Fashion loving, coffee drinking, food obsessed Brisbane gal and Mum of one. Full time killer of indoor plants, publicist, magazine writer, sometime blogger.
Visit my blog at www.urbanprincess.com.au and follow me @urbanprincessk
Published May 12th 2012
You might have heard of the movement that encourages you to go meatless once a week. They say it is better for your health and better for the planet - it's the little bit you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
Now, you could slave away in the kitchen doing your bit for the health and the planet, or do what I do, and go to one of the many vegetarian restaurants in Brisbane. And if you think it's going to be rabbit food served up by a bunch of hippies, then you're in for a pleasant surprise. I've found (and tested, because someone had to) a few of the city's most popular, most delicious and importantly the most filling.
Kuan Yin Tea House
Steak & Vege Rolls
Don't be fooled by some of menu items - the Thai spicy chicken and salt and pepper fish are definitely vegetarian, just part of the range of "faux meats" on offer. Looks like meat, tastes like meat, but not meat! Great for those who might be trying vegetarian for the first time. Try one of the set meals for a good introduction to their fare, but it's so cheap that you could order a number of dishes to share and still stay within budget. There's a competition running for the most individual and group spend. If you beat the last record you can put your photo up on the wall. The last group record I saw was $150 and given the most expensive dish is only around $15, you'd probably need a pretty big group to beat that one.
Cheap and cheerful, this little Valley spot is popular with vegetarians who love the food and the philosophy. The decor is endearing and the staff are always cheerful. Be wary of the bizarre opening hours though.
Just a little further up the road, Tea Master is a more modern setting, with lots of faux meat options, and small portion options which is great if you want to try lots of dishes or have a large group. The laksa is amazing, with tasty "fish" balls and "prawns" in a massive bowl that could easily satisfy two people.
This little spot is also known for their tea selection (ahem "TEA Master) but I've only tried their fun teas like the taro milk teas with pearls, and not their more serious teas.
For the el cheapos on a budget, Tea Master's rice and noodle dishes are your best bet and you could probably save half of it for the next day. Or go for the smaller dishes like the sticky rice cup ($4.50 or the dumplings ($5.90). Their service too seems to be lightening fast.
A tip too for dinner guests, the parking behind Teamaster, Cathedral Place, is possibly the cheapest parking I've ever had in Brisbane.
Shop 18 115 Wickham street Fortitude Valley Ph: 07 3257 0038
Food with a conscience, Govindas has been around for as long as I can remember, and famous for their all you can eat feast. A delicious combo of vegetarian curries, salads, rice, kofta balls and pappadums with a dessert of halva and custard with a lemon mint drink. $12.90 (although when I was a student it used to be $8).
The city store is always full with an eclectic mix of students, executives and families who love the food and chilled out atmosphere above the Elizabeth Arcade.
The buffet is certainly the quickest and the easiest, but there's also a selection of other curries and salads like spicy tofu salad, potato bake, pasta bake and lasagna as well as a delicious range of desserts and cakes. Vegan options available.
It's a Brisbane institution, now with two other locations in Stones Corner and West End.
First Floor, 99 Elizabeth St, Brisbane City
Phone: 07 3210 0255
82 Vulture Street, West End
Phone: 0404 173 027
Shop 2/ 302 Logan Rd, Stones Corner
(Inside the Phoenix Market, next to Stones Corner fruit shop)
Phone: 07 3847 4674
The Forest Cafe is completely vegan with a good variety of salads, curries, burgers and desserts. The Forest Plate gives you a selection of 3 curries and rice and that's a good choice for variety.
I've been here a couple of times, the food is nice enough, good for a quick meal and reasonably priced, but a little lacking in flavour and oomph that you can definitely get in vegetarian food.
124 Boundary St
West End, QLD 4101
Ph: 07 3846 6181
Possibly the most random location for a vegetarian cafe, Gopals also gets the gold star for the nicest people running a vegetarian cafe in the most random location.
On Sherwood Road in Sherwood, this cute little Hare Krishna establishment serves up a selection of vegetarian and faux meat meals of curries, salads, bakes, lasagnes and shepherd's pie. As well as yummy desserts and snacks such as koftas and samosas, it's served up with a genuine smile.
There's a few tables and chairs out the front so you could "eat in" and take away. They seem to have slightly bizarre opening hours, so call ahead first if you're coming for another location specifically.
I heard a rumour that Kitchen Sanitarium was somehow related to Sanitarium the breakfast food company, but I can't seem to find any evidence of that. I can see a very nice cafe/restaurant with a healthy menu of vegetarian options including gourmet salads and sandwiches, pastas and haloumi (I put that in there because I love haloumi).
Open for breakfast and lunch in a delightful riverside location, this is marketed more toward city workers, but I think if you love wholesome food (in very pretty colours) than this is worth the trip if you're outside the city.
The Myer Food Court isn't really where I'd expected to find a vegetarian food shop, but this little place has quite the following, probably from their previous location in Post Office Square.
With a tasty selection of curries and dosas, they also have some random non-Indian style foods such as lasagne and pizza. But don't visit without trying the kofta balls and samosas with tamarind sauce - they're divine.
This is more like really yummy, wholesome home cooking, which actually appeals to me more than the fancy stuff sometimes. Reasonably priced and quick to get, it's a great option for your meatless Monday.
Totally vegan, Loving Hut is actually part of an international chain of vegan restaurants. It has a very extensive menu of vegetable and faux meat delights but there doesn't seem to be a particular type of cuisine. Spaghetti bolognaise and Thai red curry are on the menu alongside nachos and satay nuggets, so you should definitely find something to take your fancy.
There's some yummy snacks that are good for entrees, try the satay sticks, and a delectable dessert cabinet. For dinner, try the Seven Seas Delight for something different the Beijing Black Bean for a faux meat experience.
There's quite a bit of paraphernalia about Supreme Master Ching Hai across the walls and TV and I'm not entirely sure what that's all about, but if she's the cult leader of vegetarian food then sign me up.
If you're after variety in your vegetarian food then Ho Fan Court is your best bet. It has over 100 options on their menu, all Asian vegetarian with vegetable and faux meat options.
There's lots of traditional Asian cuisine with the meat substituted with faux meats, so honey prawns, chicken stir fry, beef hot pots - I've never seen so many options.
The staff are really friendly and obliging and the service is pretty quick. When we were there it was early in the night and pretty quiet, but I've been past on a weekend and it's been packed.
Huo Fo Vegetarian Court is located in Sunnybank Plaza, so in the bustling Sunnybank precint. There's a large undercover courtyard area and good parking.
K4 Sunny Park Shopping Centre,
Cnr Mains Rd & McCullough Street, Sunnybank
Ph: 07 3344 3384
This is by no means a comprehensive listing of vegetarian restaurants in Brisbane, these are just the ones I know about and have tried. So try going meatless for a day and let someone else do the cooking.
Loving Hut is our favourite, we get takeaway every week. I am a vego but not a lover of the fake meats. Their food tastes healthy, plenty of fresh veg not overcooked and delicious spice complexities. For anyone allergic to fish/seafood, their Thai red curry is a delight as it contains no fish sauce (unlike the majority of Thai curries).