The relatively few outdoor eating spots in Johannesburg seem at odds with a city known for its beautiful trees and wonderful weather. Outdoor cafés are mostly situated on narrow pavements, overlook parking lots, or require a trip to the ‘country’. So it’s not surprising that 44 Stanley, with its interleading tree-filled courtyards, remains a favourite eating destination for locals and tourists alike.
The 44 Stanley precinct is almost 15 years old and is filled with an exciting mix of restaurants, food and artisanal shops. There have been plenty of changes over the years but the original sensitive approach to the space continues, with a focus on owner-run restaurants, stores and businesses.
Dining and food options are plentiful. You’ll find bread and other baked goods at Vovo Telo (the first Johannesburg outpost of the now-popular chain), Italian fare under the olive trees at Il Giardino, delicious burgers and panini at L8 Café, great on-the-go options at Salvation Deli (also known as Three Marys) and a great range of pub food and delicious craft beer at Stanley Beer Yard.
Situated in the central courtyard, salvationcafé is a perennial favourite for locals and visitors, and after eating there you will understand why people are willing to queue for a table. You’ll want to try the Benedicts for breakfast and the burgers or calamari for lunch (which is arguably the best in town). The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week and, although it’s not open most evenings, in summer it stays open until 8pm on Fridays, when it makes for a great spot for either an after-work drink or a family friendly supper.
Chocoloza is a chocolate lover’s dream. You can buy handmade chocolates made on-site and enjoy all sorts of chocolate drinks in their little café. With so many flavours to try (lime and basil and salty tango are some of the bestsellers) you’ll be excused for having to return regularly.
The Leopard + is Andrea Burgener’s and Nick Gordon’s latest stop in their culinary journey. They’ve returned to 44 Stanley after more than 10 years with their new, restaurant-at-home concept. It offers delicious convenience meals, charcuterie products, carefully selected dairy products and groceries to enjoy at home. You can also sit
down at their little tables to enjoy their fresh salads and daily meals. (You’ll be pleased to know that the latter includes their celebrated Pata plate). Watch out for tapas evenings and pop-up dinners soon.
Every good meal should end with a good coffee and there’s no better spot to enjoy one than at Bean There Coffee. Bean There was South Africa’s first roaster of Certified Fairtrade coffee and they still personally source quality African coffee through direct fair trade. And, despite being a staple of every coffee geek’s itinerary, the roastery and its coffee shop could not be more welcoming. It’s the kind of place in which you could easily hang out alone – and make friends quickly. For those wanting to learn more about coffee, watch out for regular coffee-cupping mornings and barista courses. Oh, and don’t be surprised if your kids become fans – free marshmallows are offered to all young visitors.