The vegan dining scene has exploded in our little city. Healthy, fresh and easily just as delicious as a cheese-covered steak (that's our story, and we're sticking to it).
Whether you’re a true blue vegan or a vego beginner, here’s where to find the best vegan food in Melbourne.
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.
Girls & Boys
Vegan desserts are having a moment, with the veggie-licious team behind Transformer and Vegie Bar adding the third venue to their vegetarian and vegan-friendly family. Soft serve, gelato, choc-tops and an endless variety of cakes are all vegan-friendly at Girls & Boys. Yep, it’s a plant-based heaven.
Fragrant, herby, vegan Middle Eastern cuisine? Yep it does exist—and it’s all at the sunny waterside restaurant, Mama Rumaan. Better than your mama’s Sunday roast, Mama Rumaan’s vegan options include Mama’s Old Spice Rice with peas, slivered almonds, sultanas and potato or the Roast Pumpkin Bourani with served with sumac, yoghurt dressing and mint. Grab a fork.
When we heard there were a few good chefs in Brunswick serving VEGAN-FRIENDLY PHO, we marched down to GOODdays and slurped up a storm (yes, it was messy, and several white shirts could not be saved). Vegan rice paper rolls with tofu and mushroom make for a perfect entrée while mushroom pho made with mushroom and vegetable broth and a selection of grilled and braised Asian mushrooms (all the mushrooms!) is a soul warmer.
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. Drool.
Rotating seasonal specials mean vegans and healthy foodies will never get bored of their Laneway Greens wholefoods bowl. At the moment, vegan choices include the Chermoula Eggplant with mixed heirloom tomatoes, Turkish green chilli and a tahini dressing. The macro bowl with Pat’s cultural veg, spiced sweet potato and tahini dressing is also a permanent vegan option. NOM.
Happy Place By Lola Berry
Pick up anything at Lola Berry’s Happy Place—it still won’t be cheating. From takeaway meals to snacks, smoothies to healthy juices, you’ll be walking out happy. Make a note for your next South Melbourne Market shopping date.
Vegan options abound at Burnley’s Serotonin Eatery, from the Smiling Smashed Avo to the Raw Green Protein Bowl. Let the smiley team know your dietary requirements and enjoy your favourite brunch with a Peanut Butter or Gingerbread Latte.
Fox In The Box
One of Melbourne’s favourite allergy-friendly cafes, Fox In The Box pulls magic from its kitchen. Along with gluten-free and dairy-free eats, vegan-friendly lunches like the succulent root vegetable salad and vegetarian lasagne are ideal for the environmentally conscious.
Specialising in raw, organic eats, Shoku Iku’s menu also doubles as vegan. Banana pancakes are served with fresh fruit, raw and activated Nutella with a plant-based cream of the day. For lunch, noodles are made from kelp and vegetables are served with a coconut dragon sauce and teriyaki sprinkle.
Smith & Deli
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 Parmageddon (vegan chicken parma with Napoli sauce, pesto, vegan mozzarella) and The Eggs-orcist (vegan egg salad with shredded iceberg). The sandwich names alone warrant a visit.
Smith & Daughters
A reigning vegan dining institution in Melbourne, Smith & Daughters hardly needs an introduction. For vegan beginners, this is the heavenly place to start, with Spanish and Mexican-influenced dishes including Paella Fritters, tacos and creamy dips.
Forget vegan dumplings (even when they are delectable and inspired by south-west Sichuan flavours), this year it’s time to up your vegan game with a TEN COURSE vegan degustation. Featuring a rotating menu, current favourites on SHU’s menu includes a trio of street snacks, Shitaki soy wontons and pan grilled eggplant wraps.
Forget one-choice menus—all entrees, mains and desserts are vegan at Shakahari. Expect dishes like the Laksa Hebat with organic Japanese udon noodles, mixed vegetables and fried tempeh and tofu in a mildly spiced coconut stock. Mouth watering yet?
Vegie Bar’s older, more experimental, more popular sister (but don’t tell her that), Transformer is home to an all-vegetarian menu which 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”.
Yong Green Food
Focused on locally sourced, organic ingredients, Yong Green Food is a winner for foodies with particular dietary requirements. Raw, vegan, organic and gluten-free options abound, with Hawaiian Live Pizza and Kelp Pad Thai.
With a careful focus on pescatarian dining, Japanese ramen is no longer off-limits for the conscious foodie at Neko Neko (it means “cat cat” in case you were curious). Ramen noodle soups bursting with mushrooms and custom-made egg-free noodles are a highlight. Okonomiyaki is also vegan—they just use cashew cream instead of egg.
A Fan’s Notes
A Fan’s Notes is a sanctuary for vegan and meat-eaters to dine together in harmony and happiness. Enjoy the crumbed tofu while your not-so-vegan mate chows fried chorizo. No judgement. Favourites include the vegan roast loaded with potatoes, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, slaw and a tofu slab drizzled in plant-based gravy. Check out the Facebook page for regular vegan degustation nights.
Hello and welcome to bowl heaven. Fort Green has your breakfast, lunch and superfood smoothie addiction sorted. The Vegan Pad Thai (kelp noodles, pickled and seasonal veggies, coriander, chilli, tempeh and peanut sauce) and classic mix of brekky options (acai, porridge, bircher, granola and chia pudding) have never made bowls look and taste so damn sexy. Pssst a yoga studio is coming soon!
Moroccan Soup Bar
The ‘spoken menu’ means you will get served whatever the kitchen has prepp'd that day, but rest assured that it'll always include a large plate of dips and curried vegetables, accompanied by a big stack of pita bread. $17 will get you and friends a three-course meal (all to share), and $20 will get you the banquet. There’s nothing more satisfying than a parade of dips, stews and bakes arriving at the table leaving you absolutely stuffed to the brim, with barely a dent in your wallet.
Just Falafs is where modern Israeli rightfully meets Northside vegan. The pitas and plates are bursting with pickled cabbage, Israeli salad, hummus and tahini. Fillings include falafel, fried cauliflower and eggplant. In a rush? Take home packs for two or four are always an option – house-made dips and chips, ample falafel and pita bread, grain salad and dessert. L'chayim!
Brunswick and Roxburgh Park
If you’re a hummus all day erryday kinda vegan we’ve got your chickpea cravings sorted. Tibas offers authentic, VEGAN, Lebanese food. Mains are served with garden salad, tabouli, pickled turnips, home-made dips and rice. Lighter (and cheaper) options include the fried cauliflower, mixed pickles, vine leaves and spinach pie.
Flemington and Glen Waverley
We’re calling it, hands down best vegan laksa in Melbourne. The authentic Malaysian soup is cooked from scratch and, with the perfect mix of coconut milk and spice, is guaranteed to cure all ailments. The servings are generous and the restaurant is always bustling, so grab a group and a bottle of wine for an affordable mid-week catch-up.
Need to find the closest vegan restaurant to you? Our directory can help you out.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White | A Fan's Notes