Restaurants

Where To Find Melbourne’s Best Vegan Restaurants In 2023

By Maya Varadarajan

red-sparrows-pizza-vegan-melbourne

The vegan dining scene has really exploded in Melbourne over the last few years. Long gone are the days of soggy mushroom burgers and sad-looking salads, the level of culinary sophistication and dedication to flavour is rivalling some of the city's top institutions. 

To get a read on where to find the best vegan restaurants in Melbourne for 2024, keep on scrolling: 

Pinchy’s 

200 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

A BBQ oyster mushroom plated with cutlery at one of the best vegan restaurants Melbourne has to offer in 2024.Image credit: Pinchy's | Jana Langhorst

Don’t let the ‘seafood-centric aesthetic’ fool you, Pinchy’s is one of the best vegan restaurants in Melbourne. After a refresh in 2024, the matching ocean-based tasting menu is their ‘Made Friendlier’ menu which is a flavour-packed clever reimagination of some of their hit dishes. On the cards, you’ve got options like the BBQ oyster muchroom with shiso emulsion, sunflower mustard and pickled fennel.3 Of course, the plant-based answer to the famed Pinchy's lobster roll is the lion's mane mushroom with charred mushroom, Pinchy's seasoning and lemon in a golden semi-toasted roll.

Neko Neko

83A Smith Street, Fitzroy

If you’re after a piping hot bowl of umami-rich ramen, look no further than Neko Neko, whose acclaimed 20-ingredient vegan broth is practically at icon status. With several choices, you can go more light with their Neko Neko Ramen, which has a clear Shoyu broth adorned with an Inari Age (fried tofu pocket), or for something a little more hearty, try their Tan Tan Ramen, a creamy style sesame broth with vegan mince meat. They’ve also got a few Bento boxes for you to try, all entirely authentic and entirely vegan.  

Funghi e Tartufo

60 Hardware Lane, Melbourne CBD

For some of the best vegetarian food in Melbourne, be sure to check out this plant-based Italian restaurant, Funghi e tartufo. Nestled in the bustling Hardware Lane in the CBD, it’s a combination of European-styled outdoor dining and a cosy interior for colder nights. Traditional Sicilian cuisine has been reimagined to an earth-friendly take, with the vegan menu including spaghetti carbonara, risotto with champignon mushroom and a breadcrumb grilled swordfish dish. The dessert menu won’t disappoint either, with pannacotta and a mixed berry coulis rising to hero status.

Gong De Lin

3/264 Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD

Hidden away above Swanston Street is this absolute gem, serving up great plant-based Chinese food for affordable prices. Gong De Lin appeals to vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, with their varied menu. The absolute standout is their Peking duck, which is right up there with the best vegan food in Melbourne. Also on offer is their Mapo tofu, sweet and sour pork and Sichuan-styled stir-fried green beans, all 100% vegan. With such a central location, it’s easily accessible for all. 

Huong Viet Vegan

36A Leeds Street, Footscray

If you’re inundated with meat options and missing authentic Vietnamese food, definitely give Huong Viet Vegan a try. This entirely vegan, family-run restaurant in Footscray has an incredibly lengthy menu, with everything from Bún Bò Huế, a traditional spicy lemongrass noodle soup with a variety of mock meats in it, to Bò Lúc Lắc, a saucy Vietnamese shaking beef. The flavours are fresh and varied, and the portion sizes are pretty decent too, so along with fresh food, you get bang for your buck. 

Maha Restaurant

21 Bond Street, Melbourne CBD

Shane Delia has the foresight to have considered the rising demand for non-meat-based dining which in 2024 is basically reaching critical mass, and that’s why you’ll also find three of the best plant-based menus at his restaurants, Maha, Maha Bar and Maha East. Fusing the European and Middle-Eastern flavours that he’s famous for, Shane’s vegan menus feature spice-filled and incredibly in-depth flavoured dishes, celebrating the region’s diverse cuisine with plates like whipped hummus, asparagus, smoked paprika and toasted sesame, or smoked and fried Lebanese eggplant with shallot and date vinegar dressing with warm olives. 

Green Man's Arms

418 Lygon Street, Carlton

Green Man's Arms' charming (and very green) interior decor offers a cosy respite from the hustle and bustle of the regular Lygon street Italian fare. It really feels like you’re just chatting away in someone’s fancy, sparkling living room. With a fresh, ever-changing menu, this joint truly embodies comfort food goals—so grab a pint and a vegan bolognese or tuck into their nice, juicy eggplant schnitzel, a strong case for the best vegan restaurant in Melbourne. 

Trippy Taco

Various Locations

Our favourite trippy team has set up shop on the other side of the river. Serving an all-vegetarian menu, every dish comes with a vegan-friendly option. Think scrambled tofu and soy cheese brekkie burritos, vegan tacos and fluffy, cheesy vegan quesadillas. The tofu Asada Burrito with chargrilled tofu, vegan goat's cheese, vegan mozzarella, salsa and Guacamole will definitely satisfy any and all burrito cravings, and you’re covered north and south. 

Smith & Deli

107 Cambridge Street, Collingwood

Not your old-school corner deli, Smith & Daughter’s second café lives up to its veggie-filled reputation. Smith & Deli’s menu is home to creative names like The Wiggum, which has salt and pepper fried tofu, BBQ sauce, slaw, pickles and a chipotle aioli, as well as Foghorn Legless, which is a more classic chicken schnitzel, bacon, tomato, lettuce with ranch sandwich. Frankly, the names alone warrant a visit. You can also get a full English breakfast from here, so all bases are covered.

Smith & Daughters

107 Cambridge Street, Collingwood

A reigning vegan dining institution in Melbourne, Smith & Daughters hardly needs an introduction. For vegan beginners, this is the heavenly place to start, with dishes including braised Persian pork and buckwheat meatballs, pomegranate and Farinata, marinated oyster mushroom with buckwheat polenta and a fermented peppercorn jus, and grilled heirloom broccolini with burnt bread sauce, and Salsa Verde. 

Shakahari

201-203 Faraday Street, Carlton

A Sanskrit and Hindi word referencing plant-based diets found in the Indian subcontinent, ‘Shakahari’ is a longstanding restaurant in Carlton, where it’s been cooking up an exclusively vegetarian menu for over 50 years. Taking inspiration from Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Malaysian roots, Shakahari serves up nutritious feed, with Laksa Hebat, a creamy coconut and lemongrass noodle soup topped with tofu and seitan, Quinoa Croquettes, Ikigai Dumplings and much more. There are even a few nods to the Italian heritage of Carlton, with Spaghetti Stagione rounding out the main menu. 

Vegie Bar

380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Have you even been to Fitzroy if you haven’t been to Vegie Bar? The answer is no, no you haven’t. Smack bang on Brunswick Street, Vegie Bar is still one of the best vegan restaurants Melbourne has in 202—they serve all the veggie meals, including veggie-packed noodle dishes, warm buddha bowls and pizza (which even includes vegan cheese). And don’t walk past their sister store Girls & Boys next door, which serves vegan ice cream and sweet treats. 

Transformer Next Door

382a Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Vegie Bar’s older, more experimental, more popular sister (but don’t tell her that), Transformer is home to an all-vegetarian menu that champions humble ingredients like roast cauliflower and grilled king oyster mushrooms. A large portion of the menu is also vegan-friendly or can be made vegan on request—just look out for the cheeky “V” or “VO”.

Sister Of Soul

73 Acland Street, St Kilda

Sister of Soul boasts raw, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan meals that mark it out as one of the best vegetarian cafes in Melbourne—north or south of the river. The menu is full of familiar favourites and delicious surprises, and it's open pretty much all the time, from 7:30 am until late. 

Lona Misa 

234 Toorak Road, South Yarra

It wouldn’t be a best vegan in Melbourne write-up with a least three inclusions from Melbourne’s plant-based chef icon, Shannon Martinez. Lona Misa which opened earlier this year is 100% vegetarian with the majority of the menu dishes being vegan. The diner has a Latin-style approach, mixing traditional flavours into modern vegan interpretations like the Patatas Bravas and Peri Peri fire-roasted cauliflower.  

Kevabs 

89 Sydney Road, Brunswick 

Traditionally a pretty tough one to replicate, Kebabs have been off the menu for most plant-based diners. Kevabs in Brunswick is a true wonder, offering top-notch kebabs, boreks, HSP's and more—utilising all non-animal ingredients and even they're free from soy, gluten, and nuts making it an absolute mecca for dietary restricted Melburnians. Hands down, one of the best vegan restaurants in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. 

Evies Disco Diner

230/232 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy 

Evies Diner is the colourful converted warehouse diner in Fitzroy, and along with its seriously good vibes, it also has one hell of a vegan-friendly menu. The American and Tex-Mex style menu includes a range of spanking plant-based options including hot dogs, burgers, nachos and burritos. 

Red Sparrow 

Various Locations

Vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike will be flocking like sparrows into Red Sparrow. Melbourne’s first dedicated vegan pizzeria, Red Sparrow has a completely plant-based menu, with dairy-free cheese substitutes (you won’t miss the dairy) and mock meats including beer-infused bratwurst. Gluten, soy and nut-sensitive foodies will also be catered for. Red Sparrow is now open for business.

Primo 

104 High Street, Northcote

A top choice for any plant-based pizza enthusiast, Primo in Northcote has some of the best vegan pizza in Melbourne. The casual diner on High street has crafted several tasty options including the Westgarth with Roasted pepper, confit zucchini, eggplant, and vegan Fior di latte. They’re also coeliac accredited so there are plenty of gluten-free options.  

Ballard’s

915 High Street, Thornbury

Right from the horses’ mouth, Ballard’s states that the menu changes due to the seasons, the mood or the alignment of the stars. That seems fair to us, especially since they’re dedicated to bringing some of the best vegan food that Melbourne has to offer. Cover your entrees with their salt & pepper “squid” aka marinated oyster mushroom, and an antipasto platter holding white bean & artichoke dip, pickled veges, basil ricotta, bread, and more. Ballard’s are also pretty famous for their Gnocchi; they’ve currently got pesto, ragu and creamed chard as sauce options.  Definitely a Melbourne vegan restaurant that isn’t to be missed.

SHU

147 Johnston Street, Collingwood

If you’re in search of an entirely plant-based Sichuan restaurant, you’ve definitely hit the mark if you’re heading to SHU. This vegan Melbourne restaurant is the brainchild of Sichuan province native Shu Liu, who learned to cook from his mother and family. Opening up SHU in 2012, there is a distinct community vibe around the restaurant, which centres around inclusivity. There is unlimited Yum Cha on Sundays, and set menus that range from a five-course experimental set to a ten-course degustation. It’s somewhere in between fine dining and casual, and we reckon it’s a solid contender for the best vegan restaurant in Melbourne. 

Good Love

56 Acland Street, St Kilda

They’re not just about an aesthetic vibe over at Good Love, although we do love the neon pink. The cocktails are killer, so make sure you sip pretty on a fig gin sour or a chocolate and hazelnut espresso martini. The menu doesn’t disappoint either, and our favs are the Paella, the sizzling “duck”, and the loaded Patatas Bravas. Definitely one vegan restaurant that Melbourne needs to look out for. 

Tofulicious

78 Bridge Road, Richmond

If you happen to be having lunch around Richmond, Tofulicious may just have to be your next destination for a vegan feed. With a menu that changes fortnightly, and is highly based on seasonal produce, you’re all but guaranteed a hearty feed to nourish the soul. Everything feels homemade and like it’s gotten an extra sprinkle of love, so this vegan restaurant definitely is one of the best in Melbourne. 

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