For obvious reasons, lots of people have been asking me for outdoor dining recommendations — specifically restaurants with gardens. And considering this city has one of the best climates on earth, restaurant gardens are surprisingly hard to find in central Joburg. While there are plenty of restaurants with outdoor tables — on sidewalks, patios, or covered areas overlooking shopping mall parking lots — legit gardens with actual grass and trees are rare.

So when asked for the best place to eat outside, my answer is always the same: Blind Tiger.

In the garden at Blind Tiger, Parkview
The pristine garden, complete with dramatic sunset, at Blind Tiger last Friday evening. I had never seen it so busy. Note there is a covered patio in addition to the garden, so outdoor dining is available even when the weather is bad.

Blind Tiger, which is on Tyrone Avenue in Parkview, opened about four years ago and I’ve been a regular there almost since the beginning. (I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to blog about it.) But up until a few months ago, I had no idea the Blind Tiger garden existed.

Blind Tiger entrance
Blind Tiger’s entrance on Tyrone Avenue.
Tyrone Avenue pavement dining
The pavement tables are also nice, as are the indoor tables beside the big windows.

The garden section is down a narrow passage at the back of the restaurant, and when you walk through Blind Tiger’s front entrance it is not totally obvious what lies at the end of that passage. And the front part of the restaurant is really lovely and cozy; I didn’t have a good reason to look beyond it before the pandemic happened.

The Blind Tiger bar, which was designed to look like an American Prohibition-era speakeasy.

I actually can’t remember how I discovered the garden myself — a friend must have told me. But once I found it, Blind Tiger became my pandemic go-to dining and drinks spot. I’ve hardly eaten out anywhere else since covid hit.

Blind Tiger's garden
Another look at the garden, earlier in the pandemic when we had the place to ourselves.

I ransacked my photo archives yesterday and somehow I only found one photo of Blind Tiger’s food: a plate of guacamole and chips.

Guacamole and chips
My go-to starter at Blind Tiger.

But the menu is great, with an eclectic mix of American, Tex-Mex, and Asian fusion dishes. I return again and again to the Cajun calamari, the quesadillas, the burger, and the salmon fish cakes. Blind Tiger is also known for its cocktails and has a decent selection of wine.

I love the vibe at Blind Tiger — the service, the atmosphere, the music (lots of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton), and the clientele, which shades a tad older (and quieter) than the crowds in Melville and Parkhurst.

Oh, and there is a restaurant cat! His name is Charlie and I love him (or maybe her — I’m not completely sure of Charlie’s gender) and I have never succeeded in capturing a photo of him, but luckily he has his own Instagram account.

Picnic table at Blind Tiger
Since I have no photos of Charlie, here is a picture of a big picnic table I like.

Now that I’ve nearly finished this post, I almost feel hesitant to publish it. I want to keep Blind Tiger’s secret garden all to myself. But I think the word is already out anyway. If you’re concerned about crowds, I recommend visiting Blind Tiger on a weekday. Be sure to book in advance either way and ask for a table in the garden.

I have one or two more outdoor dining favorites, which I’ll share in future posts.

Blind Tiger is at 62 Tyrone Avenue, Parkview. Call 076-030-4200 to book.

%d bloggers like this: