I love seeking out the best spots for fresh, clean and vibrant plant-based foods. Vegan foodie spots used to be a bit hard to come by, but thankfully Sydney has embraced the demand for the growing vegan trend. They generally have many gluten-free options available on the menu too. Even if you are not on the vegan train yet . . . there is still tonnes of flavour for your taste buds and plenty of benefits in using plant-based nourishment to heal the body.
Not all of the establishments below are 100% vegan, so naturally review their menus or give them a ring before going. And when you are done with this initial peruse of Sydney's vegan offerings, head here for round 2!
Iku Wholefood offers a completely vegan (organic when possible), plant-based, nutrient-dense menu. They believe in the healing power of food as medicine, and if you are lucky they sometimes play the documentary Food Matters in the Darlinghurst location. An absolute must for a vegan to try out! They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering a wide variety of soups, salads, curries, casseroles, pies, lasagne, and desserts. The atmosphere is simple, clean, and inviting. The great thing is there are several locations throughout Sydney, so it makes it easy to grab healthy food almost anywhere.
Top Picks: The Light Mushroom Toor Dahl and brown rice, Tamarind Tempeh Curry and brown rice, Tomato and Vegetable Lasagne and salad, and last but not least, a delicious muffin to go! Try the Orange and Poppy Seed or Blueberry muffin.
An amazing vegan restaurant with plenty of gluten-free options—definitely not to be missed! Situated on the Redfern side of Cleveland Street, they offer a fusion of Latin American super foods with an exotic, Asian twist. They are known for their 'soul' food that provides complete nourishment to the body. The owner is inspiring and very aware of food allergens, food sensitivities, and clean cooking. The Nourishing Quarter is happy to prepare any item on the menu without any oils or specific ingredients—given the proper notice. With a compassionate heart and love of healing super foods, Nourishing Quarter ticks all the boxes. A lot of their dishes are composed of the ancient grains, including quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
They are open Tuesday - Saturday and I would recommend making a booking as the tables fill up quickly! The ambiance is quirky, vintage with fun teacups and saucers dotting the tables. It makes for a great date night.
Top Picks: The Sweet Angel Wraps, Quinoa Noodle Soup, Passage to India, 'Fried' Ama-noa Grains, and Lettuce Pouches. Make sure to save room for dessert and try the vegan cheesecake! OMG.
A family-owned business that focuses on nourishing the body and mind with locations in Newtown and St. Leonards. They aim to offer nutritious food that balances the body and brings compassion to the table. Green Gourmet is 100% vegan, offers gluten-free options, and does not cook with garlic. They offer over 133 menu items to select from, of delicious Asian food, Yum Cha, and vegan desserts. The Newtown restaurant has a hot bar available for those foodies who can't decide on just one menu item. There are about 20 dishes to choose from. A great spot to go with a group of friends with its casual dining environment.
Top Picks: Try popping next door after your meal and check out their Vegan's Choice Grocery. They offer mouthwatering vegan treats! Vegan brownies, cupcakes, cakes, raw desserts, and vegan ice cream—they are drool worthy. You must indulge in the vegan carrot cake, macadamia brownie, or one of the raw cheesecakes!
Feeling a little fresh? Head to Sadhana Kitchen in Newtown adjacent to Jivamukti Yoga. They are super-passionate about what foods are put into the body, in order to promote vitality and a better wellbeing for the environment. Totally vegan, raw, and organic, this is the spot to treat yourself to a little tender, loving care and fill up with healthy goodness. Open for breakfast and lunch.
Top Picks: For brekkie try the Chia Porridge or the Breakfast Scramble and for lunch fill up with the Tejas Tacos or the Sadhana Lasagne. Also, you can always pop in for a SuperFeast Smoothie or my favorite the Green with Envy Juice.
Harvest Vegetarian Restaurant
Definitely check out this gem, tucked away in a Rozelle heritage building. It is a small venue—so booking is great when meeting friends or a date for dinner. They offer a wide range of gourmet vegan options, from Thai, Indian and Italian, to dessert. If you are thinking of having a birthday dinner or function, this would be a lovely option and they offer set menus.
Top Picks: Start with the Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls, followed by Soba Noodle Stir Fry, English Spinach and Kumera Gnocchi, and treat yourself to the Apple Berry and Nut Crumble for dessert.
An awesome and eclectic option in Surry Hills, Yulli's offers a delicious vegetarian menu, and is a great place to book for a function. Perfect for catching up with friends, it has a very chilled ambiance. Check with the staff as to what menu items are vegan and enjoy this little hot spot.
Top Picks: The Steamed Leek and Ginger Dumplings, Panfried Polenta, and the Salt and Pepper Tofu (green papaya salad, yes please!).
Mother Chu's Vegetarian Restaurant
Another Asian-inspired must! A traditional, family-owned restaurant located on Pitt Street that immediately invites you in and makes you feel at home. Be prepared to take your time with the menu, as there are so many tasty options to choose from. Even if your friends are not meat free, they will enjoy an amazing meal, and will not know what hit them when they take a bite. If you are lucky, sometimes Mama Chu is sitting at the back of the restaurant, she has been known to catch your eye and send a little wisdom with a smile!
Top Picks: The Soya Bean Roll with Black Bean Sauce, Corn Soup, Black Pearl Rissoles, and the Crispy Tofu Broccoli and Chili Sauce
An Aussie staple—pies. Now let's go for the vegan pies! If you are heading to Bondi for some fun in the sun, a cruisey spot to grab lunch is Funky Pies on Glenayr Avenue. It features café-style seating with loads of fresh, vegan, plant-based pies, and there are gluten-free options too. Look no further for a filling lunch and make sure you add on the mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas!
Top Picks: Go for the Funky Chunky or the No Wurry Curry! Leave fueled up for a surf (or maybe a sun bake).
A great choice for dinner and movie night. Govinda's offers buffet-style dining with a variety of vegetarian options, including: salads, Indian dahl, soup, rice, vegetable curry, and lentil dishes. They are open Wednesday to Sunday and take reservations. The menu changes nightly and I would recommend giving them a ring to see what options they have. We love to have dinner and then pop upstairs to the movie screening room. They offer a boutique movie experience with custom-made reclining seats so you can sit back and relax after a tasty meal.
Basil Pizza & Pasta
This option will make all vegan pizza lovers very happy! Located on King Street in Newtown, Basil Pizza has vegan and gluten-free pizzas. Service can be slow but the pizzas are delicious and made fresh to order. All of the vegetarian pizzas can be made with vegan cheese or you could keep it simple and order the Vegan Lovers.
I love brunch and this little spot is perfect for a midday bite. Located in Coogee, Oneness Café is passionate about preparing nourishing food for the body and mind. Something on the menu is sure to catch your eye with a range of RAW, vegan, and gluten-free options.
Top Picks: The Oneness Vegan Scramble or the Vegan Veggie Brekkie (YUM!). Check out one of their RAW food cooking classes or just scoop up a Rawsome Coconut and Chocolate Brownie.
Vegan options are continually growing with increased awareness and research into the many health benefits of a wholefood, plant-based diet. These include: reduction in cholesterol, blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, acne, autoimmune disease, inflammation and many more conditions.
Don't despair if your favourite vegan spot didn't make the list, Sydney is a big place and we'll definitely have a round two and three. Please feel free to leave your suggestions.
TUL Note: Melissa and her husband Clint Paddison run the Paddison Program, a health program designed to eradicate Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms.
Image cedit: The Simple Lens