Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
4 minute read
23 Sep 2021
9:34 am

Five restaurants outside Joburg worth checking out this long weekend

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Head out on a road trip this coming long weekend because these restaurants outside Johannesburg are worth a try.

Restaurants outside Johannesburg: Nirox in Krugersdorp. Picture: Instagram @Andthentherewasafire

There is nothing better than a road trip over a long weekend. Visiting these restaurants outside Johannesburg promise great views, seeing what locals have to offer, and being a tourist in your own country.

This Heritage Day, these places are worth a stop, all of them are proudly local and the best part is that they are just about an hour’s drive outside Johannesburg.

Five restaurants outside Johannesburg you should try

Nirox Sculpture Park

A sculpture park and artist residency, with workshops and outdoor concert venues, located in Krugersdorp, it’s just an hour’s drive from Johannesburg central.  

The artists’ hub is a stunning area surrounded by forestry, rivers and lots of nature.

Nirox Park’s restaurant is called And then there was fire and because of the clean, natural oasis backdrop, the menu at the restaurant is inspired by this.

Curated by Chef Bernando, the Argentinian says he was immediately inspired by the music and art showcased at Nirox. 

“Food that the earth provides and the beauty that surrounds us,” is the motto.

The menu is a variety of grilled vegetable sides and salads. Cuts of the day include scrumptious prime rib on the bone, to five spices Asian duck breast.

The food is quite affordable, considering that it takes one palate around the globe. For the foodies, ceviche, tempura, Lebanese meatballs and much more should be glanced at too. 

Budget R150 for the food, with alcoholic beverages – ciders etc – starting from only R26.

Rockets Menlyn

A not-so-family-friendly restaurant in the evenings but nonetheless, it’s a perfect location for a younger group. Just about an hour’s drive from the centre of Johannesburg, Rockets Menlyn on the rooftop of Time Square Casino is a real sundowners vibe.

The views show the best of what Tshwane has to offer. 

Rockets as a brand is far-reaching and reputable in Johannesburg and they have multiple locations in the country.

ALSO READ: Rockets Menlyn opens despite six-month setback

Not just the drinks, the famous DJs on the decks every night, the food at Rockets Menlyn is good and affordable as well.

The menu is plentiful and offers in-demand, tapas-style foods separately. From mini burgers with bacon and blue cheese; Mexican quesadillas; grills, pizzas, to slow-braised pork belly on a bed of potato and butternut mash, one can’t deny there’s something for everyone on the menu.

If you are not full from the mains, the ever-so-stylishly-plated desserts are a must-try. Classics with a twist such as French creme brulee, Milo cheesecake and homemade salted caramel ice-cream.

For a group of four, budget R300 and above for the food. The cocktails start from R70, wines and champagne options are endless.

Level Seven

Now, this is fine dining. 

Casual opulence, an escape in the heart of Ekurhuleni, Level Seven Restaurant and Sky Bar at Radisson Blue OR Tambo Hotel is worth the more or less 45-minute drive. 

When we last spoke to restauranteur Desmond Mabuza from Signature in Morningside in July, he knew very well that people travelled a distance for an “elegant” experience.

RELATED: PICS: Top notch fine dining at Level Seven Restaurant

The highlight of our visit was the kingklip fillet stuffed with smoked salmon, served with sweet potato mash with sauteed spinach and a tomato beurre blanc sauce.

As a restaurant outside Johannesburg offering a fine dining experience, this is a perfect romantic and budget getaway of R800.


The Mediterranean restaurant is nestled in the heart of Cradle of Humankind.

The food menu is mezze and tapas from various Mediterranean cuisines. It also caters for those who want larger portions, such as homemade pastas, salads, and a variety of appetising burgers.

Actor and presenter Thapelo Mokoena is the man behind Molitva. They have partnered with Stella Artois, and the restaurant is ideal for family getaways. However, disappointingly, Mokoena’s Nero Wine Bosman is not available currently.

An average pasta dish starts from R95, the seafood and burgers are priced from R120.

Casalinga Organic Farm

Muldersdrift has many hidden gems in the area and Casalinga Organic Farm is one of them. Also just under an hour outside Johannesburg, the lodge prides itself on its cafe and deli.

It is very spacious, great for a big family, picnics and provides a local organic garden. The Il Cafe situated in the lodge has breakfast and dinner options, and there is an option to have your food as a takeaway for your private picnic inside the venue.

Budget around R80 for lunch options and for main course selection above R140.