Before I go any further I have to make it very clear that I was only in Johannesburg/Joburg/Jozi for (almost) two days. There was no humanly possible way to eat at every single vegan eatery that I wanted to check out, based on 1. the size of my stomach (believe it or not), 2. our location (Parktown North – without a car) and 3. time! If ONE more person asks me why I didn’t eat at Leafy Greens!!! Bae and I so badly wanted to – but at least there is next time!
I’m going to give away the ending upfront: I LOVED Joburg for its vegan scene. I didn’ t need longer to make an assessment as I went in, did my thing, with zero expectations and was blown away EVERY time. Our itinerary looked something like this:
- Arrive in Joburg
- Breakfast/Brunch at Free Food
- Lunch at Neighbourgoods Market
- Dinner at Conscious 108
- A Movie in Rosebank (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
- Brunch at Vegan Hippie Connection Market
- “The Color Purple” at the Joburg Theatre
- Dinner at Duke’s Burgers
- Back home
Clearly, we did a lot of napping! We both strangely felt far more “chilled” in Joburg than in Cape Town and fell straight into holiday mode.
Free Food was simply a work of art (no other way to describe it), and the owner, Ariel Cohen, treated us like royalty. Why go here?
- All the food is gluten-free
- All the food is sugar-free
- The options are seemingly neverending and there is a takeaway fridge filled with wholesome meals and treats to get stuck into.
Shop 5, Delta Rd, Birnam
Ariel can be contacted in the following ways to discuss or buy any of his plant-based creations:
- cellphone, 082 406 4699
- email, firstname.lastname@example.org
- website, www.freefood.co.za
The Neighbourgoods Market was visually and culturally spectacular. For the first time, I felt like I was in the ‘real’ South Africa and not outside some plastic washed out beach party venue on Camps Bay Beach. From fashion to beautiful, interesting, quirky people of all races, shapes, ages, sizes, sexual preferences – THIS felt like the melting pot of South African culture. Pity about the lack of vegan options though, as we settled on a mezze plate of Greek tapas and were ripped off – the most expensive meal in Jozi! Lesson learned! If anything I would recommend going here just to people watch!
Conscious 108 may be my new favourite vegan restaurant in South Africa! Just saying. No frills, no fuss, no bullshit GREAT food that has a “home-cooked” kind of feel. Why should you go there?
- They have a Vanilla Oreo Un-Milkshake that is INSANELY good
- Their portion sizes are HUGE (even for me!)
- Their prices are affordable (far more affordable when compared to Cape Town standards)
108 Greenway, Greenside
The Vegan Hippie Connection Market makes all of our markets in Cape Town (whether vegan or not) pale in comparison. I assumed (terrible of me, I know) that there would be a couple of stalls, with a few vegans haggling over a Buddha Bowl. My jaw literally dropped to the ground when I entered the market and couldn’t keep up with the number of vegan vendors present! 50? 70? 100? Too much frikken choice! Not one vegan biltong stand, but two! Raw vegan? Easy! American-style junk food vegan? Yip! Clothing? There is a whole wing of vendors off to one side for cruelty-free clothing. Vegan toiletries and beauty products? Maybe five or so vendors. Fresh produce? Of course. Bless the guy that was the only vendor selling coffee – he was Bae’s favourite! We left with a giant wheel of vegan Chevre cheese (R40), some Oh! Poppyseed and Herbi Vohr Biltong after eating American-styled vegan chicken wings, tacos, donuts and … wait for it… THE BUFFET FROM Leafy Greens (who were at the market!). I didn’t eat until dinner.
Vegan Hippie Connection Market
Pirates Sports Club, 25 Braeside Rd, Greenside
Every last Sunday of the month, 9am-3pm
For the best vegan biltong in the country, contact Ricardo Marques, co-founder and CEO of Oh! Poppyseed who can also be found at the market. This stuff is LIFECHANGING!
- cellphone, 074 011 0111
- email, email@example.com
- website, www.ohpoppyseed.co.za
- facebook, @ohpoppyseed
- instagram, @ohpoppyseed
And for the MOST AFFORDABLE VEGAN CHEESE in South Africa, contact Fancy That on 083 454 4427 or 073 314 4405 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Our final port of call was an “omni” restaurant voted the best burger joint in Jozi, Duke’s Burgers. The pictures speak for themselves!
14 Gleneagles Rd, Greenside
How do I feel about the vegan scene in Jozi? Slightly ashamed if I am being 100% honest. I think Capetonians (myself included, OBVIOUSLY) are far more vocal about our vegan triumphs in the Mother City – and damn straight! We should be! But Jozi… wow. You blew my mind. You just get on with your thing, and maybe you don’t rave about these places because they have been around for a while, have consistently provided outstanding service and quality, and are far more affordable. I mean shockingly affordable. I literally had to ask two owners whether they were making any money at all. Both of them (unrelated to each other) laughed at me immediately, and said, “Of course!”. I feel like veganism in Jozi is slightly more accessible. But hey… what do I know? And I was only in Jozi for two days! I think I’m going to go back, very very soon. There are still too many places that need exploring – for quality control purposes only of course!
Thank you, Johannesburg for a genuinely special experience. I now get why you are so loved, you big old concrete jungle!
Before you go, check out my Eateries by Map (for Cape Town) page and don’t forget to pop on over to my YouTube channel as well! If you’re feeling generous and want to help me with the upkeep of this all (because I do it all for free), then click on my Patreon link.