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15 Fabulous vegetarian and vegan restaurants to try in your city

Have you given up meat this year? Wanting to help heal the planet? Here's your guide to the best nature-loving cafés in Cape Town, Durban and Joburg.

12 Jan 2017

(Image on right: Orchard on Long | Image on left: Earthmother Organic)

Cape Town

Plant, CBD
Plant started off in Bo Kaap and is now situated in the CBD just off Long Street. Plant shows us that you can turn popular dishes into vegan ones. They will substitute eggs for tofu and bacon for tempeh bacon and a beef patty for a giant marinated black mushroom. Their philosophy lies with care and respect for animals and the planet. The café has a large peaceful seating area, finished off with natural wood and a herb wall. They also serve fresh smoothies and juices.

The Hungry Herbivore, CBD
This café started from humble beginnings at various semi-permanent markets. The duo behind the Hungry Herbivore sold packaged snacks and today have turned that into a national business, selling at various outlets. The café is an extension of their philosophy of combining healthy food and comfort food, that is totally vegan. You'll find incredible vegan pizzas made with homemade almond Mozzarella, vegan burgers, nourishing bowls and sweet treats that are gluten and sugar-free. The offering is really impressive and proves there are endless possibilities with vegan food.

Evolution Café Xperience, CBD
Evolution has just opened in the Portside building on Bree. It's owned by a nutritionist who is passionate about wholefoods and superfoods, food that is nutrient rich, and doesn't leave the body craving. Evolution is suitably named as it follows a series of cafés promoting a similar ideology, and encouraging Cape Town to eat clean, whole and vegetarian. You'll find delicious wraps and smoothies here and lots of other tidbits. Look out for their brand new menu launching soon.

Raw and Roxy, CBD
Previously in Woodstock, Raw and Roxy has now joined the ranks of Bree Street Cafés but thankfully providing a totally different food experience to their neighbours. It's likely that this spot will change your perspective on raw food because every plate they create is loaded with colour and flavour. The idea behind a raw food diet is that cooked food can lose its nutrients and enzymes. Raw and Roxy offers food in its purist form and it's also a strictly vegan café.

Sheckter's Raw, Sea Point Scheckter's Raw serves highly unique, gourmet health food, basically designer vegan dishes that will open your eyes to the possibilities that lie with plant-based food. The mission of the café is to take health food to the next level, broadening its horizens and spreading the ideology at the same time. Food is made with love, and the care that goes into it is evident throughout. Try the Asian section of the menu, the organic dahl wrap and the best vegan burger. They are open for breakfast, lunch and on Thursdays to Saturdays for dinner as well.

Orchard, CBD
Orchard is primarily a juice and smoothie bar, but they make brilliant vegan sandwiches filled to the brim, as well as vegan wholewheat tortilla wraps. This place epitomises Summer and healthy, clean eating, with it's adornment of fresh fruit and two-tone mint and white walls. Try their house brand kombucha and grab a Fresco sami!

Lunchin' on Long ????

A photo posted by Orchard Juice & Health Bar (@orchardjuicebar) on

Pure Elixir, CBD
A tiny, natural wood laden, hole in the wall on Bree Street, Pure Elixir serves on the go health and vegan food and are known for their Indian-style vegan rotis made from chickpeas and potatoes, which are simply delicious. Also try their organic vegan and superfood smoothies.


The Green Side Café, Greenside
Greenside Café has a great message that promotes a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle in order to reduce animal agriculture and ultimately save the planet. This little café is doing their bit to reduce the carbon footprint of themselves and their customers. On first glance, the menu looks like any ordinary casual café, but on closer look, every item is totally vegan. Greenside has a great selection of burgers, a variety of pastas including gluten-free and tofu-based, as well has wholesome main meals and pizzas, also in a gluten-free option.

Conscious 108, Greenside
Another completely plant-based eatery and coincidentally also situated in Greenside. The name says it all. The restaurant's foundation is built on care and consideration for the living environment surrounding us, which is why they are fully vegan. Their motto is 'kindness'. Conscious 108 serves incredible wraps like the crispy tofu with roasted peanut sauce, or try the chickpea bunny chow.

Free Food, Melrose
Free Food offers a huge variety of vegan dishes with a menu that changes every two weeks. They draw inspiration from a variety of cuisines, from Thai to Middle Eastern. They offer various wholesome bowls like basil and red jasmine rice and roasted chickpea and millet. There are also gluten-free pizzas, flapjacks and wraps as well as sugar-free sweet treats like the baked tofu cheesecake. This is a health nut's dream.

Elemental Café, Pine Park
Elemental offers both vegan and vegetarian options, so veggies and non-veggies can still enjoy wood fired pizzas loaded with cheese. The pizzas, along with egg breakfasts and veggie burgers allow them to suit a variety of palates, and make it easy for customers to enjoy meat-free dishes. Elemental prides themselves on serving healthy food, so you'll find changing baked sweet treats that leave out the sugar, dairy and/or gluten. The menu also clearly states what's vegan and what's vegetarian so its easy to navigate. As an aside, they have a sunny outdoor seating area with a play area for kids.

Fruits & Roots, Bryanston
Attached to an extensive health shop, Fruits & Roots is a dedicated vegetarian restaurant serving the same good quality food offered in the health store. The restaurant and shop are fluid and connect to a lovely outside courtyard. The restaurant offers a daily vegetarian buffet which starts at 11:30, as well as gluten-free cakes, and organic coffee. Aside from that, you can enjoy wraps and their signature vegetarian and gluten-free burger.

Fresh Earth Café, Emmarentia
This restaurant is an extension of the Fresh Earth Food Store, where you can buy fresh produce and products for your specific dietary requirements. The café offers food for Banters, vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free diets and those keeping things raw. The menu is extensive and includes symbols to help identify which eating plan a dish fits into. You'll find vegan wraps, Banting wraps, vegetarian burgers, salads and pizzas. Food is also organic and follows ethical and sustainable production methods.


Earthmother Organic Café, Windermere
The café is attached to the organic shop where they sell a range of products and fresh organic, locally sourced produce. The café follows the same principle with its ingredients and promotes healthy living. You'll find only vegetarian and vegan dishes available for breakfast and lunch. Specials are added regularly to keep the offering fresh and to allow for changes in availability of ingredients. Enjoy wraps and salads, vegan quesadillas, Banting omelettes, and flaxseed cracker sandwiches.

It's All Good Café, Durban North
Another café and grocer combo serving fresh organic produce and vegetarian and vegan food. It is indeed all good at this café with unique, quality meals like the aubergine, olive and tomato curry or gluten-free falafel and hummus wrap. They also do a mean build-your-own breakfast, decadent vegan cakes and offer dinner take-aways before 6pm.

Govinda's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant, Chatsworth
The location of Govinda's is worth the visit alone. Set inside the beautiful Hare Krishna Temple of Understanding, Govinda's serves strictly vegetarian food. The restaurant is an extension of the temple, exuding peace, respect and love, which is transferred to the food. Expect delicious and traditional Indian spices. Enjoy paneer curry and traditional thali, amongst other delightful dishes.

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