When it comes to eating out as a vegan, I think I do a pretty good job. In saying this, it’s not often that I go out to eat somewhere without having read the menu (or stalked them on Instagam) beforehand. I think this is almost compulsory to do as a vegan (especially when starting out). There is nothing worse than turning up to a restaurant only to find that your options for the evening are the side of steamed greens and a bowl of fries. Actually, maybe finding out that the fries are cooked in the same oil as the battered fish. That’s probably worse (and trust me, this has happened to me many, many times). In no way am I shaming the humble greens and fries (because there is most certainly a time and place for greens and fries), but I do think many of my vegan friends can relate to this dilemma.
So to help you avoid these unlucky situations in the future, I’ve compiled a list of my ‘Top Vegan Eats.’ You’re welcome.
From seriously good burgers to fluffy, buttery donuts, I’ve got you covered. Take your non-vegan friends to these places and I guarantee they’ll love the endless options just as much as you do! And since I’ve recently relocated, this list features cafes and restaurants from both Adelaide and Melbourne.
Vegie Bar (Melbourne):
I can’t not start my list with this gem. Vegie Bar is the place to eat as a vegetarian or vegan living in Melbourne. Located on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, it is practically in the heart of Melbourne (only a few stops out of the city via tram) and has an extensive selection of foods to choose from – From Asian stir fry’s to middle eastern dishes, burgers, Mexican and fantastic cocktails. It’s perfect for picky eaters or those sceptical carnivores in your life (ie. My 18y/o brother…)
Favourites: Shanghai dumplings, both the ‘Temperoni’ and ‘Virtuoso’ pizzas, morocco stew, ‘Fitzroy Pho’ and who can resist their insanely rich chocolate cake with coconut ice cream!? (You won’t believe that it’s totally refined sugar free.)
Cherry Darlings Bakehouse (Adelaide):
One of the first places I visited when I became vegan and what a fantastic mistake that was (because now I’m completely and utterly addicted and can’t visit Adelaide without visiting them). Cherry Darlings will satisfy all your baked good needs.
Favourites: Cheesburger pie, pretzel blondie & their banana caramel milkshake. (My three go-to’s clearly…) Oh, and the ‘Snackers’ donut. Cue salivation.
Mister Nice Guys Bakery (Melbourne):
A Cherry Darlings equivalent here in Melbourne. A little higher end in terms of product and price, but once again satisfies those baked good cravings.
Favourites: BLT bagel & banana bread.
Little NNQ (Adelaide):
A lil’ bit fancier than all the previously mentioned cafes, but nonetheless a favourite of mine. It’s not just the cuisine here, but the decor, the bustling atmosphere and the unique cider flavours (lychee cider is surprisingly delish).
Perfect for a date or a family dinner. Just make sure to book in advance.
Favourites: Salt & pepper oyster mushrooms, tofu in tomato sago and the tofu cold rolls.
The Annex Cafe (Adelaide):
Another early favourite of mine. Clean flavours, fresh ingredients and good quality, simple food.
Favourited: Zoodles, pumpkin soup, avocado bruschetta and the pecan tart.
The Cornish Arms (Melbourne):
This is the place where you and your non-vegan friends can enjoy the exact same meals together without any fuss. A perfect Sunday hangover pub meal that everyone can enjoy.
Favourites: Vegan Big Mac and meat lovers pizza.
Smith & Deli / Smith & Daughters (Melbourne):
These guys know what’s up when it comes to creating delicious vegan-ified foods. Smith & Deli is a delicatessen open daily that serves fresh sandwiches and baked goods, while Smith & Daughters is a Mexican themed restaurant with an ever-changing menu. (Make sure to book in advance.)
Favourites: Egg & bacon McMuffin from Smith & Deli, the queso bean dip and vegan nachos from Smith & Daughters.
Market Shed On Holland (Adelaide):
The ultimate Sunday brunch outing. Enjoy a strong coffee, a wholesome meal and pick up some fresh produce all in one location. With its ever changing food stalls, the Market Shed is the ultimate way to spend your Sunday.
Favourites: Veggie Velo’s nacho burger, Live a Little Gelato’s ice cream sandwich and Happy Maple donuts.
China Family Dumpling (Melbourne):
My obsession for this place is rapidly getting out of hand. Its affordability, quick service and incredibly delicious food has me head over heels for China Family Dumpling. (Note that most Asian restaurants will generally have a pretty good selection of vegan foods).
Favourites: Vegetarian dumplings, fried vegetarian noodles, steamed vegetable buns, Chinese broccoli with garlic sauce
Prahran Convenience (Melbourne):
This is a little different to the previously mentioned cafes, as it is actually a giant convenience store. Stocking international pantry, fridge and freezer items, vegan junk food, health foods, supplements, teas, herbs & spices… The list is endless.
Having spoken to the owners of the store on multiple occasions, I’ve been informed that they are often the first store in Australia to receive many American products (Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream for example), and their prices are the cheapest in Melbourne. Oh, did I mention they’re open 24/7?
Zambreros & Subway:
My go-to fast food joints. Both can easily be made vegan. Here’s what I usually order:
Zambreros – Vegan burrito (double beans and rice) with all of the toppings and verde sauce. (There are many vegan options at Zambrero, just be sure to ask!)
Subway – Toasted multigrain footlong with a veggie patty, lettuce, spinach, tomato, pickles, hot chilli sauce and salt/pepper.
- Argo on The Parade / Square, ADL
- Beach Burrito, ADL
- Cupcake Central, MELB
- Seasonal Garden Cafe, ADL
- Messina Gelato, MELB
- Leaf Lane Cafe, MELB
- Organica Cafe, MELB
- Lord Of The Fries, MELB
- The Prahran Market, MELB
- Coffee Institute, ADL
- Dear Daisy, ADL
I hope this little post has been helpful to those of you transitioning into veganism who may be finding eating out tricky, or for anyone looking for some new vegan cafes and restaurants to explore.
Leave me a message with some of your favourite vegan cafes!