including Rivonia, Morningside, Morningside Manor, and Gallo Manor (eastern Sandton, Greater Johannesburg).
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Reviews by (late) Judith Taylor. Editing by Rick Raubenheimer. Reviews are listed in reverse date order (newest at the top).
Megaplex's monthly e-newsletter brings you, the Sandton restaurant patron, a monthly review of a restaurant in Rivonia, Morningside, Morningside Manor or Gallo Manor! We aim to bring you the best eateries, the most interesting restaurants, the liveliest shops. If it's not good, we'll also warn you about it. Subscribe here. See newsletters here: All Newsletters 2009-date.
New Reviews of Restaurants in the Rivonia Area appear here. New Reviews of Restaurants in the Morningside Area appear here.
Newly opened at the beginning of the month, this is a lively and spacious restaurant. We were greeted at the door by the manager and his enthusiastic staff and shown to our table. The layout of the tables is creative, with the central divider between two tables for four being removable to cater for a party of eight.
Our waiter was Samuel, who was attentive without being overbearing. Drinks arrived within moments of being ordered. The standard Spur menu offers a wide choice of dishes and we opted for a Spur burger with mushroom sauce and a half portion of fish and chips. They both came with our preferred crispy chips!
I can recommend the house dry white wine.
Most interesting feature was seeing and hearing the manager debriefing his staff at the end of the evening. We had arrived late and were the last table to leave. The good atmosphere in the restaurant comes from this attention to the well-being of the staff. It was a very enjoyable evening..
Contact Details for Silver Pine Spur.
Previously Best of Asia, this restaurant is now focuses on Chinese, Sushi and Tepanyaki. We started with chicken spring rolls, one portion, which were huge! They were also very tasty and contained cashew nuts, which made a pleasant taste surprise. The Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc was served good and cold with ice on the side. Rick was delighted to find they also have coconut milk!
The main courses we chose were the Salmon Teppanyaki and Shanghai Duck. Rick declared the Salmon beautiful but the extremely salty oyster sauce spoiled it. The Shanghai Duck was somewhat bland, although the duck portion was generous and there were plenty of vegetables and a large dish of rice. Rick ate the latter with relish! A good place to go for a quiet, well-priced meal.
Their prices are very good and the service and food are reasonable.
No Contact Details: Jin Niu Restaurant has since closed.
Under new management since 1st November 2009, this restaurant is now bright and friendly. Their speciality is home breads and they supply many other restaurants in the area. We were sad that the chicken liver pâté is not proving popular, as it sounded like a different choice for a starter. Instead, we opted for the chicken livers and sampled their bread. Both were very good. Rick had ordered lasagne and I ordered Spaghetti with Pesto sauce. When the latter arrived, it was not quite what I had expected, and even extra Parmesan could not make it so.
After some consultation with the owners, it was replaced with the mussel starter instead. This was excellent and more than made up for the disappointment! As usual, Rick had Appletiser, whilst I sampled the house white wine. We can recommend the friendly atmosphere and good attentive service. We look forward to visiting again. Note: The only Dinner for which they open is Friday, otherwise Breakfast and Lunch. Closed Sundays.
Pulcinella has since closed.
We had lunch here after a long absence. For once, because they do medium pizzas, we chose two! Rick chose one that had an egg in the middle and salami (an interesting combination) whilst I had the spicy shrimp one. Both came with crisp, thin bases and were not overwhelmed by cheese, so all the flavours came through well! A really tasty meal accompanied with Appletiser and a glass of Chardonnay, plus plenty of ice.
I did feel that there were a few too few shrimps and gave Raffaele this feedback. Otherwise a very pleasant al fresco meal with good, friendly service.
Contact Details for Pizza Luna ~ Previous review of Pizza Luna
This is a new restaurant and replaces Prima Piatti. It is very different from the former. No smoking is permitted in either the main fine dining side of the restaurant or on the patio. Smoking is allowed in the Tapas Bar. The food is primarily Spanish/Portuguese and the wine list includes wines from Chile, Portugal and South Africa. We were made to feel welcome from the first moment of our arrival and found a table in the fine dining section of the restaurant by Mike. We did not have a starter but opted to share the Pierna de Cordero – a beautifully cooked lamb shank with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. The meat melted in the mouth! Perfectly seasoned with rosemary, it was a joy. The vegetables were excellent. I chose the Lancers Rose, a petillant wine, dry and served well chilled.
We completed a very elegant meal with a Mango Gateau, pronounced good by Rick, and coffee. What made this meal a real pleasure – the best music around! Tangos and other sultry music that brought romance to the evening. I would really recommend Canto Latino for that special night out.
Canto Latino has since closed.
A second visit after over a year found this restaurant as lively as ever, but revamped and cosier. The veranda on three sides makes it feel very open and roomy. We chose to share vegetable spring rolls for our starter. These were crisp and delicious. They also arrived very promptly after placing the order. As main courses, we opted for the Chicken and Mushroom in a cream sauce with penne and the Smoked Salmon version as well. The portions were large!
The dishes were excellent with well balanced flavours. A bottle of Buitenverwachting Buiten Blanc was well-chilled and matched the meal perfectly. It was obvious that Rocket has grown in popularity and has become a place for families to visit for a special night out. Altogether a pleasant evening with good service, we went home with a feeling of contentment.
Contact details for Rocket Restaurant.
After lunch, an evening out seemed like a good idea. It turned out to be a very bad one! Service was slovenly. The chicken dish my partner ordered was a huge dish of mostly noodles and liquid. Once he found the chicken, it turned out to be extremely tough and the large chunks made eating it with only chopsticks impossible.
When the problem with it was reported to our waitress, she seemed bemused and made no attempt to rectify it. The manageress had so little knowledge of her menu that the dish had to be explained to her. She too was uninterested in doing anything about it.
My Crab in a curry sauce was good but overwhelming. The wine was good but not memorable. All in all, we felt that it was not a place to which we would return, as even obtaining the bill was a mission.
Contact Details for Tsunami.
For a lunchtime treat of a varied and generous vegetarian buffet, this is a place not to be missed! Superb juices and coffees complement the excellent selections of curry, pasta, salads and breads. If the weather is cold, then a hearty soup warms you through and perks up the appetite for more!
This was a truly delightful experience with prompt and attentive service. The restaurant does buffet lunches on Fridays and Saturdays, when the number of patrons means that a al carte will not satisfy fast enough. Other days there is a wide choice of freshly prepared dishes. The shop adds to your stay there, with many tempting foods. I can thoroughly recommend it!
Contact Details for Fruits & Roots in Hobart Grove Centre.
This new venue sets off Pomodoro excellently! They are situated on the upper level with loads of light to create a real welcome. The simple white of the chairs and tables is off-set by the coloured glasses on the tables. There is a cleanliness to the whole restaurant and a spaciousness. Management and staff are attentive. We caught Saturday lunch there and shared a Regina Pizza. It was excellent and the flavours really came through –my partner's comment was "It's the first time I have really tasted mozzarella on a pizza!"
The crust was crispy and the ham was good. Wine by the glass is good as well. A relaxed atmosphere and good food – we saw old and very young enjoying themselves over lunch. A place to visit and spend time over a good meal!
It was good to see visitors there as well, who had come for the Rugby tests. Give them a try and be fulfilled.
PS: Prices are on the high side, but the pizza is big enough for two. Contact Details for Pomodoro Ristorante.
Far and away my top restaurant for truly inspired and gorgeous food. Christian has an excellent wine cellar and prices his wines well. The ambience is welcoming and soft, enabling serious and passionate conversation. The music is non-invasive and suitably background. I followed my normal route of two starters. Rick opted for a main course only. The baguette was hot and freshly baked, the white wine cold and dry. We settled down to enjoy the evening!
My first starter was Asparagus with lemon sauce, light and perfectly prepared. We then moved onto the main course. Rick had Veal Cordon Bleu and I Crab and citrus salad. Both were excellent, with a generous accompaniment of vegetables.
Chez Girard is truly a place to spend that special evening. There is a sense of having plenty of time to enjoy the evening to the full, knowing that the service is impeccable, the food excellent –all you have to do is provide the company to enhance it!.
Contact details: Tel: 011 784-2105/6. Cell: 083 284-1205. e-mail. Another review here.
After much revamping, Pizza Luna reopened as a boutique pizzeria, with a delightful outside seating arrangement. They do have one thing that really appeals –half portions! A second offering is build your own pizza. The pizzas are good and crisp. I had the seafood one with some of the biggest prawns I've seen!
I visited later for lunch and had a truly wonderful Aglio e Olio pasta –not one to eat when going to visit customers afterwards! I would really recommend this restaurant for delicious pizza and pasta, combined with excellent service and well priced wine.
Contact Details for Pizza Luna.
In the alley between Kok Bin and the Sheik's Palace, nestles S P Q R. The large signs on both sides of the centre ensure that passers by see them! For me, it brought up remembrances of all the Roman history I had read. The standard carried by the Roman soldiers as they conquered most of Europe and parts of Asia two thousand years ago carried those letters, proudly declaiming that they did so for the Senate and the People of Rome.
The restaurant is unassuming and large. They have a good and easily priced menu. Kingklip for R59 was a surprise, as I had been longing for fish after all the meats of the festive season. We started with a shared Bruschetta piled with tomatoes and herbs. The came the Kingklip and lasagne for Rick. This time I did wine by the glass. The service was good and friendly. The rosemary potatoes were wonderful and the Kingklip juicy. The lasagne was declared good as well.
Altogether, an enjoyable experience, which we will repeat in the future. Extremely good value for money as well, so if you are on a tight budget, then SPQR Restaurant is for you!
PS: Regrettably, SPQR has closed.
Set in the corner of the centre, this is an elegant venue decorated in black and silver. Tables are well spaced and the atmosphere is low key and intimate. The crockery is distinctive.
We were enthusiastically greeted and taken to a table towards the back facing the sushi bar. Menus were brought promptly. Dishes here range in price from R40 for starters to R90 for main courses. The menu is extensive as is the wine list. One thing that jarred was the wide screen television screen in front of us. On our requesting that it be turned off, the manager arrived and quickly complied!
We decided to share the Tuna Maki for starters and selected a Chenin Blanc, which was reasonably priced. The Maki was very good and we followed them with the Spicy Chicken dish that was wonderful!
Who should visit Bamboo? People who love good food, well presented and enjoy excellent service. A place for couples and connoisseurs!
Why do we share dishes? Well we are no spring chickens and can't eat like you youngsters can! So we would rather try out a dish between us than leave a lot behind. Perhaps, with a focus on health, all restaurant portions could be halved and prices lowered. Note to restaurants - you may then have more customers through the recession.
PS: Bamboo Restaurant has since closed.
This was my first visit and I was one of a large party. Our function was in one of the function rooms and, whilst waiting for the other members to arrive, I sat in the lounge area and was able to admire the wine cellar and the fine malts on the shelves. Service here was attentive.
Harrison's speciality is seafood and steaks. I made two wrong choices - snails and ostrich! The snails sounded wonderful but were disappointing on arrival as the thyme was completely overwhelmed by the sauce. Sadly, my ostrich had MSG in it, which completely ruined the dish for me. No-one asked me if there was a problem, but I did report it to the manager, who apologised.
My colleagues' oysters, crayfish and steaks were all perfect and consumed with relish. The wine selection is truly beautiful and of high quality. This is really the place to have a function and I would recommend looking at going to Harrison's for any corporate entertaining.
Harrisons Restaurant closed June 2009..
Our second visit but after many years absence, it was a hot night and the open windows made for an airy atmosphere. The tables are well spaced and the ambience restful. Service is friendly and attentive. We shared beautiful spring rolls and then went onto chicken with cashew nuts and chicken with chilli amongst other flavours. The main courses were excellent, precisely seasoned and mouth wateringly delicious. Wines are well priced and there is a good wine list.
The water features add to the restfulness of the venue. This is definitely a place to go for that special evening out.
Contact details for Saigon Restaurant.
We finally managed to secure a booking at this very popular restaurant. It was a very busy night for both people taking tables and for takeaways. The tables are set very close together and the restaurant is extremely noisy. In addition, the scheduling of takeaways appeared to take precedence over the orders for the tables. These factors made the visit disappointing.
On the plus side, the food was good. My mussels were a hearty portion and plump and juicy. The pizza was a good one and the wine was pleasant. Service was friendly.
I would recommend Polpetta for families and young people out for a good meal.
Contact details for Polpetta Restaurant.
Glowing paper lanterns guide you to the doors of Best of Asia. More lanterns light the doorway and you see the simple black granite tables awaiting you. The family-run restaurant is immediately welcoming. Seats are comfortable and the chopsticks are made of beautiful wood. Calvin, our waiter, was a pleasure!
We went the whole thing taking starters and main course for each of us. Soup for my companion (free!) and vegetarian spring rolls for me, followed by Chow Mein and Duck Green Curry. Here rice was included in the price of the meal.
The wine list is short but excellent. The pricing of both food and wine is true value for money. Service and attention from the owners is spot on. I would truly recommend this restaurant for friendliness, good food and ambience. Parking outside is free after 7 pm.
Best of Asia Restaurant was replaced by Jin Niu Sushi (since closed) in October 2009.
We went here on 29th August 2008, a few weeks after it had opened. The restaurant is large and very open, resplendent with Chinese lanterns and screens, very suitable for large parties. We were greeted enthusiastically and served attentively. For starters, we shared a vegetarian Spring roll which was crisp and very tasty.
To follow, we chose Chicken and Cashew nut with plain rice. This arrived in an edible dish made (we suspect) from shredded potato that had been woven into a basket and deep fried. This was very creative indeed and added to our enjoyment of the meal.
The chicken and cashew nut was full of flavour and vegetables. The single dish more than met our needs as well. They have a good wine list, excellent selection of teas and an interesting menu. I would like to lash out on their Peking Duck for a special occasion.
They are well patronised by families and couples. Altogether a friendly experience worth repeating
PS: Free parking directly outside the restaurant off Eden Crescent.
In November 2009, Kok Bin Restaurant was replaced by Dae Jang Kum Korean Restaurant.
We went here on 1 August 2008 and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. We shared the Punjabi samoosas as a starter and followed them with Tandoori Chicken. The chicken was succulent and wonderfully spicy; the accompanying basmati rice colourful and the dish was more than adequate for two! Wine is reasonably priced and the Lassi is a pleasant drink as an accompaniment. A small number of Poppadums are served on sitting down, together with various dips.
Be warned that rice, which you normally expect with a curry, is charged as an extra, making the dishes somewhat pricy. We are still waiting for them to send someone to stop the table from rocking!
All in all a place to recommend and to return to - as we have many times in the past.
Contact details for The Raj Rivonia.
A great disappointment on my third visit, as pepper has become a major flavour. Bad lighting on access from the Codfather itself and no directions to the rear parking to access them directly. Service was slow in delivering the pleasant foccacio with three types of tomato - raw, cooked with pesto and dried. The bruschetta was good but spoilt by too much pepper. Our main courses of Pollo al Limone and Pollo Involtini were pretty, but unbalanced by the amount of pepper that totally took away from the more subtle flavours of rosemary and lemon in the first and overpowered my non-pepper loving companion. The side dishes of vegetables and baby potatoes were disappointing. The baby potatoes had been massacred and the courgettes looked unappetising.
At Girard's (below) vegetables were included, here they did not form part of the main course, but were charged R15-R22 extra, yet main course prices are similar. The same wine as we had at Girard's costs an extra R20 a bottle here.
The restaurant is noisy and their choice of music defies words. A solid boom, boom, boom was all that could be heard. An offence to anyone who enjoys music and food. Flashing cameras also detracted from a good experience.
Very disappointing I am sad to say.
A more encouraging review of Pomodoro after the move to Morningside Shopping Centre. Contact details for Pomodoro Ristorante.
We went there on Friday 6th June 2008 after a long time away. As usual, Christian greeted us - old friends. The welcome is wonderful. The tables sparkle, chairs are comfortable, music low and pleasant. Real fine dining in an ambience made superb by a brightly burning fire.
As ever, the hot baguette arrives accompanied by real butter in a dish. The fragrance is heaven! The menu is short and the day's specials sound good. I ordered Mussels and my partner ordered the crispy Duck –always superb. The Mussels were so good, I then ordered snails. Really good food stimulates the appetite!
An excellent range of wines priced to attract made choosing a dry white easy for me.
Good hot chocolate and excellent coffee completed our meal. We left relaxed and happy. A place we will always go to again and again.
Contact details: Tel: 011 784-2105/6. Cell: 083 284-1205. e-mail.
This is a restaurant we have been to for years! Starting in the now-lost shopping centre* opposite Rivonia Village (then Mutual Village), Chuckleberry's has always been the place of the very best beefburgers and oysters. The move has not changed the quality. This is only place that I can order a beef burger rare and have something close to heaven!
It is real meat, juicy and succulent. The pepper sauce sharp and tangy as I eat it. The salads crisp and fresh. Service with a real smile and great attention, which makes you feel it close to home. In fact, only home made hamburgers are close to Chuckleberry's!
They do crispy well-done chips if you, like us, hate the "slap" version –and ask!
Highly recommended as a family venue and for a happy low cost night out! Excellent ribs as well!
Sadly, Chuckleberry's has since closed.
*Demolished to build a standardised MacDonald's (yuccchhhh)!
A place that has a lot of potential for really delighting customers, especially in Winter! The wood burning stove is mostly ignored and customers left cold – literally!
Food is cosmopolitan and well presented. Wine choices are priced from R89 upwards per bottle and the selection is good. Waiters are attentive. Presentation and food quality are excellent.
They have a wonderful selection of breads but you have to ask, since the waiters mostly forget to offer any.
Piaceri (Italian for "Pleasure") bills itself as a Mediterranean Restaurant. Apart from the good food, from their upper storey deck you also get a superb view over eastern Morningside, including Forsdicks BMW and the Nedbank billboard.
Piaceri has since closed.
On 11 April 2008 we revisited Bacini's Italian Restaurant after an absence of some months.
A place that does good pizzas and tramezini is always worth visiting. This is a family restaurant with a good choice of “traditional” South African Italian food. Their pizzas are good and their chilli is excellent. Pasta dishes also rank highly. The owners are friendly and look after their customers well.
Wine is well priced.
However, and this is not a unique problem, smoke gets into the non-smoking area. Waiters need alerting to the fact that customers pay for service not for them to stand around talking whilst their bosses work.
Good food – attention required!
Bacini Ristorante has since closed.
This Friday took us back to this hostelry when Eskom decided that we'd had our power for the week and turned us off at 18:00 on the dot.
Adega offers a wide range of Portuguese food and specialises in seafood. They also have a comprehensive sushi menu. The wine list is good and they promote a red and a white from Bain's Way. I chose the dry white which was pleasantly fruity and very enjoyable to drink.
This time Rick opted for the peri-peri chicken, whilst I had the clams with vegetables of the day. The chicken looked good and was eaten enthusiastically. My clams were perfect, succulent and with a good onion and tomato sauce. The vegetables were creamed spinach ( I wish someone would do something different with my favourite vegetable), beans and carrots. The latter were cooked al dente and can be recommended.
The main aspect of Adega for non-smokers is that smokers are completely locked away from the main dining area. It is a delight to enjoy an unpolluted meal! Music is low key, so conversation is part of the meal. Coffee is good.
Service is friendly and towels provided for those who really get down to the business of eating finger food as we did. This is definitely a family restaurant, where well-behaved children are very welcome!
Adega Morningside was replaced by Vasili's, which moved to Rivonia and then closed.
Previously the Thai Cafe, Debbie and Gordon have done a complete renovation and opened up the space to accommodate diners in a more formal and very comfortable environment. The bar is now in the back and makes it a welcoming place to enter.
Thai dishes have not been removed from the menu and include starters, soup and main choices. However, we opted for the new dishes and can recommend the spare ribs, which Rick devoured with gusto! I chose fish and chips, feeling the need for something fishy! The fish was good and fresh with lots of lemon. Chips could have been crisper, however, I should have asked!
Service is good and Debbie oversees her customers with her usual charm and friendly conversation.
Enjoyed a good house white wine and excellent coffee.
Larry's Restaurant has since closed.
We visited Rocket on 14th March 2008. Perhaps not the best night to visit a very open air venue as it was a cold evening! Fortunately, we had dressed for the weather.
Rocket is a restaurant and bar, with an inner non-smoking area forming the main part of the restaurant. A smoking area, for really inclement weather, also exists. A balcony runs around two of the sides of the venue with plenty of tables on it.
The bar is a feature and is very eye-catching with its water feature panel and attractively arranged bottles. Cocktails form a large number of pages in the menu - no prices given but very tempting and are served in elegant glasses.
The menu is unusual, offering a large range of "buckets" of food as well as more conventional dishes, many with rocket as an ingredient. The wine menu was good and offered a range of prices. The chosen Douglas Green Chardonnay was a pleasant wine for easy drinking after a hectic working week. It was chilled to perfection as well.
I settled for the three bucket meze with ciabatta (not being very hungry) whilst my partner chose the chicken pesto penne. The three dips duly arrived in their little buckets - Melanzanosalata, Olive tapenade and hummus. The ciabatta had traces of olives in it as well. This was very tasty and the three dips were interesting contrasts of flavour and texture.
The chicken and pesto pasta was beautifully presented and looked wonderful. I think that this would be my choice another time and my partner certainly enjoyed the interwoven flavours.
Rocket is frequented by not just the young and beautiful, but by all age groups. Indeed that evening there were a number of family parties. This does not mean that it is a kiddies' venue. It is definitely for the over 18's.
Table spacing is good, the waiters attentive and the atmosphere conducive to conversation.
Contact details for Rocket Restaurant.
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Shopping centres with restaurants in the area: 90° on Rivonia, The Wedge, Morningside, Morning Glen.
New Reviews of Restaurants in the Rivonia Area appear here. New Reviews of Restaurants in the Morningside Area appear here.
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