As SA’s cities transform, with new precincts changing the social and cultural landscape every few months, one of the greatest things for denizens of the city is the great new eating spots that blossom as new urban life pops up. We’ve picked eight of our favourite hot spots.


Marabi Jazz Bar

In the basement of Hallmark House in Maboneng – the new landmark building designed by British-Ugandan starchitect David Adjaye – is Joburg’s hottest new jazz venue: Marabi Jazz Bar. (Marabi is a uniquely South African jazz style with its origins in 1920s townships.) Not only does the building – a luxury new-urban mix of hotel, residential, entertainment and lifestyle – represent Maboneng changing gear, but it also signals a welcome return of jazz to the inner city in a speakeasy style venue. Cape Town chef Luke Dale-Roberts (check out our look at his revamped Cape Town flagship here) opened a pop-up of his more casual eatery The Pot Luck Club, called The Pop Luck Club, in the building from July to the end of September 2017.


Hangout Jozi

Joburg’s urban regeneration revolution continues with the arrival of Hangout Jozi at One Eloff in Joziburg, the beginning of a new inner-city precinct. The beautifully refurbished blue and turquoise art deco gem of a building is host to Hangout Jozi, a restaurant and entertainment venue. The restaurant includes five kitchen and food concepts, all served by the waiters off a central menu: Braai & Meats, Fresh & Fish, Stew & Steamy, Bunny Moosa and Sweet & Decadent. The bar specialises in bespoke, locally-produced craft spirits and beers from all over southern Africa. The GiniJozi Gin & Food pairing menu is particularly cool. Joziburg also hosts films, exhibitions, rooftop parties and pop-up restaurants, so keep an eye out. And it’s home to Joburg Places inner-city walking tours if you’re keen to rediscover the city.

Leopard: Kitchen, Larder & Can Do

Joburgers panicked when the news broke earlier this year that The Leopard in Melville was closing. Chef Andrea Burgener and her husband, Nick Gordon, ran what must have been the city’s most individualistic, engaged and simply excellent restaurant. Over the years, they’ve opened and closed a number of restaurants, each one an evolution in their culinary evolution. And, like a foodie phoenix, Andrea has risen again with a new idea: a larder, deli, catering and hot lunch spot at 44 Stanley (the former home of Deluxe, another restaurant of theirs). For daily fixes, there’s a small menu of hot lunches, which you can mix and match with salads from the salad bar. From the deli, there’s free-range charcuterie that Nick has been working on as well as free-range meat products and an array of deli and grocery items, which include the likes of Mooberry jersey halloumi and German potato dumplings.


Down the drag from Rosebank, on the corner of Jan Smuts and Bolton on the edge of the Parkhurst art strip, a long-overdue upgrade is taking place. Buildings are getting facelifts left, right and centre. That particular corner, dubbed Park Corner, houses the Bolton Road Collection (a bistro), Bar Ber Black Sheep (a ridiculously chic barber-meets-bar) and Proof, which does the local artisanal spirits thing. Next to that is Coalition, where you can find simply the best classic Neapolitan-style pizza in Joburg. Food and art: the heart, it seems, of any urban dream.


The Shortmarket Club

Following in the footsteps of The Test Kitchen, which almost singlehandedly led the revival of Cape Town’s Woodstock, Chef Luke-Dale Roberts partnered with his top chef Wesley Randles and manager, Simon Widdison, to open The Shortmarket Club in a heritage building just off vibey Bree Street. You enter the restaurant from a staircase to the first floor where the open kitchen is the first thing you see. The interiors keep with the opulent old-world feel of the building, and feature vast banquettes that form the centrepiece of the dining area. Moody light pours in through two vast skylights. Accents like stained glass made by local craftsmen in sliding doors from Argentina have been kept as a nod to the feel of history and craftsmanship the space evokes.

61 Harrington Street

The Firm’s collection, which includes neighbourhood bars The Village Idiot, Aces n Spades and Villains Old Ale House, recently expanded to take over the space formerly occupied by live music venue The Assembly. Managing Director Reg MacDonald brought in Durban surf stars Grant “Twiggy” Baker and Jordy Smith to create a 3-in-1 hotspot with something for everyone. You can start off with drinks at the upmarket cocktail lounge, Harringtons, and then move to the nightclub, District, or chill out at the more laidback, punk-style bar SurfaRosa.


The Chairman

The Chairman is more than just a cool bar/lounge where there’s vinyl, live music and the most ridiculously stylish decor. The whole place was conceived of as an urban revival in a room. Its location was once the worst building in the worst block of Durban’s Point Precinct. The Chairman was designed with the express desire to catalyse a revival in the area through the sheer power of inventiveness, authenticity and goodwill. Architectural heritage, music, repurposed objects in the décor and, of course, drinks and food come together to breathe new life into the building.

Freedom Café

This café in a reinvented steel shipping container is part of the Concierge Boutique Bungalows in Durban’s Greyville area. It was created in a collaborative effort with Durban’s Egg Design team, Greg and Roche Dry, and the Modern Museum Design team headed by Neil Roake. Grayville has an unusual concentration of listed buildings and heritage architecture, and the bungalows and café are built on the site of eight such buildings. The bungalows, together called the Freedom Café, which is at the centre of a cool, dappled courtyard, reinvented tradition for a new era, keeping the 1920s facades in place, and contrasting it beautifully with the café design.