In the last Eating Joburg I pretty much expressed how bored I was with all the wasted potential in Parkhurst. This time I will be exploring a part of the city that I probably spend far too much time in: Maboneng. Given that I work in a studio in Doornfontein, or Future Maboneng as I like to call it (not sure if I’m allowed to tell people this), it really isn’t surprising. I also haven’t quite got over the see and be seen factor that used to exist in these spaces, and to a lesser extent still does. I really like seeing beautiful, trendy people being beautiful and trendy. It makes me feel like David Attenborough.

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But less about my voyeurism, and more about the food in these places. We’ll kick off with Maboneng because I have eaten at most of the places here. This area is probably most well known for it’s First Thursday of the month night market, and Weekly Sunday Market on Main (MoM). The food on offer here is in general pretty damn good. The churros and pulled pork burger (as tired as I am of the American BBQ trend I just can’t stop eating them) are definitely my best. The only thing I’ve had at the markets that I’ve been disappointed with is the souvlaki, but maybe it was a fluke bad night for them because they’ve done well enough to open a permanent place on Maverick corner on Albrecht Street.

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It also seems MoM really is the mother of the Maboneng eatery community with The Blackanese also finding it’s first tentative steps at the market. Now they have a semi-fledged sushi and wine bar around the corner (semi-fledged because you can’t call yourself a wine bar and not have a liquor license). This is one of my favourite places to get sushi in Joburg. All you can eat Tuesday is quickly becoming an institution in my life. They also have sushi classes which are super fun, and prawn braais on Sunday. 

Another one of my favourite places to eat is Eat Your Heart Out. This is a lovely little kosher cafe that will serve you things like authentic New York style hot dogs and pastrami on rye. They also have some of the best coffee in the precinct. My favourite item on the menu, however, is the Shakshuka. This is the only way eggs should ever be served: poached and served with a rich spicy tomato sauce. Ask for it to be served Israeli style where the eggs are poached in the sauce.

Beyond these places I find the precinct quickly goes downhill food wise falling prey to the same “good enough syndrome” that plagues Parkhurst. Yogi Berry has power samoosas, pretty good frozen yogurt (better than Wakaberry at least) passable curry, and terrible coffee. Bioscope has a great wine and beer selection and pretty good pizza given they’re not woodfired, but Pata Pata is a snorefest for me menu wise, and The living room’s food is mediocre at best. They at least make up for it with a spectacular view and a lovely leafy atmosphere. The worst bit is that I think they’re all incredibly over-priced for what you’re getting. I guess you pay for that oh so hip inner city street side vibe. I just wish these places did a bit more than rely on it.

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Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg

Written by Alex Bernatsky