Vegan in Harare, Zimbabwe

There was only one vegan place listed on happycow (V Delights), and I went there and it did not exist. The sign was up, and their website says "Restaurant is currently closed however you can still enjoy these meals by enroling to our Vegan or Gluten free Cooking classes as an individual or group!". Maybe it'll be back in the summer, who knows.

Some signs against a wall with trees to the right

The next best place for intentional vegan food (with a well-labelled menu) is Avocado Cafe in Sam Levy's Village. They have several dishes that are or can be made vegan, and plant milks for their variety of fancy coffees and latte drinks. They have energy balls which are vegan too.

A plate with four small vegetable wraps, three on end, one fallen over, with a bowl of chips and a glass of apple juice behind them A white bowl full of bright coloured veggies and leaves Four small tortillas standing on end filled with vegetables on a plate with salad A white cup with a black beverage and latte art A white plate with a closeup of two small round cakes A tall glass with green foamy drink

Maasdorp farmer's market is every Wednesday and Saturday, and I ended up going three times. It's a great place for handmade souvenirs and local produce. A nice lady sells homemade cashew cheese in blocks for 14 bond under the name BConscious. I bought one with jalapenos and one with olives and it was so good. Some of the best I've had. She told me about her imminent store opening (Vegan Vibes), the day after I was due to leave of course.

Across the road from the Maasdorp farmer's market is another market and a Chinese grocery store. At the grocery store I found all kinds of tofu, fresh in big blocks as well as dried and flavoured. It's super cheap. At the market outside are freshly fried noodles and vegetables. You can choose your fillings, and there's even a bowl of seitan, and watch it get mixed up in front of you, then eat it on one of the benches in the market. They had vegetable bao, too.

Closeup of a coconut with a straw, against an out of focus blue sky with clouds A table lined with white bowls and an asian lady behind A plastic bowl full of noodles and veggies A hand holding a rice bun with a bite out

Ethiopian food is always a safe bet for vegans; I ate at Queen Makeda twice and it was delicious. The vegetarian menu is distinct and varied. The Ethopian coffee pot seems to be bottomless.

A metal plate with flat and rolled injera and splodges of coloured vegetable curries A plate of injera to the left and a metal pot with sizzling orange contents A tray with two small white cups, a stripey patterned sugar pot and a black spouted coffee pot A round metal tray with two white coffee cups and a funnel of smoldering incense View from above of a small white coffeecup and saucer, filled with dark liquid

Thai and Indian food are usually good options too; I ate Thai food at Chang Thai, which has many obviously-vegan vegetarian dishes, and was pretty good. On my last night, really amazing Indian food at Spice Lounge. Especially the milkless masala chai, which was properly spicy.

A square white plate with three crispy spring rolls in a pile with coriander on top A white plate with a pile of rice and vegetable curry, and a bowl of curry beside it Two long white plates with a line of fried things and salad A white plate with a splodge of orange curry, some kofta balls and chapati on the side

And towards scraping the bottom of the barrel.. I got a pizza without cheese no trouble at Elmo's (a chain that can be found all over) and the toppings for the vegetarian one were pretty good and dense. At Little Eataly the only option was pasta with tomato; to be fair, it was really good. Amanzi is a restaurant and bar with a really nice outdoor area; we went to the Wednesday quiz, which has a constrained menu (the only vegan option being tomato soup, requested without cream). We did convince them to let us look at the regular menu, and there is one vegan option on there - a very expensive broccoli steak, which sounds good but I wasn't 16 USD hungry. The fries there are great too. At Cafe Veldemeer near the UN offices there were a couple of vegan-isable salads, but I went for butternut and leak soup. It was pretty expensive.

A table full of food, closest a pizza with vegetables beside a large plate of fries A white bowl with wide pasta and tomato sauce A white bowl and glass both with orange contents A dark bowl with red soup on a table with wine glasses in the background An outdoor restaurant seating area with lots of trees and lights in the dark

Best of all is always local food thought. Zimbabwean cuisine is heavy on the meat stews, fish and chicken. But they always come with a side of greens (canola/rape), beans, and sadza. This can be ordered on its own for a mere 10 bond (depending on the day's exchange rate, 2-4USD) at Gava's, and is enormously filling by itself. Sadza is made from ground maize, and is a mushy ball that you grab a piece of between your fingers and use to scoop up the beans and greens to shovel into your mouth. At Gava's you can substitute regular sadza for sourghum (which is grey and gritty, super delicious and more nutritious) or peanut rice (which is obviously epic).

A plate with a round ball of rice beside beans and a pile of greens, French press in the background Close up of a black ball of sadza with forkmarks, sitting on some greens Black ball of sourghum sadza on a small side plate Red sign saying Gava's against a blue sky above a wall Closeup of half a ball of white sadza on a plate with peanut rice and beans

Sadza is a staple food, so at the very least if you go to any local restaurant or a communal food gathering like a braai (bbq) in Zimbabwe you'll be able to get sadza and greens or other veggies. Just be careful at a braai where someone else is preparing the food that you can get the green separate before any meat gets mixed in and cooked together with them.

Some people move a wooden bench under an orange canopy A rectangular metal tray with a huge pile of white sadza to the right of greens

What else I did in Harare other than eat.

🏷 zimbabwe harare vegan food travel