Joburg’s Illovo is quite the foodie hub of late.
By Lisa van der Knaap
There are the ‘old favourites’ that we keep going back for and a number of delicious new additions that you’ll want to try out – all within a few kilometres of each other…
BEST FOR… A CELEBRATION
Assaggi, Post Office Centre, 30 Rudd Road, Illovo, 011-268-1370
From a humble trattoria with a few chairs outside to being one of Joburg’s culinary landmarks, the restaurant is renowned for its Italian traditional and fine-dining dishes. Fresh pasta is made daily and their signature dish, Brie and asparagus lasagne, keeps people coming back time and again. Assaggi sticks to a smaller menu and does these dishes exceptionally well.
BEST FOR… INDULGENCE
Chateau Gateaux, Shop 20A Thrupps Illovo Centre, 204 Oxford Road, Illovo, 011-268-2211
Originally from Durban, Chateau Gateaux opened its doors in Jozi in November. Although choices like their spinach and feta bureka are good for those who love something savoury, this is essentially a sweet-tooth haven. The pain au chocolat is to die for, but the pastries – particularly the Danishes (think ricotta and berry or cinnamon, raisin and almond) – are also popular.
BEST FOR… IMPORTED AND HARD-TO-FIND INGREDIENTS
Thrupps, Lower Ground Floor, Thrupps Illovo Centre, Corner Oxford and Rudd Roads, Illovo, 011-268-0298
Steeped in SA history, this family business celebrates its 120th birthday in 2012. Thrupps has long been the go-to store for imported specialities and the best local produce, and their home delivery is as popular as ever. Known for their deli and bakery and kitchenware, the gift shop was a natural extension. Pop in at their market on the first Saturday of the month.
BEST FOR… GOURMET PIZZAS
Cornuti, Shop 2, Piazza Level, Illovo Square, Illovo, 011-268-6684
Cornuti was one of the first restaurants to do gourmet pizza – something they are now famous for. And what’s not to like about top-selling choices such as the prawn teriyaki: prawn in honey teriyaki with pesto, coriander and chilli; or La Collina: Gorgonzola, bacon, avo, chilli and garlic. Or completely indulge in a chocolate pizza: topped with nutella, cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce.
BEST FOR… FISH AND SEAFOOD
Illovo Fish Shop, Illovo Post Office Centre, Rudd Road, Illovo, 011-268-2217
One of the most exciting foodie additions is the Illovo Fish Shop. They do fresh fish and takeaways such as battered fish and chips, prawn curry, sushi, pickled fish and coleslaw. They have opted to keep their tartare, sauces, marinades and rubs all homemade, giving them extra points in our books. A one-stop shop for seafood, it gets our vote for sticking to a single sector of the foodie world and doing it exceptionally well.
BEST FOR… UNUSUAL FINDS
Morrison & Co Food Emporium, Illovo Post Office Centre, Rudd Road, Illovo, 011-268-2226
Taking its inspiration from London foodie havens like Fortnum & Mason and Harrods, this new kid on the Illovo block has some exciting additions to boast about. All their chocolates are made by their own chocolatier. They also smoke their own salmon and the eggs Benedict is rumoured to be outstanding. Lunch is light, with dishes like quiches, pies, soups – and lots of different salads. At the deli counter, take your pick from amazing cheeses and cold meats or choose from one of the homemade vinegars and oils – in unusual flavours like raspberry.
BEST FOR… TRADITIONAL ITALIAN
Mastrantonio Illovo, Shop 5C Illovo Square, 3 Rivonia Road, Illovo, 011-268-6754
Started by two Italian friends in 1996, Mastrantonio in Illovo was the first branch to open. Now they have numerous restaurants and also do catering for corporate and outside functions – a must for convenience during big celebrations. Their focus is on freshness, opting to stay away from preservatives. Sticking to regional and traditional dishes, they are renowned for their pasta. Desserts are also extremely popular, including traditional tiramisu and profiteroles with indulgent chocolate sauce and custard.
BEST FOR… AMAZING FLOWERS AND FRESH FRUIT AND VEG
Illovo Fruit and Flowers, Post Office Centre, Rudd Road, Illovo, 011-268-2208
After 33 years in Dunkeld, the much loved store has branched out to Illovo – and we can’t get enough of their amazing produce at bargain prices. All of their flowers come from Multiflora; if you have time, choose the flowers you’d like to be made into an arrangement – or simply pick up a mixed bunch. Most of their fruit and veg come from the Fresh Produce Market and Red Oak Farm and they are known for getting their hands on unusual and hard-to-find produce such as fresh figs and rhubarb.
BEST FOR… TEA AND CAKE TREATS
The Patisserie, Post Office Centre, Rudd Road, Illovo, 011-268-0044
It’s impossible to walk past The Patisserie and not buy from their spectacular spread of sweet treats. They can’t keep up with their red velvet cupcake orders, but do everything from baked cheesecake to macaroons too. An exciting addition is the cafe/restaurant, for proper tea and cake outings.