. The low-lit restaurant is at just the right height for visitors who want to really appreciate the City of Gold’s cityscape and provides a space tailor-made by Cocoon Lifestyle for whiling away a few idle hours. Stop by the restaurant, which epitomises quintessential Joburg glamour, for a raft of fine-dining flavours or the more casual lounge space for a spot of whisky. Diners wander around the dining room to gawp at the views – and that’s before we tell you about Level Seven Restaurant’s upscale dishes and stellar wine list. For starters, we recommend the light and fresh salmon tartare enhanced by tomato concassêe, pickled cucumber, beetroot carpaccio and champagne foam or the golden tempura prawns in a crispy batter, served with lemongrass infused sweet chilli and tempura dipping sauces. For mains, dishes like the beef tournedo topped with a silky béarnaise sauce and the succulent beetroot stained salmon on onion and pea ragout are beautiful to behold, but never twee. The luxurious shellfish platter, complete with baby lobster, queen prawns and langoustines, is another highlight. During the week you may be overwhelmed by the boozy business hordes, but trust us – that’s a small price to pay for the elaborately plated modern dishes with an international flavour.
Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, corner of 3rd & 6th Avenues, Bredell, Kempton Park
010 541 1300
Old Town Italy – Melrose Arch
Let’s be real – Joburg’s Italian restaurant game is seriously strong on all fronts, but when the hour calls for carbs, this spot turns flour, eggs and water into small miracles. Occupying a picture-perfect location on The High Street in Melrose Arch where Jamie’s Italian used to be, sitting outside on a summer’s evening feels akin to being on holiday, framing the City of Gold at its best as the sun sets. Views aside, the pastas are made daily in-house, so freshness is a guarantee across the board, regardless of whether you go for the lovingly layered beef bolognese lasagna, ravioli stuffed to the high heavens or a simple aglio e olio with spaghettini tossed in olive oil, garlic and chilli. The menu is so enticing, you’ll find yourself dithering over what to order. For starters, make sure you order the generously sized, preposterously good deep-fried burrata or the meltingly tender beef carpaccio with garlic aioli, rocket, salt and olive oil. The pasta options are bountiful, but we’d recommend the perfectly seasoned spaghetti with calamari, prawns, garlic, chilli, basil, diced tomato and fresh lemon as well as the soft, fluffy gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce showered with butternut purée, cranberries and walnuts. This is comfort food at its very finest! Meat-lovers should try the rib eye rubbed with rosemary and thyme, served with sweet potato fries, red onion rings and prosecco sauce. Need an aperitivo before you chow down? Knock back a glass of crisp and versatile Mionetto Prosecco or a refreshing Aperol Spritz cocktail.
23 The High Street, Melrose Arch, Melrose North
010 109 8632
Joburg is known for many things, but until recently the city hasn’t earned much of a reputation as an epicentre of healthful cuisine. Thanks to a few directional chefs and bakers, things are looking greener. If you’re looking to fit in a gluten-free, vegetable heavy meal that actually tastes good, this Mediterranean inspired eatery has plenty to offer by way of satiating, health-conscious delicacies. The slender sunshine strip of a restaurant is a haven for foodies, promoting guilt-free ‘clean eating’ within the swanky surrounds of Parkview. Aimed at maximising convenience and choice for thoughtful eaters – be they vegan, vegetarian, ketogenic or gluten-free – without compromising on the social enjoyment of dining out, the artful small plates include lightly charred tender-stem broccoli with ash goat’s cheese, quince and hazelnut praline as well as poached Mauritian sea bass with sumac and mint gremolata. All of the dishes are nutritionally balanced, from the rosemary-kissed confit lamb shoulder with kalamata olives and confit cherry tomatoes to the harissa spiced mussel chowder that has a beautiful depth of flavour. For dessert, fill up on the luscious summer fruit nougatine made with fruits and whipped coconut cream layered on an almond base, or the silky-smooth dark chocolate ganache with a sour cherry glaze. We’re certainly sold on this place, its low-key vibe, pretty plants in pots and cleverly contrived gluten-free cooking. Drinks are on-message too, with a selection of natural and low-intervention wines.
Shop 3, 66 Tyrone Avenue, Parkview
072 752 4184