With many South Africans traditionally following meat-heavy diets, high-quality vegetarian restaurants took a while to catch on. Fortunately, these days most Cape Town restaurants now offer a handful of quality vegetarian options, and there’s also a new wave of exclusively vegan and vegetarian establishments that are well worth a visit, loyal meat eater or not.
Plant was one of the first gourmet vegan restaurants in Cape Town, and they’ve barely skipped a beat since their humble beginnings as a small Bo-Kaap café in 2013. Plant is a relaxed and diverse eatery just off Cape Town’s Long Street and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve quality ethical vegan meals that’ll sway even the strictest meat eaters, and they take special care to accommodate those with food allergies and intolerances without compromising on taste.
Vegetarian side dishes | Daniel Rossi / Flickr.com
Walking into Sexy Food feels like you’ve stumbled into a living vegan experiment. Once a nondescript garage, this trendy raw-food café in the Cape Town CBD is packed full of fresh and fermenting plant-based ingredients. All of these make their way into a range of tasty and healthy meals and drinks that have made this one of the city’s most popular — and loved — vegan eateries.
Chefs may only have one vegetarian item on the menu, but then again, this novel establishment in Gardens has made its name on limited options and exceptional quality. Patrons pick from the small but exceptional selection from the iPad menu updated daily, which always includes one vegetarian option. They then take a seat in the intriguingly styled dining area with direct view of the spotless kitchen. Though the impressively prompt service and decor may resemble a quirky cafeteria, that comparison ends as soon as you sample the meal placed down in front of you.
Hungry Herbivore is a relatively new addition to the Cape Town vegan scene, and yet going on its popularity you’d hardly know it. This vibrant 100% vegan eatery started out as a small food stand at a nearby market, but has since grown to a fully fledged restaurant on Orphan Street in the Cape Town CBD. Owners Amy Scott and Brent Borman effortlessly break down the vegan meal stereotype with a menu that is diverse and full of delicious surprises.
One of the city’s best respected Mexican restaurants El Burro may not be entirely vegetarian, but their established Green Point branch and newer Taqueria on Kloof Nek serve up several quality meat-free Mexican dishes. Though a little on the costly side, particularly for big appetites, it’s become a perfect middle ground for veggies and non-veggies to unite.
This Sea Point vegan restaurant is one of the trendiest on the Atlantic Seaboard. Though they tend towards the expensive side of vegetarian eating, they offer a variety of healthy and delicious breakfast and lunch options that’ll leave even the pickiest vegetarian happy.
Health restaurant and cafe Spirit is an ideal vegetarian spot for a coffee, snack or light meal in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs. The cafe is comfortable and casual, and has become particularly popular among Constantia’s health conscious freelancers. They also offer a range of quick-grab meals or freshly made takeaways for those just passing through.