Good for you and for the planet, plant-based cuisine is more accessible and delicious than ever before. What was once a desperate struggle to find one suitable dish on the menu (fries for dinner, anyone?) has turned into a vibrant selection of completely vegan restaurants all over Auckland. Sounds like a major win to us!
Vegan dining has become something for everyone to share and enjoy, no matter where you fall on the spectrum of herbivore to carnivore.
As you reminded us, there’s no shortage of delicious plant-based eats in the city. Lucky us! Here’s where to find the best vegan restaurants in Auckland.
Khu Khu Eatery
Who said that vegan food has to be bland and boring? We think not, and neither do Khu Khu Eatery. This inviting vegan Thai eatery nestled in the heart of Ponsonby challenges this stereotype, and is and described by one fan as “out of this world good”. If you were thinking it's all salads and raw veggies, you'd be sorely mistaken. Khu Khu is home to exotic Asian flavours in the form of big, bold and boisterous dishes that will leave your palate screaming for more—Lauren calls the 'chicken' sweet and sour “to die for”. So, whether you're completely plant-based or you just feel like trying something new and delicious, Khu Khu has got your back. Sign us up!
What started as a sought-after food truck, Gorilla Kitchen soon put down roots and opened their very own eatery in Eden Terrace. Serving up delicious plant-based food, the joint serves up nourishing and wholesome meals that don't compromise on flavour. You'll be spoiled for choice too—there's no shortage of options no matter your preferences. The cabinet is stocked with delicious quick fixes if you are in a rush, like fresh sandwiches and salads. If you've got time to sit in, the menu boasts some deliciously veganised versions of three-cheese mushroom and pumpkin pasta bake, seafood chowder, and some “damn fine” cauliflower wings, according to Alice.
GREY LYNN & COMMERCIAL BAY
Tart Bakery is the city’s saving grace for vegan-friendly baked goods. There's not a lot that can top the smell of a good bakery in the morning, and, unfortunately, the sticky-sweet pastries and piping hot pies are usually off the cards for vegans due to traditional ingredients like butter and eggs. Luckily, we have the delicious Tart Bakery—entirely free of all animal products and dishing up some of the most incredible baked goods in town (Laura adores their “seriously tasty slices” and “top-notch sarnie selection”). The fully stocked cabinet has all of the classic pie flavours, only made from plants. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll have trouble saying goodbye without one of their beautiful berry danishes, chocolate croissants, or iced doughnuts. We guarantee you'll be walking out one very happy herbivore.
GREY LYNN & Commercial Bay
Whoever said vegans can’t enjoy big, juicy burgers full of all of the good stuff hasn’t been to Wise Boys. Usually laden with cheese and meat patties, it can be a challenge to find a vegan burger that measures up to the classic carnivore version. On this front, Wise Boys never disappoints. An indisputable crowd fave, Wise Boys now has two spots to get your vegan burger fix in Auckland. Divided between classic boys and fancy boys, the menu is vegan burger heaven. Traditional styles like The Classic Cheese and The Spicy Mex grace the classic side, while more indulgent favourites feature amongst the fancy boys. Our pick is The Dirty Boy—a kidney and black bean patty, onion rings, smokey 'bacon', 'cheese', bbq sauce and Wise Boys garlic aioli. All plant-based and all delicious. You’re welcome.
Adding to the list is the staple Revive, with two convenient locations on Lorne St and Wyndham St. Revive was born through the founder Jeremy's devotion to eight basic keys to living a healthy life—exercise, water, sunshine, temperance, air, rest, trust, and most importantly nutrition, which sounds like a lovely philosophy to fuel a cafe if you ask us. Revive's menu is all about comfort food. Fresh and changing daily, the salad bar is stocked with fresh options like leek and pesto chickpea salad, salsa verde potatoes, and purple bulgur salad with edamame, and the three daily hotpots are brimming with anything from sweet and sour tofu to Mediterranean roast potatoes. One fan loves the way Revive’s wholesome menu “makes it easy to eat healthy on the go”. The café is all about cosy meals prepared with love, and it’s the perfect way to feel at home away from home.
Little Bird Organics
Little Bird Organics is one of the OG vegan spots in Auckland town. As one fan said, it’s an “obvious” winner. The eatery’s menu aims to cater to most allergy-sufferers, inspired by the owner's own struggles while producing dishes that are still supremely delicious. Completely plant-based, Little Bird likes to get creative with substitutes like coconut bacon, mushroom and walnut mince, chickpea eggs, and cashew hollandaise and aioli—eating vegan has never been more exciting! Alongside their wholesome and nourishing food, Little Bird offers energising concoctions like maca-chocolate shakes and nut milks with goji and strawberry. If one thing's for sure, you'll walk out the door feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Good Habit Ice Cream
While not a restaurant as such, you will more than likely want to fill up on ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner once you've had a look in Good Habit’s freezer. Flavours like maple tahini, strawberry balsamic, and chocolate wasted (packed with brownie and chocolate chunks, hello!) turned these guys into cult-fave for a reason. With humble farmer's market roots, Good Habit advocates for simple, minimally processed dairy-free ice cream that's nothing short of damn good. Need more convincing? Vegan and non-vegan options considered, Sam calls it the best ice cream ever, period.
Sunflower Thai Restaurant
The floral interior inside High Street’s Sunflower Thai Restaurant is sure to lift your spirits as you enter through the double doors. The menu is a cheap and cheerful veggie twist on traditional Thai dishes (Maddie calls it “vegan heaven”). With meat and fish substitutes galore, vegan dining doesn't get much more fun than this. Go for the zesty green curry, hot and sour tom yum kung, or crispy fried 'chicken', which all live up to their flavourful roots minus the animal products. Whether you want a chill night out or a lazy evening with take-out at home, Sunflower has your noodle cravings more than covered.
Tucked away in leafy Parnell is Kaiaroha Organic Vegan Cafe & Deli, a unique and innovative eatery with some seriously tasty food on offer. You'll find this quiet spot off the main strip and down a wee alley, a destination for many plant-based foodies after a hearty fix. If you're into yummy vegan cheeses, they sell their own handmade selection on site. The cafe menu is filled with dishes delicious enough to please “even the most passionate meat-eater” according to Dan. Expect your carb cravings to be fulfilled with tomato and pesto tarts, pumpkin and sundried tomato quiches and ‘cheesy’ grilled sandwiches. Pro-tip, go with someone who doesn’t mind sharing because this is the kind of place you'll want to try everything.
The Butcher’s Son
Nestled on Jervois Road is the superstar plant-based eatery The Butcher’s Son. Led by a mission to serve food that is “delicious on your tastebuds, easy on your conscience, and better for the environment”, the talented team more than delivers. The entire menu is free from animal products, their takeaway packaging is biodegradable, and they proudly support local produce suppliers—so they're pretty much the full package. Sitting in their warm green interior, you can relax with cold-pressed juices or beers on tap alike. As for food, Jessie raves about the “fresh and flavoursome” options—think mozzarella sticks, shitake mushroom and crispy pork bao buns, loaded nachos, and 'chicken' miso slaw burgers too. If you’ve got room for more, treat yourself to the decadent chocolate fondant, or fluffy waffles with nice cream for dessert. Yes please!
We Know We Only Said 10, But We Just Couldn’t Leave These Legends Off The List...
An absolute staple in the category of Auckland’s plant-based eats, KIND is serving up delicious vegan and vegetarian creations all day long. At KIND, their signature style is a commitment to making a difference. They choose sustainable resources and practices, source quality ingredients, and compost 80% of the non-recyclable waste they produce. In other words, KIND is an eco-conscious heavyweight champ. All their goodness isn’t just behind the scenes, the food itself is top-tier delicious and almost too pretty to eat—emphasis on the almost. From epic burgers to fresh, delicate salads, KIND has something for everyone, not to mention a whole lot for the planet.
Lord Of The Fries
CBD AND K' ROAD
If you're after classic but plant-based fast food that tastes a little naughty, look no further than Lord of the Fries. This you-wouldn't-know-it's-vegan joint has Auckland covered for late-night snacks and satisfying hangover feasts alike. They’ve got all the classics: cheeseburgers, chicken burgers, and fish burgers, all blissfully free of animal products. The colourful, takeaway style makes for the ultimate fast-food experience that doesn't mess with your plant-based commitment. Our pick is the poutine, combining their award-winning gravy and cheese-laden fries with fakin’ bacon, a vegan beef patty, onion and garlic mayo. Hungry, anyone?
A luxurious atmosphere with impeccable service, the beloved Japanese joint Ebisu has a separate set menu designed especially for plant-eaters. Delicious from beginning to end, the dinner includes dishes like smoked sea salt edamame, avocado vegetable rolls and tempura, asparagus with yuzu hollandaise, and teriyaki tofu with black miso jam and a shredded cabbage salad. It's the stuff of dreams. Every dish is matched with the perfect sake to complement the flavours and ingredients, taking the indulgent factor to the next level. Plus, the vegan menu is elegantly aligned with the non-vegan one, making the unique experience ideal for any group.
Authentic and humble, Chu Thai serves up delicious, traditional-style Thai food, with friendly service, affordable prices, and, oh, just a separate, dedicated vegan menu too. When catering for a group with both vegan and non-vegan diners, Chu Thai is the perfect spot where there'll definitely be no complaints from either side about not having enough options. The bang-bang cauliflower, battered tofu, and steamed dumplings are just a few of their moreish entrees. Fill your table with an array of spicy curries and saucy stir-fries and you've got a ticket to flavour town.
Cafe Mimosa is the perfect cosy spot for all plant-based foodies. With a delicious selection of eats on offer, they're committed to food that is organic, fair trade and as eco-friendly as possible. If you're feeling something sweet, the turmeric and ginger waffles have orange custard, spiced mandarin, and whipped coconut cream, and they are a must-try. Warm-up with a wholesome bowl of the tan tan ramen and its creamy sesame broth, or be tempted by one of the ever-changing specials. Cafe Mimosa also kills it on the cabinet food front, where you'll find an array of vegan goodness from fresh sandwiches to decadent tarts if you need to grab and go.
Grey Lynn resident Big Sur prides itself on using fresh, homegrown produce to create an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu. Bask in the sun at their outdoor tables and enjoy a plant-based menu that incorporates cuisines from across the globe. Try the Korean kimchi bowl full of hot and sour broth, or the Turkish cabbage rolls packed with pumpkin seed falafel, red quinoa, and charred corn, with cumin tahini dressing. Top tip—grab one of Big Sur’s matcha or turmeric lattes before you go, your body will thank you.
If a taste of the Mediterranean is what you’re after, Petra Shawarma has your vegan needs covered. The Kingsland eatery stays true to the classics, offering both meat and an array of delicious vegan-friendly options. Eight out of the nine starters are vegan, with the invitation to go tapas-style for your entrees with all the faves like hummus, tabouleh, fatoush, baba ganoush, and falafel. For mains, opting for the vegetarian menu over the ordinary one allows for almost every item to be made vegan—and don't get us wrong, it's no sacrifice. Think chilli dressed petra shaw, fried fatat eggplant with crispy fresh bread, or a mixed platter piled high with fresh salads and pita. To top it off, all the desserts are vegan from the baklava to the pistachio ice cream. Hell to the yes.
Introducing the vegan community’s favourite Japanese hangout, Janken. The peaceful interior welcomes you as you step through the door, not to mention the lovely staff. Shared starters like edamame, eggplant nibitashi, tsukemono, or tahini tofu are all vegan and seriously yum. If you're looking for some top-tier vegan sushi, Janken has you covered—the veggie roll is banging, served with a seasonal salad and tasty goma sesame sauce. Add a cheeky vegetable hot pot, some tan tan udon noodles and you'll be away laughing. Craving something sweet? Janken's infamous desserts just so happen to be vegan and gluten-free cakes in flavours from chocolate to matcha. One of everything, thanks!
It's a well-kept secret that one of Auckland's best dessert destinations caters very generously to the vegan and dairy-free community. Finding the perfect creaminess in a vegan option can be a challenge, but Giapo has absolutely nailed it. Their tempting creations and flavour combinations are beautifully presented and with a whole vegan menu, everyone is able to indulge. Whether you like a cup or a cone, you'll choose from flavours like coffee and hazelnut, creamy coconut chocolate chip, and feijoa and almond. If you're feeling more extravagant, you can add on a fancy topping (ever seen a mini Sky Tower made of chocolate?) that'll turn your ice cream into a piece of edible artwork so beautiful you won’t want to eat it, but your tastebuds will be very glad when you do.
And For Some Honourable Mentions... Cafe Hanoi
If you're a fan of Vietnamese cuisine and also happen to be vegan, Cafe Hanoi is the place to be. Though it's not a completely vegan restaurant, Cafe Hanoi's menu boasts a healthy selection of plant-based dishes that are seriously delicious—Marggie loves them for being the only ones who serve up vegan food she doesn't regret ordering. Choose from an array of spicy veggie plates, fresh rice paper rolls, and warming pho if you're craving a plant-based trip to Vietnam.
Another spot with notably delicious vegan options is Saan, a go-to for Thai food in Ponsonby. You'll find a vibrant selection of authentic northern Thai dishes on their menu, including a banging veggie massaman curry made with jackfruit. De-lish. Add a little wok-seared eggplant with lemongrass and a side of silken tofu in peanut sauce and you're on the way to cloud nine!
A funky Asian-fusion number in Mount Eden, Belly Worship devotes a good chunk of their menu to vegan alternatives. From dumplings to bao buns, there are plant-based subs for every instance of pork, chicken, duck, and shrimp. Pretty impressive! Go for some vegan pork and chive dumplings drowned in chilli oil, or maybe one of their signature Chinese burritos with spicy sliced potatoes. Intrigued? Us too.
Got some time on your hands? Here are some great vegan docos to watch.
Image credit: Main and top image Khu Khu Eatery by Wono Kim, Wise Boys, Good Habit Ice Cream, The Butcher’s Son, Kind, Ebisu, Café Mimosa, Janken, Cafe Hanoi.