10 Exotic restaurants in Joburg that allow you taste the world
In the mood for something a little different? Ditch your favourite pasta or curry, and get ready to go on a culinary trip around the world.
Owners Yasir and Safaa Jabria Al Rehawi made news when they left war-torn Syria to make a fresh start in South Africa, but it was the warm hospitality at their intimate eatery that really made locals take the couple to heart. Specialties include fuoll, a taste mosaic of beans and tomato zested with lemon, olive oil and herbs. Wash it down with strong Arabic coffee.
Korea calls with a menu comprising a proud blend of royal, traditional and modern cuisines. While the Asian standards like noodles and stews may be in place, it’s the taste combinations that make all the difference: chicken in mustard sauce and spring onions, for example, or a tofu tower layered with kimchi and brinjal.
This is the pace to go for chopped liver that your bubbe would be proud of. A true Johannesburg institution that’s been going for more than 40 years, when it comes to Kosher food, Feigel’s is the city’s answer to Zabar’s.
Located inside a mosque, the Ottoman Palace is the real deal. From yoghurt soup to clay baked beef, chicken or lamb, from pide to rice pudding – this is the trip to Istanbul that’s been on your bucket list for ages.
Che Argentine Grill
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Argentinian food is probably succulent steak heaped with a fresh blast of chimichurri – and you’d be right, of course. But this Maboneng favourite introduces you to other flavours that simply shouldn’t be ignored, like escabeche de pollo (chicken breast pickled in olive oil and vinegar), and empanadas – little pies stuffed with a variety of fillings.
Admittedly, Johannesburg offers fans of Portuguese food more than a few options – but this unassuming Kensington landmark remains a favourite because it is so firmly reminiscent of Lisbon’s blue-and-white tiled kitchens. We defy you to find a better pasteis de nata in Johannesburg – and the pregos, are pretty awesome, too.
Of course, you probably have a few takeout menus for your local Thai or Chinese stuck on your fridge – but rest assured, Lemongrass is nothing like these. Here, the emphasis is on Indonesian Dutch food, which means your favourite Asian flavours get a continental twist. Our recommendation? The nine-dish rijstafel, which allows you to sample nine traditional Indonesian dishes, from chicken satay to sweet and sour pork. For dessert? Waffles and pancakes, of course!
As much a part of Illovo as Corlett Drive itself, there’s no better place to share a plate or two (or more) of Greek deliciousness. From the souvlaki to the saganaki, ending with rice pudding, this food would certainly coax the gods down from Mount Olympus.
Queen of Sheba
If you’re a regular at the Joburg markets, you’ve probably tried injera, the spongy Ethiopian bread that soaks up everything from spiced meat to veggies. Queen of Sheba takes your encounter with this aromatic cuisine one step further, with equally fragrant stews, salads and vegetarian specialties.
La Terrasse Rooftop Café
What we love most about this exotic piece of paradise is that you can experience a taste of Morocco at any time of the day: for breakfast, you can zing your tastebuds with a traditional kefta tajine (eggs poached with meatballs in a spicy tomato chermoula); snack on mezze dips, authentic tajines or soups at lunchtime, or indulge in a high tea of savoury pastries and biscuits fragrant with cardamom and cinnamon.
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