Something for everyone - 8 great Melville restaurants
Remember when Melville was the place to eat out? And then it wasn’t…and now it is again. Try out these restaurants on our must-visit list, and you’ll understand why.
Confession time: this hot new spot is more about the cocktails than the food. They’re unlike anything you’ve tried before – think Heston Blumenthal flaring behind the bar. We couldn’t resist Hildagonda’s Milk Punch, a coconutty creation best enjoyed with views from the rooftop bar. That’s not to say the nibbles aren’t worth a mention. Far from it: the menu is a celebration of local flavours, with new twists on South African classics. The pap and vleis is a must.
Ramen is on everyone’s list at the moment, and these guys do it particularly well. You can build your own bowl, share Asian tapas, or try out a Korean barbecue with a charcoal griller brought to your table so you can do your own cooking. The menu is vegetarian friendly, too – and don’t skip dessert (thumbs up to black sesame ice cream!).
In a city where restaurants come and go in minutes, Lucky Bean just keeps going – which proves that they’re doing something right. It’s not just the atmosphere (described variously by regulars as homely and unpretentious); it’s also the menu, which sidesteps trends to offer dishes with loads of interesting, unexpected flavours with a distinctly South African leaning. The salmon poached in wine and coriander instantly caught our eye, as did the ostrich bobotie parcel.
Admittedly, Bamabanani probably isn’t a place you’ll consider unless you have kids – but, if you do, chances are it’s one of your favourites. It’s rare to find a children’s restaurant that serves food that can be enjoyed unless doused in tomato sauce, but the dishes here could proudly compete with any of its more grown up peers. If you’re just a little peckish, the spicy quesadilla is enormously satisfying. The Vietnamese spring rolls are fresh and moreish, and the pizzas are good too. As for the kids – there are plenty of activities to keep them busy, from crafting to discos.
Brunch lovers, this is a restaurant just for you. Home to Johannesburg’s best shakshuka (both the red and green varieties are equally delicious), this is a place to while away a morning over an excellent coffee and fresh pressed juice.
A fine dining restaurant in the middle of a student suburb? Absolutely. Come hungry, or you won’t be able to do justice to the five course tasting menu, where the focus is squarely on hero ingredients (anything from beetroot to venison), brought to life with various complementary tastes and textures. The restaurant itself is a visual feast, with stunning art setting the scene for an elegant evening.
One of the latest additions to the Melville scene, this eatery is all about sharing plates. It’s brought to you by the same team behind neighbourhood favourites Hell’s Kitchen and La Santa Muerte, so expect a fun vibe and food that takes you on a trip to Spain.
Chef James Diack seems to be colonising Johannesburg’s foodie high streets – just look at how Coobs, The National and Il Contadino dominate Parkhurst and Parktown North respectively. Although he already has a presence in Melville through The Federal, he’s about to change things up by transforming this American diner into a rustic pizzeria, with ingredients sourced from his family farm.