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Illovo’s newest Poké spot, Ono in Illovo – reviewed

In Hawaiian, ‘Ono’ means ‘delicious’, which is what owner Anthony Theodosiou had in mind when he began Ono Poké Eatery, after researching the trend in London. Intrigued by the health-conscious bowl food, he decided to open his own little spot in Illovo.

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Serves: simple, fresh-tasting, accessible bowls
Best for: fresh and healthy eat-ins or takeaways
Cost: from R75 (for a medium vegetarian) to R115 (for a large fish, meat, ‘house’ or ‘custom’ poké bowl)
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 3

Food

The breakfast bowls look delicious, ranging from simple yoghurt-and-fruit bowls to excitingly complex ones like the Protein Choc or Acai Berry. The poké bowls are scrumptious. You can build your own, but the house choices are wonderful. Try the Yuzu Tun, featuring superb tuna sourced from the same topmost supplier that supplies Marble. Cubed, the tuna is springy and fresh, nestling in the bowl with a kiwi-fruit salsa, a fine cabbage slaw, paper-thin radish slices, sweetly pickled yellow peppers, avocado slices and gleaming black rice. The yuzu dressing is made with fresh yuzu juice. The overall texture is a wonderful melange – ranging from soft to crisp. The tastes are just as interesting, featuring sweet, sour, tart, and tangy.

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The prawn Sriracha bowl is quite different, full of surprisingly large chopped prawns with cashews, Sriracha, sugar-snap peas, slaw, radishes and avo slices, with brown rice. There are also salmon and chicken bowls, as well as the option to swap out the protein in any of the bowls with tofu or chickpeas.

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For something sweet, go for bowls like the black rice pudding or the chia seed pudding bowl. The former’s warm rice is glossy with slightly sweetened rich coconut cream, and topped with fresh strawberries. The chia seed pudding bowl is made with beetroot and chocolate and is served cold, with coconut curls and strawberries. The thick and fruity house shakes should also make for good post-lunch rewards.

Drinks

There are good choices of coffee available, with all of them excellent. Their Superlattes come in turmeric, matcha and beetroot flavours. You can build your own fresh juices, too, but the apple, celery and cucumber choice is balanced and beautifully refreshing. Also go for the protein shakes, or those house shakes.

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Service

It’s all self-service here. Collect your menu, order and pay for your food at the counter.

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Ambience

All staff greet you with a warm Aloha. This isn’t a place intended for hanging out for long periods, but it’s comfortable enough. The seating area is under metal banana-palm fronds and there are also sisal-and-wood swings by the open windows where you can seat yourself. Everything is eco-conscious, including the take-away dishes, which seem plastic but are not.

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And…

In a part of Joburg fairly amply supplied with poké options, Ono stands out as being dedicated to poké, with everything as fresh as can be.

Brought to you by Retail Capital, sponsors of the Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year Award.

Want to find more new restaurants in your city? Check out our new restaurants section.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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