Plant-based eating, it seems, is gaining major traction in the Mother City, with a slew of quality vegetarian and vegan eateries popping up faster than you can sprout mung beans.
But, while vegetarian cuisine is relatively easy to come by, restaurants that serve strictly vegan food are not. So, we went in search of the best vegetable-focused restaurants in the Mother City, and here’s what we found…
A note to our vegan readers We understand that many of you have chosen a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons, and we hope we have not offended you by including vegetarian restaurants (that may use animal products in their dishes). Our intention with this post is to support and grow the organic, sustainable and plant-based movement.
1. Scheckter’s Raw
What A serene, yet buzzy, eatery on Sea Point’s Regent Street that serves raw, organic and vegetarian cuisine.
Vegan credentials Vegan and vegetarian.
Healthy objectives Scheckter’s Raw serves plant-based and nutrient-loaded healing food, cold-pressed juices, organic coffees and teas, and dairy-, sugar- and gluten-free sweet treats.
You must try the Golden Mylk: activated nut mylk with turmeric, cinnamon, dates, coconut oil, black pepper) and Organic Matcha Flapjacks.
Tuesday – Saturday, 8am – 8.30pm
Sunday – Monday, 8am – 4pm
Contact 021 434 1364, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 98 Regent Street, Sea Point, Cape Town
2. Spirit Café
What You don’t have to be vegan, vegetarian or even health-conscious to enjoy the utterly delicious, made-from-scratch dishes at SpiritCafé in Constantia, and its new(ish) sibling that opened in Dunkley Square in October 2017. Both cafés are known far and wide for their creative, seasonally driven dishes, made with farm-fresh ingredients and oodles of love. On any given morning at the Constantia branch, you’ll find a mix of yogis, students, captains of industry, the odd former Protea cricketer, and a sprinkling of ladies who lunch.
Vegan credentials Vegan-friendly and vegetarian.
You must try Buddha bowl with grains, greens, kimchi, slaw, and avo.
Opening times Constantia: Monday – Friday, 7.30 – 4.30pm
Saturday, 8.30 – 2pm
Dunkley Square: Monday – Sunday, 7.30am – 5pm
Contact 021 795 0167, email@example.com
Location 26 Dunkley Square, Gardens, Cape Town; Shop 10A on the Square, Constantia Village Courtyard, Constantia, Cape Town
3. The Hungry Herbivore
What A cosy space on Orphan Street, in the CBD, where health fiends gather to get their fix of delicious, wholesome and reasonably priced vegan fare.
Vegan credentials Healthy comfort-vegan fare.
Inside info While living in Thailand, owners Amy Scott and Brent Borman were unpleasantly struck by a predominance of meat dishes and fried food. Looking for healthier and more nutritious alternatives, they started experimenting with plant-based ingredients and, before long, came up with a repertoire of delicious vegan smoothies and raw food desserts. Realising they were onto something, they returned to Cape Town in 2014 and launched The Hungry Herbivore.
You must try The Oh-Sweet-Kim burger: lentil, sweet potato and quinoa-kimchi patty served with avo, caramelised onion and spicy mayo.
Contact 021 422 0347, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 10pm (kitchen closes at 9:30pm)
Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Where to find it 11 Orphan Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
4. Lekker Vegan
What Despite what it says on the label, 90% of the happy diners at this cool new joint aren’t even vegan, or so we’re told… The brainchild of James Knaap, Lekker Vegan’s menu includes delicious gourmet burgers, Gatsbys and nuggets that are so tasty, you won’t want to share.
Vegan credentials What it says on the label!
Healthy objectives While it might not be nutrient-rich, at least it’s cruelty-free.
You must try the Original Lekker Crispy Burger and Fries.
Good to know 95% of the packaging is environmentally friendly.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 12pm – 10pm
Friday, 12pm – 3am
Saturday, 1pm – 3am
Sunday, 3pm – 10pm
Location 37 Barrack Street, Corner of Harrington and Barrack Streets, Zonnebloem
5. Raw & Roxy
What A specialist vegan restaurant that offers raw meals rich in nutrients.
Vegan credentials Vegan- and vegetarian-friendly, but honey is served in certain dishes.
Insider info Fifteen years ago, founder Beatrice Holst turned her life around when she switched to raw veganism. Now, she’s shares her knowledge and experience at Raw & Roxy Café.
Healthy objectives Using superfoods (spirulina, chaga and coconut oil), fresh fruit and organic vegetables, she prepares raw food that contains zero animal and dairy products or seafood.
Good to know The café also offers detox boxes, event catering and raw food “un-cooking” classes (on Monday and Thursday evenings).
Please note When we chatted to Beatrice this week (February 2018), she was in the throes of moving premises, but could not give us to details about her new location. Subscribe to our newsletter, and we’ll keep you posted.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm
Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Contact 079 599 6277, email@example.com
What A gourmet vegan restaurant, established in 2013 (in the Bo-Kaap originally), Plant provides a space for vegans and those with food allergies and intolerances to enjoy great food. Vegan credentials Vegans, vegetarians and those with food allergies/intolerances are catered for.
Healthy objectives Plant’s ongoing commitment to educating people on plant-based eating is admirable. So is its dedication to charity – the café donates a percentage of its profits to human and animal-based charities.
You must try the vegan Tagliatelle Carbonara, Mushroom Burger, or the Dirty Mac & Cheese. Please note When we contacted the café in December 2017, we were informed that it had closed, but we’re happy to announce it has since re-opened
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 8am – 10pm
Kitchen closed between 3.30pm – 6pm
Contact 063 823 1198, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 8 Buiten Street, corner of Loop Street, Cape Town
7. O’ Ways Teacafe
What This tranquil tearoom in the back streets of Claremont serves good coffee, soothing tea and nourishing food. It’s the go-to spot for office workers (and vegans) in the area. Ask Taiwanese owner Lisa Tsai about the symbolism of the O’ways logo, as you tuck into a wholesome meal.
Vegan credentials Vegetarian (milk and free-range eggs are served), but vegans are catered for.
You must try the har gau with mixed seasonal vegetables.
Opening times Monday to Friday, 7.30am – 5pm
Saturday and public holidays, 9am – 2pm
Contact 021 671 2850, email@example.com
Where to find it Shop 2, Heritage House, 20 Dreyer Street, Claremont
What Tucked away in the old garage on the corner of Hof and Kloof Streets in Gardens, and hidden behind lush granadilla creepers and a bounty of hanging plants, Nourish’d is a typical laid-back Cape Town café, where everyone is welcome – whether you’re strolling in barefoot from the beach, or popping in for a bite between meetings. Furry friends are welcome too, and nobody seems to be in a rush.
Vegan credentials Vegetarian with loads of vegan options.
Healthy objectives The simple menu speaks to owner Natasha Napoli’s mantra that health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. On offer is a selection of tasty juices, smoothies, breakfasts and gourmet sandwiches – all packed with fresh, homegrown ingredients to boost your wellbeing.
Good to know Nourish’d sells take-home juice cleanses. There are three options – one day, three day or five day – that can be collected in store, or delivered to your door.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 7am – 6.30pm
Saturday, 8am – 2pm
Contact 063 648 1040 or 064 755 2431, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Corner Kloof and Hof Streets, Cape Town
9. Orchard on Long
What A delightful café on Long Street that serves fresh, delicious and healthy juices along, as well as wholesome breakfasts and lunches, with a strong focus on veganism.
Vegan credentials Vegetarian with many vegan options.
Healthy objectives Hydraulic plates are used to squeeze every drop from the fresh fruit without damaging or compromising the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that conventional juicing methods tend to destroy.
Opening times Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Contact 021 424 3781, email@example.com
Where to find it 211 Long Street, Cape Town
10. Honest Chocolate Café
What A charming café in Wale Street that sells raw-cacao treats, as well as selection of wholesome and healthy savoury dishes, cakes, pastries and tarts.
Vegan credentials All chocolate slabs and truffles are 100% vegan, and 60% of the chocolate baked goodies are vegan, too.
Healthy objectives Honest uses unroasted cacao beans – as opposed to roasted (which are full of sugar) – which contain higher levels of antioxidants. All chocolates are free of preservatives and artificial flavouring, naturally.
Inside info Partners Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk started their chocolatey journey selling handmade raw-cacao bonbons at farmers’ markets, health shops and alternative-food stores around the country. In December 2014 they took the next step and opened this café in Wale Street.
Opening times Monday to Thursday, 9am – 6pm
Friday & Saturday, 9am – 9pm
Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Contact 076 765 8306, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 64A Wale Street, Cape Town
11. Maharajah Vegetarian Restaurant
What Tucked away near the Fountain Centre in Rondebosch, this vegetarian branch of the popular Indian franchise is known for its moreish curries, paneers, briyani and kormas.
Vegan credentials Most dishes are vegan-friendly, and those that aren’t can be made as such.
You must try the vegan butter-bean curry and palak paneer
Good to know If you’re in the city, try the main restaurant on Kloof Nek, or order takeaways from their express spot on Newlands Main Road.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 10 – 9pm
Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Contact 021 685 7891
Where to find it 6 Fountain Place, Rondebosch, Cape Town
12. Green & Vegan
What Vegans and non-vegans are welcome at this pop-up restaurant run by Karen Fletcher and Patrick Knight from their home in Greenpoint Village. Though the food they serve is strictly vegan (and includes a cheese board at the end of the meal), many of their customers claim to be “vegan-curious” rather than committed vegans – which could change after a visit to this homely eatery…
Vegan credentials 100% vegan.
Opening times It’s a pop-up restaurant, so opening times aren’t set in stone, but it tends to open once a fortnight.
Contact 021 439 7761 / 083 293 5501, email@example.com
Where to find it 34 Clydebank Road, Green Point
13. Govinda’s Natural Food Café
What This natural-food café, with Indian accents, offers visitors a pleasant space in which to enjoy quality vegetarian food that’s reasonably priced. Touted by some as Rondebosch’s best-kept secret, Govinda’s serves wholesome, unfussy food and some of the best rotis around.
Vegan credentials Lacto-vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
You must try the chickpea fudge and the chickpea balls with tomato sauce.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 6pm
Sunday, 12pm – 4pm
Contact 021 685 8384, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Hare Krishna Temple, 17 St Andrews Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town
14. Pure Elixir Café
What This cosy Cape Town café, with its warm wooden décor, serves a wide assortment of organic, preservative-free foods, including vegan-friendly rotis and gluten-free baked goods, as well as homemade milk alternatives (such as almond, cashew, hemp, oat and coconut milk), speciality teas, raw cold-pressed juices, and superfood smoothies.
Vegan credentials Vegan-friendly and vegetarian.
You must try the Organic Vegan Roti and delicious Good Vibration Smoothie.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm
Saturday, 9am – 3.30pm
Contact 076 768 0733, PureElixirCafe@gmail.com
Where to find it 120 Bree Street, Cape Town
15. Babylon Theatre Café
What This cheap and cheerful Mediterranean-fusion restaurant has a menu bursting with flavourful vegetarian dishes, including halloumi kebabs, Mediterranean beans platters, and burgers made with hummus, falafel or mushroom tofu.
Vegan credentials Vegan-friendly and vegetarian
Inside info The exotic Hookah Bar inside the restaurant enhances the Arabian Nights atmosphere, with guests able to sample from a range of fruity extractions.
Opening times Sunday – Tuesday, 12pm – 12am
Wednesday, 12pm – 1am
Thursday, 12pm – 2am
Friday – Saturday, 12pm – 3am
Contact 021 674 0032, email@example.com
Where to find it 111 Main Road Claremont, corner Roscommon Street
Be Kind to Every Kind
You might also be interested in these restaurants that, even though they serve food made with animal products, have special vegan menus.
- Wildsprout Eatery (extensive vegan options on the menu)
- Twelve Apostles (Vegan High Tea)
- Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant (vegan options)
- Maria’s (vegan platter)
- Masala Dosa (vegan section on the menu)
- Nu Health Food Café (vegan breakfast and lunch items)
- Saucisse Deli (Vegan Heaven breakfast)
- Marrow (Vegan White Broth)
- Harvest (selected vegan dishes)
- The General Store (selected vegan dishes)
- Giulio’s Café (selected vegan dishes)
- The Planet Bar at The Belmond Mount Nelson (chef Rudi Liebenberg’s vegan tasting menu; vegan-friendly high tea)
- Royale Eatery (vegan section on the menu)
- Nonna Lina (vegan salads and pastas)
- Massimo’s (vegan section on the menu)
- El Burro (vegan section on the menu)
- Addis in Cape Ethiopian Restaurant (vegan section on the menu)
- Si Cantina (vegan breakfast, tapas and mains options)
- Hokey Poké (make-your-own vegan bowls available)
- Skinny Legs (vegan breakfast and lunch options)
- Lily’s (vegan breakfast and lunch options)
- Tintswalo Atlantic (Guy Clark’s vegan tasting menu)
- Giovanni’s (deli-counter salads and vegetable dishes)
- Sababa (deli-counter salads and vegetable dishes)
- Olami (deli-counter salads and vegetable dishes)
- Dear Me (vegan breakfast and lunch options)
- Yokos Yogurt Bar (dairy-free yoghurts)
- Noa’s Hummus Bar at Mojo Market (vegan options available)
- Rootbar Newlands (vegan lasagne and selected vegan dishes)
- Yoffi Falafel (vegan lunch options)
- Aniyor Bakery & Café (vegan-friendly lunch options)
- Life Unframed (vegan ice-cream)
Researched by Simone Michaelis
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