Although strictly vegetarian or vegan restaurants are not as ubiquitous as one might like in Pretoria, the restaurant trade in Pretoria often has stronger staying power than in other cities. Here’s our pick of vegetarian and vegan options in Pretoria.
Afroboer continues to espouse the principles of living off the land. On the counter, their dark, dense and moist cocoa-spiced vegan cake with coconut milk frosting and crystalised ginger pairs nicely with one of the Fairtrade African coffee blends. The Toast with Toppings section of the menu includes a trio of seed and nut bread topped with avocado, fresh corn salsa, and creamy cashew nut butter. A pearl-barley salad with chopped pistachios, shredded dried apricots and a fragrant citrus dressing will perhaps pair eminently well with a naturally fermented ginger beer in hand.
This Cullinan icon now has a shop in Pretoria for those not wanting to hike out to the countryside. In true Greek style, vegetarians are not left out in the cold – there’s a vegetarian moussaka made with brown mushrooms and lentils, hand-made vegan dolmades, and a vegetarian pita that includes olives, cheese, peppers and artichokes. Or simply dip a pita into a luscious melitzanosalata dip. Also available is tiropita and spanakopita, a delicious beetroot and butter bean salad.
Forti Mazzone and his dad, Giovanni, run their latest venture in the Brooklyn Bridge annex of Brooklyn Mall together. They make a delicious bean, spinach and broccoli stew, delicately flavoured with garlic, olive oil and oregano. The vegan pizza is made without cheese, while a mixed vegetable plate features roasted oven veggies served with a side salad.
Delightfully Pretorian in style and ambience, this eatery has been the number one breakfast venue on many travel and hospitality websites. Go for the two poached eggs set on a potato rösti with sautéed mushrooms, creamed spinach, blue cheese and basil sauce. The Egyptian eggs are poached, crumbed in dukkah and panko and deep-fried, served on grilled baby marrow ribbons with a dollop of Hollandaise sauce. There are also have other items on the lunch and dinner menu, such as jalapeño and mozzarella poppers with tomato-chutney mayo, and a wonderful caponata salad with dill, crème fraîche and broken macadamia nuts.
Pulled mushrooms in a vegetarian ‘chicken’ wrap made a staff member from one of the adjacent shops gush uncontrollably about its utter deliciousness. Mixed with spices and grilled in the oven, it’s served with tomato and fresh greens. Freshly baked items range from health breads to croissants and there’s also a vegan burger – a black bean patty is served on a seed roll with all the usual toppings and sweet potato fries.
Even though these are two distinctly separate restaurants, they have the same owners and there’s a nice flow between the two premises. Brunch Street, of course, offers more breakfast/brunch options, as well as delicious baked items and coffees. Culture Club, however, has over the past years made a name for itself as the quintessential tapas bar in Pretoria. Try a large range of vegetarian and vegan tapas, such as crumbed halloumi bites, falafels, chimichurri coleslaw, roasted sweet carrots, pickled cucumber ribbons, corn salsa, balsamic beetroot, sautéed green beans, patatas bravas, classic melanzane, spinach potato cakes, roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted butternut, steamed sugar snaps, marinated lima beans, herbed citrus olives, grilled zucchini, pan-fried mushrooms, Moroccan chickpeas and many more.
The Warm and Wondrous Oat bowl is made with cooked oats and topped with stewed cinnamon apples, almond flakes and berries – you can swap the milk on the side for soya. The Calcutta egg wrap is served on a low-carb sweet potato wrap and flavoured with Indian spices. They’ll gladly swap any meat or egg items for grilled brinjals or baby marrow. The name of the Vegan Kickboxer says it all – grilled brinjals combined with avocado, tomato, hummus, rocket, balsamic glaze and toasted pecan nuts come in a rye roll. David’s Favourite Lunch Bowl includes chickpeas and rocket as the main ingredients, mixed with sundried tomatoes, grilled brinjals, almond slivers, lemon and basil. From noon every day the harvest table features various healthy options such as vegetarian pasta dishes, vegetable salads, stuffed peppers, sweet potato wedges and many more.
At La Coco C they specifically aim to accommodate vegetarian and vegan requests from breakfast right through to late lunch. The offerings include buckwheat flapjacks topped with roasted pecans, banana and peanut butter ice cream. The sweetcorn-and-pumpkin waffles with salsa and smashed avocado topped with sriracha is a great savoury item, which is also gluten free. The golden spiced oats are made with rolled oats, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and turmeric and is served with fresh apple and almonds. For lunch, opt for the Bangkok curry, a spicy red curry made with a range of veggies and served with sticky rice. Finish with vegan brownies made from sweet potato, dates, cacao and coconut oil.
As one expects from any Indian restaurant worth its salt, Pride of India doesn’t disappoint in terms of dishes for vegetarian or vegan guests. There’s masala brinjal deep-fried in a savoury batter and veg mushrooms or okra that are treated with elegant respect to showcase the versatility and flavour of each. The Shah-Jahan vegetarian platter includes corn samoosas, kebabs and paneer chilli. Two full pages of vegetarian and rice dishes should feature a range of items suitable for vegans, such as the jeera rice, vegetable Jalfrezi, broad beans and potato, Bombay aloo and many others.
The vegan-friendly fruit bowl is made with a staggering ten different fresh fruits and can be eaten for breakfast or as a salad. The chopped house salad includes cabbage, lettuce, tomato, red onion, coriander, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, black sesame seeds and a lemon vinaigrette, while the barley risotto is enhanced by red onion, zucchini, fennel, tomato, paprika, chili, caraway, white wine, coriander and labneh, which can be left out to make it completely vegan. The menu also features a vegetarian tapas spread. The vegetarian open sandwich is made with rye or seeded bread and topped with lettuce, carrot, cucumber, roasted cherry tomatoes, salsa verde and cottage cheese – the cheese can always be left out for a vegan option.
Pellie Grobler, who presides over the kitchens of this intimate little restaurant, makes an aubergine tian with layers of aubergine and tomatoes baked in the oven, served with pea purée and carrot escabeche. There’s also a mushroom risotto with roasted exotic mushrooms, grilled asparagus, chickpea fritters, butternut gnocchi with sage-and-gorgonzola cream, crispy butternut shavings and sage oil. The melanzane parmigiano is a delicious tribute to Italy, featuring aubergine, Napoletana sauce and mozzarella baked traditionally in the pizza oven.
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