Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants to Book for Your Next Birthday Bash

Celebrate another trip around the sun with your best mates, meat-free bites and BYO beverages.
Jordan Kretchmer
Published on February 17, 2020

Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants to Book for Your Next Birthday Bash

Celebrate another trip around the sun with your best mates, meat-free bites and BYO beverages.

Deciding on a birthday dinner destination isn't easy — you need somewhere that's well priced, has an excellent atmosphere and, of course, delicious food. When you or people in your group are vegetarian, this can make the parameters even tighter. Luckily, Sydney has a host of vegetarian-friendly venues ready to host you for a tasty celebratory lunch or dinner.

We've selected some top-notch options for your next birthday bash, whether you're totally plant-based or an omnivore who can really appreciate the beauty of a wholly vegetarian meal. Bonus: they are all BYO, meaning your pals can save a few bucks and bring a bottle of bubbles to celebrate your existence.

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    best pho in sydney - Golden Lotus vegan

    Vegan restaurants often excel at vegetarian food — cutting out meat and dairy means they can hone in on making sure vegetables and grains taste great. And that’s exactly what Golden Lotus does. This south King Street Vietnamese eatery masterfully makes laksa, vermicelli noodle salads, dumplings and rice paper rolls, all sans meat. In place, it amps up the flavour factor with plenty of herbs, chilli and spices, to make mock meats (usually soy-based proteins) and vegetables sing. Add in the brightly coloured walls and neon-lit signs, plus the fact that you’re allowed to bring your own booze (there’s a BWS just down the road), and you’ve got a Southeast Asian dinner destination at the top of your list for your next birthday.

    Need inspiration? Pick up some bottles of Batch Brewing Co American Pale Ale

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    Someone making pasta at Two Chaps, Marrickville - one of the best cafes in Sydney

    This Marrickville vegetarian cafe-cum-restaurant has been a local favourite for years, thanks to its excellent coffee in the morning, friendly dinner service in the evening and sustainable food ethos around the clock. If you’re lucky enough to have a birthday fall on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, book in here. Two Chaps makes all its own pasta, focaccia and gelato from scratch, and it offers up gluten-free and vegan menus, too (complete with house-made vegan cheese). The $60 set menu takes the fuss out of ordering and includes anything from roasted beetroot ravioli with shaved pecorino cheese, white wine reduction and roasted hazelnuts to gnocchetti with black olive tapenade, semi-dried tomatoes, basil oil and a crunchy charcoal pangrattato. BYO is also just $10 a pop (or free on Thursdays), so you can stock up on some big Italian reds or funky beers from BWS, that’ll be sure to go down well with Two Chaps’ beautiful handmade pasta.

    Pick up some cans of Yulli’s Brews Amanda Mandarin IPA.

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    Maya Da Dhaba

    This Cleveland Street staple has been serving up home-style Indian cooking to Surry Hills for years. While it does offer up an excellent Goan fish curry and tender tandoori chicken, Maya da Dhaba also offers an extensive range of vego-friendly dishes, which showcase Indian cuisine’s ability to make the most of legumes, grains and vegetables. Start with crisp onion bhaji, vegetable samosas and aloo tikki chat (fried potatoes and boiled chickpeas, served with yoghurt, zippy tamarind chutney, chat masala, onion and coriander). Mains are best shared — there are 16 vegetarian options alone, including saag paneer (spinach and cottage cheese), navrattan korma (a veggie curry with milk cream and cashew nut sauce) and Punjabi baingan (pan-fried baby eggplant with onion, potato, tomato and chilli). Of course, you’ll want to order plenty of paratha and naan to wipe up all of the delectable curry sauces.

    Pick up a bottle of King of Clare Riesling.

    Image: Trent van der Jagt

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    Everyone loves snacks, so there’s a good chance you’re going to love Emma’s Snack Bar. This much-loved Lebanese-inflected restaurant is great for birthday bookings, thanks to its all-encompassing, share-friendly menu. And good news for those with dietary requirements — more than half of the menu is vegan and gluten-free. Opt to choose your own adventure and order spicy crumbed shanklish cheese balls and hand-cut potato cubes with garlic paste and fresh coriander. Or you could hand the steering wheel over to the staff, and roll with a well-priced $49 set menu (both meat and vegetarian options available) which includes plenty of dips, salads, falafel and bread, plus fried cauliflower, roasted eggplant and pumpkin kibbe in the vego option. You can bring your own wine for $4 per person (and BWS Petersham is just nearby), and you can also bring your own birthday cake at no extra cost.

    Pick up a bottle of See No Evil Organic Rosé.

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    Marrickville isn’t short on excellent restaurants, but when it comes to Vietnamese Hello Auntie is at the forefront. And the fact it has a devoted vegan and vegetarian menu is a bonus. Standout dishes here include the banh xeo — a crisp coconut and turmeric crepe, which comes with onion, bean sprout and jicama  — and the DIY rice paper roll kit complete with vermicelli sheets, faux roast duck and chicken skewers and smoked miso eggplant fritter. There are also smaller snack plates, including aburi corn cob with fermented chilli and butter and fried silken tofu with black vinegar, and a bunch of noodle and rice dishes. Plus, if you’ve got a big birthday crew, you can jump on the vegan banquet which is just $49 per person. If you want to BYO for your birthday, you’ll need to book in on a Wednesday. It’s just $4 per bottle, and there are two BWS locations in the suburb, so get organised and get ready to roll into a new year.

    Pick up a bottle of Noble Fellows Pinot Rosé.

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    When you want to usher in your new age in style, this Newtown pizza bar is the ticket. The Enmore Road restaurant caters to vegos and everything-eaters alike, but a good portion of its menu is very much vegetarian-friendly. To start, you can tuck into bruschetta and crumbed and fried olives filled with taleggio cheese. For mains, enjoy four-cheese gnocchi, with gorgonzola, scamorza, parmigiano, mozzarella and cream sauce, or the Ortolana pizza with fior di latte, roasted capsicum, grilled zucchini and grilled eggplant. Add in plenty of garlic bread, a convivial atmosphere and the BYO factor and you’ve got a birthday destination where you’ll be feeling the love.

    Pick up a bottle of Torresella Pinot Grigio Rosé.

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    This Surry Hills hot spot takes the joy of classic Indian dishes and injects them with modern ingredients and techniques. Take the beetroot paneer tikka, which marinates a curd cheese in beet and chars it in the tandoor; or the ‘unauthentic’ butter chicken, which turns the classic on its head by making it vegetarian (on request) and amping up the ginger, garlic and fenugreek notes in the curry. Vegos will also love the malai kofta (spiced potato and paneer dumplings in curried garlic and cashew) and the Aunty Dhal, with slow-simmered black lentils. Oh, and it would be a crime not to order the Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower — crispy cauliflower in a sticky tomato and chilli sauce. If you want to take the guesswork out of it, select one of the tasting menus — both the $65 and $85 per person options include a chef’s selection of appetisers, curries, naan, rice and dessert. You can BYO (for $20 a bottle) as well, so pop into your local BWS en route and stock up for your birthday bash.

    Pick up a bottle of Chapel Hill Pinot Grigio.

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