20 vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Cape Town

Posted by Rachel Robinson on 28 February 2019

We went looking for some of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Cape Town, and found some great eateries.

Photo by Rachel Robinson

As more and more people embrace a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, so more and more restaurants and cafes open their doors. We went looking for some of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Cape Town, and found some great eateries – whether you’re looking for a rich Indian curry or a raw smoothie, you’ll find it below.

Vegetarian restaurants around the CBD

1. Elixir Café, Bree Street

Address: 120 Bree Street, Cape Town
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6:30 to 15:30, Saturdays from 8:00 to 15:30
Website: Elixir Café on Facebook

Photo by Rachel Robinson
Elixir Café is one of those bohemian-style places where you choose the fruit that goes into your smoothie from a big bowl next to the counter. I had one of their curry wraps filled with potato, carrots, coriander, chickpeas and chutney, which could’ve served two people (I did take the other half home for later) and a very yummy Refresh pressed juice (apple, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blackcurrants, redcurrants and lemon). There isn’t a lot of food to choose from apart from wraps or rotis, but the selection of pressed juices, smoothies, lassis and coffees is pretty impressive.

2. Plant, Buiten Street

Address: 8 Buiten Street, Cape Town (corner Loop Street)
Opening hours: Mondays 10:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Friday 10:00 to 22:00, Saturdays 09:00 to 15:00
Website: plantcafe.co.za

Photo from Plant Cafe
Plant was my first experience of a vegan restaurant, so I decided to go with the Vis Burger – a nori-encrusted potato steak served on a ciabatta roll with tartar sauce and salads. It was absolutely delicious, with the nori giving it a seafood-like taste. There’s a wide range of dishes available, including beetroot burgers, chickpea, spinach & butternut masala and sweet & sour tofu, not to mention the desserts, pressed juices and smoothies. Plant makes everything on the menu from scratch, including their own mayonnaise and cheeses and they also smoke their own tempeh bacon.

3. Raw and Roxy, Woodstock

Address: 300 Albert Road, Woodstock
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 to 17:00, Saturdays 10:00 to 16:00
Website: Raw and Roxy on Facebook

Photo by Rachel Robinson
Pioneers of the raw and vegan restaurant movement in Cape Town, Raw & Roxy is a small bohemian space in Woodstock that also offers raw cooking lessons. The restaurant space is tiny, but everything is made with a big heart and judging by the people going in and out buying ingredients and smoothies, it’s popular with those in the know. You can help yourself to kale chips from a bowl on the service counter, which were surprisingly tasty. I also tried their red velvet cupcake (beetroot, cashews, coconut flour, flaxseeds, zucchini, raisins and apple) and a super-thick and super-delicious red berry smoothie. Raw main meals include lasagne, zucchini pasta, red Thai curry, a tapas platter (so you can try a little bit of everything) and raw vegan sushi. There are also plenty of sweet treats to choose from, including a raw magnum ice-cream – raw, frozen cashew and coconut and cocoa on a stick in mint or vanilla flavour.

4. The Kind Kitchen, Woodstock

Address: 252 Albert Road, Woodstock
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 to 15:00 and 17:00 to 20:00, Monday and Saturday, 10:00 to 15:00
Contact: thekindkitchen.co.za

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Originally started in owner, Jason McNamara’s, home kitchen using Uber Eats for delivery, the Kind Kitchen opened in November 2018 next door to the Woodstock Brewery. This 100% vegan eatery offers vegan breakfasts, including chickpea flour omelettes, tofu scrambled or fried eggs (very popular), vegan flapjacks and French toast with agave syrup and vegan bacon. You can also try The Impossible Burger, vegan fish and chips and vegan sushi on selected evenings during the week. I gave their vegan fish and chips a go and was impressed with how much banana blossoms in beer batter looked and tasted like the fish and chips you get at fish shops! If you prefer burgers, The Impossible Burger has been created with carnivores in mind and it’s likeness to a fleshy beef burger is uncanny. I recommend you give them a go!

5. Lekker Vegan, City Bowl

Address: 37 Barrack Street and 105 Kloof Street, City Bowl
Opening hours: Both outlets open at 12:00 Monday to Saturday, 15:00 on Sundays
Contact: lekkervegan.co.za

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Lekker Vegan is becoming more popular by the day and so much so that owner, James Knaap, has recently opened another outlet in Kloof Street and has plans to expand throughout South Africa. You can expect a vegan version of gatsby’s (choose from “beefy”, “messy” or “mincy”), a Lekker Swahili Bunini (vegan chicken mayo with melted vegan cheddar on a sesame bun with tomatoes and spring onions), Lekker Pork Sticks (vegan pork skewers with a satay sauce), a variety of Lekker Chips (from loaded mincy chips to nutty garlic chips) and Lekker Burgers. Lekker Vegan is aimed primarily at carnivores wanting to see what all the fuss is about with vegan food, – prepare to be pleasantly surprised! The snack platter for sharing is a good option for those wanting to taste a variety of what’s on the menu.

6. Soul, Woodstock

Address: 1st Floor, 388 Albert Road, Woodstock
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 09:00 to 19:00, Friday and Saturday 09:00 to 16:00
Contact: Soul on Facebook

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Soul truly is good for one’s soul! This wonderful find on the first floor of the Royal Albert building, is a tranquil haven from the madness of this part of the city. As you walk through the doors you are met by shelves filled with interesting books (from holistic living to photography), a shop selling crystals and all manner of goodies to enhance your good vibrations and a coffee shop offering vegetarian light meals and beverages, along with a tranquil courtyard area with a vertical garden and a tinkling fountain. Add to that the smell of incense in the air and ambient music and you’ll feel the calm wash over you in an instant. Their affordable menu is small and changes seasonally, with options currently including vegan chickpea rotis, broccoli and coconut soup served with spinach bread (recommended), vegan muffins and chocolate brownies, along with hot and cold beverages. They also offer yoga, meditation sessions, Thai Chi classes and host various talk evenings.

7. Cocoa

Address: Cocoa Cha-Chi, 20 Lower Main Road, Observatory; Cocoa Wah Wah, 18 Main Road, Rondebosch; Cocoa Oola, 100 Kloof Street, Tamboerskloof
Opening hours: All branches, Monday to Sunday, 07:00 to 23:00
Contact: cocoa.co.za

Photo by Rachel Robinson

There are three Cocoa restaurants in Cape Town that all serve well-priced dishes in generous portions with plenty of vegetarian options available. They also have a happy hour, breakfast specials, burger nights and pasta nights. The menu is wide, with tapas, toasted sandwiches, wraps, burgers, salads, pizzas, gills, desserts, smoothies, milkshakes, juices, craft beers, cocktails and hot beverages. While the menus at each of the restaurants is much the same, the venues themselves are all quite different with different clientelle. If you are looking for a quiet spot to enjoy a cuppa while checking your email, I recommend Cocoa Cha-Chi in Observatory. I loved their vertical garden, water fountain and quirky décor. The scrambled eggs with hummus come highly recommended, as do their tapas options – they give you four, rather than three, of each tapas so you can actually share it and not fight over the last one!

8. Flourish Bistro, Woodstock

Address: 403 Albert Road, Woodstock
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 16:00, Saturdays 09:00 to 15:00
Contact: Flourish Bistro on Facebook

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Flourish Bistro is free from gluten, refined sugar and proudly plant-based. They also source organic ingredients as far as possible, compost any food scraps, recycle all their waste and provide bio-degradable takeaway containers. They have various breakfast options, muffins, quiches, smoothie pops and a set dishes for lunch which are posted on the wall (and their Facebook page) at the beginning of each week. When I popped in they were serving a Raw Buddha Bowl with kale, falafel balls, creamy avo, sweet grated carrots in orange juice with spiralised zuccini and beetroot topped with a pesto dressing and hemp seeds. Other days included pizza, lasagne and sweet potato cakes all with raw toppings and dressings. In addition to all this soul food, they have shelves filled with earth-friendly items for the home and personal care along with jars filled with chickpea or red lentil pastas, superfood protein blends, falafel mixes, vegan biltong and droewors, seeds and grains which are sold by weight.

Vegetarian restaurants in the Southern Suburbs

9. Spirit Café, Constantia and Gardens

Address: Constantia Village, Constantia and Dunkley Square, Gardens
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 08:00 to 16:30, Saturdays 08:00 to 14:00; Dunkley Square: Monday to Friday 07:30 to 17:00, Saturdays 09:00 to 15:00
Contact: spiritcafe.co.za

Photo by Rachel Robinson

At Spirit Café, it isn’t about being vegetarian or vegan, it’s about enjoying great food that’s good for you and just happens to be meat-free, gluten-free and sugar-free. Their lunch buffet, served from noon, is the main drawcard here and it’s advisable to get there soon after midday as it goes quick!

Breakfast options include muffins and chia pots to full plates of eggs served with halloumi and avocado. You’ll also find buddha bowls, wraps, cakes, treats, smoothies, juices, and hot drinks. If you fancy something a little different, try their Chia Seed, Buchu & Pear Cake or nibble on a Dark Chocolate & Spekboom Brownie.

10. Govinda’s Natural Food Cafe, Rondebosch

Address: Hare Krishna Temple, 17 St Andrew’s Road, Rondebosch
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday 12:00 to 18:00
Contact: Govinda’s on Facebook

Photo from Govindas

Govinda’s (who have been open for as long as I’ve been alive) has always been a popular go-to for vegetarian food – their meals are tasty, unpretentious and ridiculously low-priced (plus the portions are large). You can choose to eat in or dash in and grab a tasty takeaway, but if you are really feeling the pinch, you can join the Sunday Love Feast every Sunday where you get free food! It starts at 15:30 with a meditation followed by talks and learning more about the Bhakti lifestyle, with dinner served at 18:00. Yoga-lovers are welcome to attend their yoga sessions every Tuesday and Thursday at 18:30, which includes a vegetarian meal after the session.

11. GroundZero-Marley Coffee, Observatory

Address: 122B Lower Main Road, Observatory
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 17:00, Sundays 10:00 to 17:00
Contact: GroundZero-Marley Coffee on Facebook

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Marley Coffee is not just a coffee shop that serves a great cuppa in a relaxed and friendly environment; their restaurant (GroundZero) also offers a vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu with a variety of affordable options. I tried their vegan chicken mayo sandwich on a toasted stoneground Turkish roll and was amazed at how much it looked and tasted like the meaty version. I am now intrigued enough to try their vegan ‘facon’. You’ll also find wraps, stir-fries, curries, and quiches on the menu, along with breakfast bowls, desserts and treats. If you just feel like a drink or a quick snack, their vegan banana and chocolate milkshake is a meal on its own and their chips are jolly good too.

12. Maharajah, Rondebosch

Address: Fountain Square, Main Road, Rondebosch
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 11:00 to 21:00
Website: vegetarianfoods.co.za

Photo by Rachel Robinson

This is a well-loved vegetarian spot that also sells frozen vegetarian and vegan ingredients (‘chicken’ and ‘prawns’), as well as a delicious dhanya chutney. You can eat in or grab a takeaway – pop in a few samoosas, they truly are yummy. The menu is quite extensive and the owner is only too happy to guide you in your choice. I had the chickpea and butternut curry served with rice and sambals, which was delicious, but when my friend’s chana chaat (chickpeas and spicy potatoes) wrap arrived, I fancied that instead. So we ended up sharing our meals, which you probably will too as all of them taste so good.

13. O’Ways Teacafé, Claremont

Address: Heritage House, 20 Dreyer Street, Claremont
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 07:30 to 17:00, Saturdays 09:00 to 14:00
Website: oways.co.za

Photo from OWays
The main focus here is tea and there are pages and pages of different kinds on a menu solely for teas. There’s even a tea club that meets on the first Saturday of each month and membership is free – all you need is an overwhelming love for the beverage. As well as teas from every corner of the world, they serve breakfast and lunch and are open for dinner on Fridays.

There’s a special of the day and I really enjoyed mine, which was a butternut ravioli drenched in a creamy mushroom sauce. The best part was getting a bamboo bowl filled with slices of different breads and a mini leek gratin served on top of a slice of cucumber, ‘with compliments of the chef’. It wasn’t because I was special in any way, everyone gets one! A tasty and unexpected touch. They have plenty of vegan options available too, including vegan dim sum, burgers and desserts.

Vegetarian restaurants on the Atlantic Seaboard

 

14. Scheckter’s RAW, Sea Point

Address: 98 Regent Road, Sea Point
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 7:00 to 16:00
Website: Scheckter’s RAW on Facebook

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Scheckter’s RAW had literally been open for a day or two when I walked past in the late afternoon. Owner, Toby Scheckter, offered me a sample of a vegan version of a Snickers Bar and I was back the next day to try the rest of the menu! The food here is literally beautiful. The presentation is next level and if you are thinking of embracing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, then this is the place to get you started. I had the raw zucchini pasta with an avocado, sunflower seed and lemon pesto, washed down with a jar (literally) of Pine Punch (pineapple, coconut water, broccoli, green apple, mint, and lemon). They offer breakfast and lunch, raw pizza (butternut, sunflower seed and golden flax seed base) and treats like raw macaroons and the highly-recommended Raw Snickers bar!

15. Massimo’s, Hout Bay

Address: Oakhurst Farm Park, Main Road, Hout Bay
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 12:00 to 21:00
Contact: massimos.co.za

Photo by Rachel Robinson

I first discovered this Italian family-run restaurant while searching for great tapas restaurants in Cape Town. I have since returned a few times, as not only do they have a wide menu with really good food, they are also very pet-friendly, even offering a pet menu that my dog totally approves of. Vegetarians and vegans are spoilt for choice here and there’s an entire vegan-friendly menu with tapas, pizza, pasta, salad, and dessert options. The owners, Massimo and Tracey, are extremely community-minded and support various local charities by donating an amount to them when you buy selected pizza and pasta dishes. You can also pay it forward by buying a virtual slice of pizza for someone in need. Good food and good causes certainly go well together!

16. Bugatti’s, Hout Bay

Address: 40 Victoria Avenue, Hout Bay
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:30 to 22:30
Contact: bugattis.co.za

Photo from Burgattis

To be honest, this local hangout on Victoria Road is the last place I expected to find vegan options, let alone a wide range of vegetarian options on the menu. However, it turns out that the owner’s daughter is vegan and has had a hand in adding vegan cheese (imported from Greece!) to the pizza menu, along with vegan burgers, vegan pastas and starters, and a vegan tapas plate. While I’d try any of their vegan options, I have been told that The Spuddy Buddy pizza with potato, mushrooms, peppadews, tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh basil, and herbs smothered in vegan cheese is a firm favourite with their plant-based patrons.

17. Mary-Anne’s Emporium, Mouille Point

Address: 3 Park Road, Mouille Point
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 18:00, Saturdays and Sundays, 09:00 to 18:00
Contact: Mary Anne’s Emporium on Facebook

Photo by Rachel Robinson

I first discovered Mary-Anne’s Emporium when exploring Gordon’s Bay and was very impressed with their lavish vegetarian lunch buffet, so when I heard they’d opened up a branch in Mouille Point, I popped in for a visit. Their lunch buffets are on offer daily and you can expect a variety of vegetarian dishes served with various sauces, salads, nuts, and breads. In addition to the popular buffet, they have smoothies, juices and hot drinks, as well as what is possibly the best vegan cheesecake I have ever had. There are also eco-friendly and vegan-friendly pantry items available to buy, including flours, nuts and non-irradiated spices, along with earth-friendly bath and body products.

18. The Sunshine Food Company, Green Point

Address: 6 Main Road, Sea Point
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 08:00 to 20:00
Contact: The Sunshine Food Company on Facebook

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Elisha Madzivadondo started out by selling his vegan burgers at various markets in Cape Town before opening his bright-yellow restaurant on the main road in Sea Point. The place may be tiny, but the burgers are huge! The vegan patty is made up of butternut, sweet potato, lentils, coconut flour, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds and is seasoned with basil and thyme. It’s topped with black beans and micro-greens (which Elisha grows himself) and served in a black activated charcoal bun. I have to admit that while the burger was delicious, the black burger bun was very much a novelty for me! However, you can opt for their bun-less version or have it in a wrap, including a nori sushi rice wrap. If burgers aren’t your thing, they also offer falafel balls with a Tahini sauce. There are also plenty of fresh juices and smoothies. The Sunshine Food Company can also be found at the Tokai Earth Fair Food Market, Cape Point Vineyard Market and the Kirstenbosch Market.

Vegetarian restaurants on the South Peninsula

19. Yoffi Falafel, Muizenberg

Address: Surfers Corner, Muizenberg
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
Contact: Tel 0843648466

Photo by Rachel Robinson
Cheap, cheerful, delicious, and filling are four words that describe Muizenberg’s favourite falafel spot. Being on Surfer’s Corner, you can literally step off the beach and cross the road into this tiny restaurant, where everything is kept simple. A few tables and chairs, a service counter and a chalkboard listing falafels (chicken falafels are also available, for people who don’t understand what a falafel is) toasted sandwiches, sweet potato chips, muffins, smoothies, and hot and cold beverages. The toughest choices you are going to have to make are whether to have your falafel balls on a plate or in a pita and whether to eat at a table or on the beach.

20. Stoked Café, Muizenberg

Address: 175 Main Road, Muizenberg
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 08:00 to 17:00
Contact: stokedbackpackers.com

Photo by Rachel Robinson

Stoked Café is part of Stoked Backpackers, which was included in 16 of the best backpackers in Cape Town. The café serves vegetarian breakfasts, light meals and cooked lunches. Items on the chalkboard menu include a Healthy Hippy breakfast (homemade muesli, yoghurt, fruit and honey), a Spanish breakfast (three-egg omelette with a filling of mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, cheese, and peppers), sandwiches, nutty salads, stir-fries, nachos, and a vegetarian surfer burger. You can eat in the café, or upon the deck with a view of surfers taking on the ocean.

 

Have we missed your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Feature image: Rachel Robinson

 

(Updated February 2019)

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