Not only is it home to young professionals, artists, and musicians but Illovo is also a pretty cool place to hang out, have a bite to eat, and do some shopping. Often referred to as Melville’s younger brother who decided to get a job at an ad agency, Illovo knows how to graft from Monday to Friday and bust a move over the weekend. Let’s go exploring.
Crumbs & Cream
What started out as an ice cream sandwich brand soon snowballed into something so popular that it took the country by storm. Crumbs & Cream at Illovo Junction is all about catering to the sweet fiend in you and offers patrons the opportunity to build their own ice cream sandwiches. Choose your cookie, choose your filling, and finish it off with sprinkles of your choice! Sounds amazing? Because it is!
The food philosophy of Mastrantonio is basted in tradition, cured in culture, and roasted with innovation. In theory, this is the restaurant group’s recipe for success, and the Illovo branch is one of our favourites. The food? Authentic Italian fine dining as if it’s been served straight out of a Modena kitchen. Standout dishes are any of the risottos (of which the saffron and prawn entry is at the top of our list), the gnocchi in arrabbiata, and, to round it off, the pannacotta with wild berry sauce. It’s the kind of place you visit for special occasions… or whenever the craving for wholesome; hearty food kicks in.
Turn ‘n Tender
Do you dig a good beef? Then Turn ‘n Tender at the Thrupps Illovo Centre is the place for you. In fact, this restaurant chain has been rocking good food since the late 70’s… so you know it’s got to be worth the visit. Anyway, let’s talk about the food already! The 600g trimmed prime rib (dubbed Mervyn’s Magic) is a great way to bust your hunger square in the gut… in fact, anything and everything from the “Four Brothers” section of the menu is worth ordering – and the prices aren’t too shabby either. Starters at Turn ‘n Tender include biltong, soups, and tapas style meat entries. The rest of the menu sings songs of steaks prepared in all kinds of interesting ways. Our best advice? Just go check it out for yourself – it’s a magical place.
All the way from Hawaii to the heart of the northern suburbs, Poké bowls have come a long way, and we’re glad that this food trend has come to our town. But what is it? Poké is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, and sometimes as a main course, and one of the best spots in Joburg to get your Poké on would be Ono Eatery at Illovo Junction. This hipster hangout also serves protein shakes, juices, and breakfast bowls.
The Good Luck Club
A stripped down noodle bar with Chinese, Korean, and Japanese inspired dishes. That’s the hard and fast of what the Good Luck Club at the top of Corlett Drive is all about. Order yourself a hefty helping of dim sum and wash it down with a craft beer or three. If you’ve got some space left, order the miso soup and thank us later. The Korean chicken wings aren’t bad at all and are worth the order too. All in all, it’s the kind of place you head when you’re craving food that’s in fashion and you want to do a fair amount of people watching.
Illovo is known for being in with the cool kids, so needless to say that they are down with the bar scene. Here’s where to get your party on in this rocking suburb.
Hashtag Kitchen & Bar
Stuffed with three bars and a kitchen serving food so good that you’d cheat on your mom’s meals with these dishes any day of the week. It’s the kind of place you go to watch the football with friends, hang out with the girls, or just kick back with a drink and something to eat. We suggest grabbing a pizza straight out of the oven, make new friends, and do a couple of shots to get the party started.
Babylon The Joburg Bar
Catering to the LGBTQ+ community, Babylon at the Thrupps Centre offers a fantastic night out on the town. Known as the “premium gay experience” in Jozi, this joint serves tip top cocktails, host rocking parties, and host some of the most epic electronic DJs in the country. The club/bar features flat screen TVs offering visual entertainment, 350m2 of dancing space, and a super fancy VIP lounge.
An oldy but a goody. If you’re into classic pub grub (such as tripple stacked burgers served with onion rings and hot sauce), craft beer on tap, and barmen who can tell jokes until the clock strikes 12, then Hogs Head is your type of place. The vibe is laid back, sometimes loud, and often interesting. It’s the type of place where you grab a table with friends, eat a little, drink a little, and talk a lot.
Though shopping centres are far apart in this side of town, we’re loving the Illovo cluster of retail stores.
For all your décor , design, and renovation work, head to Illovo Square. But the bus does not stop there when it comes to this retail space. Here you will also find a florist, bueatutions, boutique stores, and even a bridal wear designer.
Details: Harries Rd, Illovo, Johannesburg, 4126
Conveniently located on Oxford Road, Thrupps Illovo Centre offers ease to your shopping experience. An interesting fact about this centre is that its roots started to sprout its roots in 1892 in Eloff Street, Joburg CBD. Today, the variety of shopping choices include hair, medical and health and fitness services, beauty, restaurants, confectionery, business and personal services, banking, décor and houseware. Key stores include Ritual Gym, Turn ‘n Tender, and Thrupps Food And Groceries to name a few.
By Shawn Greyling