12 Restaurants In Cape Town And Joburg To Satisfy Your Vegan Cravings
While it’s easy to be a vegetarian or vegan at home, it can be tricky eating out, even if it’s just meat that you are cutting from your diet. Luckily, more and more restaurants are catering to vegans and vegetarians and even if there isn’t anything specifically vegan on the menu, most establishments are happy to let you chop and change some ingredients to make them #meatfree, #dairyfree, #eggfree. To help you avoid the animal-product minefield that some restaurant menus can be, here’s a list of eateries in Cape Town and Joburg that you can put on your must-visit list.
Everyday Eating Restaurants
This V&A Waterfront stalwart has recently added an extensive standalone vegan menu to their offerings with over 60 options, including power bowls, nachos, pizzas, falafels, curry, burgers and delicious desserts. And – bonus! – they’ve sourced vegan wines (yup, not all wines are animal-product free). Wherever possible, the ingredients used are organic, seasonal, gluten-free, low-GI, non-GMO and chemical- and preservative-free and no refined sugar or oils, synthetic ingredients or unhealthy fats are cooked with. If you’re in the mood for pizza, the Trader Joe is super-tasty and comes with peppers, red onion and mushroom topped with vegan cheese and pesto. Or you can go for the Casalinga, which features artichokes, asparagus, mushroom and red pepper with vegan cheese.
Shop 6162, Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Take a stroll down Loop Street in Cape Town and you’ll find Homage 1862, a beautiful restaurant that pays tribute to the city’s heritage and natural beauty, while creating beautiful plates that demonstrate the eatery’s love of fire. The interiors are elegantly decorated and feature lots of greenery, making it a very relaxing space to sit while satisfying all your cravings. The menu does have meat options, but it also has a whole page of vegan options, including a variety of bowls, a black-bean and mushroom burger with vegan mayo and spiced sweet potatoes, and lentil hemp cacciatore.
168 Loop Street, Cape Town
Another fully vegan restaurant in the City Centre, The Hungry Herbivore wants to bridge the gap between health and comfort food. Expect things like a Mexicana bowl (organic nachos, salsa, guacamole, quinoa, spicy lentil mix and cashew cream cheese), spaghetti alfredo and pizza. But if you’re a burger person, you have to try the Oh Sweet Kim — the patty is made with sweet potato, lentils, quinoa and kimchi and it comes with avo and spicy mayo.
11 Orphan Street, Cape Town
A few years ago, going vegan meant saying goodbye to all your favourite desserts – cakes were filled with butter and eggs, cheesecakes were filled with, well, cheese and waffles were formed on a base of whipped egg whites. Vegans were left with the likes of dark chocolate and fresh fruit. Delicious, but not quite the red-velvet cake you might have been craving. Enter: Jessy’s Waffles – every vegan waffle-lovers shining saviour. The cosy spot on Dunkley Square in Cape Town produces vegan and gluten-free waffles with a variety of different toppings. After starting with just sweet offerings, Jessy’s now has savoury options too.
58 Barnet Street, Dunkley Square, Gardens, Cape Town
This new restaurant is truly Joburg’s plant-based gem with a motto that everyone should be following: eat more plants. So, while their menu does include a few (and I mean a few) free-range meat or fish options, it’s mostly plant-based with very little processed food. Highlights on the menu include the smashed falafel wrap with salad and tahini (it’s huge and will more than satisfy any hunger), any of the bowls, although the Glow is my personal favourite, and a range of breakfast options. And if you’re used to only having fruit salad for dessert, prepare yourselves, there are a range of options, including cheesecakes and carrot cake, which was mind-blowing. Go on, eat more plants at Lexi’s.
24 Central Centre, 6 Gwen Lane, Sandton, Jozi
If you’re a sucker for Mexican food (like many WH team members) and in Joburg, then Perron is the place for you. The menu features tapas dishes as well as the usual suspects, including salads, burritos and nibbles (hi, nachos and guac!). They do meat and fish dishes, as well as vegetarian and a few vegan ones too, including the Bandera (pickled baby carrot and broccoli salad with radish, pistachios, avo, crispy shallots, spring onions, greens and agave-nectar dressing) and the Bowl of Beans (black beans with spicy aubergine, coriander, cauliflower rice, pumpkin seeds, fresh avo and fire-roasted tomato salsa). Word to the wise, if you like margaritas and beer, get The Rita (a bottle of Corona perched in a goblet of frozen margarita – it works and it’s delicious).
1 Corlett Drive, Illovo, Jozi
Hobart Grove Shopping Centre, Cnr Hobart & Grosvenor Rd, Bryanston, Jozi
65 4th Avenue, Melville, Jozi
A fully vegan restaurant in the CBD that offers everything from croissants with jam and cheese and mushroom tartare to tacos and “dirty” mac ‘n’ cheese. Bonus, it serves breakfast all day and has a long list of dessert treats to satisfy every sweet tooth.
8 Buiten Street, Cape Town
Burger lovers rejoice, Royale Eatery has a burger for every taste and dietary requirement, including veggie and vegan. They even make sure that the burger buns are free of animal products — many buns are brushed with egg white to make them shine — just make sure to ask your waitress for a vegan bun. Bonus: recently they added vegan milkshakes to the menu. Don’t forget to book, this restaurant is always buzzing.
273 Long Street, Cape Town
Located on Regent Road in Sea Point, Scheckter’s Raw’s philosophy is to offer natural, authentic, honest, plant-based, cruelty-free and nutrient-dense food. Go for breakfast and have the organic matcha flapjacks.
98 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
Special Occasion Restaurants
Vegetarians and vegans have it good with Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse in Bree Street and the branch on Beau Constantia wine farm. The restaurants are famous for their Tapas For Two menus, which consist of eight courses that you share with a partner. If you go with a meat-eater, they will be able to choose four dishes from the menu and you will be given four veggie dishes. While the branch on Bree Street in the CBD doesn’t take reservations and doesn’t have a printed vegetarian menu, they are able to cater for vegetarians without prior notice. If you phone and give them at least three days’ notice, they will be able to create four vegan options for you. The restaurant at Beau Constantia has a vegetarian and vegan menu and does take reservations — make them in advance, the bookings fill up quickly!
CBD: 92 Bree Street, Cape Town
Beau Constantia: 1043 Constantia Main Road, Cape Town (021 794 8632)
The Pot Luck Club’s vegetarian menu is filled with delicious tapas-style dishes designed for sharing (trust me, though, you won’t want to). I recently went as a vegan and they were able to give me a list of veggie dishes that could be made vegan and there were more than enough for me to choose from (and I didn’t share!). As with all restaurants, let them know your dietary requirements beforehand so that they can make sure that they can accommodate you.
373 – 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
Another iteration from Liam Tomlin, Thali offers Indian tapas in Tomlin’s signature tapas-for-two style. There are both vegetarian and vegan menus and you can expect dishes like dahl and tempura veggies with tamarind and ginger dipping sauce. Go hungry because the portions are generous!
3 Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town
Want some vegan inspiration for the kitchen? This curry will make you change the way you think about chickpeas.