Last week I was invited to try out a co-working space called Basecamp, which is in Linden.
A co-working space is basically an office for people like me — people who don’t exactly have jobs. I’d been wanting to try one for a while, hoping that working in a quasi-office-like environment would help me to be more productive.
Basecamp is in a quirky shopping centre on 4th Avenue called Linden Place. It’s a centre I visit often because my favorite camera repair shop, Sunray Photography, is also there.
I definitely got more done at Basecamp than I do in my office at home — especially on the day I had a writing deadline. At home I’m constantly getting up from my desk, wandering around the house, doing dishes, listening to podcasts, petting the Melville Cat. At Basecamp I had nothing to do except…work.
But in addition to reminding me what a horrible procrastinator I am and how much more productive I can be under the right circumstances, my time at Basecamp also reminded me how much I like Linden. I like Linden so much, in fact, that I’ve decided to write this blog post about some of my favorite spots there.
A typical mid-20th-century block of flats on 4th Avenue in Linden.
I Like Linden
Although slightly further from downtown Joburg than Melville, Linden is centrally located — within easy driving distance of the Jozi CBD, Sandton, and the Randburg CBD. Linden is also one of the most walkable Joburg suburbs and is experiencing a gastronomic and cultural renaissance. I can’t believe how many nice restaurants, shops, and cafés are opening up in Linden these days.
If I didn’t live in Melville, I’d live in Linden for sure.
This list is by no means comprehensive and focuses mainly on restaurants, rather than shops. But here are a few of my top Linden picks. I’ve blogged about a few of them before.
1) The Argentinean
The Argentinean, at the corner of 4th Avenue and 7th Street, is one of the suburb’s oldest coffeeshops and a Linden landmark. The Argentinean is mostly known for its croissants and baked goods, and while I haven’t been totally blown away by the food, it’s worth going for the great atmosphere and people-watching.
2) The Cheese Gourmet
The Cheese Gourmet, at the corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue, stocks one of the largest selections (maybe THE largest selection) of locally produced cheeses in South Africa. The shop has an adjoining café with a menu centered around cheese.
The Cheese Gourmet is truly fantastic — one of my favorite places in Joburg. I blogged about it many years ago but it’s high time for a reminder. In addition to the cheeses, check out the Cheese Gourmet’s delicious breads and preserves and the huge selection of olives.
The never-ending cheese counter at the Cheese Gourmet.
3) Fab Café and Gelato
I visited Fab — on 7th Street just a few steps from the Cheese Gourmet — for the first time this morning. It was 10:00 a.m. and felt too early for gelato, but I’d heard many rave reviews about the place so I had to try something. I went with the lemon sorbet, which felt more breakfast-like than gelato, and it was delicious. I also love Fab’s blue and white decor.
4) Yield Coffee Bar
I blogged about Yield very recently so I won’t repeat myself. But Yield serves the best coffee in Linden and the atmosphere is perfect. I feel like I could sit there all day.
This morning at Yield Coffee Bar, at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 6th Street.
5) Craft Beer Library
UPDATE (December 2018): The Craft Beer Library is closed and I’m devastated.
I confess I have not yet drunk an actual beer at the Craft Beer Library; I’ve only walked past a few times when it’s too early for beer. But what a beautiful space this is, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. The Craft Beer Library is also near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 6th Street, just around the corner from Yield.
Craft Beer Library: The prettiest brew pub I’ve ever seen.
6) Brian Lara Rum Eatery
Caribbean-themed restaurants seem to be all the rage in Joburg at the moment and I think Brian Lara started that trend. As far as I know, this is the only place in town where you can order a piña colada in an actual pineapple and I highly recommend doing so.
Caribbean vibes at Brian Lara Rum Eatery on 4th Avenue.
7) Picola Pizza and Pasta
Picola is a bit of a dive, occupying a strange little indoor-outdoor space in the Spar shopping centre at 4th Avenue and 8th Street. Picola won’t win any awards for its atmosphere but it serves the best take-away pizza in Linden. Picola featured in my Jozi Pizza Wars series back in 2015.
Please don’t be upset if I haven’t mentioned your favorite Linden spot in this post. I realize there are literally dozens more. In fact, feel free to mention your own best Linden places in the comments section.
Thanks to Basecamp for hosting me last week and for inspiring this post.
Lovely, lovely post as always, Heather! Nice bumping into you at Cheese Gourmet … (Most of these are my favourite places too) And please give my love to the handsome Melville Cat.
Great to see you too! Will tell the cat, sleeping beside me as we speak 🙂
Great post- just wondered if you had popped into the amazing Oregano Patisserie – favourite of mine?.
This is one of the places I keep missing. But it’s high on the list!
You will,not be disappointed! And Ritual!
You have to try Satori & Bikaner if you haven’t yet!
Yes, Bikaner is great! And Satori is one I’ve been meaning to try for ages. I’ll get there.
If you’re a meat eater and like pizza, try the Satori special 🙂
I’d just come nack from Linden when I read your piece! A couple of suggestions: Arthur Bales for all things fabric / knitting related – it’s been there for at least 50 years! And PRON – People’s Republic of Noodles, owned and run by Emma Chen. And I’m not going to mention the name of the great Zimbabwean dress-maker / tailor in case everyone goes there and I have to queue!! The Linden Slaghuis has GREAT biltong….
PS: the Argentinian’s baked goods are not as good as they ought to be, I think.
I agree with you about the Argentinean – I like the vibe more than the food. I also love Pron! And now I really want to know about that Zimbabwean dressmaker 🙂
I want the Cheese Gourmet. Yes, the whole store.
The whole place is spectacular in every way.
I too love Linden and hopefully will do one of the monthly walks offered soon. Great blog as always.
Is there a monthly walk in Linden?
Yes, there is one tomorrow, unfortunately I can’t make that one.
Oh, interesting. I’ll have to check it out. Who hosts them?
They have a FB page ‘Linden Walk’.
Love your blog Heather! The Village Bell in your second picture offers free non religious meditation at 8:30. Interesting to walk through a clock shop to a meditation space. Kevin’s Fat Zebra is also a favourite and Organic Milk at Cheese Gourmet!
Oh, interesting about the meditation! I’ve never heard of that.
The Fat Zebra (next to FAB) serves the BEST coffee! Please do try their buttermilk flapjacks or pizza or steak. Truly delicious food. Or just grab a coffee- great americanos!
I went to the Fat Zebra once for lunch but still need to try their breakfast. Have heard many great things!
Linden is a nice place- always hit the cheese shop when taking a cheese platter to a dinner party/braai. Coincidentally, my boss and I just ate at a little vegetarian/ vegan cafe/food store today called Fresh Earth. I was very interested since my mom is coming to SA this year and she is vegan. I really enjoyed it. The food was pretty good, not stellar, but I would go back (had the vegan burger with “cheese sauce” and chips). The food store is great as it has some unusual items that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Of course it’s pricey, as all health food stores tend to be, but if you’re wanting one particular item that you can’t find elsewhere, that’s the place to go. You should check it out; think you would like it!
Yes, I’ve been to Fresh Earth and always enjoy it. Technically it’s in Emmarentia though so not eligible for this post. Emmarentia is also deserving of a post!
Oh, crap – so sorry, you’re right! It is in Emmerentia, I had a brain fart!
They’re adjoining 🙂
Sartori’s will give you the best EVER service and the BEST EVER pizza (ask for the Mediterranean)! and their Prawns are EXCELLENT! You will keep going back!
Hahaha, thanks. Don’t know how I’ve never been there!
Going this weekend! Gonna try out a few spots 🙂
With regard to your comment about not getting to the Craft Beer Library on 3rd Avenue you definitely must pay a visit to them at their newly renovated premises in the small shopping centre off 5th Avenue in Emmarentia. It’s been very busy there when I’ve driven past.
Oh I’m so glad they’ve reopened! I did eventually make it to the Linden location but I know they had to close.