Pam’s favourite Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in the Cape

Pam’s favourite Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in the Cape

Gone are the days in South Africa that if you were a vegetarian the only option you could order was the veg platter.   It  came with the same veg every time – butternut, creamed spinach and a baked potato (usually with a side of sour cream and butter!).  In order to understand the limited veg options – you need to understand that we are a country where a meal without meat and a starch was not a real meal!  Veg on your plate would have been a token amount and would literally be a little decor on the plate!

While we still don’t have many pure vegan restaurants, there are however  some wonderful options for vegetarians in Cape Town, and many restaurants now have at least one fantastic creative vegetarian option.  We are going to add a few restaurants into the listing below that have a good vegetarian option.

Luckily I love salads, veg and cheese and am surrounded by some wonderful vegetarian friends who have inspired the list below!  I am also surrounded by friends that are extremely passionate about sustainability and food purity.  An added plus is that we end up with quite a few vegetarian clients on tours – as such it has forced us to head out and explore Cape Town’s vegetarian options.

Cape Town is a city of creative people and artisans and the creativity is reflected in our restaurants and food options, making this a wonderful city to explore!   Have fun dining in Cape Town.

City Bowl (Central City):

The lovely Chef Amy (on the left) inside her beautiful Hungry Herbivore Restaurant

The Hungry Herbivore:    Vegan. Owned by a wonderful inspirational youngster – Amy.   This is a beautifully decorated space that reflects the pride that Amy and her passionate staff take in everything they do.     I would highly recommend a visit to this spot.  Open for lunch & dinner Mon to Saturday.   Location 11 Orphan Street.  Note that The Hungry Herbivore also have a  kiosk at the Mojo Market, 20 Regent Rd, Seapoint.  Kiosk 10am – 10pm daily.  Note that their dishes can also be delivered to your home/hotel by ordering through the app Order In.

The Hungry Herbivore – Vegan Pizza!

Pure Elixir: Vegetarian/Vegan – tiny shop – 120 Bree Street.  I would recommend you try the Vegan Cape Malay Curry Rooti.  Rooti’s are as common as having a sandwich in Cape Town for lunch.   The Cape Malay cuisine is our oldest cuisine in the Cape – so this is a great option to try one of our traditional dishes.  The Rooti is vegan as well!

Orchard on Long:   Wonderful juice bar.   You can either have a juice freshly pressed or buy one of their bottled juices.   All juices are cold pressed.   Love the feeling of freshness with all the fresh produce in this store! 211 Long Street.

Wonderful fresh products for making fresh & delicious juices!

Wild Sprout: NEW –  wholefoods, vegan and vegetarian.   All about conscious eating.   One can get prepared meals to take away and can also pre-order for any dietary specific needs to have dishes pre-prepared for taking away.   Menu looks lovely.  We went to check it out –  but have not eaten there yet!  Good spot for breakfast and lunch.   Gorgeous clean decor – reflects their ethos!  179 Loop Street

Plant Cafe – was the city’s first vegan restaurant.  Wonderfully gourmet vegan options.  Plant has just announced that they are open again!   They have been shut for the last few months as they were trying to sell it!   Wonderful for lunch and dinner.

Harvest Cafe – NEW – located in the Bo-Kaap on the edge of the city – this one is upstairs and boasts wonderful views of the colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap and Table Mountain.   From their facebook: “Our menu has a range of beautifully healthy, vibrant dishes for vegans, vegetarians, banters and meat eaters. Everything is locally sourced with high nutritional value and great quality.”   It looks like a lovely spot and I cannot wait to go and try them out!   Corner Wale and Rose Street Bo-Kaap.

The Raw & Roxy – Danish Beatrice opened the city’s first raw food restaurant in Woodstock about five years ago.   She is an extremely passionate lady and loves to share the benefits of raw food eating with you when you visit.  Expect gourmet treats here.   She is a really talented chef who also offers raw food cooking classes on scheduled dates.   Follow her on facebook to find out when her cooking classes are happening.  Open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on a Saturday. 8 Bree Street (in the Business District – lower Cape Town – be warned it is a doorway and you need to find the door and go up the stairs!   Read more about Beatrice and her Raw & Roxy (note that she used to be located in Woodstock – she is now in the city)

The Raw & the Roxy tasting platter to get a taste of a variety of her beautiful dishes

Honest Chocolate Cafe – vegan raw chocolate! The guys who started Honest Chocolate were the first to produce raw chocolate made only from un-roasted cocoa beans combined with agave syrup. There chocolates are not to be missed!  The next step on their journey was the dream to open a chocolate cafe.   They used crowd funding to help raise the funds to make this dream a reality.  We love their cafe.   Head there for a huge range of chocolate treats.  We love the chocolate bunny chow – they take banana bread, scoop out the inside, fill it with melted chocolate and then put a scoop of ice cream on top.  (Note they also have a vegan option of this dish!).   This spot is perfect for chocolate lovers and has quite a few vegan options available.   The chocolate cafe operates during the day.  At night the back couryard changes into a secret gin bar – that is a magical space.  South Africa is now producing quite a lot of locally produced gins – making this spot a magical place to visit!  64a Wale Street

Olami – Picture wonderfully huge bowls of salads.   Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours inspire the dishes each day. One choses a number of salads and some cooked dishes each day for breakfast and lunch.   Amazing flavours.   This is one of my favourite places.   Try and go early for lunch as service gets slower as they get busier over the lunch period as they dish up for each person that comes in.   This slows things down drastically! Fabulous for vegetarians – I am not sure how many options would work for vegans as many dishes have cheese or labneh.  As the salads change each day – some days may have more or less options that work for vegans! 231 Bree Street (top of Bree Street on the mountain end!)

Culture Club Cheese –  For cheese lovers – this spot is a little piece of paradise.   This is the only cheese shop in the city and they boast the largest range of locally made artisan cheeses. Pop in to taste and order cheese or to have a cheese platter or a baked camembert cheese to share with a friend for a snack and a drink in the early evening.  Luke is also making a variety of fermented products here:   live Sauerkraut, Kim Chi,  a wonderful range of Kombuchas and Kefir drinks.  Quirkily – you can also find camel milk here – if that rocks your boat!  Open daily for breakfast and lunch.   Diners Thurs – Sat.  Find them at 215 Bree Street (top of Bree Street on the mountain end!)

Culture Club Cheese – a great spot to try locally made cheese

Free From Eatery – NEW – Wonderful new spot by a Durban born Chef called Myles.   His vision is to know where every ingredient comes from and to truly understand that it is free from any additives.   He wants to serve real food.   He is open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday.  There is a lovely breakfast menu – from yoghurt and muesli through to frittata’s freshly cooked and French Toast.   For lunch he is doing a harvest table – different salads and dishes prepared from what he finds fresh on the day.  Myles is passionate and a wonderful host.  His staff are all people that he plans to train up and empower through his new small restaurant.  This is a magically tranquil spot in the pedestrianized zone of the city.  He plans to make sure that his harvest table has vegan and gluten free options on it.   Located at the top of St George’s Mall in Cape Town (next door to the Taj Hotel).

New – Free From Eatery – track them down for their harvest table at lunchtime

House of H –  for the Oyster Mushroom Burger and the fabulous salad bar.   When you enter this quirky spot – you will think I am slightly mad for sending you here!   It is all about meat – really good meat!  It is owned by the passionate Chef Heinrich Koen – H!   He is also about the best local produce he can get.   They give you a card when you enter so that you can simply serve yourself.   In most restaurants you never interact with the Chef – here you queue to talk to him and he tells you the options!  Two vegetarian friends have raved about the oyster mushroom burger – I still need to try it!   Each time I get swayed towards the meat options!  As you queue you stand next to a pile of vegetables.   Quite literally they source the veg locally and everything you see on the floor as you queue can be bought to take home.   H makes the best chips (fries) in Cape Town – so you get a choice of having chips or salads with your burger.  I recommend half and half – the salads are amazingly good here!  This is a good spot if you have a combined crew of meat eaters and vegetarians.

Hokey Poke – we loved our visit to this spot.   It is small and is literally a hole in the wall in a quiet side street in Cape Town with very little foot traffic!  Poke’s are literally bowls of awesome fresh ingredients that are flavour sensations – they started in Hawaii with thinly sliced fish – usually tuna.   This little spot offers a variety of options including the 3 tofu surprise which works for vegans.

KA PA TÉE – New – a wonderful addition to Cape Town – a specialist tea shop from a passionate tea lover, Bruno and his wife.   Bruno is focussing full time on the tea shop and setting up an online tea business.   I tried the teas and loved them – and I dont drink tea!  Here you can pop in and taste a vast variety of different teas from white to black tea to herbal blends and matcha.  The range is vast!   An added plus is that they have a range of healthy eats that are pretty much all wheat free.   Most are sugar free as well.   It is an outstanding experience.   Make sure you head to the counter to watch their very fancy tea infuser machine.   They also make outstanding coffee for non tea drinkers – but keep your mind open and try the tea!   Their shop is gorgeous and the perfect spot to settle in for a tea experience.

Addis in the Cape – Fun Ethiopian restaurant serving Ethiopian pancakes where you chose the toppings.  I have been advised that this one works for vegetarians and vegans too.   This spot is nicest at night for dinner.  Location – 41 Church Street

Masala Dosa – fun Bollywood style with funky interior.  They do the wonderfully large Indian Dosa pancakes and have veg and vegan options.   The website is not live and the facebook has not been set up as a business – so requires you to become his friend in order to see the info!   Being on Long Street it attracts a strong under the age of 30 crowd! I would recommend this as a dinner spot.   Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday.  Location – 167 Long Street

IYO Burger – these guys started as a food truck doing burgers, when they made enough money, they then opened their own restaurant.   They are all about working ethically, locally and organically wherever possible.   IYO have a vegan and a vegetarian burger option.   Location – 103 Bree Street – upstairs!

True Italic – wonderful intimate Italian restaurant owned by a brother and sister team – he cooks and she does front of house.  They make most things themselves from scratch there and as such one can also buy fresh pasta to take home.   The menu each week has a limited number of items on it – so if you go and you don’t find a good vegetarian option on the menu – simply talk to them and they will give you ideas of what they can make that evening for you and then present you with a mini feast!   They are very accommodating!  15 Bree Street (lower end of Bree in the Business district)

Chefs Warehouse  – cater for vegetarians – however – you need to tell them the day before you come that you are coming as they are a zero waste restaurant.   They only prepare for vegetarians if they know they are coming.  Call them on+27 21 422 0128.  This is well worth the effort!  It is owned by top Irish Chef Liam Tomlin (Of Bank Restaurant fame in Sydney Australia).   The concept is simple – they do 8 dishes of the day based on what is fresh.  The 8 dishes are shared by two people.   If there is an odd number – then one would chose 4 of the dishes of the day.  This is one of the most delicious fine dining experiences in Cape Town.   It is a quirky concept.   They take no bookings and as such to get space you need to make sure you get there early to get a space.   Last orders are taken at 8pm.   If they are full when you arrive you put your name down on a waiting list and come back when they call you.  The Chefs Warehouse is open for lunch Monday to Saturday and for dinner Monday to Friday.  Find them – 92 Bree Street (Corner of Shortmarket Street).   Tip – go for drinks before or after at House of Machines or The Drinkery or HQ. 

Sexy Food – Closed down.   I am just putting it here in case you read about it on other forums.   Truly a very very sad loss for Cape Town.   I hope the wonderfully passionate young owner James opens up again one day soon.

Just above the city:

Spirit Cafe – Vegan/Vegetarian restaurant – just opened early November 2017.    We loved our visit to try them out!  For lunch you can order from the menu (small number of options) or have the lunch buffet – the options are either 100% vegan or 90% vegan on the lunch buffet.  I cannot rave highly enough about the food – everything that they gave us on our plate (we asked to try everything they had for lunch!) was beyond delicious.   I would highly recommend this spot.  Beautiful delicious food on a vibey square where you can sit under the trees – and added plus were the very lovely people who served us.  A wonderful experience.   The fresh juices were also fantastic!  Note they also have a branch at the Constantia Village Shopping Centre in Constantia.

Thali – Indian Tapas from a top chef!  Owned by renowned top chef Liam Tomlin and Dimo Papachristodolou, with head chef John van Zyl at the helm – Thali offers you a flavour journey of Indian inspired tapas dishes to share.   The concept is similar to the Chefs Warehouse in that they do not take bookings and offer you 8 tapas dishes to share between two people.   They however offer a vegan and vegetarian option as a permanent option on their menu.   I would strongly recommend that you include this one for a dinner while in Cape Town.    Decor – fun and Moroccan inspired with an open plan kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work.  Open for dinner Monday to Sat.   Lunch Tues to Sat. 3 Park Street (just off Kloof Street near the Kloof Lifestyle centre)

Nourish’d – Vegan/Vegetarian – I love everything about her website!   This is more of a juice/healthy drinks spot that is quirky and fun for people watching.  They describe themselves as “A cafe/ juice bar that brings awareness to sustainability, consciousness and environmental issues. Serves fresh natural nourishments to the city slickers. “The owner describes herself as “City Hippy trying to save the planet one bamboo straw at a time.”  I love it!   Got to get there soon!  I have driven past it often – it is a hole in the wall spot with loads of character.   This is truly a little hole in the wall spot.   They have a TINY kitchen – in the middle of the restaurant – as such the food offerings are fairly limited.   They have a fairly extensive breakfast menu.  Lunch is however restricted to sandwiches.   I am not sure how often the menu changes – but out of the sandwich options – 4 out 5 had avo on it.   Not a bad thing if you visit with a friend that eats avo!   Address 177 Kloof Street (walk to the side of the building).  Open Mon to Friday 7am to 5pm.  Saturday 9am – 1pm

Chalk & Cork – just in case you are a gluten free vegetarian – this is the spot for you!  They do cauliflower pizza bases that are delicious – unbelievably the bases go crispy!   It looks like they also do vegan pizza’s – but that will require more research!  I see the menu says “substitute with vegan mozzarella”.   There are also some really delicious vegetarian options on their menu.   This is definitely a delicious foodie spot.   They are foremost a wine bar – the owner is a South African sommelier who lived in London for many years.   They returned to South Africa and opened their own wine bar called Chalk & Cork.   They have a lovely outside courtyard for summer and the inside is lovely and cozy upstairs.   One can reserve for the inside of the restaurant.   Outside is first come first served.   Location – 51 Kloof Street (If you are doing Thali – make sure you start with a glass of wine at Chalk & Cork before or after dinner!   They have one of the most amazing wine lists in Cape Town.

El Buro – Taqueria – Delicious taco bar with some delicious vegetarian options and insanely yummy chilly poppers.  Corner Kloof Nek Road and New Church Street (across from The Power & The Glory).   Fun, funky decor and lovely for a snack or light meal.   Monday to Saturday from 12 – 11pm.

Maria’s Greek – fabulous for vegetarians.   I read on a list that they are a good spot for vegans – but I am not sure on that point!   I will have to check out the menu next time I am there.   It is on my hitlist for a return visit in summer.   They are on a lovely square and it is a great spot to sit outside on a lovely summer evening.   Maria’s is an institution in Cape Town  – they have been going forever and have a strong loyal following!  31 Barnett Street, Dunkley Square.

Maharajah Indian Restaurant – has been in Cape Town for 40 years!  Their offer Durban Indian dishes – which are a combination of both North and South Indian influenced dishes.   They have a large Vegetarian selection.    Many of my friends rate it is as one of the best for Indian food in the Cape Town.   It is a traditional Indian Restaurant in terms of decor!   Corner 1 Kloof Nek Rd & Woodside Rd, Tamboerskloof

Vintage India, Gardens – I am advised that this one is a great spot for vegetarians.   It is a good old fashioned Indian Restaurant with very traditional old world decor!   10 Hiddingh Village, Cnr Mill street and Hiddingh avenue, Gardens

Seapoint:

Scheckters Raw – Vegan/Raw Food Restaurant – this one is on my list to try – I have had lots of positive feedback about it.  98 Regent Road, Seapoint

Mojo Market – NEW – fabulous little market – mix of food stands and shops.  30 Regent Road Seapoint – open 10am to 10pm.  Great options here for vegans and vegetarians!   Some of the recommended food stands would be – The Hungry Herbivore,  IYO Burgers, Hokey Poke……

Sababa – Seapoint – Mediterranean and middle Eastern inspired salads and dishes.   Now more of a take away.  You can take your own dishes and get them to make you dishes for dinner or for when you are having dinner parties.   395 Main Road, St Johns Piazza, SeaPoint (Note the Sababa in town has been renames as Olami).   If one pre-orders they would be able to supply you with vegan options for orders.

Jarryds – has great vegetarian options.   Awesome for breakfast.  Amazing salads and a really good veg burger.  They do everything with 100% passion.   They weave their Jewish roots of the area into their cuisine offerings.   Magical.  Small.  intimate and oh so local for people watching!

Nu Health Food Cafe – these are a chain and you can find them dotted around Cape Town:  they have a broad offering of healthy items that cater for most dietary options and includes a good choice of options for vegetarian/vegan

Kleinsky’s – has a good selection of vegetarian offerings.   This is a wonderful local spot in Seapoint and they have a small branch on Church Square in town.   We love their original shop in Seapoint!   Intimate and a fun local favourite to meet up with friends

Greenpoint:

El Buro – Mexican.  Fun.  Vibey.  Young.  Loud.  Perfect for an evening of fun with the girls!  Quite a few yummy veg options on the menus.   Don’t miss the poppers and caramelized butternut tacos!

Giovanni’s Deli – one of Cape Town’s best deli’s.   This is a legendary spot to either come eat or to buy a wide assortment of dishes as a take away.   They make all the food fresh and in small amounts on their property above the store.   This is a small paradise for foodies.   103 Main Road Greenpoint

Woodstock:

The Kitchen – Karen Dudley is famous for the most delicious assortment of salads in Cape Town and for her LOVE SANDWICH.   This spot is tiny.  They take no bookings.   It has a cult following – so if you are going to go for lunch it is advised to get there by 11h30 to get your space.   Go with a friend – so one can secure space to sit and the other can queue.  You get the best assortment of salads if you are there by 11h30!  There are literally 20 great salads to chose from – you can order a mixed plate of salads that are so delicious you will want to lick your plate! We LOVE the Kitchen and Karen Dudley is my foodie hero!  111 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock

The Test Kitchen – This is South Africa’s top restaurant and is rated as one of the top restaurants in the world.  Chef Luke Dale Roberts take you on a multi course tasting journey that reflects all the influences of the places he has worked as a Chef – South Africa, England and the East.   They offer a vegetarian tasting menu – simply state you are a vegetarain when booking.  Booking a table here is harder then booking any restaurant you will have ever booked.   They open bookings three months before – you literally have to check out their reservation page on the website to find out when bookings will be opening.   you then have to set your alarm clock to wake up at 8am South African time to try and book the date you are looking for.   This is an incredibly frustrating process.   Good luck if you try!

2 Kitchens – Middle Eastern & Mexican – Vegan & Veg options on the menu.  Rated as best falafel in Cape Town by my sister! Listed for delivery by Uber Eats, Order in and Mr D.  Also Halaal.  10 Stowe Street, Woodstock.

The Neighbourhood Goods Market at the Biscuit Mill on a Saturday morning – This is Cape Town’s oldest artisan food market.  It is great fun!   We do to eat and to drink wine and cocktails and to socialize and to shop at the artisan shops and stands.  There are loads of vegetarian options and quite a few options for vegans.   It is our favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning in Cape Town.   Do not miss out on a visit if you are in Cape Town on a Saturday morning!

The Neighbourhood Goods Market – lots of options for everyone!

Waterfront:

Tashas – Wonderful large menu and fantastic salads – this is a good spot for breakfast or lunch.   Note they are very flexible – so if a salad appeals – simply ask them to not add cheese/chicken and replace ingredients.   This spot is very vibey and the food is fantastic and fresh.   Tashas is a chain and can also be found in Constantia.  Location – in the main mall at the V&A Waterfront.

Oranjezicht City Farm Market – The Oranjezicht City Farm is our only inner city farm growing veg just above the city.  They originally started by having a market on the little farm to sell the veg and in order to attract people to come, they also had a couple of other food stands.   Sadly a busy body used the by-laws to shut the market down and it finally found its new home in the Waterfront precinct.   It is on the edge of the V&A Waterfront complex about a block away from the main mall.   This market only happens on a Saturday morning from 9am to 2pm.   Here you can come and stock up on freshly harvested veg and fruit and stay for a bite or two to eat.   There are lots of veg and some vegan options – fromthe Mushroom stick, vegan desserts, shakshuka eggs.   Plus it is a wonderful place to people watch.   Very buzzy and one of our favourite spots as locals to visit on a Saturday morning!

The Yard – Cape Town in the Silo District – Waterfront – lots of vegan/veg options – NEW – the owner is from Punjab – interesting menu – seems to have a bit of everything – from Indian to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences!

Si! Cantina-Sociale –  New – Silo District V&A Waterfront – we loved our visit to try this spot out!    The stand out dish we ordered of the tapas was the red salad!  It was outstanding!   The concept is tapas to share and there were quite a few veg dishes on the tapas menu.   Vibey.  Fab decor!  It is in the centre of the new art/creative district at the Waterfront (just past the clock tower) An added plus is that the serve Aperol Spritz  – my favourite summer drink!

Hout Bay

Massimo’s – the legendary pizza spot in Hout Bay has introduced a wonderful seperate vegan menu!!   Thanks to Tracy Orion for letting me know!   She says the vegans are heading there in droves!

Green Vine Eatery – located on the organic Silvermist Wine Estate as you head up the mountain from Hout Bay towards Constantia.   They are harvesting their own organic vegetables from their garden.   There is a focus on freshness and local sourcing.   The menu has both vegetarian and vegan options.

Lakeside (Near Muizenberg)

Organic Zone – lots of vegan options – including raw vegan almond cheese

Constantia:

Tashas Constantia -Wonderful large menu and fantastic salads – this is a good spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.   Note they are very flexible – so if a salad appeals – simply ask them to not add cheese/chicken and replace ingredients.   This spot is very vibey and the food is fantastic and fresh.   Tashas is a chain and can also be found in Constantia.  Location – Constantia Village Mall in Constantia

Spirit Cafe – Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant in the Constantia Village Shopping Mall in Constantia

Southern Suburbs:

Maharajah Vegeterian – offshoot of the mothership famous Maharajah located just above the city – this smaller version focuses just on vegetarian curries.   6 Rondebosch Court, Fountain Square, Rondebosch, Cape Town.   Open daily lunch and dinner.  

Vegan Goods Market – NEW – every Saturday at inKhanyisa Waldorf School, 4 Victoria Rd, Plumstead, from 10am to 2pm

Stellenbosch:

Nomad Restaurant – has sadly closed down

Greengate Eatery – do a wonderful fresh lunch buffet with lots of salads and veg – it is in a hidden courtyard just off Kerk Street.  It will work for vegetarians – doubtful for vegans!  No website – no facebook!   Find them at De Wet Square, corner of Church and Bird Streets, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch.  

Paarl:

Babel at Babylonstoren – Babylonstoren is the most beautiful organic vegetable garden in the Cape.   It is open to the public and is wonderful to explore.   One is welcome to pick anything that is ripe and eat it as one goes.   To get the most from the garden – book the garden tour at 10am.  For their restaurant Babel – the Chefs harvest from the garden each morning.   They do the most amazing salads – a red, green and yellow salad.   Each salad contains whatever is seasonal at the time of your visit.   For mains there is always a vegetarian option and a big bowl of freshly made vegetables – including the most delicious roast potatoes on the planet.   I am sure they will make a plan for vegans too!  Or order a feast of salads – they are amazing!

Gretyon (a gorgeous little village about an hour from Cape Town)

I had some lovely advice posted on my facebook page about Greyton from Nicola Vernon:

Please check out the vegan friendly village of Greyton with vegan restaurant Pure Cafe, vegan menu at The Hungry Monk, vegetarian Heart and Soul, vegan burger and dairy free coffees, smoothies at Vias.