If you’ve been crushing hard on cauliflower and cashew cheese for a while, you don’t need to be convinced that meat-free is the way to go. For everyone else, the time is now to get tasting the vego way of life—or at least opt for a meatless Monday every now and then.
Plant-based and filling, ethical and fresh, veggie eats excite the tastebuds and look after our planet. Brisbane’s vegan and vegetarian scene has recently picked up the pace, and with that, has sprouted an array of restaurants, cafes and bars dedicated to veganism or, committed to having vegetarian options on their menu that aren't just a salad.
Have your food and forget the guilt. Here’s where to find the best vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Brisbane.
ZA ZA TA
A newbie to the vego scene, ZA ZA TA announced they were going vegetarian last year, and have since become a staple for vegetarian diners across Brisbane. Their menu is still a melting pot of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours, but now you'll find the likes of cauliflower schwarma with smoked labneh and pumpkin dumplings in burnt chilli butter on the menu, with nary a meat dish to be seen. And yes, the butter bread is still on the menu, so come hungry.
You Came Again
There isn’t much better than tapas. You get to nibble away at lots of different little dishes, usually with a drink in hand and a bunch of mates. Live the tapas experience fuelled by a whole lot of plant power at You Came Again, Brisbane’s own (and first) vegan tapas bar. Trust us, you’ll be screaming for more of their mushroom and walnut pate, glazed eggplant and the meetballs. Do yourself a favour and be sure to sample the cocktail menu.
Nonna's Nightmare, so called because their plant-based pizzas would give an Italian nonna nightmares, is all about vegan Italian eats, with everything from the ‘Notzarella’ and feta to the spicy sausage, is plant-based. Hand-stretched pizza bases are topped with the likes of vegan ricotta and cashew cream cheese, while pastas come in meat-free creamy sauces and ragus. And for dessert, there’s Frangelico tiramisu. That’s right, dairy free, plant-based, vegan tiramisu. What are you waiting for?
Fish Lane has established itself as a bit of a Brisbane foodie hot spot and it’s here that you will find Grassfed, a vegan burger joint dedicated to sustainable and local ingredients. These guys are the kings of turning something obviously non-vegan into a wondrously tasty alternative. Throw in some onion rings and top it off with a co-yo ice cream sundae and you’ll need someone to roll you home.
Fitz and Potts
The kitschy retro interiors of Nundah's Fitz and Potts might have you fooled that you’ll be up for a serving of shrimp cocktail or devilled eggs. No sir-ree! They are a self-proclaimed “vegan as f#*k” bar, where everything is vegan—the snacks, small plates, cocktails and even treats for your pooch. Dive straight in with either the jaffle platter or cheese platter. It’s a great way to sample a selection of vegan meats, cheeses and condiments.
Open and inviting, Greenhouse's rustic yet modern interiors will draw you in. Their food is equally as enticing—basically, vegan food porn that looks almost too pretty to eat. And pretty much whatever you can think of is on the menu in vegan form here, from jackfruit rogan josh and spicy krabcakes to cauliflower mac 'n' cheese and eggplant parmigiana. Even your non-vegan friends will want to eat here.
If you're looking for somewhere to dine that will please everyone—vegans, vegos, carnivores and even the gluten-intolerant—Happy Boy ticks all of the boxes and then some. Bonus, you can feed a crowd on a shoestring here—is any wonder they're a favourite for group outings? The Chinese-leaning menu is split into vegetable, meat and seafood dishes for ease of ordering. If you're planning to share, eats like the salt and pepper tofu, saucy eggplant (sans pork belly), mushrooms and tofu in soy sauce and mushroom and truffle fried rice will have everyone drooling.
The locals in North Lakes are already well aware of this one—it's their very own vegan and vegetarian haven. Tuesday through to Sunday, sit down and enjoy the soul-warming tastes of Asian cuisine at September 18. Think laksa, noodles, curries, deep-fried mushrooms and fresh sung choi bao.
Lovers of Mexican food, El Planta is the spot for you, with a delicious line up of plant-based eats, and not a black bean in sight. Vegan or not, you’ll find plenty to tempt you on the menu here. First up, there’s tacos with fillings like roasted cauliflower, adobe jackfruit and fried 'chicken,' which come with housemade tortillas, salsas and sauces. It’s not all about the tacos though—you’ll also find a selection of snacks to kick things off, including guacamole or plant-based queso with crisp housemade corn chips and grilled corn rolled in chipotle mayo and ‘parmesan.'
Want to see just how exciting vegan food can be? Let Yavanna show you with the likes of spicy buffalo cauliflower wings, house ‘fluffies’ (aka pancakes) and the pesto schnitzel burger—where the chicken is not chicken but tastes just like it. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has drinks for every occasion, along with bright and leafy interiors and super friendly staff. If none of that excites you, we’re not sure what will.
Beer isn’t the only thing Tipplers Tap does well. Their all-American street food is damn good too and they cater for their vegan pals. All the usual suspects have been vegan-ified—burgers, hotdogs, chilli and even a Polish sausage. Hot tip: Go on a Tuesday for $2 tacos and order that extra guac.
This place has some seriously creative and fancy food. It is also known around the traps as one of Brisbane’s best vegan restaurants. Detour is not an exclusively vegan restaurant, but half of their menu is for the plant eaters out there with eight diverse and delicious meals to choose from. Got a fancy date or a special occasion to celebrate? Detour is the perfect place.
After a vegan brunch? Check out our list of Brisbane's best vegan cafes here.
Image credit: Za Za Ta, Tash Sorrenson for Urban List, Ranyhyn Laine