Vegetarian Restaurants in Melbourne
When I started dating a vegetarian, my mother was shocked. “You’ll never survive,” she said, all smirks. We had steak for dinner that night. But as they say, opposites attract, and I’ve since eaten some incredible vegetarian food in Melbourne that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. Every hipster and their fixie opts for a vegetarian diet these days, so I thought I’d share my favourite vegetarian restaurants in Melbourne.
1. Moroccan Soup Bar || 183 St. Georges Road, Fitzroy North, 9482 4240
Thanks to their daily menu, choices are limited Moroccan Soup Bar, but it’s always scrumptious. That’s assuming you can get a table. They take bookings for six or more, but if you don’t want to wait around, bring your own Tupperware and they’ll fill it for you to eat in the comfort of your own home. This vegetarian restaurant has a cheap and cheerful vibe. Expect Moroccan stews, traditional dips, warming soups and flavoursome tagines. If the chickpea bake is on the cards when you visit, make sure you try it.
2. Vegie Bar || 380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 9417 6935
So this one is a little bit predictable; Vegie Bar is, afterall, a Fitzroy favourite. The joint is over two decades old, and rumour has it Vegie Bar started as a vegetarian concept because the owners couldn’t afford meat. They’re laughing now: it’s not uncommon to wait for a seat for an hour on a Monday night. The warehouse space with high ceilings and covered courtyard are also great for a drink. You can order everything from soba noodle salads to Moroccan pizzas, as well as an array of veg-friendly desserts.
3. Monk Bodhi Dharma || 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, 9534 7250
South-siders rejoice: this vegetarian restaurant is on your side of the river, tucked behind the bustle of Carlisle Street. Order a specialty coffee (they roast their beans in-house) and try the gluten-free, vegan Avignon apple and buckwheat pancakes. They are served with cinnamon ice cream, maple syrup, vanilla bean whipped cream and dehydrated apple chips. Somehow, you still feel healthy after eating them.
4. Yong Green Food || 421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 9417 3338
I’ve been eating at Yong’s long before I lived with a vegetarian. All my meat-loving friends rate their Asian-style vegetarian food, as well as the vegan and raw food options. Try the vegan chilli bean nachos and homemade kimchi gyoza, or one of the incredibly filling organic burgers. Oh, and if the raw, vegan fudge is on offer, don’t leave without it. A word of warning, this place is always busy. Go early to avoid disappointment.
5. Shakahari Too || 225 Clarendon Street South Melbourne, 9682 2207
The original Shakahari is located in Carlton, but its South Melbourne sister, Shakahari Too, is definitely worth a visit. Shakahari Too is a great place for herbivores and carnivores alike. The flavours are fantastic, the presentation is gorgeous and the service is top-notch. Start with 'avocado magic' tempura and move onto the satay.
6. Munster Haus || 371 St. Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, 9489 4420
The chef at Munster Haus hails from Tofu Shop International (see number 9), and the concept has similarities. Pay for a small, medium or large plate and then and pile it up with a mountain of vegetarian deliciousness. According to their Facebook page, “Munster Haus will both arouse and fulfill most of your dietary & personal needs.” Surely that’s an offer you can’t refuse.
7. Lentil as Anything || Abbotsford, St. Kilda and Footscray
Lentil as Anything is a vegetarian concept where you pay what you think the food is worth. It’s buffet-style, so you can take as little or as much as your stomach desires. Curries and stews are common, as are pastas and hot pots. Plenty of people visit for lunch and dinner, but I recommend heading to the one at the Abbotsford Convent for breakfast plates such as poached eggs on potato rosti with spiced yoghurt sauce. The community vibe and live music are also a bonus.
8. Madame K’s Vegetarian || 367 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 9415 6099
Another day, another Brunswick Street vegetarian joint. Madame K’s is an undiscovered gem in my eyes and a great takeaway alternative if you live in the area. The food has a Thai influence thanks to the owner’s heritage and when I tried the mock meat, I had to check if it really was made from vegetable protein. I know I harp on about dessert, but the pumpkin balls in coconut milk with soy vanilla ice cream are amaze-balls (excuse the pun).
9. Tofu Shop International || 78 Bridge Road Richmond, 9429 6204
Vegetarians be warned, Tofu Shop isn’t cheap for what it is. That doesn’t change the fact that Bridge Road and Richmond workers flock through the door the second it opens. Tofu Shop has been around since 1981, which makes it significantly older than me. The organic, hippy vibe gives this vegetarian haunt a laidback feel, while the menu is full of goodness. Tofu lovers can choose from a plate piled high with the dishes of the day, or can grab a falafel or wrap to go. Try their famous tofu dip, or, weather permitting, the tofu ice cream is a winner, too.
10. Crossways || 123 Swanston St Melbourne, 9650 2939
Crossways is a favourite among students, Melbourne vegetarians and tight-arses alike. That’s because it’s all-you-can eat for $5.50 with a concession card, or $7.50 without. As long as you’re happy with the daily main and dessert on offer, with your choice of lassi or cordial, then it doesn’t matter. It’s casual, basic and has a homely feel. If you’re feeling spiritual, peruse one of the books on ancient Indian knowledge and beliefs.
Om Vegetarian || Level 1, 28 Elizabeth Street and Shop 4, 227 Collins Street, CBD, 9917 2889
For all-you-can-eat Indian-vegetarian food at $6.50 per person.
Touché Hombre || Cnr Tattersalls Lane and Lonsdale Street, 9663 0811
For their “livin' on the vedge” vegetarian-Mexican menu on Monday nights that “keeps pork off your fork”.
Trippy Taco || 234 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, 9415 7711
For their tofu asada burrito the size of my arm with spicy charred tofu, vegan mozzarella, goat’s cheese, salad, salsa and avo. Complete with a side of hipster.
Phat Brats || 320 Brunswick Street Fitzroy, 9419 5526
For their superfood dog with a quinoa, sweet potato and tamarind ‘sausage’, served with chilli lime mayo, smashed peas, alfalfa, coriander and sour cream. And a side of life-changing, cheesy fries if you’re feeling naughty.
Gopal’s Vegetarian || 139 Swanston St Melbourne, 9650 1578
For vegetarian food that’s sanctified via offering to Lord Krishna before being served. Good for your belly and for your karma.
Lord of the Fries || CBD, Chadstone, Chapel Street, Melbourne Central
For late night snacks after a few too many drinks. LOTF regularly fools hungry meat-eaters into drunkenly gorging on its wares. That’s right, there’s no beef in that burger, honey.
Meatball and Wine Bar || Flinders Lane, CBD and Swan Street, Richmond
For vegetarian balls. Choose from a bed of pasta, polenta, beans, mash and salad, or chow down on them in sliders.
Have I missed your favourite vegetarian restaurant in Melbourne? Share it in the comments below and spread the veg love!