Here are my top healthy food spots in Joburg.
If you want to feel the hipster vibes in Joburg
The Whippet in Linden
The Whippet in Linden is one of my personal favorites and it has been my blogging office on more than one occasion since I have been home. Their food is interesting and delicious with plenty of healthy options. They are big into their locally sourced products, which is always an added bonus in my eyes. They have delicious breakfasts that you can ask for on rye bread, as well as some amazing salads and burgers that will make you drool just reading them off the menu. They have their own incredible blend of coffee as well as a little shop selling all sorts of foodie goodies. They are currently working on a banting menu and you can follow them on Facebook for more updates on that. If all this wasn’t enough, they serve muddy chai lattes – which is a chai latte with a shot of espresso in it, once you have tried on you will understand. Plus they have really cool lights
Go there for: Breakfast, Lunch or after work drinks
They understand that Mondays are not something most people look forward to, and so they have a R15 Cappuccino special which runs all day – I mean, talk about getting it right, right?
If you are in a shopping centre
As most Joburg people will understand, you really do tend to find yourself in a shopping centre far too often than should really be allowed. Whether this is by choice, or whether it is the day that pigs fly it will invariably have to happen at some point. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go hungry and as every Joburg girl who loves a good shop knows; shopping can actually be awfully hard work (#firstworlproblems). These are some great places to go if you are with your girls, as well as solid bribe choices should you need extra ammunition in convincing a male (boet) to accompany you on a shopping spree.
Life Grand Café in Hyde Park:
This is a winner in Life more of a winner than Life, no matter what time of day you find your stomach starting to rumble. Their breakfasts are delicious offering everything from a gourmet fruit salad to any version of eggs your heart desires. For lunch they serve sushi, and they have an amazing salad bar where you go and pick the ingredients for your salad while they make it for you – which is a great option if you are short on time.
They offer freshly squeezed juices, granitas and their coffee is also great. Life also has a full main course menu with a whole host of delicious options making it a safe bet for dinner too.
Go there for: Breakfast, lunch or dinner and pretty much anything in between.
*If you are having an average day, pop in there for a coffee because their barrista takes coffee art to a whole new level and often writes pretty compliments in your coffee.
Tashas in Melrose Arch, Rosebank or Hyde Park:
For me, Tashas is the little black dress of eating-out healthily if you don’t know where else to go. Tashas really doesn’t need much of a write-up because they are always busy, and if nothing else, that says something. They have incredible salads and breakfasts and there is always an amazing selection of healthy options regardless of each Tasha’s signature menu or the time of day that you are there. Tashas in Rosebank doesn’t open for dinner, but Melrose Arch and Tashas in Hyde Park do.
Go there for: Anything and everything
*If you have a bit of a sweet tooth Tashas in Hyde Park make the most incredible macaroons (I’m not saying there is a nutella flavor, except that there is a nutella macaroon #almondflourforthewin)
JBs Corner Sandton City
JB’s corner is another popular choice, especially in Sandton where there is often a queue at lunch time. Their chopped salads are delicious, and there are so many choices that indecisive people (like me) might struggle a little bit. They offer extra chicken breasts (for the boys) and they can also make their sushi with brown rice if you want them to. They have teamed up with S.W.E.A.T 1000 and offer some of their booster smoothies, as well as having a few get lean in time for summer (boet) options on the menu.
Go there for: healthy breakfasts and delicious salads
*If you are anything like me when it comes to how a salad is put together getting the salad chopped will calm your OCD
My personal neighborhood favourite
Croft & Co
To save the best for last is anything but an exception in this case. We go to Croft & Co in Parkview so often we might as well have bought shares at this point. In my opinion it is definitely one of the best spots for breakfast or lunch in Joburg. For breakfast there are all the traditional eggy choices, as well as a delicious fruit salad that you can have with yoghurt and with muesli if you want to. For lunch they have amazing salads (yes, plural) including a spicy lentil salad, a smoked trout salad and fillet salad which are pretty tasty. If all this salad talk is worrying the boys, they also serve burgers and a meatball sub second to none (boet).
All their food is simple and tasty and just the way it is meant to be. There is a slight Porra twist to their food which is probably why my dad likes to go there so often, Portuguese people tend to take their food and meal times very seriously. I guess the apple didn’t fall too far from the pear tree in this case either. They are open for breakfast and lunch every day of the week, but on Thursdays and Fridays they are also open for dinner – with a different vibe on both nights.
Thursday night sees a limited menu with three or four choices, which is a very good thing because all of them are so tasty you wouldn’t know what to do if there were more. Top of the list, and my standard order would have to be the Pemba cob – which is honestly almost too good for me to write about. Fridays is Prego night and you can either have it in a roll, to keep the traditionalists happy, or sliced up in a salad – for the health foodies and gluten-free nuts like me. If there is one place on this list that you decide to try, I hope it is Croft&Co because it definitely won’t disappoint.
Go there for: Everything. Just go.
* Ask them if they have the bean and chorizo soup – it’s delicious.
“There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home; there’s no place like home..” – Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
Whenever I go home to Joburg tea with my grandparents accompanied with cake or biscuits made by my Vovo is pretty much the industry standard. Vovo is the Portuguese version of granny, gogo, g-dog or ‘insert whatever you call your granny’ here and is pronounced a little bit like pawpaw, but a shorter ‘aw’ that sounds a little bit more like ‘o’, you know, the one you make when you see a baby which is actually more funny looking than cute but you are obligated to go ‘aw’ and it sort of changes to ‘oh’ halfway through. Portuguese grammar lessons aside, this time tea with my grandparents was even more special than it usually is. When I arrived my Vovo excitedly greeted me with a question I did not see coming from my rather traditional, old school portugeuse gran,
“Do you eat rice flour?”
She elaborated a little bit by saying, “I’ve been reading your blog, about the gluten thing, and I had some rice flour and so I googled a cake recipe to make you something you can eat.”
If you ever watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you will understand a little bit about Greek Grannies, who are more often “Here, have some cake” than they are not. Portuguese grannies, in general, are not that different. As any self-respecting, one-quarter-Porra knows – food is something to taken very seriously and adding salt to any meal cooked by a Porra is greeted with much the same enthusiasm as you would get if you told them you were German post World Cup disaster. I was completely touched that my Vovo had gone to such an effort; not just to read what I have been writing, but then to make something so completely new and unusual to her, just so that I could enjoy a slice of cake with my tea.
Dorothy definitely nailed it with the whole “there’s no place like home” thing (hashtag Wizard of Oz, hashtag grade 7 play throwback). Home is usually a great place for most people, but when you are a student living away from home there are just so many more things to be appreciative of. Home is this magical place where there is always something to eat in the fridge, there is a pantry that has more than just a tin of tuna and some jungle oats in it and it is the place where Le Creuset cooking pots are not just something to be to be drooled at through a shop window. If you have been reading anything else I’ve written you will notice that I blame my parents for any and all foodie habits that I have picked up on, and that is because of the dinners that look like this…
When my parents aren’t cooking up a storm that ends in a meal like that, we are usually going out for yummy food. Naturally this means that I couldn’t just write one recommendation blog post this time around, and so I’ve tried my best to make a shortlist of my top 5 best places to eat in Joburg, not including my own house.