As someone who has, by some strange turn of fate, found himself in the coveted position of a career that involves eating and drinking, it’s often the simpler and more casual cuisines and dishes I find myself wanting. While I do love a multi-course menu, some technically precise Japanese cuisine and the rigours of fine dining, sometimes it’s about keeping it simple, and when the craving strikes, these are the Joburg eateries I’m visiting.
BGR (Rosebank, Honeydew and Pretoria)
A burger is all about proportion, ratio of patty to bun, garnish and sauce. The same is true of the patty itself, and the optimal mix of meat, fat and salt. There’s a science to a burger and the team at BGR get it just right. The soft and fluffy milk bun, with their freshly ground patty (made only using whole cuts of meat), topped with real cheese and your choice of accoutrements.
The standard order is “the works” which includes lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, pickles and BGR sauce (made using real mayonnaise), while I personally would suggest adding the extra crispy bacon and some sliced jalapeños if you enjoy a kick of spice with your burger.
It’s the sheer simplicity of sourcing the best ingredients and letting them shine, and BGR do it so well.
Rosebank | 19 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank
Pretoria | 204 Florence Ribeiro, Nieuw Muckleneuk
Honeydew | Corner of Blueberry Street and Beyers Naudé
Neapolitan-style vs Romana-style, thick crust vs thin crust, pineapple vs no pineapple. When it comes to pizza it’s something that people take very seriously, and (aside from the pineapple part) I’m perfectly happy to agree with the varying hot takes on crust, toppings and cheesiness.
If it’s Neapolitan-style I’m after, I’m heading to Coalition pizza. Their signature pizzas are made according to the traditional Neapolitan method, with a base made from two-day slow-rising dough and cooked in a wood-fired oven. The result is a thin centre with a thick, flavourful, chewy crust. Go for the classic margherita with crushed tomatoes, locally sourced mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.
Also worth a mention are the thin-crust pizzas from the country’s most luxurious convenience store and the latest offering from the Marble group, The Pantry. These are too woodfired and the thin and crispy base is available with a variety of toppings from basic to luxe. The parma ham, rocket and balsamic drizzle is an absolute indulgence, though as it’s open 24 hours, a classic pepperoni should hit the spot after a night on the town.
Coalition Parkwood | 2 Bolton Rd, Parkwood, Randburg
Coalition Blairgowrie | 74 Hillcrest Ave, Corner Conrad Dr, Blairgowrie
The Pantry by Marble | 170 Jan Smuts Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg
In my opinion very few of life’s pleasures can compete with the joys of a well-made, generous bowl of the Italian staple.
Sandton’s Stelle Restaurant is a must visit for anyone with a passion for pasta. The family owned and run eatery is an absolute best kept secret when it comes to Joburg’s food scene, having quietly yet confidently serving up some of the city’s best Italian over the course of 13 years.
The spaghetti vongole is cooked perfectly and arrives brimming with the delicious morsels of clam in a deep and flavourful white wine sauce. Their handmade ravioli (limited portions available) are served with a variety of delectable fillings and available with a small selection of classic sauces.
They’re also one of the few restaurants in the city to cook their pasta al dente.
Stelle Restaurant | 61 Rivonia Road, Sandton