Gone are the days when restaurants offered a token vegetarian meal, now we have entire establishments championing veggies with plant-based menus. From Fitzroy and Collingwood to Richmond and St Kilda, Melbourne’s vegetarian and vegan chefs are making their mark on the culinary map, with amazing plant-based restaurants popping up every year.
Listen up, because these are the ten best vegetarian restaurants Melbourne has to offer. Even your meat lover mates will want a bite.
Ahh Vegie Bar, a Brunswick Street favourite since 1988. We’ve all heard of this institution putting veggies front and centre, from the menu to the neon Vegie Bar sign out the front. The menu is inspired by Asian flavours, with curries, noodle dishes and dahls, but they’ve also got some fabulous veggie-packed pizzas. Get there early or you’ll find yourself in the queue.
Think of this as Vegie Bar’s sophisticated older sister. Transformer have taken vegetables into the fine dining sphere in a relaxed Manhattan-style venue, complete with exposed beams, brick walls and vertical gardens. Their ‘feed me’ menu takes you through seven steps to veggie heaven, all topped off with a plentiful cocktail and wine list.
Smith & Daughters
Another Brunswick Street favourite is the vegan icon Smith & Daughters. You might have seen their cookbooks around the traps, or maybe their signature logo on rear windows. Founder Shannon Martinez has developed quite a loyal following for her take on vegan indulgence. The set dinner menu will leave you drooling—no steaks needed.
Red Sparrow Pizza
Imagine tucking into a vegan pizza without giving up the stringy, gooey cheese. Well now you can. Red Sparrow Pizza is the go-to spot for vegan pizzas in Melbourne, hell, they’re the go-to spot for any pizza in Melbourne. They’ve got the most incredible meat substitutes, you won’t even notice the difference. They’ve also got GF, nut and soy-free options for all the dietary-challenged out there. Grab your pizza to go or dine in at the industrial-chic Collingwood restaurant.
Vegan curry night anyone? Fitzroy’s newest Indian restaurant is the place to be on Tuesday nights. For just $39 a head, you’ll be treated to a range of curries with complimentary house-made naan and a glass of vegan wine. Masti is part restaurant, part cocktail bar, with a heavily plant-based slant. There are a few options for the most stubborn of carnivores, but we’d recommend settling in and sharing as many veggie dishes as you can.
Sister of Soul
Richmond and St Kilda
Whether you’re north or south of the river, Sister of Soul is there to bring you all their vegan, vegetarian, raw and gluten-free meals. They’re all about sustainability and leading the way to a greener diet, while building a community along the way. They divert food waste from landfill to the St Kilda community garden, so you don’t need to feel guilty if you don’t lick the plate clean—though we suspect you’ll be tempted to.
Yong Green Food
This one is a favourite for vegetarians all over Melbourne. They’re just doing takeaway at the moment, but make sure you show them some love so they can open their doors again soon. Yong Green Food is the best vegetarian restaurant for large portions on a budget. They won’t leave you feeling hungry, that’s for sure. The pineapple fried rice and buckwheat crepes are an absolute must.
Green Man’s Arms
A little birdie tells me this is the place to go for the best crispy potatoes in Melbourne. It might seem a little odd to have a plant-based pub feed, but believe us when we say that Green Man’s Arms food is seriously good grub. With a Lebanese-inspired, seasonal menu, the food is packed full of flavour.
For a relaxed, casual mexican night, you can’t go past Trippy Taco. The name says it all, these tacos are so good they’ll leave you feeling high on life. The Gertrude Street venue is a regular hotspot, with delivery drivers popping in and out at all hours and burrito lovers lining up out the door. Any of the veggie tacos go down nicely with a Mojito, so meet your mates at one of the best vegetarian cheap eats in Melbourne.
Moroccan Soup Bar
You might have seen these guys on the news during lockdown handing out meals to hospital staff. That’s the kind of thing they do here, they’ve got big hearts and believe it or not, you can taste it in the food. Packed full of flavour, Moroccan Soup Bar meals are worth waiting in line for. Try out the banquet with friends for the epitome of Moroccan dining.
Now that dinner is sorted, add this cafe to your notes because we found Melbourne’s best vegan breakfast spot.
Image credit: Moroccan Soup Bar | Griffin Simm