Our ULTIMATE Guide to Vegan and Vegetarian Eating

Australia is one of the best places in the world to enjoy great vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

Plant-based living has enjoyed exponential growth in Australia during recent years, with over 12% of Australians in 2018 reporting that their diet is mostly, or totally, vegetarian. And this number continues to rise.

Australia is blessed with a fantastic climate and huge amount of arable land in which to grow fantastic, organic produce that can reach the plate fresh and in-season.

It comes as no surprise that the larger Australian cities are havens of incredible vegan and vegetarian food. The vegetarian movement has taken great strides in recent decades, and is now so mainstream that vegetarian food is now common fare at even fast-food restaurants.

We’ve put together our ultimate guide to vegan and vegetarian eating across Australia. We have you covered, irrespective of whether you are leaning towards a plant-based diet for environmental, ethical or health reasons, or simply as a preference of taste.

We’ll be recommending cafes, bakeries, and restaurants with plant-based menus in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, so you’ll know exactly where to go for delicious, healthy vegetarian food.

Sydney 

Often mistaken for the capital city of Australia (but actually the capital of New South Wales), Sydney is one of the most dynamic places to visit in Australia, with incredible views, plenty of entertainment, and cultural landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House. 

However, Sydney also happens to be one of the best locations in Australia for vegetarian and vegan food.

Restaurants with entirely vegetarian menus are not uncommon in Sydney, and there are a decent number of entirely vegan restaurants, too. 

We’ve had the pleasure of eating at several vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Sydney, and we can recommend dozens of favorites for you to try out. 

Vegetarian and vegan food has made its way into virtually every type of cuisine within the restaurant industry, and in a vibrant city like Sydney, there are now plant-based alternatives to almost any popular dish you can think of. Whether you feel like chowing down on some ramen or some traditional Mexican cuisine, there are plenty of restaurants offering either fully plant-based menus or vegetarian and vegan options. 

If you follow a vegan diet, one of the best restaurants to visit in Sydney is Shift Eatery. Shift Eatery’s menu is 100% vegan and it’s the only completely vegan Deli in Sydney. We recommend the Vegan Bacon and Egg Bagel and the Meetball Sub. 

For vegetarians who also love Asian cuisine, Bodhi Restaurant is the place to visit. This restaurant is critically acclaimed and has won awards for its incredible menu and dining experience! From vegan smoked duck to house-made gnocchi, Bodhi’s freshly prepared vegetarian food will absolutely hit the spot. 

There is also no shortage of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dessert stores in Sydney, so if you’re in the mood for something sweet, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. 

While none of the top 10 dessert stores in Sydney are exclusively vegetarian or vegan, three of them (Cremeria Giuseppina, Gelato Messina, and Anita Gelato) provide quite an extensive range of vegetarian and vegan options whilst also catering to other dietary restrictions.

Even some of the 15 best donuts in Sydney are vegan, including the entire menu from Nutie Donuts!

As you can see just from this small selection, Sydney is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly city with plenty of diverse plant-based cuisines to choose from. However, Sydney is far from the only city in Australia offering a vast array of vegan food… 

Melbourne 

Melbourne is the second-largest city in Australia after Sydney and happens to be the capital of Victoria. 

However, Melbourne isn’t just special for its size and geographical significance – it’s actually considered to be the best Australian city for multicultural cuisine, including vegan and vegetarian eating experiences. 

It was difficult for us to choose the 15 best vegetarian restaurants in Melbourne because there are so many incredible plant-based restaurants to choose from. With that being said, we’re confident that any of our top 15, some of which have been established in Melbourne for decades, will provide an excellent dining experience for vegetarians. 

For those health-conscious vegetarians who want healthy food that still feels filling and indulgent, Matcha Mylkbar is an excellent choice. The menu at Matcha Mylkbar is focused on healthy, nutritious food, but doesn’t compromise on delicious flavor. It even features several vegan options, including vegan Hollandaise Eggs, the DIY Big Breakfast, and vegan protein bars. 

Another top-ranking vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Melbourne that we highly recommend you visit is Vegie Bar, which has dine-in and takeaway menus as well as an entire plant-based cake menu. This vegetarian and vegan walk-in restaurant also sells gift cards, meaning that you can share this awesome vegetarian dining experience with friends and loved ones! 

Plant-based burgers abound in Melbourne, so finding classic American comfort food for vegans and vegetarians is easy. For the full American diner experience, we recommend visiting Burger Road or L.A. Burger, both of which cater to vegetarians and vegans as well as other dietary requirements. 

Of course, the top 15 pizza places in Melbourne are all hot spots for vegetarian eating in the city, but a few of our favorites are also vegan-friendly. Lazer Pig is an especially popular plant-based pizza restaurant because you can add vegan cheese to any pizza on the menu and pair your choice with a glass of organic wine. 

There are so many restaurants, cafes, and dessert places serving vegetarian and vegan food in Melbourne, we simply don’t have time to talk about them all here. Suffice it to say that you can find plant-based croissants, sandwiches, Indian food, and even Korean barbecue in Melbourne. Whatever you’re craving, you can find vegan and vegetarian options in this bustling city. 

Brisbane 

Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane, is mostly famous for its sunny climate and cultural attractions, from art galleries to museums. 

However, a large portion of Brisbane’s cultural appeal comes from its dining culture, which encompasses various cuisines from around the world and is very inclusive of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. 

While Brisbane might not have as many exclusively vegetarian or vegan restaurants as Sydney or Melbourne, there are still plenty of hidden plant-based gems in the city’s restaurant and cafe scene. 

Some of the best restaurants to visit in Brisbane for vegan and vegetarian eating are the many pizza restaurants dotted around the city. If we had to choose the best Brisbane-based pizza restaurant for vegetarians and vegans, it would definitely have to be Pizzantica. Pizzantica is a traditional, authentic Italian pizza restaurant that has dedicated a whole section of its menu to vegan-friendly pizzas. 

There’s plenty to do as a visitor in Brisbane, so you’ll probably want to be up bright and early to enjoy as much of the city as possible. Before you set off on your sightseeing adventures, why not grab some breakfast at Peach Cafe? This cafe in Auchenflower is not fully plant-based, but it’s among the 15 best breakfast joints in Brisbane and serves some of the most mouth-watering healthy vegan breakfasts in the area, from avocado on sourdough toast to cocoa buckwheat porridge. 

If you get hungry in the middle of the afternoon, we recommend trying out the vegan options at Belle Epoque, which is one of our top 13 places to get high tea in Brisbane

Alternatively, there are vegetarian and vegan-friendly venues featured amongst our 15 best Mexican restaurants in Brisbane, top 15 Indian restaurants in Brisbane, and 15 best Thai restaurants in Brisbane, so be sure to check these out if you’re a fan of any of these cuisines.

If you’re a vegan who loves freshly baked sourdough bread, you’re in luck, because Brewbakers Sourdough Bakery ranks in the 15 best bakeries in Brisbane and serves the most delicious non-dairy sourdough in the city.

Adelaide 

The food and wine industry in Adelaide (the capital city of South Australia) is booming. In fact, Adelaide’s dining culture is one of the city’s main attractions. 

Luckily, if you follow any kind of plant-based diet, you won’t have to miss out on the incredible culinary experiences Adelaide has to offer because there are so many vegan and vegetarian venues to visit. 

The cafe culture in Adelaide is particularly vegan-friendly, with many of our 10 best cafes in Adelaide catering to plant-based customers.  The great thing about Adelaide is that it’s a very eco-conscious city, so several of its most popular cafes offer seasonal, sustainably-sourced menus with lots of vegan options. Cafe Troppo and Folklore Cafe are both examples of this, and if you’re a lover of ethically-produced, organic wine, we recommend The Banksia Tree Cafe and Restaurant

But your options for plant-based food in Adelaide aren’t limited to cafes! We’re personally big fans of the vegan breakfast options at Flinders Street Project, and the vegetarian and vegan burgers on the menu at Grill’d Rundle St and Two-Bit Villains make the perfect lunch on a busy day of sightseeing. 

Adelaide is home to some of the most authentic pizza restaurants in Auralia, and every single one of our 15 best pizza places in Adelaide offers vegetarian options, although vegan pizzas are a little more difficult to come by. 

For vegans who enjoy Indian cuisine, there are a couple of high-ranking restaurants on our list of the 15 best Indian restaurants in Adelaide that cater to vegan as well as vegetarian dietary needs. Chefs of Tandoori, which is one of our favorite Indian restaurants in the city, has an entire dedicated vegan menu, featuring Indian culinary classics such as samosas, pakoras, a wide selection of curries, and traditional rice and bread side dishes.

Perth 

Perth is Western Australia’s capital city, with over 2.6 million residents and almost as many visitors every year. 

Even though Perth is considered the most isolated city worldwide, that hasn’t stopped it from becoming home to some of the best vegan and vegetarian food establishments in Australia – you just have to know where to look. 

Perth is a great city for tasting plant-based Japanese cuisine. We’ve ranked the best 15 Japanese restaurants in Perth and two of our top choices offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Aisuru Sushi dedicates a whole section of its menu to vegan sushi rolls, including the very popular Crunchy Buddha’s Delight Roll and Magic Mushroom roll. Nine Japanese Bistro also offers plant-based dishes, from the delicious Shimeji Pasta to Yuzu Sorbet. 

If you’re in the mood for pizza, our top recommendation in Peth would have to be Rossonero, which ranks amongst our 15 best pizza restaurants in the city. Each restaurant featured in our top 15 provides vegetarian-friendly options, making a popular choice for vegetarians in Peth. However, Rossonero offers vegan cheese as a substitute on its pizza menu so that vegan diners can also enjoy any of the vegetarian options. 

All the sightseeing opportunities in Peth mean that you’ll probably end up doing a lot of walking. If you fancy a plant-based snack or sweet treat after all that exercise, you should check out the 15 best high tea experiences in Perth

It’s not difficult to find vegetarian and vegan options at cafes in Perth, but our favorite is Flora and Fauna. This cafe in Northbridge offers an entirely vegan menu featuring bite-sized cakes, scones, and vegan sausage rolls. 

Even some of the more meat and seafood-based restaurants in Perth have options for vegetarian customers! Three of the best seafood restaurants in the area also serve vegetarian food, with one even catering to vegans, proving that you can enjoy a plant-based dining experience almost anywhere in Perth. 

Final Thoughts

In this ultimate guide to vegan and vegetarian eating in Australia, we’ve explored the plant-based dining options available across some of the continent’s largest and most populous cities. 

Whether you’re making an effort to cut down on your meat consumption or have cut animal products from your diet altogether, there are hundreds of restaurants and cafes in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth that will cater to your dietary needs. 

See here if you are looking for some inspiration on how to reduce the amount of meat you consume.

Our guide to plant-based eating in these cities also proves that Australia’s dining industry is home to a multitude of cuisines from around the world, the majority of which can be enjoyed by vegetarians and vegans at popular venues. 

From vegetarian sushi to meat-free burgers and vegan baked goods, there’s no shortage of vegan and vegetarian eating experiences in Australia, so go ahead and reserve a table today!

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