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Leila Saffarian, editor of popular local blog Pass the Salt, (as well as a food writer, food stylist and food-specific social media content manager), shares some of her favourite Jo’burg (and other) places.

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Leila is a talented cook and food stylist


Where do you hang out most often in Jozi?

I absolutely adore the Fourways Farmers Market. It’s situated in the hub of busy Fourways, right opposite Monte Casino. It sits pretty in a beautiful garden with live music, hay bales for sitting on, food stalls and really good coffee. It’s very family orientated, which is perfect for where I’m at in my life, so prams, children and dogs mingle easily with the hipsters, and everybody just gets along. It’s such a calming spot in the heart of such a busy city. I also often pop through to Parkhurst or Linden. These two suburbs have the most Cape Town kind of vibe in Johannesburg (Leila is a former Capetonian, adopted by Jo’burg six years ago). There are restaurants with tables on the sidewalk and people strolling about. When I get really homesick for Cape Town, I’ll pop through to Vovo Telo in Parkhurst for a quick coffee and to soak up the atmosphere.

When you’re not in the kitchen or styling for food shoots, you like to…
You’ll probably find me trawling junk shops for props for my ever-expanding prop collection. I have to admit that I’m a sucker for grabbing a few minutes watching The Food Network or The Home channel. Food and décor – I love them. I also enjoy a long walk or hike. Nature really knows how to clear the brain.

Your favourite breakfast to make at home is…
Scrambled eggs, hummus, spring onions, fresh tomatoes, avo and VERY crispy toast. Sometimes simple is best.

Your best lunch spot in Jozi is…
Leafy Greens in Muldersdrift. It’s situated in the most beautiful natural surroundings. Vegetables are growing, chickens are happily roaming about and most importantly you leave feeling revived. Leafy Greens is a raw vegan, vegetarian and organic foods restaurant. It makes you think a little differently about food and flavours and is utterly delicious.

Raw vegan deliciousness

Raw vegan deliciousness

If you want to take overseas guests out for a true Jo’burg culinary experience, you’d take them to…
Well Jo’burg is fast becoming a food city rival to Cape Town. I’m a sucker for the food created by James Diack from Coobs, in Parkhurst. James has also recently opened a new spot just up the road in Parktown North called The National Eatery & Speakeasy. One word: YUM. The best darn Southern Style Buttermilk Fried Chicken I’ve ever eaten (besides my Nana’s). The vibe is also great and captures everything I love about Johannesburg.

Dining at Coobs

Dining at Coobs

Best place for a family-friendly meal?
The Lot, in Fourways is a kiddie and parent haven! The food is good and they have the most fantastic play area, complete with child-minders (so you are able to eat a whole meal, while it’s still hot).

The one hotel you’d love to spend a night in is…
I’m such a sucker for the ocean and I adore falling asleep listening to waves crashing. Tintswalo Atlantic would be my idea of the ultimate hotel stay – beach views, fresh ocean air, seagulls, sunsets… Could anything possibly be better? BUT, that is in Cape town and I am in Jozi Town. So my next best dream place to stay would be The Saxon. Because sometimes you just need to experience sheer luxury!

Your favourite close-to-home weekend getaway is…
Clarens… It’s a three-hour drive from Johannesburg and the sweetest little town, filled with characterful nooks and crannies. You can choose to stay in a hotel or one of the many guesthouses in the quaint little artsy town. There’s also a waffle shop that will make you want to live in stretchy pants – forever.

Windmills in Clarens

Windmills in Clarens

The next country you’d like to visit is…
There are a few… but Cuba and Tunisia have been on my list for the longest time and I wouldn’t mind catching a tan somewhere beachy and tropical… Zanzibar, perhaps?

Your food inspiration comes from…
Middle Eastern flavours are my absolute favourite. I come from a restaurant background – my father owns Sloppy Sam in Green Point, Cape Town – a mixture of both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, with a strong influence on mezze. Also Lebanese and Iranian food and flavours, I absolutely adore how different they are to anything else. Herbs, saffron, dried berries, gorgeous flatbreads – I love it all.

For a night out on the town you head to…
My night on the town has changed somewhat over the past year (with a baby), but 1 Fox (The Sheds) in Fox Street is the most buzzing market. They often hold nighttime events, like setting up a big screen for movies, comedy shows or live music. That, with some great food and a cold beer or a glass of wine = perfecto!

Your favourite Gauteng secret spot is…
The Benmore area is filled with loads of weird and wonderful little local eateries. From Indian spots with the tastiest curries to exciting Italian restaurants that do way more than just a pizza.

Follow Leila on Twitter: @LeilaSaffa and @SaltPassBlog and Instagram: @PassTheSaltBlog and visit www.passthesalt.co.za for more culinary adventures, recipes and the most exquisite foodie visuals.
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