As an introduction to the hidden gems of Benoni, head out to Cafe Bellini. This quaint restaurant serves up delicious, hearty breakfasts, generous lunches and some of the best cake and pastries in the suburb. Think caramel fudge popcorn cake, baked cheesecake with blueberry couli and mini baklava rolls. Cafe Bellini is available for small private functions, including afternoon teas and birthday parties. With their beautiful rose garden outside and wrap around Victorian-style porch, this is Benoni at its very best. The restaurant also offers a walk-through gift section with unique, up-market decor accessories and jewellery, so stop by as soon as you can.
Details: 204 Elston Avenue, Western Extension, Benoni, Gauteng | 063 967 9653 or 082 708 0555 | [email protected]
The Victorian Secret
For the finest French macarons in Benoni, visit The Victorian Secret. This side street patisserie is housed within a renovated Victorian home, giving it ample charm and character. We recommend taking a seat outdoors underneath their expansive, shady trees. The furniture is quintessentially Victorian too, with bright white lacy accents all around. TVS has set high tea and breakfast menus, featuring their most delightful cakes, pastries and savoury nibbles. However, you are welcome to pop by unannounced for a spot of tea, a lovely brunch or a variety of sweet treats.
Details: 140 Woburn St (Cnr Russel St), Western Ext, Benoni, Gauteng | 011 420 1912 | [email protected].
The Secret Garden
Benoni sure does have a lot of secrets up its sleeve. For a vegetarian and vegan-friendly dining experience, visit The Secret Garden at Uncle Tim's Centre. Almost every menu item here has a suitable vegetarian or vegan alternative. So, while your meat loving friends tuck into a traditional English breakfast, you can enjoy a potato cake with tofu scramble, set on a bed of spinach, with sauteed tomato, mushrooms, spicy beans and a Fry's vegan sausage! Set in a lovely garden complete with water fountain and an abundance of plant life. The Secret Garden grow their own veggies too, so you can dine assured that the spinach on your plate has been plucked directly from the garden beds next to you.
Details: 40 High Road, Benoni, Gauteng | 083 299 2160 | [email protected]
Uncle Tim's Centre
If you love all things Victorian, then Benoni is the place for you to eat, shop and admire. Uncle Tim's Centre is a Victorian treasure chest of antiques housed in a collection of historical buildings in Benoni. Take a peek into Uncle Tim's Cabin, a five-roomed antiques and collectibles store. The old farmhouse plays host to 20 other shops, each selling something unique. From patchwork and embroidery to second hand books and vinyl, bespoke jewellery and an on-site art gallery, Uncle Tim's is a retail wonderland. The pinnacle of hidden gems in Benoni, Uncle Tim's regularly hosts markets and fairs, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming events.
Details: 40 High Road, Benoni, Gauteng | 010-590-8003 | [email protected]
Shed & Silo
Everyone needs a break from the drudge of city life. Take a journey out into the tranquil avenues of Benoni to visit Shed & Silo, a country-style cafe famous for its Eggs Benedict and Chocolate Mousse Cake. There is a large patio area which overlooks lush farmland and the restaurant's vegetable gardens. It's the perfect spot to enjoy your morning cuppa. However, the interior decor of the restaurant is delightfully pretty as well, with glass cabinets, wood accents and hanging flower baskets. Retreat inside on a chilly day to enjoy a warming drink and some of the best gourmet cake Benoni has to offer.
Details: 77 Thomas Road, Norton Home Estates, Benoni, Gauteng | 063 294 6157 | [email protected]
What's more satisfying than a crunchy, sweet waffle? A savoury one perhaps? Little Belgium is one of the newest additions to the hidden gems of Benoni list. Located at Flamingo's Nest Hotel, this is a family-friendly waffle house with a difference. Their take on the classic waffle is inspired, serving Thai Vegetable Curry, Butter Chicken and Beef Tagliatta Waffles! If you are a stickler for tradition, their menu also features all the good old classics. Kids can have a blast playing on the jungle gyms overlooking the lagoon outside, while you tuck into a thick, creamy milkshake. There is also a dedicated kiddies menu, so all can enjoy a tasty meal.
Details: Flamingo’s Nest Boutique Hotel, Corner Dove & Boundary Road, Rynfield, Benoni AH | 082 886 3996 | [email protected]
Korsman Bird Sanctuary
The Korsman Bird Sanctuary is located within the boomed residential Westdene suburb of Benoni. However, it is open to visitors, offering the best urban bird watching experience in the East Rand. There are a number of watch points to sit and admire the natural beauty around you, as well as 2.5km walking and cycling trails. There is also ample space on the perimeter of the sanctuary to enjoy a family picnic on the grass. Dogs are welcome too, so long as they are leashed and well behaved. It is free to view the park from the outside, so come out for a bit of fresh air in the heart of hidden Benoni.
Details: The Dr, Westdene, Benoni, Gauteng | 011 421 7418 / 082 690 2832 | [email protected]
Benoni Monkey and Bird Park
If you want to get up and close with some wildlife, then bring the family to the Benoni Monkey and Bird Park. Home to an array of exotic species of monkey, bird and rabbit, this sanctuary is ideal for a day out with the kids. There is an adjoining tea garden and play centre, so you can relax while the kiddies muck about. Children are welcome to interact with the animals, so long as they are considerate and gentle. This is a great kids party venue too, with catering options available from the restaurant.
Details: 244 Swallow Road, Rynfield AH, Benoni, Gauteng | 082 787 3932 | [email protected]
Sibikwa Arts Centre
The Sibikwa Arts Centre is one of Benoni's truest hidden gems. Working in community theatre for over 30 years, this arts centre plays a vital role in children's education and vocational training. The centre also happens to host some of the coolest jazz concerts, heritage festivals and theatre showcases in Benoni. Come and jive along to the sweet sounds of music here, or get involved in the community work. Kids can join the Saturday Arts Academy to hone their dance, singing and acting skills. Helping the youth become the very best versions of themselves through the practice of discipline and art, the Sibikwa Arts Centre is a must-visit gem.
Details: 13 Corner Bolton & Liverpool Road, Benoni, Gauteng | 011 422 4359 | [email protected]
Pug Rescue SA
Finally, we have the most adorable and worthwhile hidden gem to visit in Benoni. Pug Rescue SA calls this suburb their home, offering animal rescue services and special fund-raising events for abandoned and injured pugs and cross breeds. Come and spend some time with these sweet rescues, who will gladly thank you with a snort, lick and wag of the tail. You never know, you may just find a new addition to your family here.
Pug Rescue is hosting their final 'Spoil a Pug' event this December. Join them for a much-needed spoil session where you can walk a pug or give them a friendly belly rub at a doggie 'pool party'. All you need to bring along with you is a donation of R20 per person, or a can of Husky with gravy for these lovable rescues. The event takes place on Sunday, 01 December 2019 at 08:00 and 10:00.
Details: 80/1 Nielsen Road Benoni North Argicultural Holdings, Benoni, Gauteng | 082 508 0384 | [email protected]
Do you know of any other hidden gems in Benoni? Let us know about them!