Linden is one of Joburg’s oldest suburbs. Once a booming fruit farming community, this quaint area has undergone numerous identity shifts since it was first established in 1896. Initially known countrywide for its peach and cherry orchards, Linden became a haven for well-off families looking for a retreat away from the inner city in the 1950s. Now, this quaint country-style suburb has shed its former elitist image, welcoming in people from all walks of life to eat, drink and enjoy its lush green surroundings.
We took a drive into Linden early on a Saturday morning to assess the scene. What we found was nothing short of enticing, exciting and uniquely quirky. Of course, the first stop on our journey through the suburb was to it’s well known 4th Avenue restaurant mile.
Where To Eat
If there is one thing Linden is known for, it's the foodie culture. Bistros, bakeries, coffee shops and Indian food - Linden's 4th Avenue is as eclectic as Juta Street in Braamfontein. One of our favourite restaurants, Bikaner, can be found in this neighbourhood. Serving the best Paneer Palak with Garlic Naan in Joburg, according to our resident food writer, Bikaner is a definite must-stop on your way through Linden.
Right next door is The Whippet Coffee. Linden's favourite breakfast spot, this corner cafe buzzes on a Saturday morning. But, who could blame the residents of this one-of-a-kind town? The Whippet serves up classic South African flavours with a contemporary twist. Try their Milktart if you don't believe us.
Al fresco dining seems to be the name of the game in Linden, with most of the 4th Avenue restaurants spilling out onto the sidewalks. The Argentinean Bakery is one such establishment. Plop yourself down at one of their tables outside to enjoy a crisp croissant and the best coffee Linden has to offer. It's pavement perfection.
If it's unpretentious fine dining you're after in Linden, look no further than Van der Linde. Named after the suburb's founder, this relative new kid on the block gives the suburb's foodie scene the 'pzazz' it lacked prior to their opening in 2018. Think build-your-own breakfasts, the most succulent rib-eye steak and a deep love for bread. If there is but one Linden restaurant you visit, let it be Van der Linde.
The Linden food train doesn't stop at 4th Avenue. Take a gander at their 7th street marvels, which includes family favourite bistro, The Fat Zebra. Using only the freshest ingredients, this proud Linden watering hole offers its patrons a variety of tasty breakfasts, pastries and great coffee. Don't leave here without trying their Lindt Chocolate Brownie!
Noodle bowl anyone? The Peoples Republic of Noodles (PRON) sits along Linden's 7th street waiting to delight you with their selection of Northern Chinese dishes. Tuck into a little tapas or devour a bowl of sweet and sour noodles all by yourself. PRON also serves up inspired cocktails, Asian beers and South African wines to pair with your meal.
Cheese lovers, Linden's 7th street has something super special just for you - Cheese Gourmet! Offering a wonderland of local and imported cheese, this deli and cafe is a must-visit. Not only can you pick up a great selection of cheese and cold cuts to take home, but their cafe serves simple, classic breakfasts and snack platters to keep you on the go.
For more Linden foodie hot spots, check out our article on touring the culinary world without leaving this leafy suburb.
What To Do
The Linden party scene has exploded over the last few years. While not as loud and proud as other Joburg suburbs, Linden is slowly embracing youth culture and letting its hair down a little. Kick off your evening of adventure at the Irish Club - a good old grub pub that welcomes one and all.
Make your way back to 4th Avenue for the next stop on your journey. Choo Choo Junction is a steampunk themed gastro-pub and restaurant that's well known for its cheesy flatbreads, cocktails and live music events. This is a great place to book a retro-inspired birthday party or big family gathering.
Our final destination for the night is the Brian Lara Rum Eatery. This is where all the hipsters hang out in Linden, so expect lots of beards, brews and burgers. This is one of the last places on the avenue to quieten down for the evening, so join them for a great vibe that carries on well into the night.
Apart from the food and the party vibe, one of the main reasons why people flock to Linden is because of its culture of art and literature appreciation. Perhaps this is because the residents here include celebrities and TV producers, artists and musicians alike. There are an ample amount of galleries around as well, such as the NO END Contemporary Art Space - an artist-run gallery dedicated to supporting young artists from the local area.
The streets of Linden are also a great place to go hunting for second-hand books, bespoke jewellery, crafts and vinyl. Check out our article on the best bookstores in Linden before you head out.
Points Of Interest
Now that you're well acquainted with all that Linden has to offer, let's check out the lesser known points of interest. There's the Linden Library, the popular Linden Market at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, the indoor Linden swimming pool and the Big Brother Africa house, to name a few. It may take you some time to thoroughly explore all of these venues, but we believe that the best way to experience this suburb is to drive through on a Saturday, like we did, and spend some time in the area - you may even find yourself looking at real estate here in no time.
Have you been to Linden? Let us know what we left out by commenting below. Sharing is caring so hit that share button!