Braamfontein is a coffee lover's idea of heaven. With a number of quaint corner coffee houses and some of the best breakfast spots in the city, this is the place to get your morning brew. However, there is one Braamfontein coffee cafe that stands out from all the rest - Bean There Coffee Company. South Africa's first roasters of Certified Fairtrade coffee, Bean There is all about ensuring a sustainable future for Africa's coffee farmers and bringing you the best coffee the continent has to offer. Visit them on weekdays between 08:00 - 16:00.
Details: 111 Smit Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | (Tel) 011 310 3100 | [email protected]
Anyone who's visited WITS University has most likely heard of the legendary Olives and Plates. Situated at the far end of WITS' West Campus, this fine Greek restaurant is definitely a hidden gem. A glorious table of sweet temptations greet you in the foyer, filled with an assortment of cakes and pastries. If you can manage to skirt past without ordering a chocolate croissant or huge slice of carrot cake, take a seat in the restaurant's elegant dining hall. Then take your pick from a wide variety of Greek and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Their "little plates" or tapas offerings are to die for. But don't take our word for it, visit them yourself!
*Olives and Plates is open on Monday to Friday from 07:00 - 16:00, and on Saturdays between 08:00 - 15:00.
Details: (Tel) 011 717 9365/0 | WITS University West Campus, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Situated along one of Braamfontein's most vibrant streets is the Kalashnikovv Gallery. This contemporary art gallery breaks boundaries by supporting young and upcoming artists. A number of events and exhibitions are held here year round, but you may also visit between Tuesday to Saturday for a look around. When the hustle and bustle of Braam scene gets to be too much, pop in here to find a new perspective on life and art. You can keep up to date with the happenings at the Kalashnikkov Gallery on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
*Opening times: Tuesdays – Fridays: 10:00 – 15:30, Saturdays: 10:00 – 15:00.
Details: 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | (Tel) +27 (0) 61 241 2291 | [email protected]
Once you've thoroughly explored the modern art world, head on up to the JFF Rooftop Farm. Located just behind the Kalashnikovv Gallery and up a winding staircase, this urban farm has all you need to grow your own veggie patch and lovely little herb garden. They've also got a wide selection of indoor plants to brighten up your living space. These are verified urban gardening experts, so come and learn from them. There is a rooftop tea garden here, so plop down and take a few notes while enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee.
*The JFF Rooftop Farm is open on Tuesday to Saturday between 10:00 - 14:00.
Details: 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | (Tel) 081 768 4827 | [email protected]
Have you ever explored Braam by night? This tiny slice of the city takes on a whole new look and feel after dark, welcoming in visitors from across town. Keep the party going by booking yourself into Once in Joburg - a hostel meets backpackers accommodation complete with 4-star facilities. The hotel also offers a range of activities around Braamfontein, including bike tours, graffiti walks and much more. You've never stayed in a hotel like this before, trust us.
Details: 90 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | (Tel) +27 10 599 0259 | [email protected]
Artivist is where fashion, food, art and music meet in Braamfontein. This arts and culture hub hosts everything from fashion launches to underground jazz sessions, making it one of Braam's most eclectic hidden gems. Put on your coolest pair of sneakers and vintage ripped jeans and head out here for a one-of-a-kind experience. P.S: Order the beer battered fish burger served on a charcoal bun and served with handcut chips for a marvelous taste adventure.
You can keep up to date with events and performances happening at Artivist/Untitled Basement on their Facebook page.
Details: 7 Reserve Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg | (Tel) 011 339 1647 | [email protected]
Do you know of any other hidden gems in Braamfontein? Let us know about them!
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]
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].
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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!
Okay, this might not be a hidden gem, but it's still worth mentioning. Kota Joe has a rather large milkshake menu. Some of the ones we have tried include Lime, Lindt Chocolate (no longer on the menu), Crunchie, Ferrero Roche, Peanutbutter and Banana, Black Forest, Milk Tart and White Choc Berry. All of these are flavourful, thick and creamy. Just remember to bring your own straws as Kota Joe has yet to receive the plastic memo. If you want to catch a bite to eat with all your milkshakes, we recommend tucking into the Chicken Strip Kota, a Kota stuffed with chips, crumbed chicken strips and your choice of cheese, mushroom or pepper sauce.
To the residents of Edenvale and surrounds, Applebite has long been known as the perfect spot to cure a night of partying. They offer deliciously thick milkshakes, delectable pizzas and even a traditional Sunday carvery. But the secret hiding at this roadhouse has got to be their Toasted Bacon Burger. Technically, this isn't on the menu, but somehow they always deliver when we order it. What could be better than toasted bread topped with lettuce, tomato, a burger patty, bacon and house sauce to cure a hangover? Alternatively, try their Bacon and Banana Burger, it may sound weird but it hits all the right notes.
Contact details: 011 452 6225 / 95 Van Riebeeck Avenue, Edenvale / https://applebite.co.za/
Hidden away in the centre of Boksburg, Orama makes a fine place to spend a Saturday afternoon or night. Not only do they offer some great roadhouse food and drinks, but they also offer drive-in movie nights. So pack the car, head on over to Boksburg and watch a rom-com while grabbing a bite to eat. Get a rack or ribs with a side of chips and wash it down with their amazing Slo⋅Jos. These fruity slushies are a real treat. The Granadilla is a personal favourite, but we wouldn't say no to the Mixed Berry or White Chocolate.
Contact details: 011 894 1480 / Cnr Trichard & Paul Smith Street, Ravenswood, Boksburg / Facebook
You may have expected us to rave about the huge, juicy burgers at Burger Box. While these morsels are certainly worth trying out, especially the Bacon and Avo Burger, the reason to come here is their Schnitzels. They serve up some of the tastiest Pork and Chicken Schnitzels as well as Pork and Chicken Cordon Bleu. These golden and tender fillets are bound to hit the spot. If you're more in the mood for red meat, try the Steak Toasted Sandwich, and don't forget the milkshake - Caramel Crunch, we're thinking!
This roadhouse, in Benoni, offers a rather large selection of food. These include burgers, pizzas, ribs, grills, footlongs, sandwiches, toasties, tramezzinis, salads, fish, breakfasts, milkshakes and desserts. As great as all this food may be, we go purely for the ribs. You can get a full or half rack with fried onions or go for a combo of ribs with chicken, calamari or wings. End things off on a sweet note with an absolutely mouth watering Banana Split. We love our bananas, especially with ice cream, chocolate, whipped cream and a cherry on top.
Contact details: 011 422 3568 / Cnr Tom Jones St, Elston & Howard Ave, Benoni / https://grillos-roadhouse.business.site
Most roadhouses make excellent burgers. But Casbah has next level burgers. With 29 burgers on their menu, including beef, chicken, veggie and fish, you will be spoilt for choice. Get one of their giant burgers with two patties, a slice of cheese, fresh tomato, shredded lettuce, crispy bacon and golden onion rings. We promise you'll be left wanting another one, not that there will be space left in your yummy. Finish off your meal with a delightful milkshake, we love the Raspberry or the Caramello Bear for a chocolatey caremel dessert in a glass.