Veganism has well and truly established itself in Australia’s dining scene. Whether you’re a vegan, contemplating the lifestyle change or a carnivore open to trying new things, there are a plethora of restaurants for you to get your fix.
Today, eating vegan no longer means eating bland veggies, tofu and tempeh, or searching far and wide for a restaurant that offers vegan alternatives. Aussies have welcomed eateries dedicated solely to this lifestyle, offering creative and flavoursome twists on classic dishes, and it seems just about everyone is jumping on board.
From Italian pizzerias to burger shops and tapas bars, we’ve provided a rundown on ten of the best vegan restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to celebrate World Vegan Day 2020.
A well-respected pizzeria serving traditional Neapolitan wood fired pizza that has since turned almost completely vegan. Gigi’s is easily one of the best vegan hangouts in Sydney and is the perfect introduction to plant-based dining for those looking to indulge in the lifestyle. Feast on the likes of the Marinara Tradizionale, a stone roasted pizza topped with San Marzano tomato, garlic & fresh oregano, extra virgin olive oil or a Salsiccia e Broccoli pizza, made with Beyond sausage, garlic, chilli sautéed broccoli, tree nut ricotta, mozzarisella and green vie parmesan. Side note, Gigi’s doesn’t split bills, so make sure you rock up prepared.
This Beverly Hills inspired vegan oasis is located on level one of Bondi’s Pacific Building beside the entrance to QT Hotel. The colourful and exuberant menu has been created by former Alibi chef, Claudia Pantoja, and spans everything from popcorn cauliflower, mushroom bolognese, truffle fries, watermelon style ‘sashimi’ and ‘fysh’ tacos. The cocktail menu is nothing short of delicious with concoctions like the “Garden of Eden”, a mix of Hippocampus vodka, green Chartreuse, lemon, mint, cucumber and myrtle soda. As for interiors, Eden is all about foliage, fairy lights and natural tones.
Nestled under ancient Moreton Bay fig trees, this parkland haunt is a well-deserved escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The award-winning restaurant specialises in Pan-Asian vegan cuisine using local produce and fresh ingredients and is most known for its vegan YumCha, served from 11am to 3pm every day and 4pm on weekends. Expect tasty things like sweet Japanese pumpkin dumplings, cream corn and ‘chicken’ dumplings, green tea and choy sum dumplings, as well as fried black sesame balls, red bean puff, and custard lava buns. If YumCha sounds like your cup of *green* tea, then this is the place for you.
A Mexican Asian mash-up delivering the goods with flavoursome vegan food, an impressive natural wine list and even better tunes. What started as a pop-up, thanks to Sean McManus and Toby Wilson, is now a permanent restaurant in Surry Hills. The menu can easily be shared and boasts mouth-watering dishes like charred corn with chipotle mayo, eggplant tacos, oyster mushroom tacos and Mexican rice pudding.
Little Turtle is a clean, green space serving fresh, health-conscious, vegan Thai food that draws from founder Vinita Chumstri’s parents’ hometowns and regions; Lampang and Udon. Chumstri is passionate about recreating the flavoursome sensations of Thai cuisine using solely plant-based ingredients, ensuring a playful spin on traditional dishes. Think sticky sesame wings made entirely with cauliflower, red curry arancini made from pumpkin & tofu, and holy basil tempeh stir fry.
Smith & Daughters
Housed in one of Fitzroy’s oldest pubs, once frequented by Bob Marley, Smith & Daughters is the embodiment of sensational vegan food. Smith & Daughters' mission is to challenge the perception that vegan dining is bland, and award-winning chef, Shannon Martinez proves that and then some. The Italian menu includes trippa alla romana made up of slow-braised cloud fungi, white wine sugo, orecchiette, as well as slow-cooked Cabbage with Sicilian pesto and classics like Cacio e pepe and Tiramisu.
Melbourne’s first dedicated vegan pizzeria that will have you questioning whether you should join the plant-based side if you haven’t already. Dig into Red Sparrow’s pepperoni pizza with ‘meat’ made from organic gluten and tofu and all the same spices that go into pepperoni sausages. If you’re looking to step it up a notch, the Patatas Bravas boasts a smokey tomato base, potato, ‘chorizo’, dairy-free parmesan and chipotle mayo.
Dishing up big and bold flavours despite its small and humble surroundings, Trippy Taco is a north-side Mexican-food institution. The all-vegetarian menu allows for every dish to be made vegan, think tacos, burritos and quesadillas that are all flavoursome and fluffy. A true Trippy highlight is the Breakfast Quesadilla with scrambled tofu and soy cheese. Drool!
You came again
Brisbane’s first vegan tapas bar offering up tasty bites like lemon popcorn cauliflower bites, ‘meetballs’, mushroom and walnut pate and crispy fries. Whether you consider yourself a vegan connoisseur or not, you can’t go past the ultimate cheese platter boasting vegan cashew cheese, coconut labneh, olive tapenade, seasonal fruit, quince, walnuts and Turkish bread.
The ultimate plant-based burger dining experience that doesn’t do complicated. That’s right, Grassfed’s menu offers seven burger options along with a handful of sides, and of course the iconic ‘I Should Coco’ ice-cream list, proving that size really doesn’t matter. The burger joint is famous for its BFC, a burger oozing with double vCheese, king oyster mushrooms, caramelised onion, tomato, lettuce, pickles, curly fries, Grassfed special sauce and scarily meaty textures from the patty and bacon.