The Best Vegan Restaurants in Melbourne

Updated 1 month ago


These days, chefs are paying vegetables more attention than ever. Just look at the proliferation of roasted cauliflower on menus across Australia and the world.

From there, going full vegan is a relatively small step. Butter can be swapped out for coconut oil, cow's milk for soy milk, and egg whites for aquafaba (the liquid found in cans of chickpeas). As the murky ethics of the industrial food chain become more apparent, these substitutes are becoming more and more popular. Melbourne doesn't have a huge number of entirely vegan restaurants, but if you're okay with the people around you eating animal products, many places can cater for you.

  • Fire-based cooking reigns supreme at the second iteration of Shannon Martinez’ pioneering vegan diner, suitably housed inside an old red-brick fire station. Choose from Mediterranean-inspired dishes and booze à la carte, or grab a seat at the intimate chef’s table and let the experts choose for you.

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  • An all-vegan cosy local that’s committed to serving up affordable, plant-based dishes and wines. Go for its meat-free takes on pub classics, house-made gnocchi and small bites. Enjoy your meal and vegan vino at the bar, in a booth, or in the beer garden out the back.

  • Shannon Martinez’s all-vegan, all-day diner inside the luxury Ovolo hotel is a symbol of the group’s commitment to plant-based eating. Alongside celebrated chef Ian Curley, Martinez is serving Josper-fired peri-peri cauliflower, steamy tamales and “blood” sausage plus spicy Latin American inspired cocktails.

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  • True to its name, this ’80s-referencing, queer-friendly, vegan-leaning American diner packs a nightclub-quality soundsystem and a mezzanine DJ booth. Drag trivia and bingo are held regularly here, alongside glitzy techno and pop parties.

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  • A plant-based pizzeria which works with various convincing cheese substitutes.

  • All-vegan kebabs, halal snack packs and boreks in Brunswick. Plus, there are gluten-free options, colourful salads, dukkah-dusted chips and cardamom-spiked Turkish coffees.

  • Its heritage-style facade and mid-century decor give all the impressions of another classic Melbourne pub. Yet the entirely vegetarian and vegan menu says otherwise. Go for the plant-based “charcuterie”, eggplant “schnitzel” and fried cauliflower. The diverse local beers on tap are a bonus.

  • There’s a seat for almost every diner and their dietaries here. Each of the classic pizzas can be made vegetarian or vegan. Go for the mushroom-heavy 2807 (sans sausage) or the Verde, topped with ribbons of baked eggplant. Plus, vegan pastas and desserts.

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  • This warm and inviting pub is renowned for two reasons. First, it's got one of the most vegan-friendly menus in Melbourne – meaning meat-eaters and herbivores alike can get across the entire menu of pub classics. And second, its sunny and expansive rooftop bar ranks among the best in Brunswick.

  • Unlimited vegan curries every Tuesday.

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  • Vegetarian for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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  • This popular Thai stalwart maintains an animal-free section on its menu.

  • This colourful cantina-style space is full of Mexican classics, each with a meat-free twist. Go for loaded tacos – like the tofu asada with cheese, chargrilled tofu, salad, salsa and lime. Or find hefty meat-free burritos, cheesy quesadillas and crispy taquitos. Pair it all with a Margarita or Sangria jug.

  • It’s all in the name at this Chinatown favourite, which highlights dishes from Shandong province. The vegan dumplings (including a zucchini version) have a cult following.

  • Situated on Hardware Lane is this outstanding player in the city’s vegan dining scene. The owner-chef riffs on nostalgic Sicilian dishes using plant-based ingredients, served in a converted 19th-century warehouse full of old-world charm.

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  • Tarrawarra's head chef, Joel Alderdice, has come full circle at this Yarra Valley estate, having apprenticed in the kitchen a decade earlier. With a resume counting Attica, Bar Liberty and a slew of winery restaurants, he brings his creative flair to a veg-heavy menu informed by the restaurant’s kitchen garden.

  • This historic 19th-century public house has stepped into the 21st with an entirely meat-free menu – featuring fragrant miso ramen and hearty vego lasagne – and hyperlocal beers. Yet it still retains the heart of a classic pub, complete with fireplaces for the cooler months.

  • Brother Bon aims to make vegan food accessible (and enjoyable) to all. Its pan-Asian brunch and dinner menus hit all the right notes with fragrant noodle soups, dumplings, stir-fries and gua bao. Also on the menu are Vietnamese-style cocktails, as well as Australian beers and wines.

  • From the eco-conscious team behind Small Print Pizza comes this vegan-friendly pizza bar. The menu turns humble mushrooms, potatoes and pumpkins into heroes, and offers plenty of plant-based swaps (including for pepperoni and feta).

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  • Japanese goes vegan at Neko Neko, a corner spot named after its owner’s love for cats. The hearty vegan ramen is made with 20-ingredient veg stock and egg-less “egg noodles”. And the bento boxes are lined with colourful purple rice sushi.

  • There’s always plant-based options at this Spanish-style bar and eatery, and many dishes can be tweaked to become vegan or vegetarian. The chalked-up, tapas-style menu might list a standout house-made pumpkin agnolotti.