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 there are plenty of summaries to be read on the Internet. 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.

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

Cape Town has a fully vegan restaurant called Plant. They have great food obvioulsy but also lots of well selected organic wines and craft beers as well as vegan foods like mayo or tempeh bacon for sale. Plant is located corner Buiten and Loops Street just off trendy Long Street in the inner city.

Another vegan AND raw spot is raw and Roxy in Woodstock. A small place so don't go bang in the middle of the midday lunch time. Get there a bit before or after lunch so you don't wait too long.

Also vegan and raw is The Happy Herbivore at the V & A Waterfront Food shed.

Now for vegetarian friendly restaurants. Head to Wellness Warehouse in Kloof Street. 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 and plenty eco and green versions of all sorts of things as well. 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.) They are no longer fully vegetarian. Check your bill very carefully.The other restaurant which was part of the family is around the corner in Bree Street. It's called Zucchinis.

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 and Cafe Mozart off Long Street.

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.

Colcacchio's also do great pizza and yummy well presented salads. They do a quinoa salad and they have organic wine on the menu too!

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. Check out their menus on-line.

Simply Asia make Thai stir fries and they are also licensed so you can have a healthy glass of red wine with your meal.

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. Woolworths (a local sort of Marks & Spencer) have a fair selection or organic produce.

Help yourself to the healthiest salads on offer. I always skip the rice and pasta salads. Sometimes I even find roast veggies at the warm food deli. I usually have veggies with humous or pestos 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.

And now for something completely different. Ever wanted to taste a raw food pizza? Order a take-out pizza - with a difference. Google Viva Pizza or Earthshine to find them

Bon appetit!


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