Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vegetarian food in Cape Town


St Georges Mall
I have been vegetarian for well over three decades now. Most of my life. As much as I love travelling, it's simply not an option for me to eat meat. Some places and cuisines are much easier for me and fellow vegetarians to find good food. Others are not. Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Chinese and Indian food are usually best to find something to eat. Western and Eastern European foods are not good. They even put meat into salads and soups and ruin it for us vegetarians.

Why is fresh, healthy, plant based food so limited in availability. Anyone read The China Study? It's a hellava book but here's a link to a summary - The China Study. The conclusion is that a diet high in fruit and vegetable foods reduces our risk of all major causes of disease and death. You will find similar information coming from the various heart foundations, diabetes societies and the cancer associations. Again I ask, why is it sooo hard to find nutritious food on the go?

But fear not. I have put together some of the best places to find yummy tasty vegetarian food in central Cape Town.

Starting with food markets. On Thursdays from midday through to late afternoon you will find the Earth Fair market in St Georges Mall. Read their facebook page here - Earth Fair.

On Saturday mornings you can head to either the City Bowl Market in Hope Street. Their details are here - City Bowl market. Or try the Neighbourgoods market in Woodstock. Get there early or you will find yourself elbow to elbow with people. Read more here - Neighbourgoods market.

Cafe Mozart
My favourite deli, open every day of the week, is Giovanni's Deli in Main Road Green Point. They make the very best coffee ever. And they have yummy foods like balsamic roasted onions, caprese salad, bean salads and more. The store is a treasure trove of culinary delights that I have never found anywhere else. Giovanni's Deli.

Now for vegetarian friendly restaurants. Head to Wellness Warehouse in Kloof Street, Gardens for a tasty, slightly pricey, organic buffet. The menu is not entirely vegetarian but they have a wide selection of veggies. All meat is organic or free-range. They have free wifi, a spa and plenty eco and green versions of all sorts of things as well. Details here - Wellness Warehouse. I love their superfood chocolate brownies with spinach. Divine I promise.

Lola's in Long Street has been around for ever. I used to be a regular until I had a really bad experience with a waitron. (Long horrible story, I will spare you.) I have not been back in years, but I always ate well there so give them a try. Just check your bill very carefully. For more hit this link - Lola's. The other restaurant which was part of the family is around the corner in Bree Street. It's called Zucchinis - Zucchinis. (Note Lola's has new owners and is no longer vegetarian)

While not entirely vegetarian, these next two sister restaurants have an amazing bargain lunch buffet. They charge per plate and not by weight. No one bats an eye if you pile your plate full and the food is to die for. Think sweet potato carpachio, oven roasted veggies and delicious raw salads. These two restaurants are Cafe Paradiso in Kloof Street - Cafe Paradiso and Cafe Mozart off Long Street - Cafe Mozart.

I am not wild about pizza and pastas. Usually too much white stodge with greasy sauces and not enough proper food. By proper food I mean vegetables and protein. However Andiamo in The Waterkant area in Green Point are not bad for a pizza/pasta place and they are well priced. I like that their vegetarian lasagne is full of veggies and I don't walk away with heartburn. Read more - Andiamo.

Long Street - pic sourced from Google images
My favourite fast food chains, you can sit and eat if your legs need a rest, are Kauai, Osumo and Simply Asia. Kauai and Osumo have similar menus. Think salads, sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, fresh juices, herb teas and organic coffees. Have a look at Kauai's menu here - Kauai menu.

Simply Asia make Thai stir fries and they are also licensed so you can have a healthy glass of red wine with your meal. Have a look at their menu - Simply Asia menu. All three of these fast food eateries are easy on the wallet.
Don't forget to look out for healthy foods at local supermarkets. Most supermarkets in South Africa have a deli counter with fresh fruit and salads. Help yourself to the healthiest salads on offer. I always skip the rice and pasta salads. Sometimes I even find roast veggies or scrambled eggs at the warm food deli. I usually have veggies with cheese wedges and Ryvita cracker biscuits.

A bag of nuts or dried fruit are also healthy options and will last all day in a back-pack. I avoid commercial fruit juices as they are too high in sugar. My preference is for individual fresh fruits and a bottle of water. You can always re-use the water bottle with water from the bathroom or your hotel.

If you plan to spend a bit of time in Cape Town you may want to order your own organic and green produce. Ethical Co-op deliver to your front door. Have a look at their what they have on offer here - Ethical Co-op. And now for something completely different. Ever wanted to taste a raw food pizza? Order a take-out pizza - with a difference here - Earthshine raw food.

Bon appetit!