The Financial Mail rates these restaurants for their visuals, interiors and people-watching potential.

Il Contadino

Yes, we know — the view from this restaurant is of a busy Parktown North street. But that’s actually part of the charm — and it couldn’t be more Joburg, really. You get to recognise every fifth person who drives past and admire the beautiful trees and the city’s summer rains while you sip on your Negroni.

 

We’d definitely grab one of Il Contadino’s pavement tables and merge the Big Smoke with Italy by ordering wild boar arancini, fresh gnocchi or a lamb, mint and fennel pizza.

This is the newest (and fourth) child of prolific chef and restaurateur James Diack, and it’s a goodie. And take note: the restaurant does breakfast, too.

Corner of Fourth and Seventh avenues, Parktown North, Johannesburg

Saigon Suzy

Ramen, bao, killer cocktails and drool-worthy interiors that include a ceiling covered in paper parasols. It doesn’t get cooler than Parkwood’s new Saigon Suzy. Oh, wait, it actually does: the restaurant also has — drum roll — a private karaoke rooms upstairs.

We know you’re thinking the same thing: "Finally, a spot in Joburg for a bit of après-dinner crooning." And dare we say this a good idea for a team-builder? Because, realistically, who wouldn’t want to belt out a bit of Meatloaf or Whitney Houston to their boss’s boss?

144 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg

Boschendal

If you haven’t visited Boschendal wine estate in a while, be prepared for a pleasant surprise. The grande dame of the Franschhoek wineries has had a major makeover and is looking decidedly mod.

The interiors are contemporary Cape Dutch and chef Christiaan Campbell serves up exceptional fare at The Werf Restaurant that is almost entirely sourced from the estate’s farm. Campbell is passionate about the provenance of the produce he uses, and the results speak for themselves.

For a closer inspection of said veggies, herbs and fruit, take a wander around the beautiful farm garden that’s laid out in front of the restaurant. And, of course, order a couple of bottles of Boschendal wine, too.

Pniel Road, Franschhoek;www.boschendal.com

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