Eating Veg in the Zulu Kingdom

Anne Stevens I’m not, but I spend a fair amount of time eating out. Durban has a fair amount to offer the vegetarian diner, from a couple of dedicated vegetarian restaurants to plenty of places that are “vegetarian-friendly” (for tips on how to eat in non-vegetarian restaurants, click here).

Here are my TOP TEN personal favourites.

Of course this list is by no means exhaustive – there are plenty of wonderful eateries that didn’t make it onto this list at this point. Time- (and budget-) willing, I’d love to expand the list. And I’d love to know your favourite places so please leave a comment!

 

These are in no particular order:

1. Earthmother Organic  

106 Bulwer Road, Glenwood (031) 202 1527

This unique café-cum-health-shop-cum-alternative-massage-therapist-cum-local-designers-emporium-cum-farm-stall is totally vegetarian and organic. It’s kiddie-friendly too. Try the “full of beans” toasted sandwich with a freshly squeezed fruit and veggie juice. And the brownies – oh, the brownies!

2. Vrushiks Vegetarian Foods 

Mangrove Beach Centre, Somtseu Road, North Beach (031 368 7443)

This ancient hole-in-the-wall produces fresh karma free food daily, from breyani and traditional curry dishes to more modern menus with vegetarian “mince” and “prawns”. The only drawback is their use of polystyrene dishes, even for eat-in customers. But if enough people ask for it, we may get them to use real plates!

3. The Arts Café

166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood (031) 201 9969

Their lentil burger is something special (enough to share if you’re looking to graze), and they have a great veggie-friendly kiddies menu. I love meeting fellow mommy friends for a snack and catching up while the little ones play on the jungle gym.

4. Nino’s

Cowey Park Centre, Cowey Road, Berea (031 207 8516). Also all over Durban.

The Nino’s franchise has earned a space on my Top Ten simply for its efforts to vegetarianize traditional café fare. Nino’s now have a special focus on vegetarian meals (click here for more info) and they offer Fry’s vegetarian substitutes for nearly every meat wrap, sandwich and omelette. I mean, at what other mainstream joint can a vegetarian order pasta Bolognese or a cheese burger? Ra, Nino’s.

5. Plaka

Palm Boulevard, Umhlanga (031) 566 7456 

This elegant establishment epitomizes perfect customer service. I have neverhad a bad experience there. Plus, they offer more than 20 vegetarian dips, mezze items and meals (but their vegetarian mezze platter is enough for a main meal for two and is a veritable explosion of colour and flavour). Dolmades are to die for.

6. Indian Connection

485 Windermere Road, Morningside (031 312 1440)

Their vegetarian menu is almost as long as their non-vegetarian one! This poses a huge problem for me, as I’m used to having to choose from one or two (at a push four or five) items. We frequently have to order extra beer and poppadoms to sustain us while I decide on my order…

7. China Plate

Park Boulevard Centre, Browns Drift Road, Riverside (031 564 6437)

My non-vegetarian husband and I always order the exact same selection to share: sizzling tofu, stir-fried bok choy, and deep-fried walnuts. You haven’t LIVED until you’ve tried these walnuts!

8. Mamma Lucianos

48 Florida Road, Morningside (031 303 8350) Also in Glenashley.

It’s hard to go wrong with a decent pizza or pasta, and this place does both. I also love the romance of the red-checked table cloths out on the pavement, and their good selection of local wines. My personal favourite is their gnocchi.

9. Butcher Boys

170 Florida Road, Morningside (031 312 8248) Also in Umhlanga, Hillcrest, Pietermaritzburg.

Don’t laugh – they do the best butternut bake in town! I must admit that I could live without the crime scene in the glass case, but their wide array of veggies are all excellently cooked, well flavoured, and presented with flair. Stings a little that I can only order off the “side dishes”, but I thought I’d just put it out there…

10. Corner Café

Corner Brand/Cromwell Roads, Glenwood (031 201 0219)

Whilst the Café isn’t 100% vegetarian, there is an emphasis on healthy, ethical living (and all eggs/meats are free range). They also support Meat Free Mondays. Their slogan, “saving the planet, one cappuccino at a time”, sums up their green approach, which is followed through with a “no plastics” policy, linen napkins (and eco-detergents), and a wormery which feeds their own herb garden. I like.

11. Café 1999

Silvervause Centre, Corner Silverton/Vause Roads, Berea (031 202 3406)

Yes, yes, I know I said Top Ten but this one’s worth its own posting. For fine dining and individualized service, this place is hard to beat. The chef is creative and accommodating, and while there are always one or two cordon bleu veggie options on their menu, they are also more than happy to put together something to suit your diet and taste.

 

Perhaps one day when I’ve become rich and famous off my blog I will take on Mrs Stevens with a purely vegetarian Eating Out in the Zulu Kingdom. Until that day, however, you’ll have to keep logging onto Veggietots to get your fix:-)

There’s also a listing of veggie- and vegan-friendly eateries, shops and accommodation on the Vegan SA website:

The veganism directory for South Africa

I’d love to know of exciting places to eat in other cities. What are your favourites?