Generally Restaurants are notorious for their high fat, high kj, over-sized portions and a lack of desirable healthy options. However, there is a global trend moving towards a healthier conscious where menus cater more for vegetarians, vegans, allergies, intolerance, including ingredients such as ‘superfoods’ that are free-range or organic. Here is a brief summary of some contemporary restaurants in South Africa whose menus have adopted this health trend.


The menu offers Discovery Vitality approved and the chicken is grilled rather than fried, and no food items have added preservatives, MSG, flavourants or colourants. You can replace chips with rice or salad for a healthier option.

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follow them on Twitter : @NandosSA


A franchise of Italian restaurants, that have just added ‘Foro Pizzas’ to the menu, which are kilojoule-controlled pizzas with a hole in the middle for salad. Nutritional information for all their dishes is available on their website. wheat, yeast, sugar, dairy and gluten-free bases are available, as well as wheat and gluten-free pasta. There are also 20 salads from which to choose, and some dishes are endorsed by the Heart Foundation.

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follow them on Twitter @ColCacchio

Well-known for their wide selection of salads, wraps, sandwiches and smoothies, Kauai also offer wheat-free rye bread and egg-free mayo. Superfoods also feature strongly in many of the dishes.

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follow them on Twitter @KauaiSA


Café Zing 

Grass fed & hormone free meat, breads made with stone ground flour, raw honey, free range chicken, organic sugar, organically grown lettuce & sprouts, hormone free milk and yoghurt, organic and fair trade teas and coffee, sun-dried natural Kalahari salt, non-irradiated herbs and spices, organic wheat free noodles, raw food, gluten and sugar-free biscuits and no preservatives or additives. They also offer a meal of the day @ R35 weekdays at their branch in Menlyn Corporate Park, Pretoria.

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Follow them on Twitter @CafezingSA

Fruits and Roots

This vegetarian restaurant offers a wide variety of gluten and wheat free cakes. Their specialty is a vegan burger called the Mighty Burger and they serve a buffet daily from 11.30am.

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Follow them on Twitter @FruitsAndRoots

Greenside Café
This restaurant is 100% vegan, with a focus on healthy vegan nutrition. The menu includes dishes such as salads, wraps, pizzas and pastas where gluten-free versions are also available. They are winners of the People’s choice award for the best vegetarian menu in Johannesburg for both 2010 and 2011.

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Voodoo Lilly Café 
Their mission is to serve fair trade products and as much locally sourced organic food as possible, as well as to use recyclable and sustainable materials wherever possible. There is a wide variety of salads as well as items like the raw breakfast (fresh mango served with double thick Greek yoghurt, raw honey, raspberries and raw cocoa nibs), gluten-free pasta. Most of the meat options are free-range.

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Follow them on Twitter @VoodooLilyCafe

Living Room 
The Living Room boasts panoramic view as a rooftop venue. They grow herbs to incorporate into their nutritional smoothies, fresh-pressed juices and dishes. The head chef, Dan, is trained as a raw food chef in Auckland New Zealand and the menu is based on a South African palate blended with world flare. They use locally sourced and fair-trade ingredients and offer menu items are used with protein and wheat alternatives for vegetarians, vegans, and those with gluten-intolerance. The Tiakaya Showroom and Shop has unique plant, decor and jewellery gifts for sale.

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Love Food Kitchen, Café and Deli
A daily buffet table offers a variety of six fresh and healthy salads (including vegan and vegetarian platters); a hot dish of the day; and a choice of fish, meat, chicken or veg.

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Follow Them @LoveFood_Cafe


Arts Café
Arts café offers plenty of vegetarian options in their café-style menu. Most vegetables are organic; eggs and chicken are free-range; and burgers are made with lean mince. 100% rye bread is available as a wheat-free option.

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Eatwise is a gourmet health food company. The menu offers several vegetarian and vegan options, is strictly halal and also includes convenient meals for people on the go. All meals are low-fat and the menu indicates what is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Smoothies are offered with a choice of rice milk for a lactose free option, suitable for lactose intolerant individuals. They do deliveries and you can order online. They are currently closed due to renovations, but will open again soon.

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Market is a quint garden café/restaurant, situated in a French-style courtyard behind a classic 1930’s colonial building at the foot of Durban’s Berea. The menu offers vegetarian and non-veg, and all produce is either organic, or at least locally grown. There are also some gluten-free options such as savoury muffins, and their staff are happy to accommodate requests regarding other intolerance. Market is also known for its selection of award-winning South African wines, freshly squeezed fruit juices and coffee.

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Follow them @MarketRestaura1



Plant is the brand new, much-talked about fully vegan, ethical eating café, located in trendy Bo-kaap, which only opened its doors on Wednesday 12 February 2014. Plant has the first dedicated vegan kitchen in the Mother City CBD to provide quick healthy takeaway-style food. They are on a mission to make vegan food readily available, convenient and affordable, without sacrificing taste. They also offer deliveries to businesses in the CBD for no extra charge between 11am and 3pm. Deliveries usually take about 30 minutes to arrive.

Osumo is a small chain of healthy food cafes in Cape Town. The focus on natural food, and there are plenty of low-kilojoule options, from salads to wraps. Eggs and chicken are free-range, and the restaurant makes allowances for lactose, dairy, wheat and sugar intolerance. The menu indicates which dishes are fat-free, high protein, vegetarian, or contain ‘superfoods’. They have branches in Cavendish, Canal Walk and Sea Point.

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Follow them @OsumoSA 

Organic at Heart restaurant

Situated in a rustic thatch-roof building and tea garden in Constantia, this restaurant focuses on organic and ethical dining and features a 100% organic vegetable garden which produces most of the salads, vegetables other dishes. The menu caters for vegetarians, vegans as well as meat-eaters and includes raw food and free range and organic meat and chicken, wherever possible.  They also offer gluten and sugar-free alternatives. They are open for breakfast from 7.30 am (8 am on weekends), lunch and serve organic teas and coffees or freshly juiced juices.

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Dear Me

Dear Me is an all-day brassiere, pantry and event space, situated in the heart of Cape Town CBD in an almost 200 year old restored Heritage building on Long market street. Head chef Vanessa Marx is diabetic, so healthy eating is close to her heart and they value diversity, understanding that different people have different dietary needs so whether you’re celiac, diabetic, lactose- or wheat-intolerant, and vegetarian or vegan, there will be an option for you. Dear Me also boats a Pantry for gluten- and sucrose-free treats. They are conscious of their carbon footprint so wherever possible and whenever they can they reduce, reuse and recycle their waste. Dear Me is open for breakfast (7am-11am) or lunch (12pm -3pm) Mondays to Fridays and dinner on Thursday evenings.

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Follow them on Twitter @dearmefoodworld

Crush is a Fresh Food Café and Juice Bar situated in the heart of Cape Town in the St Georges Mall. Their mission is to provide the health conscious community with the highest quality veggies, meat, free range, raw and vegan food at the best affordable prices. This café offers delicious healthy and nutritious meals using the finest seasonal ingredients with raw, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. They also offer a great selection of smoothies, freshly pressed juices, herbal teas, organic coffees, natural cider, microbrew beers and organic wines

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Follow them on Twitter @Crush_cafe

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