Vegan Valentine - Episode II - Restaurants JHB

Lots of couples love to go to a fancy restaurant for Valentine's day. It's getting out of one's every day life for a few hours, it means there will be no washing up to do afterwards and you get to eat something you probably wouldn't cook for yourself.

Johannesburg's restaurants go on a Valentines cadenza every year - there is no way you can just walk into a restaurant on the evening of the 14th of February as they are all pre-booked and menus are set. This means that if you want to go to a restaurant that evening, whether to celebrate with your partner, or just with friends, you will need to phone at least four days ahead (that's today, or tomorrow, chaps.)

Watch out for:

SET MENUS - call ahead to ensure you are catered for or can order from the normal menu.
BOOKINGS - book your table.
DRINKING AND DRIVING - Cab it. You don't want to be responsible for ruining your evening or somebody's life.


The Greenside Cafe always does something special - they have the most wondrous food. Call to book. We were there for lunch on a Saturday and people who came at 13:00 couldn't get a table.

Leafy Greens may be open - but unless you live in the area, it's a hell of a long way to go.

La Cucina di Ciro is an Italian restaurant that is friendly to Vegans. If you give them enough notice they will include you in their Valentine's plans, for sure.

The Good Luck Club in Illovo is totally a romantic spot for an early Valentine's dinner, and to watch a band at Wolves next door afterwards. Call ahead to book, they're always packed.

Sai Thai is also fabulous for a romantic dinner - try the Tom Kha soup. It's incredible!

The Cube Tasting Kitchen is a restaurant in Parktown North with a tasting menu, and no liquor license, so you can probably ask that they make a Vegan menu for you and you can take your own bubbly liquor.

Duke's burgers in Greenside is a romantic setting for a night out on Valentine's day, and they make fantastic Vegan burgers. Phone ahead to ensure that they have Vegan options if there is a set menu.

Il Giardino Degli Ulivi in 44 Stanley is terribly romantic, under the beautiful olive trees, there is nothing like those incredible polenta chips and their Vegetable Patch pizza. Ask for the polenta chips and emphasize that you DO NOT WANT CHORIZO OR PARMESAN. The waiters are rushed and inattentive at times, but if you get the order right, it's totally worth it. They also have great salads.

Tortellino d'Oro is divine and their Gnocchi Napolitana and Penne Pepperoni are a great choice.

The Leopard in Parkhurst has an amazing atmosphere, but must check that they're catering for you.


Don't drink and drive. Take a taxi. I am a very happy supporter of the Johannesburg taxicab industry. If you live within a 5km radius, you can take a tuk-tuk. Zebra cabs are particularly good, and offer a fair rate. Rose cabs are great. There are probably plenty others but these are the ones we prefer. For those who drink often, there is also Road Trip and it's equivalents: make sure to book your trip home early on in the week, so as not to be disappointed on the day. With Road Trip, you will have to check what time the restaurant serves its last dish - The Cube, for instance, runs a tight schedule.

Read Vegan Valentine - Episode I
Read Vegan Valentine - Episode III
Read Vegan Valentine - Episode IV
Read Vegan Valentine - Episode V

Tips from Oh She Glows for eating out as a Vegan are on this page. All good advice.

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