28 June 2014 by Kate Rau

Hungry in Johannesburg? Try these vegan/vegetarian restaurants

Travelling vegans will be thrilled to know that Johannesburg is home to a great selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants.

Dine in delight at The Pudding Shop. Image courtesy of The Pudding Shop

Here in Jozi we understand that just because you don’t eat some things, it doesn’t mean you don't love good food. 

The Greenside Café

One hundred percent vegan. Image courtesy of Greenside Cafe

One hundred percent vegan, and sporting its own tofu factory, this delightfully green restaurant is a firm favourite among healthy-living Joburg locals. 

The menu includes gluten-free wraps, pasta and pizza (try the yogi pizza with mushrooms and pickled artichokes), lentil pie, stir-fry and soups – as well as a superb selection of plated meals (try the lunch plate of wilted greens, green beans, brown rice, soft lentils, sautéed chunks of delicious tofu and steamed butternut). 

Everything is made from scratch – no alcohol, soda or nasty condiments are served here.

Where? 34 Gleneagles Road, Greenside
Website: www.thegreensidecafe.co.za

Fresh Earth

A health store, restaurant, bakery and greengrocer all in one, Fresh Earth is very popular among Joburgers following a gluten-free diet. 

The Fresh Earth bakery stocks supermarket chains across the country with breads, biscuits, muffins and all manner of baked goods free of gluten. 

The restaurant’s vegetarian menu is extensive, with multiple vegan options. 

There’s a vegetarian lunch buffet every weekday and an-all-you-can-eat table of delight on Saturdays. 

The massive lentil and veggie burgers are a treat, and the Superfood smoothies are tops.

Where? 103 Komatie Road, Emmarentia
Website: www.freshearth.co.za

Free Food

Try a tofu stack at Corlett Drive's Free Food. Image courtesy of Free Food

Free Food is a vegan restaurant that prioritises a conscious eating experience. 

Guests share a communal table that overlooks an exceptionally clean kitchen; the menu, or blackboard, is updated daily; and you’re greeted with a jug of fresh water and mint leaves (as opposed to juices, sodas and other sugar-laden drinks). 

The menu is sublime – think green curries and noodle pots, decadent pizza and Belgian dark chocolate marble cake that crumbles in your mouth. 

For those who want a convenient vegan meal for later, grab something from the fridge and heat and eat at your leisure.

Where? 5b Reithmere, corner Corlett Drive and Delta Street, Melrose
Website: www.freefood.co.za

Conscious 108

Double dog hot dogs at Conscious 108. Image courtesy of Conscious 108

This funky restaurant in trendy Greenside is perfect for a date with anyone who isn’t vegan. 

The distinctly South African menu (and decor) is fun and friendly – think burgers, hot dogs, wraps and bunny chow – without being overtly meat-, dairy- and egg-free. But it is! 

The desserts are a showstopper – from melt-in-your-mouth vegan ice cream and bubblegum cupcakes to chewy marshmallow 'smores' and steaming hot chocolate and nut brownies. 

Wash them down with a cup of delicious Fairtrade coffee.

Where? 108 Greenway, Greenside
Website: www.conscious108.co.za

The Pudding Shop

If freshly squeezed juices, steaming coffee and tea, Superfood smoothies and delectable desserts and pancakes are what you’re after, then the Pudding Shop was made for you. 

This extraordinarily quaint garden-cum-tea room-style coffee shop is gorgeous and glamorous. 

With an open fireplace warming what can only be explained as the perfect interior of a cake shop, the welcoming smells of fresh coffee and cookies in the oven will lure you to tiny tables covered in doilies and mismatched crockery. Expect sweet delights, for vegans and vegetarians alike.

Where? 43 7th Avenue, Parktown North
Website: www.lacucinadiciro.co.za

For those willing to travel outside of the city

Raw, vegan sushi rolls at Leafy Greens Cafe. Image courtesy of Leafy Greens Cafe

Leafy Greens in Muldersdrift, a 45-minute drive from Johannesburg, sports a very popular vegan buffet every Saturday and Sunday (be sure to book a table in advance). All ingredients are grown on the premises, from the coffee beans to the kale, and the dishes on offer are extraordinary. 

From baked and raw vegan cheeses, vegetable pasta al forno and raw pizza, to curried vegetable hot pots and mushroom risotto dumplings, the spread is simply to die for. 

Top it off with a fresh ginger shooter and a glass of green juice, and you’re all set for lunchtime delight. 

The even better news is that you’re free to roam the organic vegetable garden and extended farm premises after lunch – a rambling walk that will do wonders for your distended belly!

Where? Off Beyers Naude Drive, Plot 328, Rocky Ridge Road, Muldersdrift
Website: www.leafygreens.co.za

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