Many world travelers take one look at Johannesburg's reputation for impoverished areas and a high crime rate and write the city off as not worth their time. The largest metropolitan area by population in South Africa, there are undoubtedly places where you should not walk alone at night, but for every one of those, there are many other leafy, green suburban-style streets where there are plenty of establishments in which to eat and socialize. So, to write off Johannesburg for a reputation that they are doing well to shed would be to miss out on a cultural hodge podge of dishes whose foundation is in cuisine from all over Africa. The following are some excellent food streets in the city and surrounding suburbs.
There are a lot of really nice areas north of the Central Business District, where moderate prices and good quality provide a marriage across a range of dishes and styles. Parkhurst is a great neighborhood for both simple, sidewalk cafes or high-end dining, especially on 4th Avenue and Gleneagles Road between Green Way and Barry Hertzog. In Parktown North, 3rd Avenue has some great African-based cuisine (Wombles) and trendy steakhouses like the Local Grill.
South toward downtown is the Melville neighborhood, a student-centric collection of cafes and local eateries that appease the pizza and burger-loving billfolds of the university populace. Try the great pizza at the Ant Cafe or the ostrich burger at the Lucky Bean, both of which are local favorites. Also, another neighborhood where the food is largely inexpensive is Norwood, particularly around Grant Avenue. There is a collection of good pizza, sushi, and even Turkish (the excellent Schwarma Co.) here that will satisfy budget-lovers
Further north in Sandton, hit up Oxford Road as it enters the Illovo neighborhood, another quiet, cafe style area that has grown in popularity on the restaurant scene. There are also vibrant dining scenes in the neighborhoods of Emmarentia, Parkview, and even suburbs like Kensington.
If you'd like Chinese, head to Derek Street in Cyrildene; the choices are plenty, although the lone Thai restaurant, Sai Thai, is also a viable option. If you're thinking Indian, Fordsburg (just west of Newtown and city center) is your best bet; it also has a night market that gets some decent pedestrian traffic on the weekends.
For further information on what to eat and where in South Africa's biggest city, look through our activity pages or start a conversation with the embark community.