Braamfontein is the oldest recognised suburb of the city of Johannesburg. Following the gold rush of the 1850s, Braamfontein became a central hub for business, sport and leisure. With the establishment of the South African School of Mining in 1895 (later to become the University of the Witwatersrand), Braamfontein cemented its status as a bustling inner city suburb. Today, "Braam" as it is affectionately known, is one of the city's top destinations for entertainment, retail, dining and loft-style living. From its many contemporary restaurants to its fabulous night life, Braamfontein offers an array of exciting activities. It is also undoubtedly the underground fashion hub of Johannesburg, often referred to as "sneaker town". You never quite know what you might find in this eclectic part of the city.

What Are You Looking For?

Shopping
Entertainment
Restaurants
Hotels and Accommodation
Schools
Municipal Services
Conference Venues
Jobs
Property 

Shopping

Braamfontein is quite unlike any other shopping destination in the city. There few malls and shopping centres here, but rather a collection of independent fashion stores, curio shops and artisanal markets. Braam is the ultimate shopping hub for fashion fundis, collectors and organic food lovers. 70 Juta Street is one of the area's top retail precincts. Here, you will find an ever-expanding number of pop-up shops and local fashion boutiques. If you're not one to follow the crowd, this is the place to do your fashion buying. The Neighbourgoods Market is also a favourite for farm fresh goods and handmade crafts. Overall, Braamfontein offers a truly unique shopping experience well worth exploring.

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Shopping in Braamfontein

70 Juta. Photo credit: Max Marx.

Entertainment

Braamfontein boasts an equally vibrant daytime and nighttime entertainment scene. Whether you prefer a casual stroll around a weekend market or epic adventures under the cover of darkness, Braam offers an assortment of fun hangouts and entertainment activities. The suburb is also lauded for its arts and culture scene. Catch a theatre show at the magnificent Joburg Theatre or visit Constitution Hill to learn about our country's past. Braamfontein is a hive of activity over weekends, bringing a diverse mix of people together to celebrate life in all its glories. If you've ever imagined what a South African utopia looks like, Braam on a Saturday night would be it. People of all creeds, colours and orientations gather here to eat, drink and be merry. So, what are you waiting for? Get in on the Braamfontein party scene or you'll be missing out!

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Entertainment in Braamfontein

The Nelson Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre.

Restaurants

From early morning coffee to the midnight munchies, Braamfontein's restaurant scene has got you covered. Thanks to its large student population and nearby business districts, the eateries here offer a wide variety of cuisines. Come and tuck into traditional South African shisanyama, Mediterranean fare or gourmet hot dogs at Braamfontein's top class restaurants. The area is also favoured as one of the best places to grab brunch on a Sunday morning. Think classic eggs Benedict, maple glazed bacon on sweet French toast and some of the best coffee in Joburg. Eating out in Braamfontein is a taste adventure you don't want to skip out on. Come hungry!

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Grab a gourmet hotdog from Great Dane in Braamfontein.

Hotels & Accommodation

Braamfontein is a verified backpackers town. Come and find the best budget accommodation at one of its hotels, lodges or hostels. Once in Joburg offers you all three in one - as Joburg's only 'poshtel' it welcomes in students, tourists and adventurers of all kinds. You can share a room with friends or bunk with total strangers for the night. It's all about sparing your pocket money for great adventures around the city. Braam is also home to the great Bannister Hotel. After a long night of partying, this is the ideal inexpensive stay over. Plus there's free breakfast to be had in the morning! If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind travel experience, book yourself into a Braamfontein hotel or self-catering accommodation. There is no better way to soak up all that this corner of the city has to offer than by getting right into the thick of it.

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Braamfontein

Book yourself an overnight stay in the Spacious King size room at the Bannister Hotel.

Schools

In spite of its relatively small size, Braamfontein suburb is home to many schools, universities and colleges. Located right in the centre of Braamfontein is the University of the Witwatersrand. This elite tertiary institution is one of the suburb's greatest landmarks and draw cards for students from around the country. There are also a number of private colleges located in the area, specialising in media studies, graphic design and marketing. The National School of the Arts is situated in the area as well, directly opposite the Joburg Theatre complex. The school offers a disciplined curriculum, combining practical arts studies with the national syllabus. Many talented visual artists, dancers, musicians and theatre makers have graduated from this top co-educational high school.

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Municipal Services

The City Council of Johannesburg offices are situated in Braamfontein, as is the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. Visit the various city government departments here for assistance with your water and electricity rates, service delivery, waste removal and road works. The Gauteng Department of Labour and the Provincial office for the Department of Home Affairs are also located in the area. The Provincial Head Office of the South African Police Service is located on Empire road, on the border between Braamfontein and Parktown.

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The City of Johannesburg Council Chamber. Photo credit: Tristan McLaren.

Conference Venues

Thanks to its central city location, Braamfontein is the ideal meeting place for large conferences and events. Thankfully, there are a few conference venues in the area, suited to hosting both small and large gatherings. Constitution Hill plays host to many corporate events, private functions and outdoor music festivals. Whether you’ are hosting a meeting, a seminar or talk, a cocktail reception or a banquet, there should be a space suited to your needs at Con Hill. Similarly, the Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Parktonian All-Suite offers event rooms with a seating capacity of up to 450 people. So, if you're looking to hold an event in Joburg, look no further than Braamfontein's best conference venues.

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Jobs

Many of South Africa's major corporations have office spaces situated in Braamfontein, including Liberty Holdings Limited, JD Group, Sappi, Bidvest Bank and Hollard. The suburb offers a multitude of work opportunities across a range of fields. Being situated just north of the city centre makes its job market incredibly lucrative. There are numerous means of transport in and out of Braamfontein as well, meaning that workers can easily commute in from areas around the city. The Gautrain at Park Station brings in people from Sandton, Rosebank and Johannesburg East each day to work in Braamfontein.

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Braamfontein

Property

Over recent years, Braamfontein has seen massive regeneration. As such, it has regained some of its former glory in terms of property and rentals. If you're on the lookout for a designer loft, this is the place to go house hunting. Many of the suburb's old buildings have been renovated into lush apartment complexes, perfect for young professionals. New Braamfontein Lofts is an urban development making big waves on the property scene. Offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of the inner city, this artisanal residential complex combines the best of industrial-style architecture with contemporary comfort. But don't imagine that only 'cool kids' or artists call Braamfontein home. All are welcome here, so come and find your forever home.

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Are you looking for the best breakfast in Braamfontein? Look no further! We ate our way through many an early-bird menu to bring you the best of the best that this hipster hangout has to offer.

Ent Eatery

On the corner of de Beer and Juta Street, in a colourful little building you can find one of the best spots to grab a refreshing cup of coffee. Recently opened (well, at the time of writing at least), Ent Eatery in Braamfontein serves the best breakfast in town. Why not swing by on the first Sunday of every month for their already-famous brunch displays.

Love Food

Across Jan Smuts from the Wits Art Museum, there's a little Café all Joburgers should visit at least five times in their lives. Love Food on Ameshof Street is a quaint little eatery that serves breakfast and lunch. We recommend the bacon stack which consists of ciabatta, cheddar bacon, tomato relish and fried or scrambled eggs.

Breakfast In Braamfontein

Artivist

Artivist is one of the gems in Braam that go unnoticed. Little do people know that there is a lot happening in this modern contemporary and artistic space. It's all in the name really - they bring you the best of art whether its music or food. One thing you can look forward to at this restaurant is their breakfast, wow! What a way to start your day.

Bannister Hotel

Luxury and budget are two words rarely used to describe a hotel. But when it comes to the Bannister Hotel on de Beer Street then you're in for a treat. Don't stress, you don't have to stay at the hotel to take advantage of their breakfast tables. What we suggest is that you fly in there with an appetite and take advantage of one of their farm styled breakfasts. How's about a plate of eggs, toast, bacon and sausage? Welcome to the best of Braamfontein.

Breakfast In Braamfontein

Galata

Galata is a Turkish family-owned business, situated in Braamfontein and Braampark. This family loved South Africa so much that they just had to officiate their stay with restaurants - having fallen in love with the friendly environment, they were hooked. Galata has now become a very well known brand, catering the best food from breakfast to dinner and dessert. A must visit!

Velo Cafè

Velo Cafè can be found nearby the Juta Street restaurant district. This urban hang out is the go-to for traditional, uncomplicated, but still delicious Eggs Benedict. If you pop by here on a weekday morning you could score breakfast and a coffee for only *R50! Find them at The Grove, just off Melle street.

Floorless Cuisine

Floorless Cuisine is the official caterer for the Constitution Hill heritage site in upper Braamfontein. Their breakfast menu features five home-style morning grub options. We recommend you try out the breakfast wrap, which is served with fluffy scrambled eggs and a cheese griller.

Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.

Bikaner (RIP) - Paneer Makhani With Garlic Naan And Butter Naan

Everyone who knows me knows that I will trade my kidneys for a plate of good Indian food. Fortunately, I have money to swop for a decent meal every now and then, so my kidneys can stay safe wherever they are. If I were given the option of the last meal before they flip the switch on my electric throne, I'd without a doubt yell out "paneer makhani with garlic naan and butter naan from Bikaner in Linden!" Do yourself a favour and go check them out. It's a dark little authentic north Indian restaurant next to the Whippet that serves the most amazing vegetarian food. They do have meat dishes but I've not seen any point in venturing outside of the veggie side of life there.

Coobs - Lamb Burger With Wild Boar Bacon

The coolest thing about James Diack's restaurants is that most - if not all - fresh produce comes from Diack's family farm, Brightside, in Magaliesburg. This makes a world of difference to what comes out of the kitchen. Coobs is a bistro that is like no other. From truffle butter gnocchi to pork bolognese, there's an authentic and eclectic twist on every meal. That brings us to my go-to order at Coobs: the almighty lamb burger. I mean … that the first bite — oh, what heaven that first bite is! The bun, like a freckled breast of an angel, resting gently on the hot leek marmalade and farm relish below, flavours mingling in a seductive pas de deux. And then: halloumi! The most playful blocks of halloumi! Then, a patty of ground lamb so exquisite, swirling in your mouth, breaking apart and combining again in a fugue of sweet and savour delight. This is no mere sandwich of grilled meat and toasted bread, this is the heavens departing and letting in rays of sunlight ... It comes with potato chips and wild boar bacon (optional) as well.

Gemelli - Wagyu Beef With Polenta Cubes 

The first time I had wagyu beef was on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Gemelli in Bryanston. What made the experience even more memorable was the fact that the part-owner and head chef of Gemelli, Paulo Santo had lunch with me. A wine rep had left and we were stuck with the most beautiful bottles of Creation Wines. Paulo had this idea to cook up different meals for each bottle of wine. It was improvisation at its best. He was playing jazz with his food skills. This sold Gemelli to me completely. I will never forget seeing Paulo walk out of the kitchen with a plate of food that changed my life. The dish consisted of charred wagyu sirloin, chimichurri salsa, cannellini bean ragu, fried gruyere polenta, Parmesan crumb and basil oil. Though this item is not on their menu (as to the best of my knowledge), it is a perfect example of how brilliant, bold, and beautiful Gemelli is as a restaurant. Paulo explained every item on the plate to me, mentioning that the beans and polenta is something his mother used to cook him when he was a young boy. Now, how can you not fall in love with that story? That's why Gemelli is on this list. La Famiglia Prima!

Bannister Hotel - French toast with bacon, maple syrup and strawberries

One of my favourite hidden gems in the city is the restaurant at the Bannister Hotel on de Korte Street in Braamfontein. Close to the end of 2017, I spent an evening there, drinking craft beer from Durban and having a fun night with the hotel's operations manager. The next morning I woke up with a slight hangover and an empty belly. That's where I met the softest, creamiest, crispiest, most delicate of French toasts. I've mentioned the breakfast at the Bannister Hotel more times than I should, but who could blame me? It's just that good. The French toast is topped with Back bacon and maple syrup, almonds and a berry compote.

Xai Xai - Cappon Pizza

Who would have thought that a Mozambican restaurant in Melville would serve the most delicious pizza I have ever had? See, that's why you need me - I know about all of the cool little hidden culinary gems in Jozi. Xai Xai is known for its laid back and relaxed vibe, cold beer and good food. What makes this even more special is the fact that they make use of a wood-burning oven that's been burning for over a decade ... well, it's not been burning for ten years straight but it's been weathered in and that makes a world of difference to a pizza. The Cappon is a thing of beauty forever and its loveliness will never fade. The toppings? So glad you asked. Mushroom, bacon, chicken and avo. What more do you need? Xai Xai also makes its own piri piri sauce which is beyond amazing and goes very well with the Cappon. You don't need fancy toppings to make a decent pizza. The base used at Xai Xai is perfect and we all know the base of a pizza makes or breaks it.

Leafy Greens Cafe - Weekend Buffet

Half a decade ago a good friend of mine took me out for lunch - she's a vegan. Now, before you pull your nose up high, let me teach you a quick and easy lesson: good food is good food no matter what's in it... or not in it for that matter. The Leafy Greens Cafe is a beautiful cafe set on a farm owned by Garry Player's granddaughter. Go there over a weekend and take advantage of their buffet. You can expect wraps, raw pizza (no, not with raw dough, ew), curries, bread, puddings, stews and salads. Trust me on this one. Have I ever let you down before? Of course not. You will love it. They serve Copper Lake craft beer which goes well with their vegan sushi. Just try it. You will be back there in no time. Leafy Greens is set in the most picturesque little valley that you will fall in love with. To boot, everything on your plate comes from the farm the cafe is situated on, so you can take a walk around and see where your food comes from.

Credit: Chelsea Parker

Urbanologi - Spider Steak With An Amber Ale

If you've not been to Urbanologi in Ferreirasdorp before then I highly recommend you go. In late 2017 Urbanologi was awarded an international design award for the look and feel of their restaurant and this is a perfect reflection of what comes out of the kitchen; especially my favourite menu choice. The spider steak covered in shimeji mushrooms perfectly paired with a cold glass of amber ale is the closest route to heaven from downtown Joburg. You see, everything that comes out of the kitchen at Urbanologi is nothing short of a work of art, I can tell you that much. It is the epitome of creativity and culinary combination. You simply have to go there and have the spider steak - no amount of writing will justify the magnificence that's Urbanologi.

Love Me So - Shawn's Special Ramen Bowl

There's a new ramen kid on the block (at the time of writing, at least) and it's screaming for your attention. Love Me So has taken up shop where The Leopard used to be. I was fortunate enough to interview the chef, Alex, who walked me through the menu. But we're not going into details about that - read my Love Me So review - instead, I want to tell you about the perfect bowl of ramen that I created there ... well, sort of. At Love Me So you essentially build your own bowl of ramen. The broth I picked was made from chicken, pork and mushrooms, the protein I picked was the shredded pork and then I topped it off with, Earwood mushrooms, a soft boiled egg, homemade kimchi and slow-roasted tomatoes. Go there and order the exact same dish - you will be amazed.

Piccolo Mondo - The Steak And Eggs

Nothing beats a good steak, eggs, and chips combo. Except this one comes with a slice of ciabatta bread instead of chips. Fair enough. The Piccolo Mondo at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton serves Steak and eggs on baked ciabatta with sautéed onion and tomato concasse, mushrooms, sunny side up egg and béarnaise sauce. Straightforward. No bushes to beat around here. Sure, the Piccolo Mondo does serve gourmet, 5-star productions but that's not what my holy grail of Joburg dishes are.

Restaurante Parreirinha - The Prawns

Does Restaurante Parreirinha really need any introduction? Fine ... here it is. The name Parreirinha originates from the words “little grapevine” and in the Restaurant courtyard, there is still a little grapevine, that up until a few years ago was producing grapes. This family-owned Portuguese restaurant is situated in an old police station in La-Rochelle and serves, hands down, some of the most wholesome food in South Africa. Don't believe me? Well, you will just have to go check it out for yourself. Restaurante  Parreirinha's Famous Prawns are called their Famous Prawns for a reason.

*If any restaurants would like to challenge my Holy Grail and knock themselves a place into the line-up, please mail me: [email protected]

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