Vegan Eats in Cape Town, South Africa

24th July 2015

We recently spent a month in Cape Town, our first trip to Africa, and discovered a city with a rich history, diverse population and an equally rich and diverse culinary landscape. What struck us about Cape Town though was just how small the city felt and how friendly and laid-back people were. It’s a wonderful thing to discover a city that makes use of their fantastic produce and the Western Cape has some of the best produce we’ve seen anywhere. While there aren’t a lot of exclusively vegan restaurants, the city has a growing number of vegan-friendly establishments making it easy to find Vegan Eats in Cape Town.

Vegan Eats and Restaurants in Cape Town, South Africa


Addis in Cape

Cape Town, South Africa

Addis in Cape, Ethiopian Restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa

Addis in Cape is an Ethiopian restaurant that offers an entirely vegan vegetarian menu. The large multi-level restaurant is located in the Cape Town CBD and has cozy dining areas complete with traditional decor. Some side dishes from the general menu are not vegan as they contain dairy but those dishes are clearly labeled and can easily be avoided. Addis is open for lunch and dinner and is a popular place for groups to go and share a communal meal served atop the traditional Ethiopian crepes known as injera. Injeras at Addis are not 100% teff unless requested at an additional cost. Instead of being 100% teff, Addis uses a combination of rice flour and teff flour resulting in a lighter colored injera that is still gluten-free and fat-free. The food is flavorful, filling and occasionally spicy; spicier options are labeled on the menu but nothing struck us as being outrageously spicy.

Vegan Ethiopian Injera and Sides at Addis in Cape, Cape Town

Addis in Cape

address: Corner Church & Long Street, 41 Church St, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
contact: +27 21 424 5722
connect: Website + Facebook


Food Lover’s Market (Newspaper House)

Cape Town, South Africa

Vegan Options at Food Lover's Market Newspaper House in Cape Town

Food Lover’s Market is a higher-end local South African grocery store chain. Each location has a vastly different selection. Some locations, like the one on the pedestrianized St. George’s Mall in the Cape Town CBD, combine boutique grocer with food court so it’s reminiscent of the prepared foods and salad bar section at Whole Foods. The salad bar included about half a dozen clearly labeled vegan dishes. All prepared salads have ingredient lists and a few common allergy and dietary labels. The hot food section wasn’t vegan-friendly but the salad bar was more than enough for a quick, healthy and satisfying meal. A nice selection of drinks were also available, including local cold press juices. As of our visit, the salad bar price was R95 per kilo or about $3.50 (US) per pound.

Tip: Go earlier in the day to avoid the lunchtime rush and the risk of dishes selling out. Salads are perfect to pack for a day trip or picnic.

Vegan salad options at Food Lover's Market in Cape Town

Vegan Miam's Vegan Salads from Food Lover's Market in Cape Town

Food Lover’s Market (Newspaper House)

address: 122 St Georges Mall, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
contact: +27 21 424 0294
connect: Website


Gold Restaurant

Cape Town, South Africa

Gold Restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa

Gold Restaurant is a 14 dish culinary tour of Africa, complete with hands on cultural entertainment throughout the evening. The large 3-story brick building attracts tour groups and traveling couples, it’s fair to say that this isn’t our typical experience and certainly isn’t the local experience but every once and a while it’s nice to do things a bit differently. It took us out of our comfort zones and we enjoyed it.

You will need to contact them in advance to make a reservation for the vegan menu. We contacted director Cindy Muller regarding vegan options and she was eager to accommodate and quick to point out that they have hosted a number of vegan diners and even catered a vegan wedding. The staff were all aware that our menu was unique and service went smoothly. The only noticeable thing lacking from the vegan menu were desserts, instead of replacing two of the three desserts with vegan options they opted to just exclude them and only serve fresh fruit for our dessert.

The restaurant opens at 6.30pm, at which time they have a traditional drumming session that you participate in. Dinner service starts around 7.30pm and the restaurant is open until midnight. Throughout service there are performers winding through the restaurant, getting the diners involved. There is plenty of parking nearby and the area seemed safe at night. The cost was R315 per person.

Vegan Starters at Gold Restaurant Cape Town

(From left to right): South African spiced tomato soup with masala spiced bread twists and Ethiopian lentil dhal; Cape Malay Samosa with peas and potatoes x Zambian Kandolo balls with sesame seeds x Imfimo Patties with spinach and maize meal; Ugandan Bean Briouats (lightly spiced sugar beans in phyllo dough)

Vegan Mains at Gold Restaurant in Cape Town

(From left to right): Lentil Bobotie without the custard topping; Ghanaian Vegetable Curry in coconut milk; Congolese spinach

Zanzibar Carrots and African Creamy Pab with Grilled Corn

(From left to right): Zanzibar carrots with star anise; African Creamy Pab with grilled corn

Gold Restaurant

address: 15 Bennett St, Cape Town, 8005, South Africa
contact: +27 21 421 4653
connect: Facebook


Honest Chocolate Cafe

Cape Town, South Africa

Honest Chocolate Cafe Cape Town South Africa

This little vegan-friendly gem in Cape Town is a decadent must visit for anyone who loves desserts, chocolate, raw vegan treats or a calm cafe ambiance. Vegan, gluten-free and raw vegan options are labeled on the menu. We tried the chocolate sauce and a raw vegan chocolate tart. The menu includes a selection of baked goods, a few made to order dishes, tempting drinks (chocolate or otherwise) and some daily specials. Nice cafe atmosphere, friendly staff, good food. Located just off the buzzing Bree St. Their chocolate bars and chocolate spread are available in a number of grocery stores across South Africa.

Honest Chocolate Tart and Products

(From left to right): Honest Chocolate’s vegan and gluten-free Coconut Macaroon tart; Honest Chocolate’s chocolate slabs and raw organic chocolate spread

Honest Chocolate Cafe

address: 64A Wale St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
contact: +27 76 765 8306
connect: Website + Facebook


Masala Dosa

Cape Town, South Africa

Masala Dosa Cape Town South Africa

Set along the bustling Long Street in an old Victorian Building, this small Indian restaurant offers a vegan menu upon request. The menu is available online but the prices have slightly increased. The intimate atmosphere is ideal for smaller parties and makes for a nice leisurely meal. The service and flavors were superb. While the dishes tended to be on the mild side in terms of spices we found them all rather enjoyable. I recommend their drinks, especially the vegan lassi.

Vegan at Masala Dosa Cape Town

(From left to right): Sweet and spiced masala tea; Vegan Masala Magic Lassi with crushed cashew nuts, cloves, cardamom and rose syrup; Channa masala (chickpea curry – cinnamon/cumin flavors and slightly spicy), mixed bean curry (black-eyed pea), veg curry (mild curried cauliflower, peas and potato), potato curry (same as served with masala dosa), moong dhal (blended yellow dhal) and sambar (salty savory brown lentil sauce). Paired with coriander chutney.

Vegan Thali with Puri and Masala Dosa in Cape Town, South Africa

(From left to right): Thali with puri (puffy Indian fried bread), pappadum and rice; Traditional Masala dosa (potatoes sauteed in onions with curry leaves and mustard seeds) accompanied with coconut chutney and sambar. Dosa bread was dry, I prefer it moist and a bit more sour. Plenty of wet condiments to work with it though.

Masala Dosa

address: 167 Long St, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
contact: +27 21 424 6772
connect: Website


The Hungry Herbivore

Cape Town, South Africa

The Hungry Herbivore inside Market on the Wharf at V & A Waterfront Cape Town

Update (Nov. 24, 2016): They relocated, see new address below.

I always get excited about raw vegan food when we’re traveling because it’s something I rarely (more like never) prepare away from home. The Hungry Herbivore is a small raw vegan food stand located at the V&A Waterfront inside the Market on the Wharf. They offer a limited menu that usually includes Raw Pizza, one other savory dish and a selection of raw vegan desserts and snacks. Our Raw Pizza was R30 and our Blueberry Vanilla Cheesecake was R35. Fresh flavors, fantastic deal; we highly recommend it for anyone visiting Cape Town. The Hungry Herbivore also provides catering services.

Tip: The location at the V&A Waterfront is especially convenient since the boat to Robben Island leaves from this point.

The Hungry Herbivore Blueberry Vanilla Cheesecake and Raw Pizza Slice

(From left to right): Blueberry Vanilla ‘Cheesecake’ with dates-almonds-cacao base (R35); Raw ‘Pizza’ Slice (R30), topped with cashew cream ‘cheese’, fresh organic dried tomato sauce, avocado, baby spinach, sweet bell peppers and basi

The Hungry Herbivore's Raw Blueberry Vanilla Cheesecake and Raw Pizza Slice

The Hungry Herbivore

address: 11 Orphan St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000
contact: 021 422 0347
connect: Website + Facebook


Orchard on Long

Cape Town, South Africa

Orchard on Long in Cape Town, South Africa

There’s a combination of a few tried and true classics and some wonderfully creative menu options at the juice bar Orchard on Long. They make use of the bountiful produce selection in Cape Town, offering made to order juices, smoothies and a limited vegetarian prepared foods menu. Vegan food items are listed as vegan and vegan smoothies are labeled with a ‘V’. They also have a small selection of supplements, basics and their own bottled juices. Very little seating means this place is primarily for takeaway. Orchard on Long is centrally located and a short walk from Masala Dosa and Plant. Juice cleanses are also available.

Vegan Options Menu from Orchard on Long Cape Town

Juices and Smoothies at Orchard Long, Cape Town

(From left to right): Large Hot Citrus C juice; Greens Smoothie & Moringa Smoothie

Orchard on Long

address: 211 Long St, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
contact: +27 21 424 3781
connect: Website + Facebook


PLANT Cafe

Cape Town, South Africa

Plant Cape Town South Africa

I have a lot of respect for the efforts Plant is making to promote plant-based dining in Cape Town but they still have some work to do to reach their full potential. Heartier comfort foods, a few raw dishes and some healthier options comprise the 100% vegan dining menu. The food could be a bit more original and adventurous and I would especially love to see some local flavors integrated into the menu. If you’re looking for familiar foods like sandwiches, salads, burgers and wraps though; Plant will hit the spot.

We double and triple checked their wine list and learned that a limited number of their wines are not vegan. We also encountered an issue when we placed a special order to try their range of house-made vegan cheeses. At some point they lost our order. We weren’t charged but we also didn’t get to try the cheeses. I think Plant has the potential to offer a lot to the Cape Town community and I certainly hope that they continue to learn and grow as a business.

Juices and Vegan Food at Plant in Cape Town

(From left to right): Green Juice (apple, celery and mint) & Special Juice (watermelon, apple, and pineapple); Breakfast Wrap and The Cheese Toastie

Breakfast Wrap and The Cheese Toastie at Plant Cape Town

(From left to right): Breakfast Wrap with cream cheese spread, breakfast tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, caramelised onions and rocket in a tortilla; The Cheese Toastie with their special mix of melted cheese, onion, mushroom and mayo on sourdough

Plant Cafe

address: 8 Buiten St, Cape Town, South Africa
contact: +27 21 422 2737
connect: Website + Facebook


Raw and Roxy

Cape Town, South Africa

Raw and Roxy Woodstock Cape Town, South Africa

Update (Nov. 24, 2016): They relocated, see new address below.

A small, beautiful raw restaurant with rustic charm in the up and coming Woodstock district of Cape Town. You’ll need a car to get here from the center of town but it’s worth the effort. They have some of the best juices and smoothies we’ve ever tried and the staff were always lovely, warm and friendly. Since the food is made to order you may have to wait a little while, but slow food is the best food! The menu is fairly evenly split between sweet and savory options. Cooking classes and seminars are also offered.

See copies of Raw and Roxy Cape Town menus (as of April 2015) here, here and here.

Tip: A very small number of dishes contain honey but the menu specifies when it’s used.

Vegan Juices, Smoothies and Raw Tapas at Raw and Roxy Cape Town

We tried the following:

Love Elixir – Black cherry, pineapple and mint rosewater. A refreshing and unique juice, one of the best we’ve ever tried. I love the use of rosewater and cherries. Medium R35

Green Smoothie – Lemon, ginger blast, banana, nut butter, spinach, moringa leaf and soaked chia seeds topped with shredded coconut and goji berries. A rich, nutty flavor and a lovely creamy consistency. Delightful and a bit decadent. We had it more than once and the flavors tend to vary slightly from day to day. Large R50

Red Berry Smoothie – Orange, cherry, raspberry, blueberry, banana, pineapple, maca, spirulina, coconut oil and soaked chia seeds topped with shredded coconut, goji berries and mint. It was very berry forward, sweeter than the Green Smoothie and not quite as decadent but still really enjoyable. Large R50

Tried their Large Tapas – Smaller servings of nearly the entire savory menu. R95, a great deal of food and a great value for the two of us to share.

Raw Lasagne – Ours was served with ‘guacamole’ but that must have been a mistake because the menu lists turmeric, green pesto and tomato sauce; none of which we had.

Raw Pasta – Very creamy and I loved how she made her ‘zoodles’. The zoodles had a nice texture and were topped with cheezy kale chips (dehydrated) for some added texture and flavor.

Red Thai Curry – Really lovely Thai curry flavors but not very spicy, I would order this again in the full size portion. Topped white sesame seeds, flax seeds & nori strips.

Sweet and Sour Vegetable – The date-chili sauce was sweet but didn’t have any chili kick to it. Topped with a nice salty crunchy crumble of some sort and green onions. Came with peanut sauce.

Asian Red Thai Cabbage Salad – A sweeter salad with cashews, sultanas and a ginger kick to it. Light, like a nice refreshing side salad.

Guacamole – Not the most exciting of the tapas, it needed some tang. A fairly standard guacamole that could have done with just a bit of acid, but it we always love some avocado on our plate so we still enjoyed it.

Raw Vegan Sushi – With avocado, cucumber and cauliflower (instead of rice). Cauliflower pieces were slightly larger than a cauliflower rice but served as a nice replacement for rice. Topped with onion sprouts that surprisingly offered a wasabi like kick, so spicy but really a nice addition. The sushi rolls were a mouthful and pretty hearty.

Raw and Roxy

address: 8 Bree street, Cape Town, South Africa
contact: +27 79 599 6277
connect: Facebook


And Some Others We Didn’t Get To Try

We said before that the city lacked vegan restaurants but has a fantastic range of vegan-friendly restaurants so we’ve included a list of some of the vegan-friendly places we found but never got around to trying during our stay. Some of them are not mentioned on Happy Cow.

Call-a-Pizza
Takeaway and delivery pizzeria with a wide variety of vegan options
57 Regent Road, Sea Point; callapizza.co.za

Crush
Salads, wraps and lighter fare on St George’s Mall. Vegan labels
100 St Georges Mall, Cape Town City Centre; crush.co.za

Goloso Pizzeria
Changing vegan options using Plant vegan cheeses
77 Regent Road, Sea Point; facebook.com/PizzeriaGoloso

IYO (Inside & You’re Out) Burgers
Burger bar with some veggie options and one vegan burger
Upstairs, 103 Bree Street, Cape Town City Centre; iyoburgerz.co.za

Kauai
Large chain with a focus on healthier fast food options, at least two vegan options
Several locations; kauai.co.za

Mugg & Bean
Large chain throughout South Africa with a few vegan options
Several locations; themugg.com

Neighbourgoods Market
Woodstock Saturday market in The Old Biscuit Mill, vendors may change but vegan options usually available. Near Raw and Roxy.
373 Albert Road, Woodstock; neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za

Oranjezicht City Farm Market
Noted below, is a great place to shop for some the best produce at amazing prices and also includes a tent of food vendors, of which quite a few are vegan-friendly. There are cold-press juices, vegan crepes, desserts and a few other options as well.
Schedules and locations may change; ozcf.co.za

Royale Eatery
Burger joint with some vegan options, two vegan bun options
273 Long Street, Cape Town City Centre; royaleeatery.com

Sexy Food
Healthful vegan options, located inside Wellness Warehouse on Kloof
Lifestyle on Kloof, 50 Kloof Street, Gardens; sexyfood.co.za

Simply Asia
Local Thai chain, detailed allergen menu available online
Multiple locations; simplyasia.co.za

Zucchini’s
Centrally located vegetarian restaurant
83 Loop Street, Cape Town City Centre; facebook.com/pages/Zucchinis

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