One of my favourite restaurants is Little Addis in Maboneng. Delicious platters of a selection of traditional Ethiopian dishes are served with injera (soft spongy what ‘bread’) which functions as knife, fork and spoon. 280 Fox St +27 82 683 8675; www.littleaddis.co.za Open 12.30 to 21.00 except Sunday evenings and Mondays.
Abisinya in Kensington. Chef-patronne Amsale Debela is a political refugee who literally walked to SA from Ethiopia. Her first restaurant was the legendary Amsale’s at the building known as Little Addis in Jeppe Street where she garnered a 2008 Dine Top 100 Restaurant award. … Berbere spice-laden doro wat chicken stews with injera sour dough pancakes are the specialty of the house. +27 72 918 8824 www.abysinnia.co.za Corner Langerman and Queen streets.Open 9.30 – 22.00.
Also in Maboneng is House of Baobab a vibey West African restaurant with amazing fabrics and colourful wall decor. Delicious fish is cooked over hot coals. Cnr Fox and Kruger St in the Main Street Life Building Open 12.00 – 22.00 Closed Mondays +27 82 951 9859.
District Six in nearby Emmarentia. The owner’s childhood was spent in District Six in Cape Town, before the houses were destroyed and the largely Cape Malay population was moved under the Apartheid regime from the late 1960s onwards. The small menu offers delicious Cape Malay dishes like tomatoe bredie (stew), bobotie (curried mince covered with a savoury custard & baked) and wonderful curries. And the best is you can BYO at a corkage fee of R15 42B Greenhill Rd Emmarentia +27 11 486 7226; open 12-22.00 except Sunday evening and Mondays.
Moyo’s Melrose Arch +27 11 -684-1477 www.moyo.co.za Well-done Afro-fusion restaurant with great atmosphere. Face painting and rosewater hand washes are just some of the rituals, plus live music and amazing décor – make sure you look around at all the floors. Well worth making a booking. Or during the day have a chilled meal outdoors at Moyo’s Zoo Lake +27 11 646-0058 and if you have children take some bread to feed the ducks.
The Whiteboy Shebeen in the heart of Sandton in the City Lodge Hotel Their website www.whiteboy-shebeen.co.za tells us that ‘whilst the name Shebeen has been accepted in the South African vocabulary, it is in reality derived from Gaelic and means “Little Mug”. A shebeen was a venue usually in a private home where friends gathered to share a “dram” of whiskey together on which no excise had been paid and it evolved into a warm and friendly venue, where the hosts offered food and drink to guests.’ Offers a range of South African cuisine with dishes like warthog carpaccio, springbok sirloin, etc as well as Halaal dishes. cr Katherine and Grayston Drive Sandown +27 11 444 8850
In the Inner City is The Darkie Cafe located in the very hip Ashanti Hotel. Owned by Chralotte Monakasi it is the first in a franchise chain owned by interior designer Potlako Gasenelwe, Nick Kokkoris who founded the Nino’s Chain and Carel Nolte ex Hollard insurance. The stylish white interior plays humorously with the restaurant’s name. There are tables outside on a deck looking onto Ferreira St. While there is more traditional fare like Mozambiquan chicken curry, cheesey pap, and Dagwoods served with chakalaka, the menu also offers steak, hamburgers, risotto. 10 Anderson St +27 11 492-1555
Carnivore Out at Muldersdrift this is a long way to drive back at night so if you want to go, make it a lunch. Open daily.In the centre of the restaurant is a large circular open fire with 52 converted Masaai tribal spears holding a variety of 10 different types of meat such as pork, lamb, beef, chicken, ribs and sausages and including such game meats as crocodile, zebra, giraffe, impala, ostrich, etc, Several vegetarian dishes are also on the menu. +27 11 950-6061
Places in Soweto
The most well-known is Wandies so expect busloads of tourists should you choose to eat here. Wandi Ndaba started operating an illegal shebeen from his house in 1981 so he has really grown the business. Buffet fare serves local food with great stews and traditional starches like pap (stiff maize meal porridge), dumplings, ting (soft porridge) and umqushu (samp). The walls are papered with business cards of visitors. +27 11 982 2796 www.wandiesplace.co.za
Get your adrenalin rush with some bungee jumping at the Orlando Towers www.orlandotowers.co.za and then enjoy some shisa nyama (barbecued meat) and pap (maize porridge) at Chaf Pozi. Open Wednesdays to Fridays 11 till late, Saturday lunch and afternoon only and Sunday lunch top early evening www.chafpozi.co.za +27 11 463 8895
Nambitha’s in Vilikazi St – near the Hector Pieterson Museum and Mandela House museum. Serves both mainstream food like burgers and tramezzinis as well as more traditional stews, including mogudu (tripe). Nambitha means tasty in isiXhosa +27 11 936 9128.
Sakhumzi’s also in Vilikazi St (no 6980 next to Bishop Tutu’s house) Another favourite meeting place for locals and tourists alike, the shebeen atmosphere really gets going in the evenings. www.sakhumzi.co.za +27 11 315 1534
Also in Vilikazi St is Thrive Café which serves more bistro type food – salads and great coffee. www.thrivecafe.co.za Closed Mondays.
Enjoy a rooftop sundowner over the week-end at The Rock 1987 Vundla St Rockville +27 11 986 8182
Kwa-thabeng 9138 Nonqawe, Pimville Open daily from early until late. There is a laid back Soweto vibe in this shebeen (tavern) come restaurant. You will join locals sitting at long tables. +27 11 938 3337
For a guide to more African eateries see Anna Trapido’s article ‘Your gourmet guide to African eating’ Be warned some are in quite gritty parts of town http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=74840