Dating in Joburg: Romantic restaurant ideas for every kind of relationship

Although Valentine’s Day advertisements would have us thinking otherwise, more people will be out celebrating this 14 February than just the cookie-cutter twenty-something couple. What about the singles, those ready to ask the big question or those celebrating with the kids? Your dinner should be as fitting as your dining companion. So we’ve played matchmaker with the best restaurants for your relationship status.

For a night out with single friends

Saigon Suzy Asian BBQ & Rock ‘n Roll Bar (Parkwood)

The pumping atmosphere and great cocktails mean you and your friends will have a blast. The Asian street-food inspired menu has everything from ramen to wok noodles and pot stickers to bao buns. Their private karaoke rooms are also fabulous and frivolous, offering a full bar service at the push of a button.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Saigon Suzy (@saigonsuzyjhb) on

Perron (Illovo)

Perron is the go-to spot for fun-seekers in Illovo with its vibey atmosphere, margarita jugs and superb tacos, quesadillas, tostadas and tamales. You’re guaranteed a fine time and, with a menagerie of bars just down the road, there’s always the possibility of mingling after dinner.

Perron is great for dates and Valentine's Day

The Perron bar. Photo supplied.

Also check out: A Streetbar Named Desire (Parkwood)

For the first date

Arbour Café (Birdhaven)

With its exquisite open-air courtyard and French-inspired menu, this little gem is romance personified. It’s quaint and delightful, ticking all the boxes for a first date. Pair a creamy herbed mushroom galette with one of their delicious ciders. Or go for the signature five-spice crispy duck confit with a glass of delectable rosé.

Romantic Arbour Cafe is great for dates and Valentine's Day

Arbour Cafe. Photo supplied.

Wombles Steakhouse Restaurant (Bryanston)

With the sumptuous high-back chairs, oversized wine glasses and wonderfully eclectic African décor, Wombles oozes old-school sophistication. Service is consistently on point and their steaks are always perfectly cooked. If your date goes well you can move across to their beautiful bar, or get cosy outside next to the open fires for a little digestif or a cheeky nightcap.

Also check out Great Eastern Food Bar (Melville) and Dolci Cafe (Craighall Park).

To pop the question

Clico Restaurant (Rosebank)

This boutique hotel has an intimate and sophisticated adjoining restaurant with a delectable modern tasting menu. Chef Marnus Scholly pulls out all the stops with his fresh and slightly spiced new summer menu paired with diverse and exciting wines. (Make sure to check out their room offerings, as the prices are very reasonable.)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Clico (@clico_sa) on

Winehouse at Ten Bompas (Dunkeld West)

Choose between the intimate dining room and the outdoor terrace overlooking the manicured gardens. Chef Johannes de Bruijn and his team marry comforting flavours with innovative ideas, resulting in dishes that are executed flawlessly but still approachable. Do visit the wine cellar if you have the chance and take the opportunity to enjoy an aperitif under one of the beautiful trees.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by TEN BOMPAS HOTEL (@ten_bompas_hotel) on

For newlyweds

Coobs (Parkhurst)

Chef James Diack just gets it right time and time again. The setting is grown-up without being pretentious and the menu follows suit. He calls this style of cuisine refined dining rather than fine dining, and it’s exactly that – you’ll find only the best organically grown ingredients from his family farm, cooked to perfection and plated exquisitely in a contemporary fashion. His prices are astonishingly reasonable and his wine list is hard to beat.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Coobs (@coobsparkhurst) on

EB Social Kitchen and Bar (Hyde Park)

It’s a restaurant that falls under most radars because of its location inside Exclusive Books in Hyde Park. But it’s in no way dark or dingy. It’s a majestic space intricately styled with bohemian art deco furnishings and Moroccan tiles set against views of Joburg. The upmarket and extensive menu offers a little something for every taste.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by EB Social Kitchen and Bar (@ebsocialkitchen) on

Urbanologi (Ferreirasdorp)

Vibrant and dynamic, Urbanologi is sure to keep you and your newlywed enthralled. It’s set inside the original Fox Street brewery, so the space is quite industrial – I wouldn’t call this restaurant romantic, but it is exciting and perfect if you’re looking for something a little different on Valentine’s Day. They call their cuisine ‘Urban Garde’; it’s a kind of Asian fusion, an experimentation of typical street food techniques such as kushiyaki, yakitori and teriyaki. Order plates to share and be ready for a flavour explosion.

A dish at Urbanologi.

A dish at Urbanologi. Photo supplied.

For an anniversary celebration

DW Eleven-13 (Dunkeld West)

Chef Marthinus Ferreira and his team deliver food and service of a standard worthy of such a celebration. Your every wish is their command and every plate a masterpiece. Choose between the four-course and six-course degustation menus and be prepared to be wowed. The deep-fried polenta with cauliflower espuma and sous vide chicken with langoustine and pomme purée are not to be missed.

Polenta and cauliflower espuma with sultanas from DW Eleven-13. Photo supplied.

Level Four Restaurant (Rosebank)

The restaurant is located on the rooftop of 54 on Bath and offers superb service in style. Executive chef Matthew Foxon celebrates classic French and Italian cuisine in a fine-dining setting. Adjoining the restaurant is the newly renovated Perrier-Jouët bar that overlooks the terrace garden and offers premium champagnes at superb prices.

Marble by David Higgs (Rosebank)

Think flawless design and décor, fantastic cocktails at the stunning bar, dinner theatre from the live fire, an open-plan kitchen with a palatial view across Johannesburg – and we haven’t even started on the food. David Higgs’ menu is an ode to the open flame, with every dish comprising an element of smoke or fire. It’s chic and niche.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Marble (@marble_sa) on

Also check out Est Est Alea (Parktown North) and Signature (Morningside).

If you have kids in tow

Fahrenheit Seafood & Grill (Edenvale)

This family-orientated restaurant specialises in steaks and seafood. There’s a pizza-making area and a play area fitted with jungle gyms and trampolines. They also have child minders to keep an eye out for your little ones. The menu is vast and well-priced. Favourites include the peri-peri chicken, great steaks and tender calamari.

Fahrenheit Seafood & Grill. Photo supplied.

Moyo Zoo Lake (Parkview)

Their expansive, relaxed setting with face painters and live music mean the kids will be entertained for hours so you can sit back, relax and enjoy some adult conversation. The menu is dedicated to dishes from across our continent so expect potjies, tagines and curries. Kids can choose from pastas, toasted sandwiches or burgers. Or get the Moyo kids combo consisting of any kiddies’ meal, a milkshake and an activity pack.

Also check out: Bennigan’s (Kensington)

Do check out our Valentine’s Day specials article for romantic specials throughout the country. 

Leave a comment

Promoted Restaurants