By Katie Foote
Melbourne is a foodie paradise and it’s reassuring to know that vegans and vegetarians won’t miss out on high quality, ethical meals. Epicure & Culture has compiled a list of the best restaurants for non-meat eaters in one of Australia’s most livable cities. Many of these restaurants have withstood the test of time, though there are also some new restaurants to put on your radar, as well.
1. Vegie Bar
380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
The warehouse-sized Vegie Bar is a Melbourne institution serving up comfort food that’s good for you. For over two decades, this easy going restaurant has been providing delicious and accessible contemporary vegetarian — as well as vegan, raw and gluten-free — cooking to the health conscious and the hungry. Try the raw Malaysian curry, Moroccan stew or a raw taco topped with tasty cashew “sour cream.” On your way out, grab a blended juice or raw dessert balls for a snack, although generous portions means you’re not likely to feel hungry after your meal.
Open Sunday to Thursday: 11am – 10pm, Friday & Saturday: 11am – 10:30pm#Eat meat-free in #Melbourne at these delicious #vegetarian restaurants! Click To Tweet
183 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
Sitting down for a meal at Moroccan Soup Bar isn’t easy — this place is often packed — but it is worth it. The vibrant colors, Moroccan decor and aromatic spices will transport you to a North African bazaar. Once you’ve grabbed a seat your server will dictate the menu, recommending the all vegetarian banquet. This multi-course meal includes traditional dips, stews and soups and the famous chickpea bake. The banquet ends with an assortment of sweets and warm mint tea (there’s no alcohol served here). Make sure to bring your own tupperware as portions are huge and doggie bags aren’t provided.
Open Tues-Sun 6-10pm
421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Yong Green Food promotes guilt-free healthy eating by serving predominantly organic vegetarian food prepared according to yin and yang principles. Foods with a higher water content are thought to be cool (yin) while foods with more fat-sourced energy are warm (yang), and these chefs work to create a balance in the body through their cuisine. Their extensive Asian-fusion menu offers raw and cooked options, including macrobiotic, organic and Ayurvedic dishes. Try the famous ‘rawsagna’ (lasagne), mock salmon roe made with seeds, or the exceptional raw nutty burger featuring carrots, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, veggies and herbs. It’s delectably served with raw tomato sauce, cashew cream and a side salad.
Open Tuesday and Thursday-Sunday noon-3.30pm; Tues-Sat 5-9.30pm; Sun 5-8.30pm
371 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
If you’re the type of person who wants to try a bit of everything, head to Munsterhaus and pay by the size of your plate, not what’s on it. This Art Deco corner shop prepares dozens of tasty dishes, so it’s great you can sample them all. Picture hot dishes like curries, chickpea bakes and black bean tortillas that can be combined with salads like tabouli or quinoa, or marinated tempeh and tofu with baked herbed veggies. Don’t leave without sampling gluten free and vegan sweets, or perk up with a counter culture coffee (an important part of local Melbourne culture!).
Open Mon-Thurs 9am-4.30pm; Fri-Sat 9am-8.30pmA giant #vegetarian buffet with counter culture #coffee in #Melbourne? Yes, please! Click To Tweet
201-203 Faraday St, Carlton
Shakahari is a Melbourne institution, serving up an all-vegan Asian fusion menu (except for some desserts) for over 40 years. Try the signature Avocado Magic appetizer where avocado wedges and red capsicums are rolled in thin eggplant slices and tempura fried in a rice batter, served with a jade green sesame coriander puree. For the entree taste the earthy flavors of Bhutan with red rice — Bhutan’s staple grain — brown basmati and sweet corn pilaf covered in spiced Alpine Chestnuts, stir-fried Szechuan pickled and fresh kohlrabi through Sonam Chum Chum. It’s then topped with cucumber, goji berries and miso vinaigrette wakame, with kale crisps adding some crunch.
Open Weekdays from 12PM – 3PM, 6PM – 9.30PM, Saturday 12PM – 3PM, 6PM – 10.30PM and Sunday 6PM – 10.30PM
6. Téta Mona
100A Lygon Street, Brunswick East
If you want a slightly exotic meal and a good deal, the cozy Téta Monas features delicious Lebanese soul food on a budget. You’ll be transported to the Middle East through walls of family portraits and knick knacks, as well as their flavorful “whole foods interpretation of village cuisine.” In the evening bring some friends — and some BYO drinks — and share a selection of plates catering to vegan, vegetarian and gluten free diets. We love the Arnabeet wa Beethnjaan, pan-fried cauliflower and eggplant with dukka spice, tahini and wild cucumber, and the Samboosek bi Jebne, pastry envelopes filled with haloumi and feta cheese, parsley and spring onion.
Open Tue – Fri: 11:00am to 10:30pm and Sat – Sun: 9:00am to 10:30pm
175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Smith & Daughters serves up vegan food in such a hip and edgy joint that you forget you’re choosing healthy cuisine. Tattooed waitstaff in “Eat Vegan” tees deliver edgy Spanish-South American comfort food and a wide assortment of drinks. Choose from plates like oyster mushroom-laced white bean ceviche, paella with veggie prawns, Brazilian black bean soup, made-from-scratch guacamole and more.
Open Tuesday-Friday 6 PM-1 AM, Saturday 10 AM-1 AM, Sunday 10 AM- 11 PM#Vegan goes #hip at this delicious #Melbourne eatery! Click To Tweet
55 Hawthorn Rd, North Caulfield
Nostralis has been serving delicious wholemeal vegetarian pizza since 1981. They pride themselves on creating pies out of the freshest ingredients, starting with 100% organic wholemeal flour crusts. They use vegetable rennet to make their cheese, or you can choose from 100% soya cheese (Cheezly) and gluten-free, wheat-free bases so no one misses out. Their classic special is topped with bean shoots, capsicum, onion, olives, soya beans, pineapple, chili, garlic and herbs. If you’re feeling spicy, try the Vindaloo with banglore beans, sultanas, hot spices, onions, Vindaloo Curry Paste and banana for a sweet and textural twist.
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 5:30-10(ish) PM
What’s your favorite meat-free restaurant in Melbourne? Please share in the comments below!
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