There’s a brick oven pizza restaurant in downtown Joburg and it’s open on Saturdays. It’s called Ben’s Pizza and it’s delicious. Ben’s Pizza. Really, this is all you need to know. It’s not easy to find decent restaurants in the Joburg CBD. And Ben’s is more than a decent restaurant. It feels almost exactly like a New York City pizzeria, right down to the red-and-white checked tablecloths. The sign off to the side reads: “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy pizza and that’s kind of the same thing.” Although it’s not visible in the photo, Ben’s has a brick pizza oven behind the counter. I went to Ben’s on a Saturday evening with my friend Koketso. We split the Brigadier pizza, which has bacon, spicy chicken, and salami, and paired it with bottles of a Belgian cherry beer called Liefman’s. It was perfect. (Ben’s also serves pasta, burgers, calzones, and some other dishes. But I can’t imagine going there and not having pizza.) While we were eating, Ben himself walked in wearing an Old Navy t-shirt with an American flag on it. There couldn’t be a more quintessential New York pizzeria owner. Don’t ask me why I didn’t take his […]
Most of you probably know about the JoziPizzaWars by now but if you don’t, read here. The war rages on. Today’s post includes reviews of four diverse pizzerias. My co-conspirator Tim reviewed most of these places in his first JoziPizzaWars post, so check that out if you’d like to compare our opinions. Here we go: 86 Public The Grove, Melle and Juta Streets, Braamfontein 86 Public is, as far as I know, the only legit pizza place in trendy Braamfontein. It’s in a good location, off a courtyard in a popular student square called the Grove. 86 Public offers crazy topping combinations — bacon, dark chocolate, feta, and pear is just one example — sized medium or large, ranging in price from R60 ($5.00) to R100 ($8.50). The prices are comparatively high but you’re paying for the nice location and atmosphere. 86 Public’s pizza crust is light and crispy and I love the variety of toppings. But I think the sauce could use a few more herbs and spices. The veggie pizza I ordered was a bit bland, especially later on when eaten cold. On a positive note, 86 Public has good, free wifi and plays great music. Ratings: Base/crust: 4 Flavor/sauce: 2.5 Cold factor: 3 Atmosphere/service: 5 Overall rating: 14.5/20 I really […]
Just before Christmas, my food-blogger friend Tim and I started a blog series called Jozi Pizza Wars. Our goal is to try as many of Joburg’s independently owned pizza places (no big franchises) as possible and rate them on a variety of factors. Eventually we’ll compile our scores and come up with a list of the ten best pizzas in Jozi. I reviewed five pizza places in Episode 1, but for Episode 2 I’ve managed only two reviews. A girl can only eat so much pizza, you know? But the two places I’m reviewing today are important, as I’ve eaten at both of them countless times and they are popular spots in their respective neighborhoods. Café Picobella Trattoria 66 4th Avenue, Melville Picobella was a must-review for me because I eat there so often; it’s within walking distance of my house. Picobella is great to have in the neighborhood because of its opening hours — breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 356 days a year (including Christmas!). Along with the Ant and YOLO, which I reviewed previously, Picobella has some of the most popular pizza (as well as pasta and other dishes) in Melville. Picobella happens to be on Melville’s prettiest street corner, and […]
I used to believed that America had the best pizza in the world and I wouldn’t find good pizza in South Africa. That was nonsense. Johannesburg is a legit pizza town and the world should know this. I’ve come to love pizza more in South Africa than I did in America. South African pizza is less about the crust, which is usually ultra-thin, and more about the toppings, which are fresher, more plentiful, and more diverse than those on the average American pizza. South African pizza always comes with ramekins of grated parmesan, garlic, and chiles — so much better than those powdered cheese and dried red pepper shakers in America. Avocado is a common pizza topping here. See the ramekins of garlic and chile in the background? American pizzerias need those. I’ve been meaning to write about Jozi pizza for a while (my last pizza post was almost four years ago), but I’ve been caught up in the enormity of the task. There are so many good pizza places around Joburg. I don’t know how to choose which restaurants to write about or how to assess them objectively. Plus, one person can only eat so much pizza. I decided that finding the best pizza in Joburg […]
South Africa is not known for pizza, and you certainly won’t find authentic New York- or Chicago-style pies here. (I recently saw a Facebook photo of someone eating Ray’s Pizza in New York. It looked so delicious — I nearly wept.) But there is pretty decent pizza to be had in Melville. I’ve become a fan of two restaurants, both of which serve pizza of the ultra-thin-crust variety. The atmosphere of both places will give even the coolest New York pizzeria a run for its money. My top pick is the Ant, which I described briefly in a previous post. I didn’t get back with my camera until today though, and the essence of the Ant is best conveyed through pictures.