South Africans are notorious carnivores, and in the past it’s been difficult for those with alternative dietary choices to get by. Thankfully, Cape Town has been at the forefront of the trend toward the raw and organic, and it’s now the easiest it’s ever been for those following a plant-based diet to find good food.
If you’re a vegan, a vegetarian, or even just somebody looking for a different culinary spin on things, then these are some of the places in the meat-free Mother City that are worth a visit.
Note: not all of the establishments on this list are strictly vegetarian, but they are all vegetarian-friendly and many cater for exclusively vegan diets too.
Raw and Roxy
If you’re into conscious cuisine then you have to check out Raw and Roxy. This deli uses exclusively raw and vegan ingredients providing a health food double-whammy that’s difficult to beat.
Founder Beatrice Holst is all about making vegan food interesting, and she does this with aplomb, using favourites like matcha and coconut in unique and interesting ways. Expect a fresh new take on vegan dining.
Scheckter’s RAW, Sea Point
Scheckter’s RAW is one of Cape Town’s most famous health food restaurants. Situated on the popular Seapoint restaurant strip, Scheckter’s has everything that a healthy foodie could possibly want. Their Super Bowls are epic, and you can wash them down with kombucha, a cold-pressed juice or a superfood smoothie to supercharge the goodness.
Govinda’s Food Café
The Hare Krishna Centre in Rondebosch has been the suburban hub for the vegetarian lifestyle for decades. You can visit the temple and try some prasad, the traditional food prepared with special attention, at Govinda’s Food Café at the Centre.
The centre also hosts a yoga evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays where you can have a yoga class and a meal for a ridiculously low price. Note: Hare Krishna cooking often uses dairy, so if you’re vegan then call ahead to ask what’s on the menu.
The Whole Earth Café
The Whole Earth Cafe is a vegetarian-friendly restaurant in the beautiful seaside suburb of Scarborough. The fare for vegetarians is hearty; healthy breakfasts, and favourites like falafels and veggie burgers for lunch and dinner. Perfect for some good food while you soak up the natural beauty of the Cape Peninsula.
The Spirit Café is a suburban sanctuary for those with a plant-based diet. Based in Constantia, the café has excellent smoothies and breakfast bowls, as well as an interesting lunch menu that incorporates a broad range of flavours. The restaurant does also serve food containing eggs and honey, so double-check before ordering if you’re vegan.
Juice, juice, juice; that’s what people go to Orchard for and with good reason. There’s a wild selection (anybody for activated charcoal, lemon, apple, ginger and dandelion?) and they’re all full of healthy goodness. There are also smoothies, snacks, and a simple but delicious online food menu. They’ve had to adapt due to the pandemic and now deliver veggie goodness straight to your door
Unframed Ice Cream
Vegan ice cream created by a legitimate ice cream master: that’s all you really need to know about Unframed Ice Cream. They’ll have at least three nut-based vegan flavours on offer when you visit, so you’ll have to go and try them all.
Honest Chocolate Café
Honest Chocolate is a Cape Town institution. Offering the very best in ethically-sourced, handcrafted chocolate, they’re also part of Cape Town’s vegan route because their café offers dark chocolate truffles and dairy-free milkshakes.
Blended Health Cafe
Blended Health Cafe in Glencairn is a great spot in the South Peninsula that’s just over the road from Glencairn Beach and the popular Glencairn tidal pool. It’s in the EAT.SURF.YOGA Centre that has become a hub in Cape Town’s Deep South and offers some excellent vegetarian options, including breakfasts, smoothies and even CBD coffee.
Situated on the Muizenberg beachfront, Yoffi Falafel is a favourite for an affordable post-surf meal. They’re all about the falafel at Yoffi’s and they do them well. They also have salads and sweets like halva, making them a spot to chow down while you’re still in your wetsuit.