Looking to grab a drink and a bite to eat somewhere cool and trendy without burning a hole in your pocket? Then look no further than my list of budget-friendly Johannesburg eateries to please every palate!
As restaurant prices continue to soar, finding a spot that offers a good lunch or dinner minus an exorbitant price tag becomes tough … I get it. And if the inexpensive food is not only delicious but also interesting, and perhaps even outside of your previous dining experience, all the better! Here’s a little collection of some trendy, budget-friendly eateries of every kind that I’ve stumbled upon in Joburg … so, happy feasting! Oh, and you’re welcome!
Rockets Lolita’s (A Bit Of Everything)
This Parkhurst hotspot offers pretty much everything the young professional loves … tasty tapas, colourful cocktails, an affordable wine list and a vibrant atmosphere. Their menu is extensive, offering everything from salads, pizzas and pastas to burgers, meat and fish … and I’ll have you know that everything is delicious and well-sized, not to mention very affordable. Unfortunately they don’t take reservations, so get there early to secure a table. Warning: it’s ridiculously popular!
Try: The Rockets Sweet Potato Rosti With Flame-Grilled Chicken (R89) or The “Better Than Any Specialist Burger Restaurant’s Burger” Burger with a cocktail (from R45).
Where: 24 4th Avenue Parkhurst, Johannesburg.
The Wolfpack (Burgers)
Just the thought of the colourful, wonderfully-decorated Sandton eatery gets my mouth watering! If you’re on a diet, a round of pitas will make for a healthy, satisfying meal. If you’re not, then you simply must tuck into one of their amazing burgers that are cooked to perfection and served with a side of your choice (P.S.: it’s one of our city’s best burger joints). They also have a cocktail happy hour every Monday through Friday from 5pm to 7pm, so you can drink to your heart’s content while you enjoy your divine meal.
Try: The Warm Chicken Salad (R89) or Big Bad Wolf Burger (R103) with a Melon Long Island Iced Tea (R48) or Darling Slow Brew Craft Beer (500ml for R59).
Where: 24 Central, corner of Fredman Drive & Gwen Lane, Sandton, Johannesburg.
Erawan (Thai Food)
If Thai food coupled with casual elegance is your thing, then this is your place! Erawan offers top-notch Thai dishes that present flavours and textures that are sure to please your taste buds. While the sushi is a bit on the pricy side, everything else is very much pocket-friendly. What’s more is that they aren’t yet licensed to serve alcohol, so feel free to take your own bottle of vino to sip on without being charged a corkage fee (for now).
Try: The Crispy Wontons (R42), Stir Fry With Chicken (R98) or Phad Thai With Beef/Pork (R103) with Chocolate Spring Rolls (R49) to finish off.
Where: Riverside Shopping Centre, corner of Bryanston Drive & The River Road, Bryanston, Johannesburg.
Dylan’s Restaurant (A Bit Of Everything)
This upscale restaurant is a hidden gem of note in my opinion. Every dish I’ve had here has been of superior quality, and the more-than-reasonable price tags have made me a regular! Everything is prepared with the freshest, finest ingredients, which shine through in the dishes. The ambiance is comfortable and laidback but at the same time trendy, which is awesome. It’s great for any meal of the day, or even just for cake and coffee. Oh, and they have speedy Wi-Fi, so it’s a fab spot to work from, too!
Try: The Plain Jane Omelette (R35), Alfredo Pasta (R78) or Tropicana Pizza (regular for R72) with a Freshly-Squeezed Fruit Juice (R25), Milkshake (R20) or Mojito (R35).
Where: Shop 7, Parkmore Mews Centre, Corner of 12th & Olympia Avenue, Parkmore, Johannesburg.
Parliament Restaurant (South African Food)
Sometimes you just want to grab a cold beer or a cocktail and a quick bite to eat after work, right? I get that this can sometimes be a costlier exercise than going home and cooking, but don’t stress … the classy spot that is Parliament Restaurant offers tantalising grub that’s super-affordable … and it’s conveniently situated for all Sandton businesspeople. It’s a popular spot for after-work drinks, so get there as soon as you can to secure your seat at the breezy balcony or the comfy bar.
Try: The Chicken Thigh Slouvaki (R75) or 300g Mustard Pork Chop with a Devil’s Peak First Light Golden Ale (440ml for R40) or Gin Martini (R65).
Where: Corner of 11th Street & Victoria Avenue, Parkmore, Johannesburg.
JB’s Corner (A Bit Of Everything)
An all-time favourite, JB’s Corner in Melrose Arch offers everything from salads and sandwiches to pastas and pizzas … and everything that reaches your table boasts both quality and lovely presentation, that’s for sure. Some dishes are, in my opinion, a bit overpriced for what you receive, but others are well worth it, including the sushi platters. Plus, the atmosphere is engaging and comfortable, which makes it an ideal spot to enjoy good food and unwind.
Try: The 200g Beef Burger (R85) or Da Pesto Pasta (R70) with a Freezo (R39) or Granita (R36).
Where: 3 High Street, Melrose Arch, Melrose, Johannesburg.
The Eatalian (Italian Food)
At this upmarket, open-plan eatery, you can tuck into handmade, freshly-prepared Italian dishes that will leave your tummy feeling full and your wallet at ease. The menu is extensive, offering everything from traditional pizzas and pastas to meat dishes as well as seafood. While some dishes may be a tad pricy, there are many that are super-affordable. When you consider the portion sizes, you’ll understand why I say that this place is such fantastic value for money.
Try: The Regina Pizza (R84) or Spaghetti Pancetta (R105) with a bottle of Mulderbosch Steen Op Hout Chenin Blanc (R160) or Cucumber Gimlet (R49).
Where: 126 11th Street, Parkmore, Johannesburg.
Roast Café (A Bit Of Everything)
Think Walnut Grove fare in a beautiful, breezy setting … that’s Roast Café! This newly-opened spot serves up meals that are oh-so-satisfying. Their menu of salads, sandwiches and main meals is guaranteed to have something for everyone to enjoy (and then you get people like me, who just love everything!). They even have an awesome variety of sharing boards and plates for when you and your mealtime companions are feeling a little indecisive.
Try: The Loaded Nachos (R75) or Prego & Chips (R88) with a Frappe (R20) or Slushie (R32).
Where: 10A High Street, Melrose Arch, Melrose, Johannesburg.
The Bull Run (Meat And Fish)
Don’t let the prime location of this Sandton steakhouse send your wallet into a spin … they offer some top-notch dishes at very reasonable prices! Local prime cuts, divine seafood and Cape wines are abundant here, and you can bet that the ambiance is as great as the food and wine. The trendy spot is perfect for a business lunch, a date night or anything in-between … just be sure to book a table as this spot is always busy and bustling … and you don’t want to miss out, now do you?
Try: The Beef Burger (R88), Grilled Chicken Kebab (R125) or 220g Fillet (R145) with a Cheese Platter (R70) to finish off.
Where: 20 Maude Street, Sandton, Johannesburg.
Sushiiito On South (Sushi)
This excellent sushi bar is tucked away in a rather unassuming shopping centre, but don’t let that give you doubts … their sushi rolls are amazing, not to mention huge! And, it’s outside of the Sandton bustle … which is a plus, right? The restaurant itself is very small, but it’s intimate and cosy, which I enjoy (and the tables are fish tanks … how cool is that?!). Sushi addicts, you can thank me later for letting you know of this budget-friendly spot to pick up your favourite fare.
Try: Spinach & Cream Cheese Dim Sum (R40), 4-Piece Prawn Fashion Sandwich (R40) and Salmon Skin Hand Roll (R35) with the Sushiiito Chocolate Spring Roll (R40) to finish things off.
Where: Morningview Shopping Centre, South Road, Morningside, Johannesburg.