Joburg is truly the city that never sleeps and that fact that we have a few 24-hour eateries scattered about the city is testament to this. I have visited all of these eateries at some point and will give you a brief breakdown of my experiences at each.
In many instances all night eateries rely on the fact that you are about as sober as an Idols judge and are too inebriated to evaluate their meals. I use the following simple yardstick when reviewing all night restaurant – “Would I eat there sober and during the day?”
Main Road, Melville
This 24 hour eatery in Melville is legendary and is about as upmarket as an all night venue can get.
Why go: The cocktail and food menu is extensive (and a bit expensive) but it’s well worth it.
Must try: Their nachos are legendary, they make a brilliant chicken cordon bleu, and their pizzas are good. I suspect you wont find anything rubbish on their menu.
Would I eat there during the day? The answer for Cats Pyjamas is a resounding yes!
Silver Pine Shopping Center, Silver Pine Rd, Randburg
Locals have nicknamed it “Scumrise” Café though the name is probably a little unfair. By virtue of the fact that 24-hour eateries are the only place to get booze at 3am, they tend to attract all walks of life from students who insist on punishing their livers to old timers who drink in the corner by themselves.
Why go: Sunrise seems to be the place to go when you don’t want the party to come to an end. I have been at Sunrise at 3am on a Monday and the place still buzzes.
Must try: I have not been there in a while but I do remember their pizzas being edible. The food is generally of the snack/fast-food variety.
Would I eat there during the day? Sure, but not for a formal dinner. Maybe I would grab a quick snack if I did not feel like cooking (which is often)
Fishers Hill, Edenvale – their website says they are moving to Hurlingham
This is a gem! The deli is open during the day and specialises in gluten free foods. The owners, Allan and Val Stricke, have won Diners Club awards and if memory serves me they were behind the exquisite Centos in Kensington.
They also have a 24 hour pizzeria that makes out of this world pizzas! It’s not really a sit down kind of restaurant, but there are a few benches outside where you can have a snack and a drink.
Why go: Good food, reasonable prices
Must try: The 4 cheese pizza. Add to your list of foods to try before you die.
Would I eat there sober and in the light of day? Without a shadow of a doubt. I would still like to visit the deli at some point.
This was another one of my favourite post-party hangouts as they made awesome pizzas and served cheap drinks. Sadly, Latino’s is in a bad part of town (Lucky Dube was gunned down in the same street) and is no longer the best place to go for a post-party nightcap and snack.
Why go: My advice? Don’t
Must try: The Chicken pizza and reasonably priced rum and Coke. You might need a LOT of rum and Coke to deaden your senses to some of the shady clientele and hookers who parade outside.
Would I eat there during the day? Probably not, but if I were forced to I would sooner go there during the day than in the evening.
Scattered around Gauteng
No round up of 24 hour eateries would be complete without a look at Bimbos. The franchise seems to be dying out slowly, with the one near Cresta recently closing its doors.
Why go: Because you are horribly inebriated and are so hungry you could eat food from a dustbin.
Must try: Something that will accompany the food – like Eno or Rennies.
Would I eat there during the day? No, unless I wanted to toughen up my digestive system by exposing it to strange foods.
(This was in my original list but shortly before publishing I was informed that they no longer operated on a 24hour basis)
Voortrekker Road, Alberton (adjacent to Alberton City)
The décor is pretty awesome – it’s set out like an authentic 50’s diner complete with red vinyl seats and picture of James Dean hanging on the wall. This is a no-frills kind of diner.
Why go: They are reasonably priced.
Must try: I was always a fan of their toasted sandwiches, but to be honest, I used to visit them in my student days when my blood alcohol level was about as high as Stephen Hawkings’ IQ. I am told their burgers are brilliant.
Would I eat there during the day? Yes, but not if I wanted to impress a date. It’s like a 24-hour Wimpy but with 50’s décor.
There are probably a few more scattered around the city – feel free to tell us what your favourite (or least favourite) all-night eateries are in the comments section below. Maybe you’ve had different experiences at the ones we have listed above – let us know!