Gone are the days when vegetarians have only the choice of a soya burger or a bland macaroni dish. Vegetarians can now sample fragrant curries, artisanal pizzas and juicy lentil burgers. Clinton Moodley discovered that the Durban scene has a lot to offer for vegetarians – especially if you are fasting for Purtassi.
Here are some eateries that cater only to vegetarians (and offer some vegan meals):
Falafel Fundi: Falafel Fundi is the street food trader that everyone cannot get enough off. The eatery will relaunch during October. Foodies can tuck into their falafel roti (R45) or their Mediterranean platter with seven kinds of salad, falafel and hummus (R70). On Florida Road. Call 083 783 6172.
RK’s Vegetarian Food: Lunch at RK’s Vegetarian Food, a popular franchise in Durban, may well cost you under R30. Try their famous biryani and dhall meal (R11) or their chippa sandwich, made with chips, cheese and their special sauce (R9). RK’s has branches in North Coast Road, Stamford Hill and uMhlanga. Call 031 836 8320.
Govindas: This restaurant offers a range of Western and traditional Indian cuisine, sweetmeats and eggless cakes. You can choose to indulge in their vegetarian biryani (R15 a serving) or paneer dishes (R20 a serving). Their pizzeria, which opens at the weekend, has a range of vegetarian pizzas to satisfy anyone’s appetite. Pizzas start at R30. At 50 Bhaktivedanta Swami Circle in Chatsworth. Call 031 403 3328.
Earthmother Organic Grocery and Café: Sisters Eva Muller and Doris Bye founded Earthmother in 2000. Famous for their falafel wrap (from R75), pine nut salad (R70) and their range of seasonal and organic juices and smoothies (from R40), the “Earthmothers” take care that all their meals are made fresh from trusted ingredients. At 155 Helen Joseph Road in Glenwood. Call 031 202 1527.
Some Indian spice
The Little India Restaurant: Authentic South and North Indian food. Tuck into their dhall makani, a fragrant lentil and bean curry (R70) or one of their paneer dishes (R95). At 155 Musgrave Road. For more information, call 031 201 1121.
Jeera at Suncoast Towers: It won the Durban Coca-Cola Bunny Chow Barometer challenge this year. Say no more. Among the popular dishes served are the vegetable biryani and dhall, and legume and spinach korma curry with paneer, both R112. At 20 Battery Beach Road. Call 031 314 7878.
Feeling for Italian
Marco’s Italian: The pride of Morningside, it offers a range of dishes for all palates. Perhaps tuck into their trufolati pasta, an ovenbaked spinach and ricotta-filled panzerotti in tomato and mozzarella sauce (R92), or their pumpkin panzerotti with a creamy walnut sauce (R95). At 45 Lilian Ngoyi Road. Call 031 303 3078.
A modern twist
Surf Riders Cafe: A pet-friendly venue, Surf Riders Café on the Durban beachfront is synonymous with good food. This summer they are focusing on a variety of street-style flatbreads, with locally sourced toppings like spring asparagus, artichokes, marinated bell peppers and red pepper pesto. From R95. Other must-try vegetarian meals include their vegan burger (R75) and vegetarian pizza with roasted brinjal and mushroom (R89). At 17 Erskine Terrace, Addington Beach. Email [email protected]
Street food gems
Spice Emporium’s The Snack Bar: You’ll find this at 31 Monty Naicker Road in the CBD. Inspired by the street food of India, it caters for vegetarians. Among their popular meals is bhel puri, a mixture of puffed rice, potatoes and roasted peanuts (R33), and pani puri: crisp, hollowed puris with potato, moong and chickpeas (R33). Give the Bombay paneer sandwich (R35) a try.
Roti and Chai: This popular eatery introduced a paneer tikka masala naan wrap to their menu. The wrap, R70, is filled with spicy marinated paneer, green peppers, onion and salad. At 223 Florida Road. Call 061 959 6975.