Ordering salad for lunch (or breakfast or dinner) doesn’t have to be an exercise in restraint. With this bunch it’s hard to define where a Sunday roast with greens ends, and the salad begins. What we do know is that freshness is paramount, herbs are vital and creativity is a winner.

Morris – Marrakech bowl
With its generous serve of caramelised slow-roasted lamb, the Marrakech bowl at Morris in Paddington is closer to a Sunday roast than a salad. But you have to dig through roasted cauliflower, shredded raw vegetables, fresh mint, toasted nuts, lentils and chickpeas to find the lamb. The DNA of sister cafe Scout’s Honour shines through – order any salad at either cafe and you’ll be completely satisfied.

Rumah – Mixed salad
At Rumah, salads come in one, two or three scoop sizes. There’s a choice of four salads on the menu. We recommend getting three to try more, especially if the Issan Quinoa is on the menu. It has chunks of cucumber, tomato, red onion, fresh mint and nubs of salty Thai pork sausage that soak up the fish-sauce vinaigrette. Add Chinese chicken with cabbage, sweet apple, coriander, peanut and plum dressing, or the soba noodles with tofu, snow pea, edamame and ponzu dressing to your mix.

Venus wholefoods – Daily Salads
Venus does some of the best salads in the city and they change daily. Owners Michelle Hughes and Tim David believe eating healthily should be approachable and fun, with varied and interesting textures and dressings (think seeds, sprouts and medjool dates). They are big believers in the prefect dressing to tie everything together. Salads are vegan and gluten free, but you can add eggs, ham or chicken. There’s always plenty of choice, but the kale and snake-bean salad with tahini, tamari and maple-syrup dressing is particularly memorable (and can be found in the Broadsheet Sydney Cookbook too).

The Greenhouse Asian Salads – Greenhouse #1
The greenhouse recently opened in Lane Cove. Ex-Pilu chef Josef Huber has paired up with Thai-born Lanna Rawipa Wannawong to deliver salads that are bursting with herbs, served warm and topped with freshly toasted nuts and either sous vide chicken or lamb. The Greenhouse #1 has fresh mint and coriander, green-tea soba noodles, paper-thin radish slices and is topped with freshly toasted cashews and a coconut-black-sesame dressing.

Bread and Circus Wholefoods Canteen – Breakfast with Gwyneth
An old favourite, Breakfast with Gwyneth (named for Gwyneth Paltrow) is breakfast salad at its best. It has sautéed white quinoa with kale, garlic and chilli next to a pile of mixed greens It comes with two fried biodynamic eggs on top and it’s as comforting as you can get sans bacon.

Two Good – Lunch Jars
Two Good provides delicious food with a focus on charity. It was Founded by Rob Caslick who recruited top chefs to design salads that could be packed into jars and delivered. For every salad purchased an identical one is sent to an associated soup kitchen or shelter. Lunch salads currently include Kylie Kwong’s hokkien noodles with Chinese cabbage, Asian herbs, native greens and ginger vinaigrette, and Matt Moran’s chicken, chickpea, tomato, olive and feta.

Egg of the Universe – Perfect Circle Salad
The name says it all. The salad is served as a gorgeous circle of raw and fermented salads and vegetables, activated-nut pesto, cashew cheese, tahini cream, green leaves and activated linseed crackers. It’s a rainbow of vibrant colours and an array of contrasting textures. It’s pretty good for your gut, too.

Plant Gallery – Beetroot Carpaccio
Plant Gallery specialises in raw and vegan dishes, which explains why the star of its carpaccio dish is vibrant magenta slices of beetroot. Fanned out around the plate, it’s paired with mixed greens, cashew parmesan, marinated house-dried tomatoes, avocado, mustard-olive oil dressing and finished with aniseed myrtle oil.

Rough and Bare – Spiced Pumpkin Salad
Focused on health and wellness, chef Anthony Milotic works with naturopaths to create dishes that are balanced and nutrient-dense. They are also free of gluten, refined sugar and vegetable oils, but not flavour. The results include the spiced pumpkin salad, packed with quinoa, broccoli, purple cabbage, dulse flakes, black sesame, amaranth popcorn and apple-cider dressing. You can add roast chicken or crispy-skinned wild-caught salmon for extra protein.

Sadhana Kitchen – Super Bowl
Another salad that will have you unbuttoning your pants. The Sadhana Super Bowl is a bottomless collection of all things good for you. It has shredded kale, house sauerkraut, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and pesto zoodles, with brazil nut cheddar, sundried-tomato and smoked-paprika hummus, it’s 100 per cent plant based and gives salad a good name.