Staying clear of meat and meat products can be frustrating. Vegetarians are an afterthought on many menus, with just two or three uninspiring dishes to choose from.

That's changing, 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. Sydney's own Yellow is one such restaurant to realise that vegetables can be just as exciting as meat, if not more exciting.

Now, this attitude is filtering down to more casual venues. Slowly. 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.

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Best Vegan Restaurants in Sydney

Bodhi

A Sydney Taoist vegan institution serving yum cha and a big menu of dishes to share.

2-4 College Street, Sydney

Paperbark

A plant-based diner from the teams behind Alfie’s Kitchen and Verd, with a menu mixing cuisines, peppered with native Australian ingredients.

8/18 Danks Street, Waterloo

Alibi

A colourful hotel restaurant with a 100 per cent plant-based menu still managing to offer burgers, tacos, pizza, dumplings and lasagne.

Ground Floor, Ovolo Hotel, 6 Cowper Street Wharfway, Woolloomooloo

Two Chaps

Open for fresh pasta on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

122 Chapel Street, Marrickville

Pizza Madre

A 100 per cent vegetarian pizzeria from the team at Two Chaps.

2/205 Victoria Road, Marrickville

Bad Hombres

Real-deal Mexican made without a single animal product.

40 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills

The Italian Bar Pizza

Traditional food made with modern, diet-friendly ingredients.

Shop 5 183-191 High Street, North Willoughby

Thievery

There are plenty of veg-only dishes on this mod-Lebanese menu.

91 Glebe Point Road, Glebe

The Gantry

Artful, surprising degustations by the water, including a separate selection for vegetarians.

11 Hickson Road, Sydney

Yellow

Sydney's first meat-free fine diner.

57 Macleay Street, Potts Point

INDU

The creative Indian menu is half meat, half not. Everybody wins.

350 George Street, Sydney

Yulli's

Asian, Mexican and Moroccan fusion, with a vegan wine list.

417 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Belly Bao

Although not renowned for its vegetarian options, several of the noodle dishes here make this one well worth a visit.

184 King Street, Newtown

Gigi's Pizzeria

These Neapolitan pizzas are extraordinarily faithful to tradition, but for their use of vegan "cheese".

379 Kings Street, Newtown

Bentley Restaurant & Bar

Yellow's sister restaurant has been around since 2006, but it's more recently that it's begun catering to vegetarians with a separate tasting menu.

27 O'Connell Street, Sydney

The Green Lion

Sydney's first vegan (and therefore, vegetarian) pub.

726 Darling Street, Rozelle

Shenkin Kitchen Enmore

There's never more than a few meat dishes on this Israeli menu.

129 Enmore Road, Enmore