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A Foodies Guide to the Top Restaurants in Johannesburg (2024)

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Last Updated on: 7th February 2024, 11:13 am

Want to dine at the top restaurants in Johannesburg?

You’re in luck! In this blog post, you’ll discover the top restaurants in Johannesburg, South Africa according to a local!

I have lived in Johannesburg for almost a decade now and as a result, have an insider’s perspective on the food scene.

Made up of many different cultures, there is something special to try in every corner of the city.

This is definitely the place to explore for all foodie travelers. The Johannesburg food scene has always been unique but is heating up more each year.

Recently, I took up the challenge to explore the city as a traveler would and dined on exceptional meals in unexpected places.

Below you will find some of my favorite places to dine which just happens to be some of the top restaurants in Johannesburg!

Key Takeaways:

  • Johannesburg offers a vibrant dining scene with something for everyone.
  • Urbanologi, Duke’s Burgers, Che Argentine Grill, and Parea are must-visit restaurants in Johannesburg.
  • From rooftop dining with stunning views to delicious gourmet burgers and authentic Italian cuisine, these restaurants offer unforgettable dining experiences.
  • Johannesburg’s culinary scene showcases a diverse range of flavors and cuisines.
  • Food enthusiasts will be impressed by the rich and delicious offerings in Johannesburg.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of them I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, which allows me to keep this blog up and running!

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg

Guide to Dining in Johannesburg

Johannesburg is home to a vibrant dining scene, with a variety of restaurants catering to food lovers.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the culinary offerings in Johannesburg are sure to leave you impressed. From rooftop dining with stunning views to mouthwatering gourmet burgers, there’s something for everyone in this city.

When it comes to the top restaurants in Johannesburg, Marble Restaurant is a must-visit. Not only does it offer breathtaking rooftop views, but it also serves up wood-fired steaks and seafood that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

For a shared dining experience with a South African twist, Gemelli is the perfect choice. Their modern Italian cuisine is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

For a taste of homemade Italian food in an elegant country setting, Casalinga is a must-visit. They source their ingredients from their own organic farm, ensuring the freshest flavors in every bite. If you’re a fan of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, Kolonaki is the place to be. Their stylish setting and flavorful dishes will transport you to the Mediterranean coast.

If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, Workshop 55 in Parktown North is the place to go. With its opulent atmosphere and tapas-style menu, you’ll be able to sample a variety of dishes while sipping on expertly paired gins and wines. And if you’re in the mood for pizza and champagne, Saint, from the owners of Marble, is the place to be. Their elegant yet casual environment is perfect for a relaxed meal.

Lastly, for those craving a hearty meal, The Foundry is the place to go. This rustic steakhouse offers simple yet delicious dishes that are sure to satisfy your appetite.

Are you into experimental dining? Then you need to check out our review of Est Est Alea (also in Johannesburg)

These top restaurants in Johannesburg showcase the rich and diverse culinary scene, making it a paradise for food enthusiasts.

Although all these top restaurants in Johannesburg are highly recommended, I wanted to share my personal favorites:

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg


Urbanologi is a unique dining concept located in the Mad Giant Brewery. The restaurant and brewery can be found in Ferreiras Dorp – the heart of Johannesburg.

The Asian-fusion restaurant serves urban garde cuisine in a modern industrial space resulting in an unusual dining experience. With a relaxed ambiance and a trendy atmosphere, Urbanologi is popular with diners throughout the city.

However, many of the patrons were young students from the local University. Bright splashes of colorful graffiti result in a youthful vibrance.

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg

Dining at Urbanologi

We started with some drinks, specifically a cocktail and an ale brewed on-site.

The Jozi Thyme cocktail which is one of their signature drinks is made of a unique combination of ingredients. However, these elements blended into the perfect drink. Smooth, sweet, and full of flavors, I could barely taste the alcohol.

The Super Session Cannabis Ale caught our attention and was very tasty. A well-brewed craft beer that should definitely be sampled at Urbanologi. Therefore, I highly suggest that you enjoy a signature cocktail or craft beer during your meal.

The food at Urbanologi is experimental in design but very tasty. Their menu changes with the season and according to what is available. Locally sourced ingredients ensure that dishes are sustainable. The meals come in smaller portions and the dishes are best for sharing.

We enjoyed the Ciabatta and Goats Cheese Board as starters. However, the variety of cheeses really got our attention. Each dish was served with a number of sauces, dips, jams, butter, and other goodies.

For the main course, we sampled the Duck Breast and the Lamb Loin. Both the duck and the lamb were soft, juicy, and delicious. Therefore, it was difficult to choose our favorite. The dishes had a number of vegetables and sauces that added to the flavor.

Dessert truly was the highlight of this lunch and was exceptional. We had the Rolled Oat Mousse and Banna Malt Gelato. The mousse was divine – fluffy and only sweetened by the raspberries and syrup below it. However, the gelato was just as good and combined with a brownie made of pure cacao.

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg

Che Argentine Grill

Che Argentine Grill is another terrific restaurant in an up-and-coming area of Johannesburg.

Maboneng like Ferreiras Dorp is situated on the outskirts of the CBD and is part of the current rejuvenation of the city. The area is much safer than it was in the past and is made up of businesses such as Che Argentine Grill which contributes to its revival.

Therefore, this restaurant is quite popular with travelers and a great dining spot for locals as well. The owners are originally from Argentina and they got their start by selling their local fare at markets. Due to the popularity of their empanadas, they were able to open a restaurant and share more of their cuisine with Johannesburg.

We joined them for one of their events recently and really enjoyed the experience. The Argentinian event we attended was quite fun and the atmosphere was energetic.

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg

Dining at Che Argentine Grill

Upon arrival, we got to taste their signature Iona wines before we were seated. We then sampled some cocktails, specifically Caiprihina’s.

Most people in South Africa just don’t know how to make these cocktails so we were eager to try the Argentinian versions. We had Che’s Caiprihina which included grapefruit and naartjie and the Latin Caiprihina which was flavored with ginger and chilli. Both were superbly mixed, but the latter was quite hot.

For starters, we tried those famous Empanada that are pies. The pastry is full of beef and a selection of vegetables. Served with a traditional tomato puree it was one of the best pies I have ever had.

Next up was the Churizo which was spicy and full of rich flavours. All meals are prepared from traditional recipes and are typical Argentinian fare.

Our main course was Pork Ribs which they cooked on an open fire outside. The meal included crispy chips and a freshly made salad. The meat was soft, juicy, and very tasty. There was a good mix of meat and fat but it was very rich.

We ended the lunch with authentic Argentinian desserts. We tried the Pancake with Vanilla ice cream and the Flan. Both desserts were served with a toffee or caramel sauce that is common in Argentina. It was such a yummy way to end our meal at Che Argentine Grill.

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg


Parea is an authentic Greek restaurant located in the lovely area of Illovo. The central location is right within the corporate environment of Johannesburg and as a result, is busy at all times.

Parea is a large but inviting space with a very lively energy. The restaurant is decorated in whites and blues in a typical Greek style. However, the open terrace with its red and green fairy lights is the prime spot for diners. With such a special ambiance and bright beautiful lighting, it attracts many people who drive along this busy street.

And the spectacular food makes sure that people return. We had the pleasure of dining at Parea on a Friday night and got to enjoy the festivities. On weekend evenings Parea provides live entertainment for a festive vibe. The entertainment that night included traditional Greek dancers, plate-breaking, as well as talented belly dancers.

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg

Dining at Parea

We began the evening with some cocktails since it was a Friday night. During the night we tried the Strawberry Daquiri which was amazing, the Caiprhina which was very strong, and the well-prepared Mojito.

The starters were a tapas-style array of choices that we really enjoyed. We sampled the Pita Bread with four tasty dips before trying the traditional Greek Salad. Next, we had the Calamari Tubes and Squid Heads which was my favourite. At the same time, we tried the Fried Brinjals in a tomato sauce with melted feta which was rather interesting.

We really enjoyed the variety of starters we sampled at Parea.

For the main course, we had the Parea Line Fish served with Chicken Kebabs and an Endive Salad. The fish was well cooked and so soft it fell apart after we added some sauce.

We loved the taste of the well-prepared kebabs as well. The salad was unique and the main course as a whole was very filling. The portions at Parea are quite large and you will leave feeling satisfied.

Our dessert was quite authentic as we tried the Baklava with ice cream and the Greek yogurt sweetened with nuts and honey. Both dishes were scrumptious and uniquely Greek.

Our experience at Parea was overwhelmingly positive and we are eager to return to try some more of their meals as the menu is quite large.

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg

Dukes Burgers

Dukes Burgers is a hidden gem in the lively neighborhood of Greenside. This vibrant space in Johannesburg is always busy as it offers plenty of entertainment options.

Dukes Burgers has the best gourmet burgers in the city. As you duck in off the street you are greeted by a space decorated with regal purples and an interesting collection of items. Head further in and you will find the secluded courtyard at the back. Dine in the fresh air in this secret spot protected by big leafy trees. The causal atmosphere, friendly staff, and peaceful surroundings will have you feeling relaxed instantly.

We had lunch at Duke’s and I just want to mention that the portions are huge, so make sure you arrive hungry.

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg

Dining at Dukes Burgers

As usual, we tried their cocktails, but I was tempted to also try their unique alcoholic milkshakes. During lunch, we tried the Rainbow which was very sweet and colorful, the Blood Orange Coco Mojito which was a delicious blend, and a Watermelon Mint G&T which was refreshing.

For a starter, we shared the Firestarters and they were really spicy. These crumbed pickled jalapenos were stuffed with cream cheese, mozzarella, feta, and mixed herbs.

We chose not to have two starters as the portions are incredibly generous at Duke’s and we could barely finish all our food. Luckily we took home some leftovers and could enjoy it all over again.

Dukes offers burgers made from a variety of different meats. Whether you want the usual beef and chicken or want to try something a bit different like lamb or ostrich, there is a patty and burger combo for you.

We had the Feather Duster which has an ostrich patty in a BBQ sauce topped with melted blue cheese, mushrooms, and crispy bacon – absolutely incredible. The flavours mixed perfectly and I enjoyed every bite.

We also tried the Snow White which had a lamb patty topped with mint jelly and thin apple slices – such a unique combination but amazing.

Both burgers were served with sweet potato crisps which are a healthy alternative to chips.

For dessert, we savored their large pies and ice cream which was simply divine. We had the mixed berry pie the apple crumble pie and left Dukes feeling full but happy.

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg

Top Restaurants in Johannesburg FAQs

What is the famous food in Johannesburg?

Johannesburg is known for its diverse and vibrant food scene. While there isn’t a single “famous” food, you can’t miss trying local dishes like bunny chow, boerewors, and bobotie, which offer a taste of South African culinary traditions. Additionally, the city’s restaurants offer a wide range of international cuisines, from African to Asian and European flavors.

What restaurants are in Johannesburg?

Johannesburg boasts a multitude of restaurants that cater to all tastes and preferences. From upscale fine dining establishments to charming local eateries, the city offers a wide array of options. Some top recommendations include Marble, Maboneng Precinct, and Urbanologi for unique culinary experiences.

How many restaurants are there in Johannesburg?

Johannesburg is home to hundreds of restaurants, ensuring that foodies have a vast selection to choose from. Whether you’re seeking traditional South African dishes or international flavors, you’ll find an extensive and diverse restaurant scene to explore.

What is the average price of a meal in Johannesburg?

The average price of a meal in Johannesburg can vary widely depending on the restaurant’s type and location. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from 100 to 300 South African Rand (ZAR) for a meal at a mid-range restaurant. Fine dining establishments may have higher prices, while more casual eateries offer more budget-friendly options.


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Explore the Flavors of Johannesburg

These top restaurants in Johannesburg showcase the city’s rich and diverse culinary scene, offering a mix of international and local flavors to tempt your palate. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring the food spots in Johannesburg is a culinary adventure that you won’t soon forget.

So, grab your dining guide and get ready to embark on a gastronomic journey through Johannesburg’s vibrant food scene.

We would like to thank Urbanologi, Che Argentine Grill, Parea & Dukes Burgers for hosting us! As always, all opinions are my own.

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