Travel South Africa. Vegetarian-Friendly Fine Dining in Cape Town

Cape Town has a vibrant and excellent restaurant scene. It seems that chefs know exactly how to surprise diners. The food is innovative and amazingly fresh. The restaurants are more welcoming and stylishly decorated as you could ever wish for. Here comes a choice of vegetarian-friendly fine dining restaurants in Cape Town. I had dinner at these places several times over the years and never left disappointed. Fact is it is indeed quite the opposite. As soon as I wave goodbye at the door… I start dreaming of my next visit.

Are you looking for a restaurant near the CBD with a view all the way up to the West Coast? You want a seat from where you can almost touch the top of Signal Hill? You adore glitzy chandeliers and like maritime scenes? You would want to eat at the restaurant of a World Pasta Championship winner? You fancy concrete floors, metal, exposed brick walls and Asian fusion? Do you dream of Indian food that is probably better than on famous Brick Lane in London, Great Britain?

Travel South Africa. Vegetarian-Friendly Fine Dining in Cape Town

Picture Perfect Vegetarian-Friendly Fine Dining Restaurants in Cape Town

Zeitz MOCAA Food

Something marvellous happened in Cape Town. The V&A Waterfront partnered with Jochen Zeitz and created Africa’s First Major Museum Of Contemporary Art, that is now housed in the historic, iconic (and redeveloped) Grain Silo.

On level six of the museum in the silo, a restaurant called FOOD moved in. Think polished concrete, steel frames, wooden furniture, light grey tones, and food made from locally sourced ingredients plus a view over the harbour and all the way to Bloubergstrand and along the West Coast. As if all this wouldn´t be reason enough to visit already, this is a StreetSmart Restaurant, that means with eating and donating you are helping a street child (a voluntary R5 will be automatically added to the table’s bill. Do not hesitate to donate more, if you have the means). The coffee is from Capetonian Roasters Origin Coffee, which was founded by a Canadian in 2006. They are artisan roasters, they know where and how their coffee beans are cultivated, harvested and processed. The porcelain the coffee is served in is made by eco-friendly design studio Love Milo who uses local materials and works with local craftsman.

I recommend the Black Gnocchi with Black Pea, Purple Carrot, Aubergine Puree, Crisp Nori and Sesame Seeds.

A cup of coffee. Algae flavoured gnocchi. Glas front and wooden chairs and tables on concrete floor

Zeitz MOCAA FOOD 6th Floor V&A Waterfront, Silo District, S Arm Road, Waterfront, Cape Town 8001, South Africa. Hours: Wednesday to Monday 10am to 5.30pm. Closed on Tuesday. Visit the website for more info.

Granary Café at the Silo Hotel

It is new, trendy, stylish and fun and right next door to Zeitz MOCAA. The Granary Café is located on the 6th floor of the Silo Hotel. When booking, why not ask for a table by the window. The view is magical at night, it feels a bit like flying above Cape Town. From my seat I can almost touch the top of Signal Hill. The dishes on the menu, the work of chef Veronica Canha-Hibbert, change with the season and there is a great choice for vegetarians and the waiters are more than happy to help. Start with a drink a the Willaston Bar which is on the same level as the restaurant.

Hotel lobby decorated with colourfull furniture, wooden masks and paintings

The Granary Café. Silo Hotel. Silo Square. V&A Waterfront The Touristin Cape Town

The Granary Café. Silo Hotel. Silo Square. V&A Waterfront. Dinner 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Best to book in advance. Visit the website for more info.

Signal Restaurant

The famous Cape Grace Hotel with its own quay on the V&A Waterfront has no other than the mighty Table Mountain in its backyard. The restaurant is decorated in light grey and brown with glitzy chandeliers and paintings that showcase maritime scenes of yesteryear. I recommend the Tomato salad with whipped cream cheese panna cotta and strawberry sorbet as a starter, as a main the Carrot risotto with a saffron emulsion, orange, sultana and ginger and as dessert the Mango mousse with coconut crème, cashew sponge, tropical fruit salad and mango basil sorbet. Have pre-dinner drinks at the Bascule bar for the ultimate view over the marina and Table Mountain.

View over the harbour and Table Mountain under a blue sky with cloud formations

Food on a green plate decorated with edible flowers. Bread and dips on a white plate. Sofas and chairs in front of a painting of Cape Town. A cup of tea in a white cup and sweets in a grey bowl.

Tables set with white table clothes and silver cuttlery under a large glass chandelier.

Striped Sofa and arm chairs in front of a painting of Cape Town.

Signal Restaurant at the Cape Grace Hotel. Cape Grace Hotel, W Quay Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa. Monday to Sunday 6.30 to 11am, 12.30 to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm. Please book in advance. Phone: +27 21 410 7100. Visit the website for more info.

95 Keerom

In the stables and slave quarters of the Company Gardens, Gorgio Nava, Italian chef and winner of the World Pasta Championship in Parma, Italy created a chic restaurant. Downstairs there are different cosy dining rooms that have exposed brick walls, glass and candlelight, whereas the upstairs dining room is open-plan and airy, there even is a tree in the centre. The food is Italian. I used to visit a nightclub called Rhodes House next door, and one day this restaurant opened. Albeit by now, many moons later the restaurant is well established, the chef still asks how I like my food. As a starter I recommend L’ Insalata di Avocado 95: avocado, rocket, tomato, blue cheese, fresh pear, walnut, as a main Butternut ravioli, with ricotta and sage butter and as dessert La Meringa 95: meringue, Marsala Zabaglione crème, berries.

A plate with ravioli in sage butter. Pavlova dessert decorated with strawberries and mint. Wooden tables and chairs in a dinging room of a restaurant. A glas and a bottle of Meerlust Chardonnay.

95 Keerom. 95 Keerom Street, Cape Town, South Africa. Phone: +27 21 422 0765. Monday to Saturday: 6.30pm to 10pm. Best to book in advance. Visit the website for more info.

The Test Kitchen

Not that easy to secure a booking, The Test Kitchen is that popular. Years ago, I would have recommended this place for lunch, simply because at the time I never managed to secure a table for dinner. My tip was to arrive towards the end of lunch, that way I managed a few times to secure a table without a booking. You will have to book well ahead, as in seriously well ahead, bookings are open three months in advance, tables are booked out in a blink. The Test Kitchen just won The Best Restaurant in Africa and the 50th Best Restaurant in the world (San Pellegrino).

I love the light room, with its concrete floor, metal, exposed brick walls and stylish lampshades. The layout allows diners to see what is going on in the open-kitchen. Vegetables play an important role, they get fermented, or spices are added to regulate acidity, sweetness and sharpness (fermented bean paste). The food is Asian inspired.

The Test Kitchen, The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa. Visit the website for more info. I wish you good luck with securing a booking.

The chef Luke Dale Roberts opened a new restaurant, Salsify at the Roundhouse: The Roundhouse, Roundhouse Road, Camps Bay, 8005. Best to book in advance. Visit the website for more info.

Pot Luck Club

Another Luke Dale Roberts eatery (please see before). Have you ever been invited to a "bring a dish" gathering? Everybody who is invited brings a dish, no matter what it is, be it a salad, a dessert, or a lasagne, or some baguette. The only rule is that it can be shared among all guests. These types of gatherings are most often called potluck dinners.

At the Pot Luck Club there is no need to bring your own food, here it is all about sharing plates of Asian fusion tapas with your companions. Sit down at the sturdy wooden tables and tuck into Truffle and Asparagus Tart Fine, Porcini Hollandaise and Poached Quail Eggs, Chickpea, Goats Cheese and Parmesan Fries with Aioli and Tomato Ketchup, Winter Vegetable Salad, Wild Garlic Oil and Beetroot. End the meal with ordering the Chocolate Cigar dessert: Saffron Poached Quince, Manjari and Granadilla Mousse and Pistachio Ice Cream.

Lavishly decorated food on a light green plate. A bird cage and bird decoration in the entrance of a restaurant.

Pot Luck Club. 373-375 Albert Road, The Silo, The Old Biscuit Mill, Cape Town. Hours: Sunday 11am to 2.30pm. Monday to Saturday 12.30pm to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm. Best to book in advance. Visit the website for more info.

Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Hotel

Having never been to India, I must admit that all Indian foodie experiences I had so far where made on Brick Lane in London. This magical restaurant is in style and décor different from the ones I know.

You enter a dining room decorated opulently with parquet flooring, chandeliers and large glass fronts covered with thick curtains. When sitting down you sink into beautifully soft peacock embroidered chairs. All spices used are blended in the restaurant kitchen and the naan bread is prepared in traditional Tandoori ovens. The waiters will explain which dish best to combine with which bread or rice.

I recommend the Apricot and potato ‘tikki’ cakes with cumin yoghurt and mango chutney and the Roasted aubergine “Bharta” mash. In between courses diners get sorbet to cleanse their palate, nothing overly unusual in a restaurant like this, but the way it is served looks exotic and is worth the visit alone.

A dining room with a wooden floor, painted in dark colours. Decorated with mirrors and furnished with soft velvet armchairs with green peacocks and tables covered in table cloths

A dining room with a wooden floor, painted in dark colours. Decorated with mirrors and furnished with soft velvet armchairs and tables covered in table cloths.

Bombay Brasserie. Taj Cape Town. 1 Wale Street, Cape Town, CBD. Hours: 6pm to 10.30pm. Best to book in advance. Visit the website for more info.

The Alba Restaurant Boat

We all know that nautical adventures are pretty fine, because one gets to see the most amazing things. The Alba has taken to the water, operating from a 22 metres long vessel. This is Cape Town's first fine dining floating restaurant in the V&A Waterfront. Floor to ceiling glass windows allow you to have a view of Table Mountain and the colourful surrounds. Go on a cruise of about two hours through the harbour in the V&A Waterfront and feast on seasonal dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. You start your foodie-voyage from the Pierhead, Jetty T in front of MAReSOL onto the V&A Hotel, thereafter the Duncan Dock and into the Victoria & Alfred Basin after which it will return to the Marina. Rest assured, you won't journey through the open and often choppy waters of Table Bay. Choose from a variety of dining options: a bubbly brunch cruise (bottomless bubbles), a lunch cruise, a sunset cruise, a high-tea cruise or a dinner cruise. Please check availability in advance. I recommend the baked Camembert with a berry reduction, figs, honey and spiced walnuts and the dark chocolate mousse with orange zest.

Vegetables decorated with edible flowers. The view towards a red lighthouse from the table of a restaurant. Chocolate Mousse in a glas decorated with edible flowers.

The Alba Restaurant Boat. Pierhead, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Monday to Sunday Dinner Cruise 7pm to 9pm. Please visit the website for detailed information. Best to book in advance.

One last thing All restaurants I recommend are obviously for meat-eaters too. You know, we all have friends who eat meat and fish, and we want to go out together. Let us understand and respect each other and not try to convert each other. 

Read Ten Fantastic Things to Do in Cape Town for more inspiration.

From Berlin with love