Joburg, one of the world’s BEST food destinations!

It has finally happened. A tourism publication has recognized Johannesburg for the fantastic food destination it is! Ever since starting JoburgPlaces tours 13-years ago, we have been in love with the incredible quality, freshness and diversity of food in Jozi. So much so, that we have hosted many food-oriented tours and events in the city ourselves. We have even operated a couple of food destinations ourselves (from The Sheds@1Fox to Joziburg Lane, Hangout Jozi, the Thunder Walker, Zwipi Underground and Charlie & Gerald’s Town Treasure, among others).

All along we were puzzled by how many people, especially locals, questioned what there was to do and experience in Johannesburg. Apart from some of the most incredible social-political history on offer in places such as Constitution Hill, Hector Pieterson Museum, Apartheid Museum and Liliesleaf, there is also the smorgasbord of architecture, people, spaces and places to meet and experience.

Last week Time Out magazine announced that it has rated Johannesburg as the world’s second-best food destination, after Naples in Italy. And yes, miles ahead of Cape Town!  Now don’t get me wrong, we operate in both Joburg and Cape Town and the latter is known for exceptional fine dining, but when it comes to casual food, nowhere beats the diversity of Johannesburg.

Read Time Out’s announcement here:

And here:

In fact, we have long maintained that Johannesburg is the city in the world, where you can eat the biggest variety of cuisines from all over the African continent, in one place. Add to that the mesmerizing heritage of migrant cuisines, spanning from Chinese and Indian to Italian and Portuguese (to mention but a few), and you are never left without a choice of fantastic food in Joburg.

Ironically so, locals reacted with surprise and disdain to this accolade for their city. On a Facebook page, Jozi Restaurants, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, many locals questioned how this could even be possible – and expressed their bias towards Cape Town as the food capital of South Africa. Tragically, this has just proved how spatial apartheid still exists in this country, with people sticking to ‘their parts’ of the cities – and losing out on so much of the adventure and cultural immersion that is available. International travelers on the other hand, book professional tours and experience a far more exciting Johannesburg, crossing the psychological barriers keeping locals trapped in utter boredom.

No doubt that if you live in the sprawling far-northern suburbs, your choice for eating out may be limited to franchises in shopping malls – and average restaurants paying high rent in neighbourhood hubs, thereby opting for volumes rather than quality and excitement. But venture further afield and find food lovingly cooked the traditional way, enjoyed by the immense diversity of Joburg’s friendly people, and you are in for an incredible surprise.

Hence, in this post, we pay tribute to some of our own favourite food destinations in the city, giving away some of our cherished secrets. Best though is to book a tour to experience these gems of Jozi. Especially so, since many favourites are hidden in the inner-city, and out towards the older suburbs, which some may find intimidating to venture out to on their own.

The inner-city is where you will find the most diverse mix of Pan-African and Migrant Foods.

Swallows Inn
Traditional Chinese cuisine in First China Town, the cities oldest Chinese district.

Sui Hing Hong
One of the longest trading supermarkets in Jozi, known for Chinese food ingredients and paraphernalia.

Juice Den
The most incredible freshly squeezed juices and lasis in Fordsburg.

World of Samoosas
Home to the city’s best samoosas in Oriental Plaza, Fordsburg.

Dosa Hut
Located in Fordsburg, some of the best Indian-inspired cuisine in the city,

Fordsburg Market and environs
Home of a smorgasbord of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Middle Eastern inspired street foods.

Turkish Kebab House & Butchery
Turkish cuisine to devour!

Quality Ethiopian eatery in the hidden Little Addis District of the inner-city.

The Social Table
Delectable South African and African cuisine in a trendy Maboneng spot

Kalahari Thyme
African-inspired (especially Zimbabwean) stews that you simply must try!

Bertrand Café
One of the most popular and trendy hangouts in the city serving a variety of food choices but first and foremost known for French-Congolese cuisine.

Kwa Mai-Mai market
The most incredible place to experience local South African ‘chesa nyama’ (braai) meats, Zulu-inspiration at its best.

The Fish & Chips Shop
Fish and chips as good at it gets at Victoria Yards.

Fama Deli
Mediterranean inspired preserved meats at Victoria Yards. Some of the best salami you will find in this part of the world.

Troyeville Hotel
For Portuguese inspired cuisine with a Mozambican influence, simply the most enjoyable spot.

Food I Love You
A daytime restaurant in the Old Fort on Constitution Hill, serving up delicious African cuisine.

Playground Market
A lovely mix of Jozi’s diverse food traders, open on Saturdays only.

JHB Culinary & Pastry School
First and foremost a chef’s school, but also a great place to book an event and enjoy local-cooked food with flair.

Saint Germain
In an alleyway at 44 Stanley, a hidden gem of French and Congolese inspired cuisine.

Salvation Café
Celebrated for the best breakfast in Jozi. Also famous for its verdant courtyard-under-the-trees location.

Yeoville Dinner Club
Yeoville’s Sanza Sandile is world-famous for his home-cooked dinners, serving a wide selection of Pan-African migrant foods. A must-experience Joburg institution!

JoburgPlacers storytelling dinners
While we may no longer operate a permanent venue, our super popular storytelling dinners are still available for private group bookings. We have a choice of venues at our disposal – from a penthouse in Maboneng to the historic Red Room bar in the old Diagonal Street stock exchange.

One can spend days exploring the food offerings of Soweto – ranging from street foods to fine dining.

Just Badala
Our favourite stop for local South African cuisine.

Fine dining in historic Vilakazi Street.

Chaf Pozi
Still a popular tavern for enjoyable chesa nyama/braai meats.

The older neighbourhoods, immediately north of the city also harbour many migrant foodie gems.

Unpretentious Italian family dining in Parkview.

Super Sconto
A super-famous deli for Italian food ingredients.

Delta Café
Simply beautiful for its countryside setting so close to the city itself.

Proud Mary
Where Joburg’s hip, beautiful and trendy eat in Rosebank

Soul Souvlaki
Simple but delicious Greek-inspired street food in Rosebank and Parktown North, among other places.

There are of course so many more places, but for our feeble attempt at brevity, these are our favourites. Which are yours?

Good news is that LocalPlaces – JoburgPlaces is making is easy for you to dive into the most memorable and enjoyable city food explorations. Choose from three Fantastic Foodie Tours in the city. Find the details of our tours here:

Ultimate Fantastic Foodie Tour
The Ultimate Fantastic Foodie Tour lasts all day and is a costly affair but an experience to cherish. Tour with us in comfortable transport and shop and taste the entire day. Also perfect for a team building event or corporate function with a difference.

West City Food Tour
The West City Food Tour celebrates Joburg’s Asian migrant cuisines. We explore First Chinatown and Fordsburg, tantalizing your taste buds with many delicacies. This side of the city has a long history of migration from India and China, dating as far back as the goldrush of the 1880s, with more waves of migration during the 20th century, including the more recent arrivals from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The result is a melting pot of cuisines and cultures. A smorgasbord not to be missed! We shop along the way and enjoy everything together as a feast meal in Fordsburg.

East City Food Tour
This tour celebrates our favourite places to eat on the eastside of the inner-city. The focus is on Pan-African food with a dash of the Mediterranean thrown into the mix. We travel to Little Addis, the frenetic and astonishing Ethiopian Quarter in the city. Here we enjoy exquisite Ethiopian coffee, before reclining for delectable Ethiopian njera – a taste sensation of flat bread with meaty and vegan toppings. We also shop for the freshest bread at a local bakery.

Next up is Kalahari Thyme in Maboneng for a proper African stew. We then proceed to Victoria Yards to visit one of Joburg’s most famous delis: Fama, known for their fantastic salamis and processed meats, produced on site. Lastly, we enjoy the landmark Troyeville Hotel, celebrated for their Portuguese cuisine, of-course influenced by nearby Mozambique. Apart from the feast of cuisines, Charlie tells the stories of African and Mediterranean migrant communities in Johannesburg. An excellent day out to cherish for a long time!

Customized tours
Or simply choose your four favourite destinations and cuisine, and let us create a customized tour, meeting exactly your budget, tastes and expectations.

Now is the time to celebrate Jozi’s food diversity. Be in touch and let us take you eating, and exploring.

Our West City and East City Food tours are designed to be more affordable so that locals and international travelers alike can enjoy the outing.  Most affordable is where we guide you by walking and making use of Uber transport between stops. Or we can arrange professional transport at an additional cost. For larger groups of 10 or more, we can work our a more affordable per-person rate, including transport.  

For enquiries, send a WhatsApp to +27 82 894 5216 or email to

LocalPlaces – JoburgPlaces & IkapaPlaces
Learn with us. Fundani nathi.




  1. Gail Wilson

    Great post Gerald. Can’t understand why anyone would want to question the Time Out article, of course there are many that live in their little bubbles, I keep on forgetting about them.

  2. Great post, Gerald. I agree with Gail, we should accept all accolades!

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