Observatory is an artistic, bohemian neighbourhood of the Mother City. It draws all kinds of interesting characters. The most popular hangout spot, is a small stretch of Lower Main road, with the restaurants lined up next to each other like sardines.

It’s difficult to explain the difference between Observatory and Woodstock. They are both a little bit grimy and grungy, but ooze with artistic potential for urban revival. When exploring these two neighbours, please take care of your personal belongings, unfortunately opportunistic pickpockets target the popular areas.

Here’s a rundown of the restaurants you can explore in the Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub.

Café Ganesh

Cafe Ganesh Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

38 B Trill Road | Observatory
Monday to Thursday 8:45AM – 5PM | Friday & Saturday 8:45AM – 11PM | Sunday Closed

Cost: R100 average main meal
Food:
light meals, tapas, vegetarian

It’s a bar/club/restaurant with an authentically African kitchen feel. Don’t expect any fancy thrills, but you are guaranteed a warm African welcome when you step inside. The food is simplistic with dishes such as samosas and pap&vleis. It’s a popular hangout spot of students, they regularly host artistic events including art film screenings, and poetry readings. Sit inside or step outside at the back into the little courtyard.

Mimi’s Deli

Mimi Deli Photo by daddysdeals.co.za Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub
Photo by daddysdeals.co.za

78 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Friday 7AM – 9:30PM | Saturday 8AM – 4PM | Sunday 9AM – 4PM

Cost: R100 average main meal
Food: deli and bakery fare, Health food, South African
Corkage: No BYO

A simplistic little café, serving breakfast and lunch. They offer delicious organic and healthy options. They’re homemade soups are a must, and the gourmet sandwiches will keep you full for the rest of the day. They strive to stay clear of preservatives and serve up only the freshest, homemade dishes.

Hello Sailor Bistro

Hello Sailor Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

86 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Friday 8.30AM – 11PM | Saturday & Sunday 9AM – 11PM

Cost: R80 average main meal
Food:
bistro and pub fare, light meals, seafood, steak, African, burgers, Italian, Portuguese
Corkage: R40

The homely sailor-themed little coffee shop is a firm favourite among the locals. The sailor décor is complemented by cool tunes, creating a chill vibe that switches effortlessly between day-time and night-time mode. The portions are generous and range from burgers to gourmet salads. Sit outside on the sidewalk to soak up the atmosphere.

Linko Restaurant

linko restaurant Photo by sushiclub.co.za Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub
Photo by sushiclub.co.za

88 Lower Main Road | Observatory

Cost: R80 average main meal
Food: Asian, Buffet
Corkage:
R25

In true Observatory fashion, you can get good food here, at an affordable price. This little gem serves delicious Asian food, including Chinese and Japanese dishes. And of course delectable sushi at special prices! They have a buffet that you can enjoy, to nibble a little at all their delights.

The Scrumpy Jack

Scrumpy Jack Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

92 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Sunday 9.30AM – 2AM

Food: Pub

There are a few bars in the restaurant strip to choose between. This one has a great pub vibe, with big screens to watch a good live sport match. They’ve got all the perks of your local pub, including reasonably priced drinks.

Stones

Stones Observatory Photo by town.co.za Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub
Photo by town.co.za

94 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Saturday 1PM – 4AM | Sunday 1PM – 2AM

Food: Pub

The mysterious door next to the Scrumpy Jack leads you upstairs to an expansive space, stretching across a few of the downstairs restaurants. Over the weekends the space is packed with people ready to embrace a chill night out.

They have pool tables and foosball for your entertainment while relaxing with a drink. In the summertime the balcony is a great escape from the heat.

Big Momma’s

Big Mommas Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

96 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Sunday 12PM – 11PM

Food: homemade

If you are tired of yet another pizza, hamburger, or Californian roll – pop in here for an authentically home cooked meal. A great place to frequent if you’re a student and you are feeling homesick for your momma’s cooking. Or perfect if you’re too lazy to cook at home, but don’t want to indulge in something unhealthy.

Kind Regards

Kind Regards Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

86 Station road | Observatory
Monday to Sunday 12PM – 2AM

Food: Indian and Portuguese  

They’re the new kid on the block, mixing Indian flavours with Portuguese in a contemporary pub environment. During the day they have a subdued atmosphere, good to stop for a quick lunch bite. And by night, the space transforms into a lively atmosphere with big screens to catch a live sports match, as well as occasional live music performances.

Trenchtown

143 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Saturday 12PM – 12AM | Sunday 4PM – 12AM

Cost: R60 average
Food: Food from the Americas

The name comes from a Jamaican neighbourhood in Kingston, and the Caribbean theme shines through from the look to the menu. They’ve created a diverse venue with a cocktail beach, covered outdoor dining, as well as a small club space. Over the weekends they host trance parties.

Pancho’s

Panchos Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

127 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Saturday 5.30PM till late

Cost: R60 average main meal
Food: Mexican
Corkage: R20

The name gives the menu style away. This little Mexican restaurant offers you large helpings of delicious Mexican delights and the ambiance will transport you to Mexico for a moment. The restaurant also features a small courtyard section, booking is advised. And their frozen margaritas is a must.

Jerry’s Burger Bar

Jerrys Burger Bar Observatory Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

123 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Sunday 12PM – 12AM

Food: burgers, diner style

This fun franchise is slowly infiltrating the city, currently they have 6 branches. The burger bar aims to create a sophisticated, New York style experience. But it doesn’t have your typical ‘American diner’ vibe. They aim to create a space where people can meet and enjoy great food.

OBZ Café

Obz Cafe Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

115 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Tuesday to Sunday 11AM –  11PM

Cost: R100 average main meal
Food: Pizzas, burgers, steak
Corkage: No BYO

The locals call Observatory simply, “Obz”. And this café embodies the vibe of the area perfectly. It’s no thrills, no fuss ambiance makes you feel instantly at ease here. The décor is simplistic, yet stylish and the food is hearty meals to fill your tummy with satisfaction. Look out for the family photographs on the wall.

Mr Lin’s Sushi & Thai

Mr Lins Sushi and Thai Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

109 Lower Main Road| Observatory
Monday 11AM – 3PM & 5PM – 10PM | Tuesday Closed | Wednesday to Sunday 11AM – 3PM & 5PM – 10PM

Food: Asian

Experience an authentically Asian dining outing. Every day you can sample their sushi or Thai buffet. And you can top off the delicious food with a live karaoke session! These two go hand in hand – delectable Asian dishes, and singing your heart out.

Cafe Honeybun

Cafe Honeybun Lower Main Road Restaurants Hub

107 Lower Main Road | Observatory
Monday to Friday 7AM – 5.30PM | Saturday & Sunday 8AM – 4PM

Cost: R70 average main
Food: café and deli fare, bakery goods, light meals, health food
Corkage: R25

A cute little corner café. The interior has a quintessential coffee shop look, with a bit of the funky flair of Obz thrown into the mix. You can sit inside, or at the window on a bar stool to watch the Obz world go by. Grab a table outside on the street, for true alfresco dining.

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