One of my favorite veggie restaurants in the Mother City has to be Nooka Café. This vegetarian & vegan coffee shop is situated in Roeland Street, Cape Town and serves a variety of hearty Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. It’s my absolute go-to place for a falafel fix since I can’t get my hands on Falafel Fundi’s fluffiness.
Nooka opened its doors in November last year, by good friends Eliav Vanunu and Or Sivan. The idea was simple – to complement the existing veg/vegan restaurants in Cape Town but bring their own twist into the mix with atmosphere, flavor, and design. Eliav told me that both him and Or believe in following a healthy, meat-free lifestyle (yay!) and so they wanted to share their views and love for Israeli cuisine in this fast-growing market. All their dishes, health drinks, and juices are freshly made/squeezed and they try to support local suppliers as far as possible. They are also part of our phenomenal Green Monday movement and promote eating plant-based foods at least one day a week.
As mentioned, the menu offers a combination of Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean flavors, which is the essence of Israeli cuisine. The most traditionally Israeli dishes are the Nooka Shakshuka and Sabich on a Plate – omit the egg and you have yourself a fine vegan meal. I’ve been to Nooka Café more than a couple of times and tried many of their marvelous dishes, but my old-time favorite is starting off with The Nook (a tahini, banana, dates & soy milk drink @ R33) and then ordering a few smaller items to share around the table. For two pax, I suggest ordering the following:
- 2x Nooka Lentil Falafels (@ R30 per portion) because you’ll want more than two balls each!
- 1x Hummus plate (@ R50 per portion) but ask for an extra pita bread.
- 1x Nooka Home Fries (@ R30 per portion) – trust me, they are not the fries you have in mind.
- 1x Salad of your choice… I like the Pan Salad without feta (@ R70) or, of course, the Vegan Salad (@ R65)
Nooka Café is open from 7am to 6pm Monday – Saturday, but hope to keep their doors open for late night snacking during the silly summer season. They offer free Wi-Fi which makes it a great spot for a quick business lunch (hence the reason Galia and I were there again yesterday), but parking is just always a bit of a b*itch. The exciting news is that they are looking to expand! As soon as they secure a top spot in Sea Point, they’ll open up branch number two.