Restaurant reviews

South Africa is an upcoming vegan destination with more & more vegan restaurants, hotels & experiences popping up each year.

Interest in veganism is also at an all-time high in South Africa, so sizeable that South Africa shows a higher interest in veganism than countries like France, Italy or Brazil.

(The study was based on Google trend data, a reliable source of big data which lets you compare veganism popularity across the world. Google looks at vegan-related searches made in any language such as ‘’vegan recipes’’ ‘’vegan restaurants’’ etc and assigns a score based on the number of searches for a given topic to all searches made in google for that particular location.)

(Source: thesouthafrican.com)

This page is to help you find the best vegan friendly spots in South Africa because we believe:

We review the best not only fully vegan places but also places that we consider to be vegan friendly & share this with all of you so you know where to go yourselves in each province in SA!

We hope you enjoy this resource & please let us know on social media if you go to any of these places & if there is somewhere you would love us to review then let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Also if you are a restaurant owner & would like us to review your property, get in touch on hayley@wilddreams.co.za

 

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KZN

OH MY SOUL

We visited Oh my Soul Cafe in KZN and their menu is incredible. This is a fully vegan restaurant & they serve delicious ”junk food” as well as decadent milkshakes.

The decor was just as good as the food & I particularly loved this giant blackboard with facts (pictured) and its a great spot for a photo opportunity. They also had a small shop with some unique fun vegan products that I hadn’t seen before. I brought a sign saying ”be kind to all kinds” which is proudly in our house and can be seen the second you walk in, and I also got a cool T-shirt saying ”The best things in life are… cruelty free” which I love!

We did end up spending a small fortune here, but this was generally because we were so excited at all the products & of course brought some dessert as a take away as we were quite full from the main meal, which is good as it means the portion sizes are decent (they offer everything as a take away too, so do get dessert to go if you cant fit it in)

They also had a board with vegan celebrities listed on it, which at the time I thought was cool but unfortunately I cant imagine this stays fully up to date and may be a bit of a mission to change often! (looking at you, Miley!!!) I have mixed feelings about vegan celebs but know it has its place in the movement so good on them for coming up with a fun unique idea.

Overall we couldn’t recommend this place more and I wish we lived closer! If we did then it would definitely be a go-to spot when celebrating anything.

 

CAPE TOWN

PLANT CAFE

We visited one of the two Plant Cafes in Cape Town (both are located in the Cape but the one we went to was Buiten street, CBD the other is in Camps bay) this is a fully vegan restaurant with all of your favourite foods, only veganised!

Pictured is us with their Nachos & Mac n Cheese. For me Mac n Cheese was always my favourite food pre-vegan so when ever I see it on a menu, its a no-brainer to choose this. Both of these were very good.

Their juices are also great, and makes you feel a little healthy while eating all this decadent food and I love a good juice.

We had a chocolate croissant to share as a dessert afterwards, which wasn’t the same as a regular croissant (more like a dough texture) I honestly have yet to find a really good vegan croissant so this wasn’t it for me, however it was good & more like a cinnamon bun (minus the cinnamon!) It was very filling too so a good option to share if its not the only thing you are buying.

We didn’t have a chance to try the Camps Bay location (although did see it) Its probably nicer with the sea view, so if going to one we would probably suggest trying that for more of a vibe.

I love seeing their theme menus and would love to visit to try one of these too so keep an eye out for them.

 

OUTSIDE OF CAPE TOWN

PURE CAFE

Pure Cafe is located in the quaint town of Greyton. Its in the Cape but quite off the beaten track although a lovely little holiday/getaway destination.

We actually came here because we were visiting Greyton Farm Sanctuary which is about a 10 minute drive just outside of the town and the owners of the sanctuary own the restaurant which funds much of the work they do there so a great place to support.

Its a café, so quite small but with a lovely little outside area and a few eco friendly bits and pieces to buy and I enjoy having a small shop as part of a cafe as you can have a look while waiting for your food.

We ordered the exact same as we both were so intrigued by the ”Bento Box” as its quite an unusual dish for us and we honestly don’t like to share our food with each other so as we both wanted it, it was best to simply order the same.

We loved it all, it was hard to pick our favourite item and it was really nice that it was a variety of foods and of course we are so happy our money went towards the sanctuary. Highly recommend a visit there too to meet all of the animals they have rescued and you can even go and volunteer there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

KNYSNA

OAK LEAF

 

This cafe restaurant is in a very nice location, off the main road and with a couple of outside areas, one more patio/terrace like and the other more garden like. They have an extensive vegan menu including smoothies and desserts! Unfortunatley the desserts we had arent pictures because we got them to take away & then just ate them before even thinking about getting a photo but they were carrot cake, a chocolate and nut bar and a chocolate brownie. The choc/nut bar I thought was the nicest and they also sell them in packs frozen which I thought was clever and would be great to have in your freezer for when you felt like a sweet but not too unhealthy treat and also to do for dinner parties.

Anyway I’ve gone on and on about the desserts, the mains were also great. We had a beyond burger which was done very well with all the trimmings and then a salad just packed full of goodness. I tried these dishes but my actual order was a bunless nut based burger which was so good, the salad too was light, colourful, crispy and just delicious.

I would highly recommend this place for a breakfast or lunch and they also had a small shop with some gift items and more food so overall a great spot.

 

KNYSNA

PEACE OF EDEN

I have wanted to go to Peace of Eden for the longest time! I have known about it for years although I was interested to learn that they only went fully vegan 4/5 years ago, the same amount of time I have been vegan so I expect I just heard of them right at the beginning of my own personal vegan journey.

They offer accommodation and meals by pre-arrangement. The accommodation is either tents or cabins or various sizes although sometimes the cabins are booked out for a few months as housing. We enjoyed staying in the tent which overlooks the forest.

Food wise we unfortunately didn’t have dinner as Jen who does the cooking wasn’t available but fortunately we had breakfast the next day and I can honestly say these were 2 of the BEST vegan meals I have ever tried, in my entire life. HANDS DOWN. Jen is a great chef, and clearly is very passionate about cooking plant based food.

We had the omlette which was so good, full of delicious ingredients and topped off nicely with nuts and avocado. The presentation too was just so lovely. We also had the crepes and its been a long time since I have had a crepe, this was so so good. It was topped with mango, raspberry and a drizzle of yoghurt and I honestly could eat this every day.

They also served homemade teas with mint picked from the garden and everything from the food to the accommodation and grounds just had a really nice atmosphere, if you are interested in booking in to stay here you can let me know as they are one of our listed accommodation venues through Wild Dreams Travel! (hayley@wilddreams.co.za)

 

KNYSNA

THE NODE

This cafe is in a very cute courtyard with a few shops/coffee shops. We actually saw 2 Knysna Dwarf Chameleons in the gardens around where we ate so if you go there look out for them!

The courtyard shares seating so you can sit where ever you like and we choose to be under a big beautiful tree. They only had 2 options on the menu – Falafel wrap and Falafel bowl, in total the menu is 4 options so 50% vegan which is great.

The falafel wrap was so delicious, the wrap itself was homemade and just as it should be, it was served with homemade hummus, cucumber and extra dips, the actual falafel was well seasoned and overall just a really great version of one of my favourites, so good in fact we came back again and took them as a take away and sat and ate them by the beach one day.

We then treated ourselves to their chocolate and peanut butter ”nice cream” they had 3 different flavour options and this was very good, you could choose your toppings and we had nuts, dried banana and cranberries. It was a huge bowl so unless you are very hungry just getting one to share is plenty. 

We also had homemade juices, they also had a big selection to choose from, I had a green fruit based one and Grant a beetroot based one, both tasted great. 

KNYSNA

BAO WOW

I only tried a bao bun recently and this has still been my only bao bun experience so I don’t have anything to compare this too but I imagine these were very authentic as to what they should taste like. The white dough was light and fluffy and there were 3 vegan filling options, we had a crispy mushroom one and a cauliflower ”chicken” style one, the third was tofu based. They came with an array of different condiments and extras and all of their mayo and aioli is vegan. 

I would suggest getting 2 buns each as they aren’t small but also aren’t huge. They did Bao bowls too if you wanted all of the flavour just without the bun which is probably what I would do next time but that is really just personal preference. Its a small cafe set up (attached to a beautiful shop) and we decided to get them to take away and have them on a beach bench which worked really well.

SEDGEFIELD

LI-O-LA

Li-o-la is the only fully vegan restaurant on the garden route, its in a small centre which has a very busy market on a Saturday so it has a lovely buzzy vibe. This is a really authentic Italian place with the options of pizza and pasta. We went here twice, once for Pizza with was really great and then the second time we went to get a Lasagne as a take away, plus some of their chocolate cake!

We took the take aways up to Knysna Heads for the lovely view so both times in the restaurant and out we very nice experiences.

The Lasagne was one of the VERY BEST dishes I have tried since being vegan (we are talking 5 years people!) I think I will be dreaming about this dish for many years until I have it again. Its a huge portion so we shared it although based on taste and texture alone I could of probably eaten it.

I honestly cant recommend this place enough for both vibe and food.

JOHANNESBERG

KAYLEES

I have wanted to visit Kaylees for the longest time, but was never in the city long enough too, even the day we visited was a quick stop as we had just landed at the airport and then had a 6 hour drive ahead of us to get home but I knew the detour would be worth it. We had a hot chocolate and the chocolate/oat and coffee smoothie while we waited for our food as we had decided that this would be our ”car food” and would see us through the next few hours, which it most definitely did! No stopping for crisps for us!!

The drinks were really good, very decadent and just hit the spot.

Then food wise we had a burger and chips which was really good, it was ”fried chicken style” so crispy. Then I got my all-time favourite of mac n cheese. It was a bit of a twist on a mac n cheese and came with broccoli which was cooked perfectly, jalapenos which were very spicy and vegan ”bacon” which worked really well with the dish, adding that smokyness. The pasta was also huge and I just about managed to eat it all over the 6 hour period.

Kaylees also sells cakes and cupcakes, of which I had tried a red velvet before so knew that they were great.

This place also has a very well stocked market full of amazing vegan products from food to toiletries and lots of eco-friendly goodies.

Adorably they also have a set area for you to bring your dogs! The entire place is modern, on trend and honestly a vegan paradise. I will be back again for sure, even if I have to drive 6 hours to get there!!

HOEDSPRUIT

LA MOO CAFE (JUST TO NOTE THEY ARE CLOSED UNTIL SOMETIME IN 2022 – I WILL UPDATE ONCE THEY OPEN!)

Lamoo is brand new to the small bush town of Hoedspruit, being my closest town I am very excited to have a fully vegan restaurant here. It is the first one, & I’m sure their success will make others follow, or at the very least add more vegan options to their menus.

I first went with Amore (Wild Dreams Recruiter) she had the famous beyond burger which she had never tried before & was blown away by how realistic this was. (as we all are) It came with all the usual burger condiments & homemade chips.

I had the battered fish & chips which was always a favourite of mine pre-vegan and fish was the last ”meat” I gave up. They use banana blossom which works so well. The batter was perfect & homemade chips are always the best.

I also had a mango smoothie but was told the Pina Colada one is epic so that’s for another day.

I then went again the following week (this place is going to get my full support!) with a friend to have a meeting about vegan retreats we will be running soon (so exciting) and I had the chickpea burger and their white hot chocolate.

I love that the menu is a mix of healthy food and junk food, from all the healthy salads and smoothies to the milkshakes and burgers. You wont be disappointed.

 

UMHLALI, KZN

ROOTS CAFE & DELI

I was excited to try this Cafe, I quite enjoy the laid back atmosphere of a cafe environment and this place is situated on a farm property with a couple of boutique shops, a couple of small spas and another couple of restaurants and has a very nice vibe to it. There are also chickens running around which was one of the highlights.

They are listed as a vegetarian and plant based cafe on their social media so I was very surprised that when we sat down and the waiter came to our table when we were asking if they were a plant based cafe he said that we can order bacon, chicken etc and we had to actually stop him because it was making us uncomfortable and we told him, we were there because they did promote themselves as very vegan friendly.

So this wasn’t a great start at all. The menu was good variety wise but their was chicken & beef also on the menu so I was very confused as to how they were a vegetarian/plant based cafe. I would rather describe them as a cafe that is vegan friendly which I am not sure if that’s how they would want to be portrayed but as chicken, bacon and beef aren’t plants that really is the only way to explain it.

We ordered nachos and falafel, both of which were good. Then we had the carrot cake to share which was amazing. The cake was so good that we actually popped back in one afternoon to have coffee and cake only.

This time Grant ordered a coffee and asked what plant milk was available & was told soy, and he declined and had a black coffee instead. Then someone came up to us, I think the owner and asked which milk would of been preferred and Grant told him oat milk would be a nice option and we had a short conversation about milks for a while. The cake was just as good the second time around and I would go back but I am still honestly confused about their food offerings & I hope they can decide on being plant based and really own that niche in the area as I think in the long run it will work out better for them.

 

UMHLANGA, KZN

THE VEGAN CHEF

The Vegan chef has a few places dotted around but this was the first time I was close enough in location to actually visit one. This is one of their new branches. Its in a small shopping centre and you can see the Ocean from it, although not amazing views, still nice!

We ordered a ”chicken mayo” toasted sandwich with chips which was excellent and also their ”chicken wings” which I understood them to be quite ”famous” for and they didn’t disappoint, it was all very nice. We also had a chocolate/coffee cake, however the owner did say that wasnt made in house. Still nice to have a dessert option.

The menu is very fast-food like which is nice as they have a clear theme. We also took some of their samosas home for a pre-dinner snack! What was also really nice here was that the owner is clearly very hands on and speaks to everyone to find out how their meal was and clearly cares a lot about getting it right. I would definitely come back.