Chain restaurants offering vegetarian options have grown in South Africa in recent years. From traditional and health-oriented fast food outlets to sit down eateries, vegetarian dishes have increasingly made their way onto these menus. As a result, vegetarians have much more choice, no matter where they find themselves in the country.

Did you know?

The first Wimpy restaurant was opened to the public in Durban in 1967.

There was a time when vegetarians and vegans struggled to find meat-free options when eating out in South Africa, but with many popular chain restaurants now offering vegetarian options, diners have more choice than ever before.

Vegetarian-friendly chain restaurants are catering to the masses, which is good news for diners and businesses alike. Popular bistro Nino’s has always offered appealing meat-free choices, but they’ve taken it one step further with meat substitutes on the menu. A popular option is the Thai strips; ‘meaty’ strips prepared with chilli sauce, on a bed of fresh, crispy salad.

Both Steers and Wimpy fast food restaurant chains have long been a family favourite for South Africans craving burgers and fries. Vegetarians are catered for at both of these establishments, with tasty veggie patties available in place of meat burgers.

Chain store Kauai’s philosophy, ‘Eat better, live better’ is reflected in the nutritious menu that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Fresh, crunchy salads, wraps and sandwiches – all with several vegetarian options – give vegetarians a healthy option when on the run. Their healthy dairy-free juices are equally as delicious.

If it’s dinner or a special occasion, vegetarians can eat out with confidence at higher-end chain restaurants. Doppio Zero has a cool and casual atmosphere and the restaurant and bakery churns out fresh, tasty dishes like bruschetta, pizzas and pastas. For breakfast, trendy Vovo Telo whips up healthy, flavourful meals and popular artisanal breads and pastries.

Vegetarian fast food in South Africa is no longer restricted to greasy, tasteless veggie burgers and deep fried snacks. With the restaurant industry waking up to the growing trend of vegetarian and vegan diners, menus are constantly expanding and becoming more creative to cater to diners with specific dietary requirements.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Tel: +27 (0)11 447 4758

Tel: 0860 22 55 87

Tel: +27 (0)11 315 3000

Tel: +27 (0)21 552 0222

Doppio Zero
Tel: +27 (0)11 646 0740

Vovo Telo
Tel: +27 (0)11 651 5920

Best time to visit

Most of the chain restaurants in the major centres are open from between 07h00 and 08h00 until between 20h00 and 22h00. Some fast food outlets, like Steers, have 24-hour drive thrus.

Get around

Chain restaurants offering vegetarian options are located in all the main centres as well as most smaller towns, and are easily accessed by car.

What will it cost

At Nino’s, expect to pay about R55 for a vegetarian burger with various toppings; at Wimpy, R43 for a deluxe vegetarian burger with chips (French fries); at Steers, R26 for a standard veg burger; and at Kauai, R40 for a veg burger with all the trimmings. At Doppio Zero, vegetarian meals range from R50-R80 each.

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