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Linden in Johannesburg is a quiet residential suburb that has become unexpectedly hip in recent years. These days it’s filled with pedestrian-friendly streets, bars, restaurants and coffee shops, not to mention the quaint little shops that make for some fab browsing. Here’s your ultimate guide.
Linden’s most iconic café, The Argentinean, sits prominently under a curved red sign at the corner of Seventh Street and Fourth Avenue. Known primarily for its hearty breakfasts and fresh croissants (which The Argentinean contends are the best in Jo’burg), the café is crowded with locals on weekend mornings.
The Whippet, just across the street from The Argentinean, is equally popular but with a totally different atmosphere. Foodies flock to The Whippet for its creamy cappuccinos, scrumptious baked goods and stylish décor.
For a special South African experience, pay a visit to Cheese Gourmet at the corner of Seventh Street and Third Avenue. It sells a dizzying selection of cheeses, all South African made, spread along a wide counter manned by friendly cheese experts. A small café with a cheese-oriented menu adjoins the shop.
Craving coffee? Look no further than Yield Coffee on Eighth Street. Owned and run by women, Yield arguably serves the best coffee in Linden, hands down. Ophelia Café, while technically in neighbouring Emmarentia, is around the corner and also serves seriously good coffee in a beautiful setting.
Linden’s other dining options are too numerous to name, but don’t miss Pron for great Asian fare, El Jalapeño for Mexican, Buns Out for burgers, Hashi for sushi and Van Der Linde for high-end continental.
Tonic was one of the first bars in Jo’burg to capitalise on the craft-gin craze, selling dozens, if not hundreds, of mostly South African gin and tonics mixed into innovative cocktails. If you’re hungry, Tonic adjoins Tanen, a wine bar/tapas restaurant under the same ownership.
If South African craft beer is your thing, head to the Craft Beer Library in neighbouring Emmarentia. True to its name, Craft Beer Library has an encyclopaedic selection of beers and a hearty, American-style food menu.
For a serious party check out Brian Lara Rum Eatery, named for the Trinidadian cricket star and with a Caribbean drinks menu to match. The restaurant is decorated in a festive, tropical theme.
Linden has also become something of a fashion hotspot. The Big Blue outlet shop (57 Third Avenue) is a well-kept secret, selling overflow stock from the popular South African clothing brand. Also on Third Avenue, the Linden Co-Op has a rotating selection of local designer pop-ups. Or if you prefer to design your own clothes, the venerable Arthur Bales Haberdashers on Fourth Avenue sells a huge range of fabric, yarn and sewing supplies.
While Linden doesn’t have its own city park, it is bordered by two of the best. The Johannesburg Botanical Garden in Emmarentia is the city’s quintessential picnic spot, where you can lay down your blanket in the fragrant rose garden on a Sunday and watch the wedding parties parading past. Delta Park, in neighbouring Blairgowrie, is a massive city park where you can literally walk for hours. Delta Park is especially beautiful in March and April, when huge drifts of pink and white cosmos flowers burst into bloom.