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The Best Vegan Restaurants in Melbourne

Contrary to popular belief, you can make friends with salad.
By Concrete Playground
August 16, 2023
By Concrete Playground
August 16, 2023


Contrary to popular belief, you can make friends with salad.

A long time ago, a list of the best vegan restaurants in Melbourne would be fairly short. But over the past decade, stacks of plant-based eateries have popped up all over the city in the form of neighbourhood gastropubs, hole-in-the-wall takeaway joints and luxe fine diners.

These spots have upped the game when it comes to the diverse range of food that can be made without any kind of animal product. No longer are vegan Melbournians forced to choose between a sad-looking salad, a lentil burger and some lacklustre salt and pepper tofu. These days, the best vegan restaurants in Melbourne are graced with highly skilled chefs who put a heap of love and creative flair into their vegan eats. Plus, the vegetarian joints have heaps of vegan options as well.

No matter why you're deciding to go meat- and dairy-free, any of these Melbourne vegan restaurants will deliver the goods.


Recommended reads:
The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Melbourne
The Best Restaurants in Melbourne
The Best Vegan Burgers in Melbourne
The Best Cafes in Melbourne

  • 15

    This all-vegetarian restaurant was ahead of its time when it opened over three decades ago, and it’s even more in vogue now. Monday through Sunday, lines of people will put their name down and wait for a table — sometimes a pokey communal one — just to get a great vegetarian or vegan feed in the bright and airy converted warehouse space.

    Head in for lunch or dinner — grabbing curries, pizzas, burgers and burritos — or stop in for cocktails and bar snacks before venturing further down Brunswick Street for more eats. It’s not all vegan, but there are stacks of plant-based options and raw dishes available. After all these years, Vegie Bar is still clearly one of the best places to find vegan food in Melbourne.

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  • 14
    the exterior of Trippy taco on Gertrude Street in Melbourne's Fitzroy - one of the best vegan restaurants in Melbourne

    This quaint little Mexican eatery serves mouth-watering tacos, burritos and quesadillas with vegan soy cheese. If you need a go-to for quick, filling, tasty vegan Mexican takeaway, this is it.

    However, if you’d like to sit and enjoy your feast with a Corona or two make sure you rock up before the crowds rush in. The no-frills cantina on Gertrude Street can only seat 45 amigos, and it can get a bit squishy. But don’t worry if you can’t get a seat, you can find more vegan eats at the nearby Evie’s Disco Diner and Neko Neko. Fitzroy and Collingwood are chock full of outstanding vegan restaurants.

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  • 13

    While Rice Paper Scissors isn’t necessarily a vegan restaurant, it is serving up stacks of vegan dishes and many of its meat options can be made vegan with substitutes. These guys also do one of the few specially-made vegan bottomless brunches. Get around mushroom dumplings, Thai chive cakes, soya katsu baos and spring rolls while sipping on unlimited vegan cocktails for two hours every Saturday.

    Keep an eye out for its special vegan events held at the nearby Aunty Kim’s House. The vegan degustation nights are the most popular as guests enjoy ten courses of vegan eats alongside a specially curated vegan cocktail menu.

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  • 12

    Over the past 130 years, this Melbourne pub has gone through countless transformations. And in its current form, The Carringbush Hotel focus on all things vegetarian and vegan. It’s ditched meat in favour of vegan burgers, chargrilled cauliflower pieces, spicy corn fritters, onion rings and miso ramens.

    You’ve also got dining deals aplenty. Every Monday and Tuesday is vegan taco night with cheap cocktails and pints of Estrella. Wednesdays are burger nights and Thursdays are all about the eggplant parma and pot deal. Don’t want to leave your four-legged pal at home? The Carringbush is a dog-friendly venue that let’s you bring your puppers into the bar with you. Either come with your own or just rock up and hope to find someone else’s dog that you can shower with love.

    Image: Carmen Zammit.

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  • 11
    exterior of sister of soul - one of the best vegan cafes in Melbourne

    Sometimes it seems like all the vegan food is north of the river, but that’s not strictly so. Sister of Soul has St Kilda and the bayside area covered with its all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner vegetarian and vegan menu. With dishes like polenta jenga, tofu tikka masala and a black bean burrito, this is a surefire way to get your vegan fill after a session at the beach.

    Just make sure you save room for its version of a jaffa cake with chocolate and orange marmalade. If you’re swinging by for brekkie, the halloumi burger with mushrooms, rocket, onion jam and tomato relish is an inspired choice. For something lighter, try the blueberry and açai bowl with fresh fruit and chia seeds, nut clusters and flaked coconut.

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  • 10
    Evies Diner in Fitzroy on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, melbourne

    Evie’s Disco Diner is everything you hope it’ll be when you first hear its name mentioned. It’s bright, unapologetically eighties, loud and queer-friendly. With Queeraoke every Thursday and drag bingo every Wednesday, there is no shortage of fun to be had here. Whether it’s (badly) belting out your favourite tune or polishing off a bucket of bingo wings, grab a group of mates, put on your dancing shoes and prepare to boogie.

    The food here is described as vegan-friendly comfort food, taking inspiration from a classic New York diner. Try vegan hotdogs and nuggets with some beer battered onion rings and jalapeño poppers. On Saturdays, the team offers up a bottomless brunch, with two hours of vegan food served with unlimited mimosas, bubbles, wine, beer and seltzers.

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  • 9

    Open since 1972, this is the longest-running vegetarian-turned-vegan restaurant in Melbourne, and the experience shows in its well-loved and crafted dishes. The hearty meals are Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Indian-focused. From curries and soups to the long list of pies and dumplings. The Legendary Satay Shakahari is also, well, legendary, as are the melt-in-your-mouth krub phom dumplings filled with sweet corn, mushroom, pumpkin and walnuts.

    Shakahari is a humble spot that is easily one of the best vegan restaurants in Melbourne. It’s also easy to miss, tucked inside two small townhouses on Faraday Street in Carlton. Just look out for the burnt orange façade and strong aromas drifting through the windows.

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  • 8

    As well as being a stand-up Sydney Road pub, The Cornish Arms is also a damn good place for vegans. That’s because, alongside the traditional pub fare, it also serves up some pretty great vegan meals. Love a parma but don’t eat meat? The crumbed mock chicken parma (with vegan mozzarella) will hit the spot. Got a hankering for some seafood? The vegan fishermen’s basket — complete with bean curd fish, prawns and calamari — is sure to fix you right up.

    There’s even a vegan ‘ribwich’, as well as vegan burgers, pizzas and other delights. It’s a great choice if you’ve got both vegans and traditional pub food fiends in your party.

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  • 7

    The Fitzroy ramen joint is dishing up solid doses of goodness that will love you and never leave you. Neko Neko is a mostly vegan affair with three vegan ramen offerings and one pescatarian in the city. It could well be the most dietarily inclusive ramen joint in Melbourne.

    Attention all coeliacs and gluten-intolerant folks, Neko Neko also offers up the holy grail of ramen: gluten-free noodles. Go for the mapo tofu ramen and you’ll forget the fact that it’s vegan. You’ll only know that it’s ultra tasty and very pretty with brightly coloured garnishes. If you find yourself in Sydney, keep an eye open for its Newtown restaurant — with an equally diverse menu and super chill atmosphere.

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  • 6

    Many years ago, Laki Papadopoulos and Mark Price gave Fitzroy the ultimate gift, opening their vegetarian eatery, Vegie Bar. Then, over twenty years later, the team behind the cult restaurant and other inner-north success stories Rice Queen and Panama Dining Room gave another gift to the suburb: Transformer.

    Like Vegie Bar, Transformer focuses on vegetarian and vegan eats. The chefs clearly know their way around the vegetable patch and put out thoughtful, flavourful dishes. Fresh, innovative combinations showcase the best the season has to offer, showing diners just how good vegan food in Melbourne can be.

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  • 5
    Funghi e tartufo outdoor dining - one of the best vegan restaurants in Melbourne

    Between the cheesy margherita pizzas, parmesan-doused tagliatelle and ricotta-stuffed cannoli, you’d be forgiven for assuming Italian cuisine is forever doomed to be a vegan no-go zone. But Hardware Lane’s vegan restaurant is here to remind you that’s not true. Say hello to Funghi e Tartufo — a laneway Italian restaurant with an entirely plant-based menu and wine list.

    Following in the footsteps of dietary-friendly local Italian eateries like Farro and gluten-free pizzeria Shop 225, it’s taking an inclusive approach to a cuisine that’s traditionally not so vegan-friendly. The team even champions eats for coeliacs and those on a FODMAP diet. Basically, if you have mates with difficult dietary requirements, bring them here.

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  • 4

    At Collingwood’s forward-thinking contemporary Chinese restaurant Shu, it’s all about the vegan degustations. They have none of the animal products, but all of the creativity — plating up ten courses of bold, experimental fare.

    Dishes are cleverly executed, pack a serious visual punch and combine traditional Sichuan flavours with modern techniques. Past adventurous creations have included the likes of steamed hairy melons with plant-based mince and black bean soy sauce; tempeh crackers loaded with nashi pear; and an oolong tea pudding covered in black sugar syrup. Be sure to check out the bottomless vegan yum cha experience on weekends as well.

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  • 3

    Bigger isn’t always better, but in the case of Collingwood’s all-vegan pizzeria Red Sparrow Pizza and its expansion, bigger isn’t bad at all. In a move that slashed queue times, the Smith Street vegan eatery busted through a wall and took over the space next door, boasting an extra 40 seats on top of its original 38.

    The pizza offering is built around that same commitment to top-notch plant-based ingredients that have set Red Sparrow apart since it opened back in 2016. Here, tuck into crafty, vegan riffs on the classics while sampling vegan wines and cocktails. And if you’re lucky enough to live within the catchment zone, you can also order this vegan pizza to be delivered.

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  • 2
    the dining room at Lona Misa - one of the best vegan restaurants in melbourne

    Vegan maestro Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters) and Euro-focused Ian Curley (The European, Kirk’s Wine Bar) might seem like an unlikely chef pairing, but they’re working magic together at the helm of the all-day plant-based bar and eatery, Lona Misa. This colourful 90-seat venue has made a home within the Ovolo South Yarra Hotel.

    Here, the two celebrated chefs have crafted an entirely vegan and vegetarian menu that’s designed to shake up your preconceptions of plant-based dining. Vibrant and unapologetic, with plenty of Latin influences, it’s serving up a share-friendly lineup that bears both the marks of Martinez’s signature rebellious stylings and touches of Curley’s fine dining flair. It is an easy addition to this list of the best vegan restaurants in Melbourne.

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  • 1

    Back in 2021, famed plant-based restaurant Smith & Daughters and its sibling spot — all-vegan delicatessen Smith & Deli — moved in together to a new colossal Collingwood home. The combined offering now spans across a 500-square-metre ground floor site on Cambridge Street, encompassing a deli-cafeteria, restaurant and food store. It’s become one of the largest vegan dining hubs in the world.

    The refreshed iteration of Smith & Deli takes cues from the delicatessens of Europe, with a homely yet stylish aesthetic and — for the first time — a dine-in offering. There’s a menu of grab-and-go eats, alongside a tight selection of top-quality pantry essentials, ready-made meals, and other goodies like cheese and pastries. Smith & Daughters’ 80-seat restaurant is a little more high-end, with a seasonal menu steeped in Mediterranean flavours and an aesthetic inspired by Vivienne Westwood. This is where vegans and vegetarians go to treat themselves in Melbourne.

    Image: Ashley Ludkin.

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Top images: Sister of Soul by Kate Shanasy and Derek-Swalwell.

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  • Reader comments...

    Indian restaurant Footscray - November 14, 2017

    Great post!! Thanks For Sharing it. Gujjus Cafe & Chaat House: Famous for Indo Chinese Food, best Indian restaurant Footscray, Indian Restaurant in Malvern East, Melbourne. They provide the best Gujarati thali. They give very good services to their customers.

    Shane - December 3, 2016

    Contrary to the article title, only 4 of these are vegan. There are genuinely vegan establishments that you could have included.

    Donald Lowery - July 27, 2016

    Thanks for sharing this, but also there are many other restaurants in melbourne famous for vegetarian food. Recently, I visited, awsome Indian food i can say they serve.

    Bassam - June 20, 2016

    Mmmmm....not sure why some of these r on here...finas 2 , is way better than finas in Richmond, The reverence is way more supreme than the cornish...and there r other wholle vegan places that do out do these places...dollys sister, radhey chai, madame k...and many more that r superior to the ones u mentioned above!!

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