Why The East Rand Is Actually A Cool Place To Visit

Looking for new places to explore in the city? Head out to the East Rand for family-friendly fun, the best artisan markets, cutting-edge theatre and more. Here’s our guide to finding your way through the East of Joburg. 

east rand

The Food

More is more in the East of Johannesburg. Unlike the ‘fancy’ bistros and cafes of the North, portions are generously served at most East Rand eateries. Plus, you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for your meal. It’s all about hearty, home-style dining, with a few modern influences, of course. The diversity of restaurants in the East is also something worth boasting about. From traditional Italian, Greek and Portuguese, to Tex Mex and American-style diners, there is never a shortage of variety here.

Here are our top five restaurant picks for the East of Johannesburg:

La Cucina at Cremalat

For traditional Italian pasta, cheese and tiramisu, head out to La Cucina at Cremalat Cheese in Edenvale. This Tuscan-style eatery is tucked far away from the hustle and bustle, offering a serene and leisurely dining experience. Order yourself a glass of wine and tuck into a freshly made pasta dish or cheese platter. Afterwards, pop into the Cremalat deli for some take home goodies.

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The Green Craft Bar

Now, for some real pub grub with a hipster twist. The Green Craft Bar has two venues located in the East of Joburg – one in Modderfontein and the other in Benoni. Whichever you decide to visit, be sure to sample their Benoni Cherries – deep fried risotto balls filled with cheese and mince. Washed down with a cold craft beer, these finger snacks are the perfect kick start to a fantastic meal. The Green also take their burgers and pizzas very seriously. However, each menu item has an added surprise which sets them far apart from other pub restaurants. For example, their Peanut Butter Burger – honeyed back bacon, with a peanut butter marinated patty, onion, avo, tomato and cheddar. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

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The Victorian Secret 

The East Rand is not without its flair of French influences. For perfect macarons, glorious pastries and a wonderful setting, visit The Victorian Secret in Benoni. Offering set breakfast menus, high teas and pop-ins, this quaint patisserie is a must-visit for any Joburger with a sweet tooth. In keeping with the times, TVS offers gluten-free, Banting, vegetarian and Halaal options. Plus, their expert bakers can whip up magnificent birthday, wedding and graduation cakes. So, put on your fancy hats and let’s go for afternoon tea!

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Hudsons the Burger Joint 

Sometimes all you really need is a giant, Instagram-able candy floss milkshake, paired with a scrumptious, juicy burger, loaded fries and jalapeno poppers. For the times when you simply cannot curb your cravings, visit Hudsons the Burger Joint in Bedfordview. Now, we know that they have branches outside of Joburg East, but there is just something special about this venue. With tons of outdoor seating and waitpersons with the biggest smiles you have ever seen, it’s a treat to visit.

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Date night doesn’t get any better than at Yamitsuki. With their flaming sushi, cocktails and dim sum, this is Japanese cuisine with an added element of fine dining. Their menu also features lesser know Japanese specialties, such as curry served with rice noodles and Western influenced fish and chips. You must try their signature wasabi martini, complete with an impressive fire show. All in all, Yamitsuki is one of the East Rand’s most exciting restaurant venues, so give it a try.

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east rand

The Fun

While the East does tend to be quieter than other parts of Jozi, there is still tons to do around town. For all round fun, visit Emperors Palace in Kempton Park. Roll the dice and you might get lucky, or stop by the Theatre of Marcellus for some laughs and theatrics. Their annual Christmas Garden of Lights also draws in visitors from around Joburg. In 2019, the festival will be even bigger than before, with an adjoining carnival, the Crafters Fair market and Santa’s Village.

Markets are a big deal in the East Rand. Boasting some of the best craft, food and artisan markets, this side of the city knows how to kick back and relax. Our top market pick for the East Rand is the Bedfordview Night Market. One of the biggest multicultural food and craft markets in the city, the vibe here is welcoming and laid back. Mull about the stalls for as long as you like, or take a seat at the park tables. Live music will keep you entertained for hours, while you tuck into an array of savoury and sweet treats. The market also hosts Sunday events, day markets and special curated events for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween and Christmas.

Family fun is at the epicentre of entertainment in the East Rand. Whether its kids birthday parties, family dinners or just a quiet afternoon out, there are a variety of venues to accommodate you in the East. We love Kiddilicious –  a dedicated play centre for kids, family restaurant and party venue. They also have a kiddies spa on site, perfect for Mommy and Me days. However, for mom’s night off, we recommend Mozambik at Eastgate Shopping Centre. This Afro-Porto fusion restaurant has a separate menu for kids, as well as a large play centre right near the dining area. Offering weekday specials and great family feasting, Mozambik is the ideal East Rand family-friendly eatery.

Finally, we have the trendiest suburb on the Eastern side of the CBD – the Maboneng Precinct! If you have never visited their weekly Sunday market, then do so as soon as possible. With fabulous foodie treats, live music and dancing in the streets, this mixed-use precinct offers a rainbow of diverse experiences. Two of our favourite artsy venues also call this place home. POPArt Theatre and The Bioscope Independent Cinema bring curated entertainment to audiences year round. This is a must-visit for anyone with a love of live performance and indie cinema.

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The History

As much as we love inner city architecture and the old Northern suburbs, the East Rand also holds its own set of magnificent mysteries. There are a number of interesting heritage sites to visit here. From Troyeville to Boksburg, you can explore the city’s vast history. See the places that aren’t often written about in textbooks, where ordinary working people lived and strove to build up the city of Johannesburg from a mining town into the country’s economic capital. While there are not yet many tours available on this side of town, it invites self exploration.

So, hop in the car and get discovering!

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