My Favorite Jozi Coffee Shops: Ophelia in Emmarentia

by | Jul 5, 2019 | Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds | 2 comments

This post, featuring Ophelia Café, is the ninth in an occasional series about my favorite coffee shops in Joburg

Making a great coffee shop is about more than just serving great coffee. In the global indie coffee culture of 2019, coffee shops must also have style. They must be bright and Instagrammable, in a cool but unlikely location, with pretty tableware and light fixtures. The food must be good. The servers must be attentive and friendly, preferably with tattoos and cool but effortless-looking hairstyles. The furniture must be attractive and comfortable but not too comfortable, as customers need to stay awake as they type away at their MacBooks.

Ophelia Café in Emmarentia checks all these boxes.

Owner Christophe at Ophelia in Emmarentia
Christoff, who co-owns Ophelia with his wife Amoré, clearly knows how to design a great coffee shop. Christophe says he and Amoré have always wanted to name their second child Ophelia (they currently have one human child) and opening this coffee shop felt like giving birth. Hence the name.

Ophelia opened a couple of months ago in this funny, retro little shopping center/apartment cluster at the corner of 5th Avenue and Thomas Bowler Street (just behind the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens) in Emmarentia. I go past this center all the time — it’s a four-minute drive from Melville — and have been waiting for years for something cool to open there. (The fantastic Craft Beer Library, which used to be up the road in Linden, is now at the back of this same center.)

Outside Ophelia Cafe in Emmarentia.
Outside Ophelia.

I had coffee at Ophelia for the first time yesterday and couldn’t wait to blog about it.

Coffee at Ophelia

My friend Frances and I had coffee and a light lunch at Ophelia. I’ll let my pictures tell the rest of the story.

Flat white from Ophelia
My flat white. Water is served to each table in beautiful glass decanters.
Lunch at Ophelia
Lunch: Coffee + toasted croissant with ham and Emmenthal cheese. Ophelia’s food menu is short and to the point, with a couple of simple sandwiches and pastries.
Crows at Ophelia Cafe in Emmarentia
Good crowd.
People working on MacBooks in Ophelia
I didn’t try out the wifi. But judging from the preponderance of MacBooks I’m guessing it’s strong and uncapped.
Inside Ophelia Cafe
Pure style.
Cake at Ophelia
Even the cake is stylish. I’m guessing it tastes good too.
Maq, manager/barista at Ophelia
Maq, aka @the_great_black_espresso, who has been a rockstar barista on the Joburg coffee scene for many a year. He’s now the manager at Ophelia.

Get to Ophelia for your next coffee date. It’s perfect.

Ophelia Café is at Buiding 2A, 5th Avenue, Emmarentia.

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Ophelia is a fantastic new coffee shop in the Emmarentia suburb of Johannesburg.


  1. Jeanne

    I was also very happy that something opened there (I’m in Northcliff) and when I asked them to toast something and they answered “we toast everything” I knew this was the place for me. It’s a really nice spot and I wish them success!

    • 2summers

      Haha I also love everything toasted.


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