After much Googling, checking up on TripAdvisor, Zomato and Eat Out plus roping in the advice of friends across the Jozi I visited a couple of bakeries in the big city with a budget. What can 50 bucks get you at the best bakeries in Joburg? The best assignment ever.
1. The Argentinian Bakery and Cafe, Linden
I had a great, generous breakfast here of two poached eggs with lemony hollandaise sauce spilled over a soft croissant and although cold and windy outside, the cosy cafe has a great ambience and service was pretty swift. This corner cafe is famous for its croissants, but there is plenty more besides.
On my way out I put R50 to the test and left with one giant chocolate croissant, one gingerbread man, one cinnamon twist longer than a ruler, and one small Greek almond biscuit. Everything was great and I felt super stoked to leave with such a big hamper of goodies.
When to go: Monday to Friday 6:30am to 5pm; Saturday 6:30am to 2pm; Sunday 6:30am to 1pm
Contact: Find them on Facebook or call 011 888 9759
2. Galata Bakery, Braamfontein
Owned by a Turkish gentleman, this bustling cafe in the courtyard beside 86 Public and The Immigrant in Braamfontein is the real deal. Not only are the pastries, breads, Turkish teas and coffees authentic, it’s madly affordable too and halaal. Newly opened in March, the cafe was busy when I visited in the afternoon and a lot of the best goodies had already sold out, but there was still enough to choose from.
The best seller is the double simit burger, but there’s plenty of sweet and savoury baked goods besides and little on the menu that costs more than fifty bucks. I’ll definitely be back for brekkie and at lunch to try that amazing value-for-money burger and chips (just R40). The waitress patiently went through the menu with me explaining all the options and unusual names, in the end I spent R50 on one feta-filled pogaca (R10), which is a light roll, more like a scone filled with feta and best warmed up in the oven back home; two feta samoosas (R7) filled with beautifully cooked leaves rather than an ordinary creamy mixture; one oat and coconut cake glued together with chocolate (R10) and one carrot delight (R15).
Cappuccino: Rather get the Turkish Tea for R5
When to go: Monday to Sunday 7am to 8pm
Contact: Find them on Facebook or call 0113391492.
3. Friends, Glenhazel
Unassuming from the roadside, Friends has more of a restaurant atmosphere than a bakery one with chic interiors and plenty of tables. Sit down to eat or walk through this trendy eatery to see the selection of baked goods at the back. The design philosophy is inspired by a trip to Tel Aviv and all the food is Kosher. In order to comply with the Kosher regulations though, they had to create three kitchens and two separate seating spaces because they sell both meat and milk products.
The goods are weighed, rather than priced individually and I opted for a mix of sweet and savoury. For R50, I got a box filled with one halva croissant (R7.50); one spinach savoury roll (R7.50); one spinach and feta phyllo parcel (R7.50) and one delectable, creamy mini cheesecake (R26.50). I chose the cheesecake because they had tasting samples and after swallowing one, it was hard to buy anything else.
When to go: Sunday to Thursday 7am to 11pm; Friday 7am to 3:30pm; Saturday 8:30pm to 11:30pm
Contact:friends.co.za or call 0861 374 3637
4. Tonka Bean Bakery
I visited this bakery on the other side of Fourways and discovered that they are more of a supplier to other cafes and restaurants, than a stand-alone retailer. What was great though, was meeting the brains behind the baked treats – owner Shakil Khan.
At Father Coffee in Rosebank, you’ll need an extra R10 to get one Kouign-amann (R32) – pronounced queen a-man – which is a crispy croissant-like pastry that tastes like caramelised popcorn and is too difficult to resist, and one creamy custard-filled donut (R28). Get there early though, as they often sell out!
You can also find these delicious vanilla and chocolate cream custard-filled creations at Wolves Cafe in Illovo, the Fourways Farmers Market on a Sunday and Melissa’s in Dainfern Square. Otherwise, mail them and place an order of your own.
5. Knead Bakery and Café, Riverside Shopping Centre
I had to check out Knead, which has newly opened in Bryanston. The decor is trendy and I loved the mix of awesome light fittings with geometric mirrors to create a bright space. Behind the counter, they’ve got the basics like croissants and biscuits, and on the shelves you’ll find good fresh breads (many below R20 a loaf).
I went in the afternoon so the selection wasn’t as big as normal, but my 50 got me: one Danish apple (R15), one cinnamon twist (15) and one peanut butter and dark chocolate tart (R18). I loved the filling on the Danish apple (kind of like a chunky, spicy mince pie), but the peanut butter tart was my favourite.
Also ask about their weekly specials, most of them are under R50 for excellent meals like pizza and tacos.
When to go: Monday 7am to 5pm; Tuesday to Saturday 7am to 6pm and Sunday 7am to 3pm
Contact: Find them on Facebook or call 0114638082.
6. Paul, Melrose Arch
An international franchise, Paul has just opened in Melrose Arch and Joburgers can’t seem to get enough of this authentic French patisserie. It’s pricey and you probably won’t escape with more than two baked treats for a R50, but the slices of tart are pretty decent for R40 and you get to see the pro pastry chefs at work, which is pretty neat.
I just missed the tray of freshly iced chocolate eclairs (R30) so I used my R50 to get one chausson aux pommes (R28), which is a light apple pastry dusted in icing sugar and one anglaise abricot (R28), which is a delicious kind of custard slice with sticky apricots. I went over budget by R4 but I felt these two items were worth it.
When to go: Monday to Thursday 7am to 9pm; Friday to Sunday 7am to 10pm.
Contact: Find them on Facebook or call 0100203001.
7. Patachou Patisserie, Parktown
Newly opened in Parktown North and an institution in Riviona, this bakery is one of the fancier ones I visited. I like the setting, just off 7th Ave and secluded in a small corner.
Their baked goods look beautiful. Almost too beautiful to eat – until you discover how delicious they are. I tried to maximise my fifty bucks here by getting two items (most slices were R50 for one) so I settled on one Le Paris Brest (R38), a kind of choux pastry filled with incredible almond praline and one cannele (R8), which is an small lemony cake with a crispy outside – a delicacy from the south west of France.
There are also macaroons for R12 each, a variety of eclairs for R29 each and croissants too.
When to go: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, Saturdays from 8:30am to 4:30pm and Sundays from 8:30am to 3pm
Contact: patachou.co.za, or call 011 268 5702
8. Patisserie de Paris, Blairgowrie
A really quaint spot tucked into a street in Blairgowrie, this pink French-inspired patisserie has plenty of tables for cafe-style dining (each one with a small Eiffel Tower in the centre of it), a cheese market and, most importantly, a bakery filled with breads (allegedly the best baguettes in Joburg), croissants, cakes and more. All the breads and pastries are baked fresh daily and nothing is kept until the next day.
You can make a fifty go pretty far here, and I struggled to decide. My takeaway order was one chocolate croissant (R18), one very generous slab (almost like a block of butter) of custard slice (R18) and one small milktart (R15).
I also loved the look of the giant meringues (bigger than a dinner plate) for R20, slices of cheesecake for R35 and at lunchtime, filled baguettes for R50.
When to go: Monday to Friday 6:30am to 5:30pm; Saturday and Sunday 6:30am to 2pm. You can also find their goods at the Bryanston Organic and Natural Market on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Contact: patisseriedeparis.co.za or call 0113260913.
9. Not Bread Alone, Linden
This spot has to be my favourite find. Sitting beside an ordinary garage just off Malibongwe road, this gem has a huge variety of treats – from brownies, blondies and lightly browned pastéis de nata to generous loaves of bread, red velvet cupcakes, small cheesecake swirls and ready made sarmies. The restaurant is pretty small, but nothing on the menu is over R50 (except a couple of wraps) and the coffee is great. What’s more impressive though, is the great community feel about the place. It’s a hit with locals and provides employment to almost 40 staff members.
Again, I went in the afternoon which is silly so they had no pastéis de nata, but my fifty still got me a good deal: one small lemon meringue pie (R7.50), one decadent brownie (R10), one apple phyllo parcel (R10), one blueberry Danish (R13) and a slice of hazelnut torte (R10).
Everything was excellent, but the blueberry Danish was perfection!
When to go: Open Monday to Friday from 7am to 5pm, and on Saturdays from 7am to 3pm. Closed on Sundays.
Contact: notbreadalone.co.za or call 011 888 8764
10. Black Forest Bakery, Braamfontein
I loved the casual atmosphere of this bakery, which is more of an institution having called the inner city home for over 20 years. Locals swim in and out of the small shop which has just two tables if you want to sit and eat any of the goodness on offer.
All slices are R15 and there’s rye bread plus loads of German goodies. I’ve read that the mandelbretzel is also sweet, decadent and delicious.
My budget got me one apple Danish (R15) that was generous in size and deliciously syrupy, one cherry slice, one baked cheesecake slice and two rye bread rolls (R4), one seeded and one plain. When visiting, I also found out that they have a store in Parkmore, Sandton.
Bring cash! They do not have any card facilities.
When to go: Mondays to Fridays from 7am to 4:30pm, Saturdays 6am to 12:30pm (closed on Sundays and public holidays).
Contact: or call 0114030065
Other bakery franchises that you can’t go wrong with:
1. Doppio Zero – not just a restaurant. Check out their great breads and pastries too.
2. Fournos – still some of the best-value croissants around, if you get there early enough!
3. Krispy Kreme – the novelty hasn’t worn off yet.
4. Vovo Telo – great home-made bread and good-value breakfasts.
Any other gems we missed?