By Cleola Eayrs
I moved to Johannesburg from a small town called East London back in 2012. I had always loved food but nothing prepared me for the diversity of culture and food I would encounter in Johannesburg. As you can imagine, I wanted to try all of the various foods but being on a student budget back then made that quite difficult. However, once I gained some financial freedom, by getting a job, I was able to be more explorative in my cuisine choices. These five have become regulars on my list of places to eat.
SIX Cocktail Bar in 7th Avenue, Melville
Anyone and everyone from Johannesburg will tell you to visit 7th Avenue. It is a youthful and buzzing street filled with bars and restaurants but the place I would suggest to anyone is SIX Cocktail Bar. The cocktails are nothing short of delicious and their food is a close second. They have great sharing platters to a variety of individual meals and tapas, their decadent Nachos are one of my favourites. With their 2 for 1 cocktail special from 12pm till 7pm, this place is always booming. So, if you want a fun night out with friends with good food, drinks and a vibe this is the place to go.
Banchan Korean Restaurant in Benmore Gardens, Sandton
With the Korean Wave hitting all parts of the world we are no exception, I am pretty sure you have wondered what the food tastes like while watching a K-Drama. That is exactly what lead me to this restaurant. I wanted to know exactly what my favourite Korean actors were eating, I wanted to experience their culture through their food. Banchan, which means side dish, not only gave me the experience of eating authentic Korean food but also the opportunity to dine in an authentic Korean style. In true Korean fashion most of the meals are meant to be shared; like the Korean Fried Chicken and Kimchi Jjigae. If you really want that K-Drama BBQ experience, the Bulgogi is a must-try with a bottle of soju. You better book a table because they are often fully booked.
Dosa Hut in Fordsburg
Once you enter Fordsburg it feels as though you have left Johannesburg, it has its own atmosphere and rhythm. This place is a must-try for anybody who loves a good curry. This place made me fall in love with South Indian food. Getting takeout or eating in at Dosa Hut during work lunch breaks became a really special event and something I would look forward to. No matter what you try, it is sure to be delicious. One of the best ways to experience culture is through food and that has always been my experience, especially if made authentically. Not only is their food delicious but the portions are great and you will most likely leave feeling like you want to take a nap, but that is the best feeling to have after eating.
The FireRoom in Bedfordview
The FireRoom is a luxurious experience, I might be exaggerating but it was an experience I will never forget. Besides the food being delicious, the overall experience and presentation of the food was also something to take note of. They specialise in flame-grilled steaks and sushi. Their sushi is so creative, with combinations of flavours I have never had before but that keep you coming back for more. Part of the experience is having your food set on fire right at your dinner table, which is a great moment for taking pictures to upload to your social media.
Da Graziella in Edenvale
If I could bring a small family-owned restaurant from Italy to South Africa, the pasta they would cook would be exactly like the pasta from Da Graziella. As soon as you enter Da Graziella, you are greeted with the smell of melting cheese and mouth-watering homemade pasta being prepared and served. Their seafood pasta in particular is breath-taking. Their pasta will take you on a trip through Italy in every bite. The most enjoyable aspect of Da Graziella is the atmosphere of feeling that you are in a different country altogether, might as well enjoy that with a lovely glass of red wine.