There’s an article floating around the Internet—one with credible sources and facts and figures—that says by 2050, America may be a “vegan country”. Yes, America. The place we’ve slaughtered and scrutinised for decades as the epicenter of obesity and upsized fries.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the way the world is progressing. And the Gold Coast is no exception. In fact, we’re jumping on the vegetarian-slash-vegan bandwagon quicker than you can say cashew nut cheese pizza. Perhaps it’s because our golden coastline abounds in fresh farm produce. Perhaps it’s because our love of French bulldogs and well-groomed Labradors has made us look into the greater animal kingdom and consider the flesh we’re chowing down. Or maybe it’s just because our bikini bodies must always be ready.
Either way, we’re totally digging the hippie vibes and health conscious ways of the Gold Coast’s best vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
Ahh, Govindas; the original Gold Coast vegetarian restaurant. Dishing up tofu salads and kofta balls since before the dawn of quinoa cultivation (probably). With their roots in the Hare Krishna movement, you may sense a more authentic link to the ethical vegetarian ideology and a distinct lack of interest in food fads. Not a Spirulina treat or an activated nut milk alternative in sight. With locations in Burleigh and Surfers Paradise, the Govindas buffet is always in easy reach.
Where: 20 James Street, Burleigh and 3120 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Greenhouse Factory is a shimmering example of the possibilities of raw vegan food, particularly how they can transform into a lavish dining experience. It seems criminal to jam a fork into such pretty ensembles. But then again, no more criminal than letting coconut and cinnamon banana battered toast go to waste (and yes, you need to add the $3 side of organic ice-cream). When your condiments are lovingly paintbrush-smeared onto your plate like a work of art, nothing else matters.
Where: 1/74 Musgrave Street, Coolangatta
Mandala Organic Arts Café
This is the kind of 100% vegan establishment that vegans drag their non-vegan friends to kicking and screaming. And then the vegan struts out the door smugly saying, “what’d I tell you?” while their non-vegans friends eat their flax seed humble pie. From the creamy mushroom pizza to the salted caramel smoothie, everything on the menu is jaw dropping, inducing a choir of “how do they even do that?” As a friendly FYI: Mandala recently acquired a liquor license. Your life is now complete.
Where: 4/2558 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
With phrases like “pork bun” and “chicken fillet fried rice,” the Easy House menu will read as a web of confusion for the dedicated vegetarian. Even when the meals get served on the promise of being strictly vegetarian, the dedicated vegetarian will feel a little skeptical. Welcome to the world of faux meat. No one here is trying to fool you into feeling satisfied from a salad, it’s hearty meat meals made with non-animal proteins. Enjoy golden mushroom hot pots, chow meins and delicious laksas—all your Chinese favourites and some Yum Cha on the side.
Where: Shop 9, 90 corner Markeri Street and Sunshine Boulevard
Giri Kana Café at H2O
Giri Kana is Southport’s answer to Govindas, offering a banquet of Indian inspired hot dishes, comforting cheesy bakes, and hearty salads. But they’ve dabbled a little further and offer a side menu of raw vegan cheesecakes, tofu burgers, and organic acai berry bowls. A particularly lovely way to ease the pain of the irksome errand running that all too often drags us to Australia Fair; Centrelink, Medicare, blah blah blah.
Where: H20 Broadwater, 82 Marine Parade, Southport
The Cardamom Pod
If you’re in a bad mood: Cardamom Pod. If you’re feeling happy: Cardamom Pod. If you need to get some work done and want a cozy as hell nest to do it in: Cardamom Pod. High teas, mocktails, edible flowers, and eclectic coloured ceramics—can’t you feel the endorphins releasing just hearing about it?
Where: 1/2685 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
Magic Apple has a little bit of a glam fish ‘n’ chip shop vibe going on. Stroll in on a summer’s day with sandy feet and salty hair and no one will look sideways. With a burger and wrap bar, vegan mushroom and lentil pies, stews, casseroles, and nachos to boot, it’s almost like you’re going to Grandma’s house. If Grandma was a vegan and down with spelt bread.
Where: 1957 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Flannerys Natural and Organic Supermarket
Where would we be without Mrs Flannerys? Well we’d probably still be on the Gold Coast. But we’d be without chlorella powder, fenugreek, and dry roasted tamari almonds, so life certainly wouldn’t be the same. Now boasting 12 stores across the state, the Flannerys institution has well and truly blossomed, deserving a side note of thanks and praise for bringing easy and good health to the Gold Coast’s vegans and vegetarians.
Where: stores located in Benowa, Miami, Tugun, Robina, and Paradise Point
Once you’ve visited everywhere on this list we officially consider you part of the Gold Coast Vegan Community. You can make that feel real by liking the Gold Coast Vegan Facebook page.
Welcome to the good life.
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Notorious for losing her own possessions, making poor life decisions and sleeping in stairwells, Samantha Chalker is the ideal candidate for staying home wrapped in cotton wool. Which makes her a not so ideal candidate for being a travel writer. But here she is, making it work, and feeling very thankful that the universe has her back. Find Samantha online.
Photo Credit: Hayley Williamson for Metropolist