The Ten Best Healthy Cafes in Melbourne
Raw Snickers bars, superfood salads and sugar-free pancakes. When did healthy food get so tasty?
Apart from the fact that health is seriously on trend right now, it's also becoming really damn delicious. If we can eat a piece of raw vegan nut butter chocolate everyday and not have to feel bad for it, well, go right ahead and sign us up. And raw chocolate is just the beginning. Now, cafes all around our fair city are dicing, blending and cooking up a healthy storm — and we love them for it. Here are some of our favourites.
These guys are all about good (yummy) food that's good for you. We see absolutely nothing wrong with this. Tucked into a corner building on Victoria Street in Abbotsford, LBSS has always been about doing things a little differently. Whether that's a raw chocolate coconut treat with your almond milk or the artwork that lines the walls. And speaking of the stuff, their coffees (cold or hot) are made just that little bit better by their almond milk that's made in-house.
When it comes to the menu, for a healthy bite, go for the acai bowl topped with quinoa muesli, coconut yoghurt, and fruit, or the gluten free almond berry pancakes. Or you could even go the freekeh cakes served with cashew cream, chilli jam, kale and eggs. All the good things, basically.
385 Victoria Street, Abbotsford, (03) 9427 8818, lbsscafe.com
Another Abbotsford local, Admiral Cheng Ho is the little sister to Monk Bodhi Dharma and churns out a lot of the same dishes — much to northsiders' delight. No more crossing the river. Coffee is serious here folks, and with six simultaneous grinders on each day, you can expect to be spoilt for choice.
When it comes to the food, they've got all the dietary concerns front of mind. For a sweet start to the day go for Cheng's Granola: a house-made organic spiced raw granola with fruit and house made organic hazelnut milk. Or if savoury is more you, their Avoca Ho is a smashed avo dish worth the trip, as is their umami mushrooms served on polenta bread with feta, thyme, and red chilli oil.
325 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, admiralchengho.com.au
You know a venue is serious when they are entirely raw. Shokuiku on High Street in Northcote know a thing or two about the natural side of foods. The drinks list alone is health craziness. In a good way, of course. You can go for the Ultimate Smoothie ($25) if you're feeling rich: it includes coconut water, coconut meat, berries, hemp, cacao nibs, goji berry, ashwagandha, astragalus, MSM, camu camu, fulvic acid, reishi, maca, marine phytoplankton, mega hydrate, vanilla, and lakanto. Phew.
The dinner menus change monthly and feature things like coconut cream and lime soup with zucchini noodles for entree, layered vegetable bake with vegetable mince and marinara sauce for main, and a banana cream tart with cacao truffle slice for dessert. They also offer custom-made raw cakes, a range of granolas and supplements to take home with you to continue your raw journey. It honestly feels like an adventure. Give it a try.
120 High Street, Northcote, 0403 569 019, shokuikuaustralia.com
Combi is all about health. Sitting in a small shopfront in Elwood, these guys have lines out the door on the weekends, so go mid-week if you can swing it. The menu reads like a health nut's dream with cold pressed juices, smoothies, kombucha on tap, acai bowls, sprouted breads, house-made nut milks, raw cakes and treats to die for. If you like your indulgences in liquid form go for the Velvet Cacao smoothie, made with raw cacao, cacao nibs, berries, coconut flesh, cinnamon, banana, raw chocolate fermented protein powder and house made nut milk. For something on the savoury side, you can grab a raw pizza made of dehydrated almond, sunflower and flaxseed topped with raw kale pesto, shredded vegetables and raw cashew cheese.
And don't forget to take home a slice of the raw caramel slice. Seriously. Do it.
Shop 1/140 Ormond Road, Elwood, (03) 9531 0084, wearecombi.com.au
Pana Chocolate has been stocking our health food stores for a while now with their 45g chocolate bars, but their shopfront in Richmond is whipping up some serious raw desserts that are sure to change your mind about what raw food tastes like. A raw lemon cheesecake is a decedent and rich version of its namesake, while the Holy Fudge — a mix of raw chocolate, raw fudge, and raw nut butters — will most likely leave you grinning and speechless. At least until you ask for more.
You can stock up on raw cacao, coconut, and other sweet staples while you're there as well. We dare you to leave with just one thing.
491 Church Street, Richmond, 1300 717 488, panachocolate.com
Oh the Vegie Bar, a trusted pit stop for those who steer clear of meat, or are just looking for some hearty nosh. The Vegie Bar caters to most tastes with anything from raw pad Thai to a Mexican burrito filled with cheese, sour cream and beans. Hey, it's still vegetarian right? But with a rep for always being ahead of the curve, it's a given that these guys brought in raw dishes — like the raw tacos — before Melbourne was even excited about it. Kudos to you Vegie Bar. And your desserts are off the charts.
380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, (03) 9417 6935, vegiebar.com.au
Yong's is the quiet achiever of the health food scene. They don't say much, but they've got a healthy fan base — pardon the pun — that does the talking for them. You can go down the raw path here with a 'rawsagne' of layered zucchini with mushrooms, avocado, cashew cream, and raw walnut bolognese, or perhaps you're after a raw cheese platter? Yep, it exists here: herbed garlic cashew cheese, nut bread, tamari almonds, olives and balsamic figs await. If you like your food cooked you can go for the chickpea korma served with brown rice and mango chutney, or the tofu katsu: a fried tofu patty made with shitake, arame and vegetables battered with quinoa, served with brown rice, coleslaw and a house-made katsu sauce. Finish with a raw dessert like the chocolate cheesecake. They are a perfect treat.
421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, (03) 9417 3338, yonggreenfood.com.au
Patch in Richmond is championing the Paleo way of eating. No dairy, grains or refined sugars — you get the picture. They do it here, and they do it well too. They're making their own Paleo bread, which makes your morning bacon and eggs feel almost normal. For a real meaty experience go for the Cave Man: eggs, bacon, tomato, wagyu beef, sweet potato fritters, silverbeet, kale and relish. If you're more of a Bircher and latte kinda Paleo, don't worry, they've got you covered as well with their Patch Bircher. Theirs includes activated hazelnuts and almonds, goji berries, apricots, pumpkin seeds, coconut, chia seeds, honey, vanilla bean and orange with coconut yoghurt and blueberries. Oh and an almond or coconut milk latte.
32 Bendigo Street, Richmond, (03) 9029 0328, facebook.com/patchrichmond
Nutrition Bar is all about clean ingredients, and protein. Gym goers rejoice. Their smoothies are the main attraction here, followed by the acai bowls and the raw treats. Go for a superfood smoothie with coconut water, raw cacao, acai powder, chia gel, agave, vanilla protein powder, LSA, raspberries and ice. It's very very tasty. Their protein acai bowl is again a good protein hit with crushed nuts served on top. Raw treats range from protein balls made by Health Lab, to raw snickers and bounty bars. All the treats.
121 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC, (03) 9995 4329, nutritionbar.com.au
Barry in Northcote is one of those cafes that really caters to everyone. From the team originally behind Pillar of Salt, Barry is one of those cafes that knows how to do things well. The space on the corner of Barry and High Streets is one of those that draws a wait list on the weekends. But, even so, they always deliver. The menu ranges from coconut chia puddings with banana, caramelised buckinis, sour cherries and coyo, to a burnt onion, buffalo mozzarella and basil omelette in the morning, to a crisp prawn sub with kewpie mayo, pickled cucumber and carrots and raw falafels with beetroot relish, tahini, and pickled cauliflower in the afternoons.
85 High Street, Northcote, (03) 9481 7623, barrycoffeeandfood.com
Yong Green food courtesy of shelleysgoodeats and Barry images courtesy of flepsycola and lidiaferreira__ via Instragram.
Published on August 06, 2014 by Amy Collins