Hidden Gems: Restaurants and Cafes

Updated: Mar 2

The Hidden Gems series looks to uncover new and exciting places and ways to experience Makhanda and all the treats it has to offer.


More than just your good old takeaway


By Robyn Johnson


Makhanda is filled with secret spots that are patiently awaiting discovery, and we are ready to get you connected. We are going to take you on a journey to help you find everything you never knew you needed; from you new favourite thrift stores, to your next nature shoot through a breathtaking hiking destination and the mouth-watering restaurants I’ll be making you regulars at.

Like most students, you can probably recite the menus for Debonairs and Steers back to front. When you dig a little deeper you will be surprised to see how easy it is to find life outside of your usual takeaway hotspots and occasional Spur spoils. Restaurants around Makhanda are provided in abundance for those promising Instagram influences lurking around campus, in search for the perfect aesthetic. Plus you have the added goal of having some great food.


Your first stop has to be Major Fraser's Craft Bar and Eatery. One step into the door and your camera will be snapping away. Fraser's presents a beautiful contrast between it worn wooden table against a cool black tiled wall, illuminated by their signature neon sign. You are immersed in its rustic meets urban aesthetic. Hidden away in the courtyard of Opposite the Arch, the smell of Fraser’s crunchy, mouth-watering wood-fire oven pizzas draws you in. Their range of artisan pizzas is made better when you indulge in the taste quenching craft beers or experiment with some gintails. The atmosphere, the music and what the staff bring to Fraser's will keep you wanting more.


The cosmopolitan yet rustic decor that perfectly captures Major Fraser's essence. Photo Credit: Robyn Johnson

On a day when you find yourself without a dawnie and need to de-stress make your way over to Red Cafe on Somerset Street. Walking into Red’s is like walking into your own miniature version of “Friends”. You’re sitting in a cafe, music plays softly in the background as your drink your expertly brewed coffee and read a book- or in the most likely case, you’re trying to catch up on the weeks work. The atmosphere is a refreshing change from varsity stress. You can enjoy their strongly brewed coffee or sweet milkshakes on their balcony seating. The friendly staff caters for your every need, ensuring you leave there wanting to come right back the next day to enjoy the homey feeling they provide.


The signature sign board showcasing the enticing offerings of Red Cafe. Photo Credit: Robyn Johnson

The feature wall of the cafe displays art works by customers. Photo Credit: Robyn Johnson

To every coffee addict and baked goods enthusiast, The Barista Sisa will fulfill your every desire when it comes to your favourite caffeinated drink. Although the coffee shop is new to the game, having recently opened in February of this year they’ve had a great start, letting the brilliance of their coffee speak for itself. Located in Opposite the Arch, their contemporary coffee shop aims to meet their barista, Sisa’s ideologies of preparing your coffee while showcasing the African roots of his beverages. Barista sis lives by their mottos of ‘Love, Happiness, and Coffee’ and if you think about it, are those even separate thoughts. There is undeniably more in Makhanda than at first glance, all it takes is little searching.


Proud owner of The Barista Sisa, Sisa Mapetu, enjoying his famous coffee. Photo Credit: Robyn Johnson

The delicous coffee and baked goods on offer at The Barista Sisa. Photo Credit: Robyn Johnson

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Rhodes University (UCKAR), Makhanda (Grahastown), Eastern Cape

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