Staying clear of meat can be frustrating. Vegetarians are an afterthought on many menus, with just two or three uninspiring dishes to choose from. That's changing fast, though - vegetables are hot property in contemporary fine-dining. Chefs from New York to Copenhagen are giving them more love and attention, for reasons both ethical and creative. Slowly, this attitude is filtering down to more casual venues too.

Melbourne is no exception to all this. Transformer opened in 2015, with a menu entirely free of meat. Plenty of vegetarian restaurants came before it, but it was arguably the first to adopt a truly experimental and forward-thinking mindset. Others will follow in its footsteps.

For now, make do with this small-ish list of our favourite eateries. They’re not all strictly vegetarian, but all offer a substantial meat-free selection that rises well above the token mushroom risotto. See our separate guides if you're looking for vegetarian cafes or vegan restaurants.

Tahina

Fancy some Israeli street food?

223 High St
Northcote VIC 3070

Shakahari Carlton

David Bowie loved it. You will too.

201-203 Faraday Street
Carlton VIC 3053

Very Good Falafel

It's very good. Really.

629 Sydney Road
Brunswick VIC 3056

Yong Green Food

Good for vegans and vegetarians alike.

421-423 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy VIC

Horn Please

Half meat dishes, half veggie dishes.

167 St Georges Road
Fitzroy North VIC
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