Lauren Greve, @lols_the_vegan on Instagram, wrote a fantastic article on what’s happening vegan-wise in Knysna!
Inside scoop from a vegan in Knysna, just in time for the Knysna Oyster Festival (that will have vegan options)!
I’m not sure about you folks, but when I visit an area for a bit, I don’t want to spend valuable time scouring various eateries for delicious dishes. I am, therefore, handing you this little gift. Here it is, a Knysnarian’s guide to the good spots that will keep you satisfied and happy when visiting us!
As you near Knysna on the N2 from the Cape Town side, you will find yourself approaching our iconic (actually rather humble) white bridge. But wait! In Belvidere, just around the corner, is Oak Leaf. They have a great variety of vegan options and are pooch-friendly. My favourite choice for lunch is the bunless walnut and bean burger atop an indulgent salad. Their breakfast options are also drool-worthy. Open for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday to Sunday.
Let’s continue over the abovementioned bridge while looking for kingfishers who may be spotted along the lagoon drive. Muse Fusion Food is a fantastic spot on the left with vegan pizzas, salads and NACHOS! The garden is lovely, and the owners are welcoming and accommodating. Tuesday to Saturday. Lunch and dinner.
As you enter the town, one of my hard-to-resist little hideaways is the new The Sandwich Shack on Trotter street. My go-to here is the cheese and tomato with pesto sourdough sandwich. (I know, how boring right?) You will not regret it. They have other options too, and the staff are super helpful. Monday to Saturday. Breakfast and lunch. (As a side note, the Knysna Vet is next door and is one of the best in town if your Furkid needs a little help).
Caffe Mario is an institution in Knysna and is also located in the town. The staff are well educated on vegan needs, and their pizzas are probably the best in Knysna. Pasta and salads can also be adjusted accordingly. I love their bruschetta Pomodoro, although a more generous serving of the tomato mix upon this iconic, simple dish is warranted. Staff quickly provide more tomato-lishness at your request, and the service is excellent. Open all day Monday to Saturday.
Chatters Bistro nearby is also a joyful day and night establishment. Unfortunately, their vegan pizzas and pasta are rather pricey. But, it’s an excellent spot to visit with family.
Open lunch and dinner. Tuesday to Saturday.
The Node is another primarily vegan jewel tucked away in the Oaks on Main open-air centre amongst the trees. A little eatery that is predominantly vegan with a gorgeous store to boot. They have delicious smoothies, juices, and vegan ice cream on occasion! Just ensure to remind the friendly staff to omit the honey. I highly recommend trying their loaded banana bread! You may even be lucky enough when visiting to come across a Knysna dwarf chameleon who enjoys the tranquillity amongst the greenery. In the same haven is a quaint Mexican cafe that will gladly veganise some of their meals.
Open Monday to Sunday for breakfast and lunch.
Another gem I often visit for a coffee in the morning and to indulge in their spelt pizza slices is the Grain Mill at the end of Grey Street. Soups of the day are available, Quiches, sorbet, apple pie, einkorn burger, pasta and salads. Do not leave without purchasing one of their ancient grain pasta on offer!
Mon to Friday. Lunch and dinner.
An additional Knysna local institution is île de païn on Thesen’s Island. One had to adjust one or two dishes a few months ago to create a vegan meal. Now, the menu is a Mecca of choices for vegans. My vegan buddy and I shared the burger and sweet potato steaks, and we were simply blown away. Open for lunch only, no bookings, Tuesday to Saturday.
Let’s not be remiss and exclude Sedgefield from this list. Li-O-La is a 100% vegan, laid-back eatery towards the end of the village, and the owners are simply divine. Open Tuesday to Suddenly until 7pm. Visit the Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market nearby, and a host of stalls will greet you with their vegan options.
In summary, not only is Knysna in the Garden Route a destination to visit all year round but you won’t be found wanting when the hunger pangs kick in.