If you're not a fan of foods with faces on them or those made with animal products like dairy and eggs, it's becoming easier for you to dine out well. Some individuals adopt veganism as a lifestyle choice, while others are staunch advocates for animal rights and merely seek vegan options on occasion. The availability of vegan options at restaurants is reassuring. Some of the best places in Melbourne for vegans are listed below. Visit some of Melbourne's best vegetarian restaurants and smoothie bars if you're trying to eat healthier while you're there. If you're looking for an alternative, this list of Melbourne's best coffee shops is sure to do the trick.
Vegetables have never been more popular among today's chefs. These days, meat isn't necessary at every meal anymore. Look at the meteoric rise of roasted cauliflower on menus around the world, including in Australia.
From that point, becoming a strict vegan is a natural progression. Those who can swap out butter for coconut oil, dairy for soy milk, and egg whites for aquafaba (the liquid left over from cooking chickpeas), among other substitutions. As the dubious ethics of the industrial food chain become clearer, more and more people are looking to these alternatives.
There aren't a tonne of vegan options in Melbourne, but if you don't mind eating alongside non-vegans, you can find a place to eat.
Even if you haven't heard of Matthew Guthrie or James Langley, you've probably heard of the restaurants they frequented in the past, like Panama Dining Room, St. Jude's Cellars, and Pizza Mine Libre. With new partner Clinton Trevisi, they've opened Patsy's, a vegetarian natural wine bar. Although not everything on the menu is suitable for vegans, many items are available.
Smith & Daughters
Although Smith & Daughters in Fitzroy has the appearance of an old-school rock-and-roll bar, the cross-shaped neon sign on the wall informs patrons that the establishment is vegan-friendly. The restaurant originally had a menu with a Latin influence, but it has since switched gears and is now serving Italian dishes like vegan pizza fritte, cacio e Pepe, carpaccio, and tiramisu.
Red Sparrow Pizza
Here's the thing about vegan cheese: it's usually terrible. How glorious, then, to pick up a slice of fresh-out-the-woodfired-oven Margherita and bite into a dollar-sized dollop of creamy white fior di latte sitting atop a tangy, slightly-sweet San Marzano tomato base. The crust is thin, lightly charred, with just the right chew. The pizza: entirely vegan. This fantasy is now a reality at Red Sparrow Pizza.
This vegetarian and vegan dining institution has existed for more than two decades, and it just seems to keep getting more popular. It's always busy here, and it's the quality of the plant-based food that keeps crowds coming back for more. The specials boards are updated frequently and always worth the time to read – perennial favourites on the regular menu include the 'mostly greens' stir-fry, a bean burrito served with the works and some mighty fine vegetarian pizzas for under a tenner.
This tiny Japanese café might be small, but it's mighty. This joint specialises in healthy Japanese options, with a range of proteins of the day that include vegan options like Nasu dengaku (miso-glazed eggplant) with a range of pickles and wild rice. Japanese curries are made from scratch, and vegan ramen is the best in Melbourne.
Yong Green Food
This Fitzroy institution specialises in organic (and often raw) ingredients, which are used to create dishes that span the world's cuisines and cater to all manner of diets and intolerances. Popular raw items include raw nachos, a nutty burger, and the innovative 'Rawsagne'. Remember to save room for desserts, including pecan pie, carrot cake and cheesecake.
Girls And Boys
Vegan soft serve, gelato, and cakes, as well as maca fudge bars, matcha almond tarts, and bounty bites, are all on offer at this takeout joint. Pints of spiced milk, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and thick shakes are all available from the bar's drink menu (all Vegan, of course). What's even better? Vegie Bar is conveniently located next door to Girls and Boys, where you can get a delicious dessert to round out your meal.
There's more to this health-conscious café than bright green matcha lattes and multicoloured luxury smoothies. The all-vegan menu is incredibly inventive: there's a fascinating vegan poached 'egg', a soy chicken burger and hearty pumpkin gnocchi. And don't get us started on the vegan slices.
Tofu Shop International
This place gets hit harder than the Taco Truck at Meredith. So grab a small ($12), medium ($17) or large ($26) share plate and load up from their buffet of delicious and healthy vegetarian/vegan options, including warm roast vegetable mixes, simmered house-made tofu in broth, mixed grain salads, creamy vegan tofu dip and much more. The takeaway is $13.
This petite Mexican eatery is all about big flavours without animal involvement: we're talking mouth-watering tacos, burritos and quesadillas with vegan soy cheese. Our pick is the tofu Asada burrito: the tofu marinated in a satisfyingly smoky sauce and ever-so-sweet. Just up for a snack? Go for the fries with paprika seasoning, washed down with a light Pacifico beer.
This boho-chic all-day restaurant serves simple Lebanese with plenty of pickles and very little fuss. It is everything a neighbourhood restaurant should be. It's loud, and it's BYO, with service that's personal if a little bit shambolic during peak times. Vegans get a solid look-in here. Green beans are liberally sluiced in a jammy reduction of olive oil, chilli and garlic, and falafel balls are soft, fragrant pucks made with a green and yellow split pea base for a sweeter spin on the chickpea classic. We're also keen on a squishy, cumin-y plate of cauliflower florets and eggplant fried with dukkha.
The Green Man's Arms
The Green Man's Arms is an Israeli-influenced and 100 per cent vegan and vegetarian pub on Lygon and Elgin streets. Food at the Arms comes courtesy of Israeli head chef David Raziel, who serves up an ethical and seasonal selection of dishes. Falafel is on the menu (made to a secret Jerusalem recipe, rumour has it), as is fluffy, crumpet-like la huh bread, which comes served with either falafel, fried eggplant or green beans and mushrooms.
Lentil As Anything: Abbotsford Convent
Lentil as Anything is a not-for-profit organisation that relies solely on the generosity of patrons, partners and volunteers and helps to employ those less fortunate. Our pick is on the Abbotsford Convent branch, which offers a 100 per cent vegan buffet filled with curries, salads, rice, enchiladas, risotto, soups, moussaka and shepherds pie.
Part juice bar, part café, Combi is the kind of eatery where every menu item has at least one superfood (but the more, the better). The café specialises in organic vegetarian and vegan feed, and there are a variety of thick-cut toast toppings and super bowls. But the smoothies are the main event here. These resemble freak shakes but are more healthy – many of the superfood smoothies taste too good to be healthy but are packed full of healthy fruits, seeds and nut pints of milk.
Opened in 1972, Carlton stalwart Shakahari has earned its name as one of Melbourne's most innovative vegan restaurants. Their hearty dishes are centred around Japanese and Indian cuisine, from bite-sized fried wedges of avocado to laksa and curries. The rub phom dumplings, filled with sweet corn, mushroom, pumpkin and walnuts, melt in your mouth.
Lord Of The Fries
We (and the rest of Melbourne) love Lord of the Fries for the fries and'sauce of the month,' but they also serve burgers and hot dogs now. Yum. You can get your Lord of the Fries fix at the locations in Chadstone, Chapel Street, Elizabeth Street, Flinders Street, and Melbourne Central.
More than 200 outposts of this all-vegan eatery worldwide, and it's not hard to see why. The price is right, for a start – and while the fit-out isn't Anything fancy, the real reason you come to this (mostly) pan-Asian restaurant is for the mock meat. Dishes range from 'ham' sushi and deep-fried 'prawns' to Southern-fried' chicken'. Want to try it at home? Loving Hut has a wide grocery selection, where you can stock up on mock meat and other vegan ingredients.
The Cornish Arms
The Cornish Arms, a Brunswick institution since its 1854 construction, gained popularity among gold diggers (the metaphorical kind) during its early days. Also, the group is commended for their excellent pub fare. Fish and chips, souvlaki, and a parma, all made without the use of any animal products, are available in the vegan section.
This ultra-shiny modern Sichuan restaurant is Shu Liu's first dining rodeo. There's good news for bean fiends, too. Around one-third of the menu steers vegan. Crunchy little daikon rolls sprouting a forest of enoki mushrooms, chives and smoked tofu, balanced by salty soy and a fiery pot of silken tofu swimming in a nuclear Sichuan pepper sauce are plain tasty whichever way you sway.
Head chef Thai Nguyen is from Hanoi and makes his secret family-recipe broths fresh every day, and we are here to tell you that his meat-free soup is an absolute winner. The vegetable broth is complex, with deep earthy notes balanced by a cassia-bark sweetness that changes with each mouthful of chewy white snow fungus, black shiitake or rice noodles. Green choy sum an
Chanhouse serves traditional Chinese banquet lunches and dinners each day.
Chanhouse is popular because of its specialty mock meat dishes cooked in a traditional Sichuan meat-based style. However, if you're craving a meal that's not Chinese, they also have a small selection of Vietnamese and Thai dishes, Vegan, of course.
Fina’s Vegetarian Café 2
Fina's Vegetarian Café 2 is a must-try for any visitor to Melbourne who is interested in sampling the city's Vietnamese cuisine. Lucky for you, Fina's Vegetarian Café 2 serves up vegetarian and vegan alternatives to all your favourite traditional Vietnamese dishes.
The original Fina's restaurant started out as a vegetarian eatery. Later, in Fitzroy, Fina's Vegetarian Café 2 opened as a vegan eatery. Since then, it's risen to prominence as a top vegan eatery in Melbourne. Don't be fooled by the name!
Good Love spreads the vegan Love around to everyone who visits for food or drink.
This beachside vegan bar and restaurant are where to go for snacks, after 5 o'clock drinks, or even a heavier vegan meal. Good Love is dimly lit and warm, and they make all of its vegan food from scratch. They even distil some of its liquors and spirits and host famous bottomless lunch events. Have got to love the good Love in Melbourne!
Must-Try: Jackfruit KFC Bowl
Gong De Lin
In Melbourne's central business district, Gong De Lin serves simple, authentic Chinese stir fry, soups, mock meat dishes and rice to the hoards.
Because of the minimal decor, all attention is directed towards the restaurant's delicious dishes at Gong de Lin. Don't be fooled by the name; it's also the best restaurant in Melbourne for a healthy and quick vegan meal.
If you're craving burgers or something a little 'naughty' to eat in Melbourne, then head to Green Burger, where all the burgers are made from plants and 'squeaky clean' ingredients.
The burgers are served with fries and side dishes like Southern slaw and Buffalo tenders. You can also wash your food down with sodas, kombucha or decadent shakes.
Must-Try: Dirty South smokey pulled plant meat burger
The salads at Herbivore Eatery are famous for being healthy, affordable, and delicious. Herbivore is a top choice among vegan eateries in Melbourne due to its wide selection of vegan wraps, which include everything from pitas and falafel to burgers.
This restaurant has a multicultural approach, and their choice of cuisine shows that vegan food is possible no matter what you're craving.
Must-Try: Tofu Pita with a fresh juice
Frequently Asked Questions About Vegan Restaurants
The city's inhabitants love vegan food so much that it was recently voted the third most vegan-friendly city globally. So who can even make a case that the city should be re-named vegan Melbourne! Melbourne is Australia's second-biggest city.
Compared to fresh pasta that often includes egg, dried pasta is generally made from flour and water, making it vegan-friendly.
Israel has the highest percentage of vegans globally, with an estimated 5 to 8 per cent of the entire population being vegan, an estimated 400,000 people and growing.
A team of researchers at Loma Linda University in the United States has shown vegetarian men live for an average of 10 years longer than non-vegetarian men — 83 years compared to 73 years. For women, being vegetarian added an extra six years to their lives, helping them reach 85 years on average.
The first, and most important, is that yes, indeed, vegans can enjoy pizza every bit as tasty and satisfying as a non-vegan pizza. However, Who cannot make all pizza styles in a satisfactory matter.