Eat the food. Steal the look

Besides great food, the thing that really makes a restaurant stand out is the atmosphere – and working at Garden and Home, I can’t help but notice how much the decor adds to this, says production manager Patricia Pieterse. Here are my top five restaurants in Gauteng with great food and wonderful ambiance

Remo’s Maximilliano, Jo’burg

The food: Comforting Italian
The feel: Vintage industrial


Remos Remos

Once you’ve ordered a delicious pizza or hearty pasta (or one of a number of other dishes), sit back and let your eyes wander over the multitude of pictures that adorn the walls – celebrities like Sophia Loren interspersed with family pics and paintings. Even the bathroom continues the atmosphere – subway tiles, exposed piping and an old-fashioned pull-chain toilet.


Harissa Bistro, Pretoria

The food: Bistro fusion
The vibe: Trendy and clean

Situated in the new Club Centre in Pretoria, Harissa competes with a host of new restaurants, but holds its own easily. The menu features dishes like steak rolled in bacon dust or cous-cous stuffed baby chicken, and the decor has a lot to keep the eye busy – I lost count of the different wall treatments, from trendy wallpaper and timber cladding to an entire wall painted blue and covered with shutters.


Karoo Café, Pretoria

The food: Homegrown fusion
The vibe: Rustic chic

Karoo Kafee

Karoo kafee Karoo kafee

Dishes like Cape Malay chicken livers and the gourmet Karoo lamb burger populate the menu, making you feel like you’re in a farmhouse in the Eastern Cape that’s been overtaken by the farmer’s hip young progeny. The rustic wood, corrugated iron and old books as decor give the place a cosy pastoral feel. After your meal, browse around the adjoining second-hand book shop or decor store. But beware – what started as a Sunday breakfast could take over your morning.


A La Turka, Pretoria

The food: Middle Eastern
The vibe: Arabesque opulence

For a bejewelled Arabian-nights experience full of diaphanous fabrics, mood lighting, bellydancing and sitting on embroidered cushions, A La Turka is the place to go, transporting you to another place. The food is a mix of Turkish, Lebanese and Greek, so you’re bound to get a hearty, complex meal. And don’t forget to have a traditional Turkish coffee afterwards!


Petit Fours, Jo’burg

The food: Gourmet cafe
The vibe: Quirky quaint

Petit Fours

Petit Fours

Whether you’re there for a hearty gourmet burger or just stocking up on macarons and cupcakes (or both!), Petit Fours is great for a lazy Saturday. With adorable-but-chic decor and a delicious menu, you’d need to visit more than once to get the full effect.