Vegetarian food in Cape Town

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!

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

Greenie on the move

Greenie on the move

Frosted window pane

I left South Africa a week ago and spent a few days in London. From there, my other half and I did a mini road trip to Scotland. It’s mid summer back in South Africa and of course mid winter in the UK. The contrast is sharp.

South Africa never really gets that cold. There are places that get cold, but they are remote and sparsely inhabited. Snow in our cities would be front page news.

I don’t possess the sort of clothes that people from cold countries wear. Instead I am putting on just about every item of clothing I brought with me. Wearing all this clothing is so freaking heavy.

Frost covered garden

Salt/grit bins, snow poles, clip on ice grips for shoes, ice scrapers for car windows, bum warmers in a car and many other things people in the UK consider normal simply don’t exist in South Africa.

I always though ear muffs were daft things. Now I totally understand why people wear them. I wish they could come up with something to keep my nose warm other than wrapping a scarf around my face.

Back in South Africa they have been having a heatwave. Places like Riebeek Kasteel have apparently had temperatures in the upper forties touching 50’C. Yikes! Riebeek valley tourism.

For more on Scotland follow these links – Scotland Part One and Scotland Part Two.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

Cape Town – Part 3 – unique things to do and local foods to try

Cape Town – Part 3 – unique things to do and local foods to try

What to do in Cape Town

Cape Point

In closing the three part series on Cape Town, here are a few things to try or places to visit while you are in Cape Town.

1.    Go for afternoon high tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel or The Nelly as she is known locally.
       Mount Nelson
2.    Visit Atlas Trading, Wale Street, Bo Kaap for an incredible selection of spices, incense and more.
3.    The organic food and craft market at the Neighbourgoods Market in Salt River, or the City Bowl
       Market, Hope Street. Get there early. They can get seriously crowded. neighbourgoods market
       city bowl market

Long Street

4.    A leisurely stroll along Lower Main road in Observatory for bric-a-brac, old books, anything. It’s a great place to pass time.
5.    Green Point flea market and Milnerton market late Sunday mornings.
6.    Coffee at Giovanni’s Deli in Green Point, they’re open early till late. They make the best coffee and their deli foods are to die for. Think balsamic roasted onions, aubergine carpachio, delicious chocolates and sumtuous wines.
7.    Join the crowd and do a “full moon” hike up Lion’s Head if you around during a full moon.
      view from Lions Head
8.    Find healthy fast food outlets Kauai or Osumo across Cape Town. Kauai menu
9.   The funky fashion and food vendors along Long Street and surrounding streets.
10.     A curry or roti at Biesmiellah, Wale Street, Bo Kaap. Biesmiellah menu

And lastly some unique South African foods to look for when shopping or eating out: –

Volvo Race V and A Waterfront

1.    Rooibos tea with Ouma buttermilk rusks. Dip the rusks in your tea. That’s how it’s done.
2.    For a local sweet treat try Melktert, Koeksisters or Malva pudding.
3.    For a dried meat snack, biltong and droewors are favourites. Also available in exotic meats such
       as kudu and ostrich.
4.    Smoked snoek and curried fish are local fish favourites. You can buy tinned curried fish at the
5.    Waterblommetjie bredie is a type of curry made with a local plant/flower as the main ingredient.
6.    Mrs Ball’s chutney is a fruit condiment somewhat similar to Branston pickle.
7.    Frikadelle and boerwors are cooked typical meatballs and sausages.
8.    Ostrich meat is dark, low in fat and tastes quite different. Try it as a steak, sausage or burger.

Rock formation on Table Mountain

9.    Mealie meal or pap and umngqusho (nush) are both polenta type meal accompaniments.
10.    Potjiekos is a slow cooked meat and vegetable stew made in a cast iron pot.
11.     Pepperdews are a pickled capsicum/cherry tomato hybrid. Heaven on a pizza or in a salad.
12.     South Africa wines. Even the bad wines are good.
13.    Buchu brandy. A revitalising remedy used by the San people and early settlers.

Click here to go to Cape Town Part 1.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

Cape Town – Part 2

Cape Town – Part 2

Cape town International airport

The Waterfront and Robben Island
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a massive shopping and dining warehouse in the harbour. Since it is a working harbour you can observe fishing boats, cruise liners, tugs and other working boats. It also has boat tours that will take you whale watching, fishing or on a sunset cruise.

If you plan to visit Robben Island, be sure to get in the queue early or you may be disappointed. Book tickets on-line to save time here – webtickets. You will also find the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Waterfront. They have over 3000 sea creatures including sharks. For more go here – aquarium.

Visit the massive craft market in the Red Shed and watch live demo’s by the craftsmen and women. There is a link for more here – waterfront. If you love crystals, visit Mineral World opposite where they have rocks and semi precious stones. At night you can enjoy fine dining and live music right next to the harbour and watch the seals lounging in the water. Robben  Island takes its name from “robbe”, which are seals in Afrikaans.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Market off Long street

You will either need to book a bus or hire a car to get there. South Africans love their great outdoors and from the activities on offer here this is evident. Apart from a chance to wander around the gardens and see over 2500 indigenous plants, you can enjoy an al fresco breakfast in one of the restaurants, take a hike up the mountain or enjoy the sunset and a live open air concert with a picnic basket. Find out who is playing on this link – Kirstenbosch summer concerts.

The Cape Peninsula and Cape Point

Cape of Good Hope

This scenic day out is reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The roads are believed to have been built by Italian prisoners of war. It’s a round trip from the city along the one side of the peninsula to Cape Point and back along the other side of the peninsula. Beautiful seaside scenery and fishing harbours are scattered along both the False Bay Coast and the Atlantic Coast. Cape Point is where the two oceans meet. It’s a busy day with antique shops, shark and whale watching, maritime museums, baboons, shipwrecks, designer craftsmen, famous local penguins and lots of fabulous seafood. You can do part of this trip by train from Cape Town but it doesn’t go all the way to Cape Point. Best to book a coach trip or hire a car for the day.

The Winelands

Metropolitan golf course

If the previous day out had an Italian feel to it, this area has a French flavour. Some of the early settlers were French Huguenots and many place names such as Franschoek hint at their influence. They even celebrate Bastille Day. This is another full day out and if you want to taste the wines, book a tour so you can relax and not worry about driving.

The wine farms are quite a way out of the city and there are various wine routes. The wine estates go back eras and are steeped in history. Many of them have elegant dining and award winning chefs. And of course they supply exquisite wines to go with the meals. Much of the architecture is the old Cape Dutch style with elegant curved gables and thatched roofs. Wine estates are often nestled in the mountains surrounded by vineyards.

Bo Kaap

People can be put off coming to South Africa because they have heard of local crime. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which gives advice to travellers says the following, “More than 460,000 Britons visit South Africa every year. Most visits are trouble-free.” Crime tends to happen in hot spots so if you are not sure, ask someone. South Africans will happily give you assistance or advice. For health and safety tips have a look at this post – Cape Town health and safety tips. And for even more tips to make the most of your time in Cape Town follow this link – 20 best travel tips for visitors to Cape Town

Cape Town is more European than the rest of South Africa. You may want to plan another trip inland where the look and feel is completely different. A bush safari or game lodge stay are not to be missed experiences.

Click here to go to Cape Town Part 3.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

Cape Town

Cape Town

Travel in Cape Town in 2009

Devil’s Peak

Cape Town is a beautiful city with majestic mountains, soft white beaches, vineyards, bustling vibrant night-life, top quality restaurants, shopping and an exchange rate that makes it all affordable. It’s the African Riviera.

Average temperatures are around 26’C and you can enjoy 10 hours of sunshine a day in summer. You won’t have to contend with searing heat or cloying humidity. The climate allows you to comfortably enjoy many outdoor activities. The best time of the year to visit, is from September to April.

Car hire and shuttle services are easily available and affordable. If you want to include a GPS, rather hire from the mobile phone companies than the car hire companies. Follow these links for more – road trips and getting about. Choose the MyCiti bus for your airport transfer. They are well priced, fast and easy to use – airport transfer.

V and A Waterfront

You are likely to experience a typical warm and friendly welcome right from the start of your trip. South Africans are known for their friendliness so don’t be surprised if they chat to you as if they know you.

The standard of food and accommodation in South Africa is good. Click on this link for a feature on accomodation – Cape Town accomodation.

It’s ideal to base yourself in the City Bowl or Atlantic Seaboard as the best selection of beaches; restaurants and shopping are all in or near the city area. Getting around the city is a breeze in a Rikki, which is a vibrant coloured, well priced, London style cab, read more here – Rikkis cabs. Avoid mini bus taxi’s unless you are with someone who knows them and their routines well.

Boulders Beach

Eating out is diverse from high end and classy to fun and funky. Check out the Eat Out and Dining Out websites if you need ideas. And if you can’t bear to move after a long day on your feet then why not let Mr Delivery bring restaurant food to you.

The must see places in Cape Town are: –

1.    The City Centre, Camps Bay, the local beaches and Table Mountain
2.    The Waterfront and Robben Island
3.    Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
4.    The Cape Peninsula and Cape Point
5.    The Winelands

The pink district

To plan your days wisely, first visit the city tourism offices. You will find one on the corner of Bree Street and Castle Street in the city and the other tourism office can be located at The Clock Tower Gallery in The Waterfront.

A Cape Town version of  Time Out Cape Town magazine is also a handy source of information. There is so much to do that it would be advisable to allow a good few days in Cape Town. The big advantage of the favourable exchange rate is that you can also including a spa day to make your stay that extra bit special. See more here – spa break in Cape Town.

Simonstown Yacht Club

If you are after more action then you could try shark cage diving or for something authentic try a township tour. See – Mzolis. Do check the weather as the cable car and ferry don’t go out in rough weather but that seldom happens. Follow this link for more links to outdoor activities – what to do outdoors in Cape Town.

Alcohol is not available for sale after hours and on Sundays in South Africa unless at a venue with a shebeen license. Not all petrol vendors accept credit cards, so make sure you have cash for the payment.

The City Centre and Table Mountain
Table Mountain is a world heritage site with over 22 000 species of “fynbos” and unique fauna. You can walk up or you take the rotating cable car but make sure you get in the queue early and dress warmly. There are a number of walks on and around Table Mountain, some of which are only for the fit and adventurous. The cable car is half price after 18.00 pm and you may want to take a picnic basket and watch the setting sun over the city. At night the city lights twinkle from the mountain. For links to hikes and walks go here – day walks in Cape Town and walking on Table Mountain.

Cape Point

You could end your day on the beach with a sunset picnic. Camps Bay beach and Clifton’s coves, called 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th beaches, lie on the other side of the mountain. If you are after a cocktail there are stylish cafes and bars where beautiful people show themselves off opposite Camps Bay beach. The local nudie beach is called Sandy Bay and is further out in Llandudno. No alcohol is permitted on public beaches.

Camps Bay beach

Long Street area has a host of restaurants, funky fashion boutiques, vintage clothing stores, curio shops and vendors of tourist items such as scooters and bicycles. Take time to wander about the museums amid the original Cape Dutch architecture. At the end are the old public swimming baths and following on with the road up Kloof Street is more of the same. Do visit Wellness Warehouse at The Palms shopping centre. Wellness Warehouse is a shrine to all things organic and their buffet meals and fresh juices are sublime. Visit their website here – Wellness warehouse.

At night you will find clubs, pubs, live music and stand-up comedy on Long Street. The gay nightlife is in the Waterkant and Green Point areas. Also known as the pink district.

Here are more links you may find helpful for your visit to Cape Town – uncover the CapeCape Town infoCape venuestourism Cape TownLonely Planet and about Cape Town.

Click here to go to Cape Town Part 2.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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