Eat, Drink... be Merry

Best bakery, best caterer and best patisserie: Croydon Bakery

947’s Anele and the Club added to these guys’ fame when they voted their cheesecake the second best in Joburg but, in truth, Croydon Bakery had already gained a loyal fan base who flock regularly for excellent coffee and gourmet sandwiches, homemade pies and celebration cakes. Order your special customized cake to make your occasion even more memorable, or take home Croydon Bakery’s puff pastry to make your own delectable baked goods. You can also have platters custom made when there are many mouths to feed. – www.croydonbakery.co.za, Croyzan Shopping Centre, Cnr Brabazon and Isando Roads, Kempton Park, 011 974 4549

Best biltong and best butcher: Meat World

Meat World prides itself on offering the very best quality meats at a fantastic price – a philosophy which applies to all products, from the biltong and dry wors which is a firm favourite at braais, to special cuts and marinated meals. PS: a Meat World voucher makes a fab gift for dedicated carivores! – www.meatworld.co.za, Paul Kruger and Main Reef Road, Geduld, Springs,  011 815 1494

Best bottle store: Liquor City

A first stop whenever there’s a weekend get together or a reason to celebrate, or even if you’re looking for something delicious to wash down your meal, Liquor City’s range is outstanding. We’re especially impressed by the store’s delivery service: simply download the app, and your drinks will be with you in hours. – www.liquorcity.co.za

Best Chips: Steers

Cut, fry, season – no thanks! We’d rather go to Steers for our chips fix – how can we resist those golden fried, hand cut chips, with a sprinkle of special seasoning to add that finishing touch? And while we’re at it, there’s no saying no to a juicy, flame-grilled burger either. – steers.co.za, 011 759 7221

Best cocktail bar, best neighbourhood pub and best pickup spot: Cappello

The perfect night spot should be glamorous enough to make you glad you put on your heels, but also chilled. Capello captures this delicate balance perfectly, so that it’s the ideal place to sip jam jars with your work mates on Friday evenings, but also a great venue when you’re in the mood for a real vibe. – www.capello.co.za

Best coffee shop: Mugg & Bean

The first reason that coffee lovers flock to Mugg & Bean is because every smooth mouthful is pure bliss, thanks to the care taken in choosing and roasting the beans. The caffeine menu is also a draw card: we love trying fun flavours like dirty chai cappuccinos and café mochas. And the food to order alongside your cup of joe is great, too – generous portions, full of flavour, and always in tune with the latest food trends. – www.muggandbean.co.za

Best continental deli: Fournos

From buttery croissants to pretty petit fours, Fournos is an absolute haven for the carb lovers amongst us. It’s good to know that their savouries are just as spectacular as their baked treats, and don’t even get us started on the bread options. That’s why it’s always our first stop when planning a picnic, hosting book club or just finding something to munch on. – www.fournos.co.za011 771 2500

Best craft beer pub: The Green Craft Bar

Warning: If you’re the indecisive type, the Green Craft Bar is not for you. Here, you have a choice of 40 different craft beers – and that’s just the beginning. Gin lovers are also catered for, and there’s a good wine list, too. The menu also deserves mention: you have to try the peanut butter burger. Trust us! – www.thegreen.co.za

Best Doughnut: Krispy Kreme

There really isn’t any competition, is there? Because while the original glazed doughnuts are pretty damn terrific, it’s the gourmet treats that really get us. Rooibos and honey filled tart, anyone, or how about custard filled malva pudding? Actually, we’ll take a box filled with one of each! The best part? You can have your own doughnut custom-made for your special event. – krispykremesa.com, 010 006 0400

Best fish deli: Blue Marlin

Especially known for its Red Roman, hake and Norwegian salmon, Blue Marlin’s selection is fantastically fresh. Pick your own to create a seafood feast at home, or order from the daily specials – keep an eye on the socials to find out what’s just been caught. – https://www.facebook.com/bluemarlinseafood.co.za/, 74 Middle Rd, Bartlett

Best food delivery service: Checkers Sixty60

Honestly, how did we ever live without it? It’s just not being spared the admin of trawling the aisles to find what you need that we love; it’s the sheer convenience of being able to order dog food just after you’ve realised you’ve run low, and receiving it within minutes. Throw in the ginormous range and great prices, and it’s no wonder we’re fans. – www.sixty60.co.za

Best food market: Fourways Farmers Market

The Fourways Farmers Market isn’t just about the food (although that’s obviously what keeps people coming back, time and again) – the setting is pretty special, too. Located on one of the biggest private parks in Joburg, there’s no better way to while away a morning than on the picnic lawns, enjoying the lakeside view. And to buy? Anything you can think of, really, from decadent baked goods to flavoursome deli specialties – or have breakfast or lunch dished up for you while you wait. – www.ffmarket.co.za

Best food truck: Chip n dip

The chips are great – golden, crispy and delicious – but it’s the dips that really make Chip n Dip a standing favorite. There are 14 different varieties to choose from, so if you favour the more traditional tomato sauce or really like turning your chips into something unusual, you don’t need to settle on the same taste twice! – www.chipndip.co.za

Best place to buy fresh produce: Food Lovers Market

Food Lovers Market claims to offer a theatre of shopping – and we have to agree. From rows and rows of fruit and veggies bursting with colour and freshness to tender cuts of meat and anything else you could possibly need for your pantry or fridge, the store has it all. We love stocking up on the season’s best with the excellent weekly specials. – www.foodloversmarket.co.za

Best place to buy gourmet-to-go: Woolworths

Our love affair with Woolies just goes on and on. But who can blame us: where else can you go when you need a loaf of bread, a poke bowl, organic eggs and vegan hot dogs? In other words, whether you want to sample the latest Insta food craze or make supper in 30, Woolies has you covered. – www.woolworths.co.za

Best ice cream parlour: Pauls’ Homemade Ice Cream

How on earth does Paul keep coming up with those insane flavours? From snickerdoodle to bread and butter pudding, there’s nothing ordinary about these ice creams. But, actually, there’s so much more to Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream these days – have you tried the freshly baked pastries? Do yourself a favour and check out the other outrageous goodies available online. – www.paulshomemade.com, 011 485 0104 

Best local band: Mi Casa

Go on – try to sit still while these guys are playing. It just can’t be done! Dr Duda, J’Something and Mo-T just seem to have a magic formula, which is why 12 years after they got started, we love them more than ever – and they have the awards and nominations to prove it. Their fans in Europe think so too, but the good news is that they’re all ours for the next couple of months, so be sure to check out their next tour dates. – https://micasamusic.komi.io/

Best local chocolatier and best locally made chocolate: Beyers

Beyers Chocolates’ Kees Bayers is our very own Willy Wonka! Using only responsibly sourced chocolate of the finest quality, the brand crafts a variety of sweet treats, from the adorable Dream Bears to chocolate enrobed nuts and Turkish Delight, truffles, chocolate-coated fruit pieces, Sweetie Pies and Amarula fudge and chocolate. Swoon… – Beyerschocolates.com, 011 394 6892

Best milkshakes: Kota Joe

Hold the diet! First off, when was the last time you went to a genuine, old-style roadhouse? As if that’s not enough, when have you experienced milkshake flavours like Nutella custard crunch, honeycomb and Milky Bar or fudge brownie? You can, of course, opt for more classic flavours – and the good news is that if you go this route, you can get buy one and get one free every Wednesday. – www.kotajoe.co.za

Best ribs: Spur Steak Ranches

It’s the special Spur basting that makes these ribs such a treat. Best come hungry, though: with the largest portions tipping the scales at 800g, you’ll definitely be getting your hands dirty! Add a sauce if you’re in the mood for even more indulgence: a dollop of cheesy garlic, mushroom or Roquefort sauce really does add the finishing touch. – www.spursteakranches.com

Best social cooking school: YUM Culinary

Maybe you’re just learning the difference between broiling and boiling, or perhaps you’re eager to perfect your chiffonade. No matter what your cheffing level, YUM Culinary is ready to help you improve. There are a host of courses to choose from: learn how to create drool-worthy ‘free-from’ meals, impress your guests with fine dining dishes, or satisfy your craving for global cuisine. YUM Culinary will even help your budding cook hone their skills with special kids’ classes. – www.yumculinary.co.za

Best supermarket for all your essentials: Checkers

Each of us has a certain ‘thing’ that makes us go back to the same supermarket over and over – maybe it’s the specials, maybe it’s the range, maybe it’s because of all the brands in a certain category you’ve tried, there is the best. Checkers checks (ahem) all of these boxes – from the dinner party-worthy Forest and Feast range to pantry staples, you’ll find everything you need right here. – www.checkers.co.za, 0800 01 07 09

 

Best takeaway burger: Burger King

Can you even call yourself a burger lover if you haven’t eaten a Whopper? What we love most about Burger King is the freshness: every single burger is made to order, flame grilled to perfection before crunchy tomato and onion (chopped every day, on site), pickles and mayo are added to create the perfect bite. – www.burgerking.co.za

Best takeaway chicken: Nando’s

As much a part of South Africa as hadedas in the morning or a Highveld thundershower, we love the way Nando’s keeps us smiling even during Stage 6 loadshedding – with its iconic advertising, of course, but also with its legendary chicken. Now the question is: are you a lemon and herb lover or, do you like to challenge your tastebuds with the hottest piri piri around? – www.nandos.co.za, 086 011 3332

Best takeaway pizza: Roman’s Pizza

So. Much. Choice! While purists might opt for old staples like margherita, people with more adventurous tastes will love trying out the pizza pies (think pizza dough wrapped around the filling of your choice) – but don’t forget the innovations like fried chicken and chips, featuring barbeque sauce, mayo and chips. There’s something for everyone! – www.romanspizza.co.za

Best vegan bakery: Kaylees Eatery

You’ll find absolutely everything you need for your vegan lifestyle right here! What started out as an eatery featuring scrumptious dishes (apple pie pancakes or truffle grilled cheese and tomato soup, anyone?) along with gourmet cakes has evolved to include a monthly market and dog bakery (or should that be barkery?). You can also order your favorite goodies online. – www.kaylees.co.za, 147 North Reef Road, Bedfordview, 064 885 8107