Gone are the days when going out to dinner as a vegan meant sitting down to a limp Mediterranean salad smothered in olive oil or to a stodgy bowl of mushroom risotto. Don't get us wrong, both of those dishes when done well are delicious, but everyone likes a bit of variety. Thankfully the tides have turned for Melbourne's restaurants, with vegan options being almost as common as any meat dish, which, for the city's vegan, vegetarian and veg-curious population, is an appreciated shift. With 12% of the population now eating little to no red meat, this diverse city has become the third fastest-growing vegan market in the world. But why the change? Well, with many people now conscious about environmental and ethical factors, there has been a noticeable shift in ‘clean eating' and healthy living, for which veganism is a natural extension and as such, Melbourne's vegan restaurants have capitalised. You'll find heaps of healthy and animal-free options throughout the city which, if we're honest, can sometimes be a little overwhelming. So we thought we'd help you sort the tempeh from the tofu and give you an overview into what you can expect from the vegan restaurants in Melbourne.
While some may argue that veganism can be preachy, the vast majority of vegan restaurants in Melbourne are friendly, warm and welcoming. Whether you're a life-long vegan committed to animal welfare, vegetarian, pescatarian or a meat lover that's veg-curious, we can hedge a fairly solid bet you'll be able to find something delicious in the many vegan restaurants throughout Melbourne. With Melbourne's cemented title as the food capital of Australia, it's no surprise that the vegan restaurants in Melbourne have some of the most enticing, creative and innovative dishes on their menus. Several have actually designed menus to appeal to the carnivorous crowd specifically, with dishes like faux pastrami sandwiches, free-from fish fingers, vegan chicken parmas topped with lashings of vegan cheese or tacos filled with chargrilled tofu, vegan cheese, pico de gallo and, of course, helpings of zesty guacamole – so delicious you won't even know they're vegan.
As we mentioned earlier, Melbourne is, firstly, the food capital of Australia and secondly the fastest-growing vegan area in Australia, meaning that it's safe to say, no matter where you find yourself, vegan restaurants in Melbourne will be waiting for you with tasty and ethical delights. However, as with anywhere there are some places that are a little more suitable than others. For example, Fitzroy is arguably the best suburb for vegan restaurants in Melbourne. You'll find several vegan-only spaces, alongside restaurants serving a mix of vegetarian and vegan, and places serving meat and vegan dishes in perfect harmony. Brunswick is also a mecca for plant-based diners, and is home to a brilliant pub serving pub grub classics done vegan-style. In the CBD, on all the main streets and tucked away in laneways, you'll find all the vegan restaurants Melbourne could possibly conjure up, including several bakery-style restaurants, cafes and bars. While from St Kilda all the way down the coast, there are vegan restaurants a plenty in Melbourne's south.
So, we've already mentioned a few but thought we'd go into a few of the other delicious vegan meals that you really should try. First thing's first, vegan dishes don't always have to be healthy, and what could be better (especially if nursing a hangover) than sinking your teeth into a fully-loaded burger with a side of large cheesy fries? For this, you need to pay Johnny Mack's Vegan Family Diner a visit and get around the Beets by Jay (Big Mack) topped with a mouthwatering mustard and garlic mayo that's honestly something else. If you're after something packing a punch, then Madame K's Vegetarian is for you. While not strictly vegan, this Melbourne restaurant boasts vegan soba noodles, vegan dumplings, vegan tom yum soup topped with fresh herbs, mushrooms, tofu and vegan prawns, and for dessert a sensational banana roti served with vanilla soy ice cream. Meanwhile, for those in need of a healthy kick, Healthy Planet's energy bowl and tofu burger are brimming with so many delicious and healthy ingredients, you'll feel rejuvenated beyond belief.
Short answer? Absolutely! Considering Melbourne cafes have such a stellar reputation around the world, no matter which spot you choose, plant-based milks will be on offer. Select from soy, almond, oat, coconut, rice or cashew, with a large amount of places opting to make their own from scratch. Also, if you're feeling up for a cafe-style brunch, don't overlook Little River's delectable vegan caesar salad with coconut bacon, tofu, croutons and vegan dressing with your almond milk flat white, while Crafternoon Brunswick's mushroom mountain brunch dish of sauteed lemon mushrooms with hazelnut dukkah and avocado is one of the best ways to start the day… with coffee, of course.
As we've said, there are more vegan restaurants in Melbourne than you can poke a stick at. Which, especially if you're new to the plant-based scene, can be a little overwhelming. Thankfully, all you need to do to snag a table in the latest vegan restaurant in Melbourne is book with Quandoo. Simply filter by location, price point and whether you want strictly vegan or don't mind a mix, and we'll sort it all out for you. Just give us a date, time and number of guests and all you need to do is get excited about feasting on delicious, nutritious and ethical fare in Melbourne's wonderful vegan restaurants.