What if we told you that you can dine on the finest food from around the world without stepping foot outside of Joburg? You’d call us silly and full of it. Yup. But wait! Let’s be your sherpa up the mountain that is the cosmopolitan dining of Linden.
We’re going to keep it short and sweet because we want to cover as many restaurants in the area as quick as possible. Take a deep breath and dive in…
South African poet, singer and columnist Koos Kombuis once called Satori his favourite pizza place in the world. Though it’s not our favourite, we most certainly will recommend it. Highly. Satori recently doubled up their floor space by buying into the property next to it. In classic Linden style, you can expect Italian home-style cooking in an intimate atmosphere. It’s the kind of place you go to for a first date or a relaxed dinner with friends. Good pizza, great wine and lekker pasta. ‘Nuff said.
If you haven’t heard about it yet, you will now. The eggs Benedict dish at the Fat Zebra in Linden is off the charts. You have no idea… Well, unless you’ve tried it before. There’s a reason why this menu item is officially called the Eggs Ben-Addict. It’s served with wilted spinach, fancy hollandaise sauce and ham or bacon. The Fat Zebra also serves a “mountain” of crumpets smothered in maple syrup. Needless to say, this is the place to go for brunch in Linden.
Have you ever had Italian street food before? If no (or yes for that matter), head to Rosto and try out their take on chickpea fries, rotisserie chicken (best in country, in our humble opinion) and alcoholic ice teas. Their focaccias are to die for and are made from a 90-year-old bread sponge (no jokes, we met the sponge). Rosto also serves arancini, which is deep-fried rice balls stuffed with cheese and meaty fillings. It’s delicious and saves us a trip to the cool streets of Rome… Even though a trip to Italy would be pretty sweet right about now.
We can sing you long songs of love about Linden’s North Indian connection, Bikaner. In fact, we’ve written about our favourite Indian restaurant in Johannesburg more times than we care to admit. You can expect veggie gravies so rich and flavourful that you can’t help but join the choir with this one. Their tandoori oven-baked naan bread is by far the best we’ve had. It’s authentic North Indian made by authentic Indians from, yup, the north of India. The service is cool and the prices kind. Do yourself a favour and check them out.
Brian Lara’s Rum Bar
Only a dude as crazy as Gert Schoonraad (mastermind behind the Great Dane and Town Hall) can come up with a bar and restaurant where you receive lottery tickets upon leaving. Meet Brian Lara’s Rum Bar. It’s a West Indies-themed eatery and cool-kid hangout that serves really good food. Think big burgers and spicy chicken wings – that type of vibe. The place is almost always packed and is usually one of the last spots in Linden to close… Because, you know, it’s a party.
What’s up with Linden and the most chilled pizza places in town? At Picola you can grab a seat, listen to the resident muso play Rodriguez on his guitar and enjoy wood-burning oven-baked pizzas and cannelloni. The owner is awesome and super-friendly and their drinking whiskies are decently priced. Also, there’s a dedicated kids’ play area, which makes the restaurant quite accommodating for the family.
One of the most famous coffee shops in Jozi can be found in Linden. The Whippet has built a great reputation for itself over the years as one of the best java spots around. In fact, its legend has gone so far that tourists visit Jozi have placed the Whippet on their bucket list. They serve awesome cafe-style food. The Whippet in Linden also makes one of our favourite milk tarts in Joburg.
For every type of restaurant Linden doesn’t have, there’s Choo-Choo Junction to make up for it. Why’s that, you may ask? Well, once a month this steampunk-themed eatery takes patrons to random parts of the world by preparing food from the country they’ve chosen for that month. Feel like Brazilian delights? Choo-Choo Junction’s got you covered. Feel like food from Mongolia? Choo-Choo Junction’s will fill the gap… you get the deal. They also serve really good burgers and super-tasty chicken wings.
The Argentinian Bakery
Need we explain what this place is all about? Well, it’s a bakery that serves Argentinian treats. They specialise in breakfasts and the bakery’s croissants are so popular that you need to get there early as these pastries sell out very quickly. Coffee’s good, vibe’s chilled and the place is quite popular among those working away from the office. Their omelettes and stuffed sandwiches come highly recommended.
Nestled at the bottom of 4th Avenue (well, before you leave the Linden restaurant belt anyway) you will find Gravity Cafe. It’s a cafe that specialises in breakfasts, light lunches and artisan juices. Yup. They’ve been serving up juices way before the NutriBullet made it cool. Their service is really good and the manager friendly and helpful. We recommend you check it out on a summer’s day, as sitting on the veranda with a fresh juice is quite relaxing. The place is kid- and pet-friendly (just double check that last one because we haven’t been there in a while). P.S. We’ve had some really good breakfasts here before, so be sure to eat there one morning… or three.
Li Ko Fu
No neighbourhood in Joburg is complete without a Chinese takeout. Li Ko Fu is your one-stop crispy-beef-California-roll-sweet-corn-soup hook-up in Linden. Their service is fast, their prices light and their meals tasty. All in all, they are just another Chinese takeout, which isn’t a bad thing – especially when you’re craving sweet and sour pork on a Friday night.
Pebbles is the go-to place for pastrami on rye when you find yourself in artsy Linden. Pebbles Restaurant and Deli serves light lunches and boasts a dedicated kids’ menu, which is a great way to introduce the little ones to the world of deli delights. Pebbles is the place to check out for family brunches or quick mid-week snacks.
Craft Beer Library
Just as the name states, the Craft Beer Library prides itself in being an archive for all things craft beer. It’s the place for avid beer lovers and midday drinkers. Patrons can expect stouts, porters and ales on tap. If beer is not your thing then no sweat – this lovely little establishment also stocks craft cider. The Craft Beer Library serves pretty good food too – gourmet pud food, to be exact. It’s quite a unique place and lives up to the hype for sure.
Spicy jalapeño poppers, big fat burritos and chubby quesadillas are only the tip of this proverbial Mexican iceberg. El Jalapeño is Linden’s local Mexican joint and serves tequilas by the double shot, margaritas by the mouthful and ice-cold cervezas by the jug… Well, kind of. Seeing as Mexican food is growing in popularity, this restaurant has been quite busy, so be sure to book a table. Their popularity is proof enough that the food is good.
Tapas, noodles and drinks. That’s what the People’s Republic of Noodles (PRON, for short) is all about.
Japanese fusion food for the win. Hashi is the place you want to hang out at if you’re in the mood for really good sushi. We’re talking prime-built maki stuffed with all kinds of stuff, California rolls that deserve to be in an art exhibition and deep-fried fashion sandwiches that will paint a smile on the most sour faces around – we’re looking at you, Gordon Ramsey. Hashi’s ramen is off the hook, their restaurant beautiful and seating simplistic.
It’s all about that cheese at Cheese Gourmet. We’re talking cheese on toast, cheese in omelettes, cheese in cheese stacked with more cheese… You get the point. Get your fill at Cheese Gourmet in Linden – you won’t be sorry.
Details: 3rd Ave, Corner 7th Street, Linden, Johannesburg, 2195, South Africa
What’s in a name? Well, Shaun, the head chef and owner of Ritual Cafe, has always veered eating as a ritual. With that said, his restaurant’s approach is the same as a big family lunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Details: 32 7th St, Linden, Randburg, 2104, South Africa
By Shawn Greyling
Be nice. We most likely left out a couple of restaurants here and there, but this list pretty much gives an idea of how cool a neighbourhood Linden is. Where else in Joburg do you find such a wide selection of restaurants in such a small proximity? Exactly. This is one of the top reasons why we love Linden so much. Sharing is caring, so show this to that foodie friend of yours.