Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published August 15th 2011
For vegetarians eating out, it can often be a challenge to find anything palatable on the menu at all. Luckily, Melbourne is an incredibly vegetarian-friendly city, with entire areas (Brunswick and Smith St, for instance) full of meatless cafés and restaurants. If you're looking for more than just a meal without meat, here are a few of the best vegetarian meals around.
Dragon Bowl from Yong Green Food One of the signature dishes from Yong Green Food on Brunswick St, the Dragon Bowl is a work of art. Asian vegetables cooked to perfection, arranged with salads and succulent pieces of soy beef, covered in a spicy sauce with a solid base of brown rice. While it's a little spicy, the sauce is clearly visible and easy to avoid if it's too much for you. The soy beef is sliced small enough and surrounded with enough variety of flavours that it's hard to distinguish it from regular beef. This meal is the perfect introduction to imitation meat.
Eggplant Parmigiana from Grumpy's Green Grumpy's Green, a mostly vegetarian pub on Smith St, offers the best eggplant parmigiana you'll ever try. Deliciously crispy, with just the right amount of cheese (and, if you're lucky, a layer of grilled capsicum), this is the perfect meal for a vegetarian craving a chicken parma. It's not cheap, but it's well worth it. Since you're spending money anyway, get a pot of Mountain Goat beer on the side – Grumpy's have both kinds on tap, and they both work well with the eggplant.
Tofu Asada Burrito from Trippy Taco Trippy Taco (again on Smith St) is a vegetarian restaurant that seems designed to convince people that Mexican food doesn't mean 'meat'. The Tofu Asada Burrito is probably the best meal it offers: small chunks of smoky tofu, surrounded by lettuce, guacamole, tomato and all the other standard burrito accoutrements. The Tofu Asada Taco is similar, but it doesn't quite match the juiciness of the burrito. Eat it with plenty of napkins on hand, and a glass of water if you choose the hot sauce. Got a friend who grimaces at the mention of tofu? Bring them here and blow their mind.
All these options are good, but the very best vegetarian meal in Melbourne is Soulfood Café's Pumpkinopita. It's on Smith St (sense a pattern yet?) up the classy end, and is worth going to for this meal alone. Read the linked review for a truly glowing review of this meal, but suffice to say that it's an expertly-spiced layering of pumpkin, filo pastry and feta, cooked to true perfection and equally suitable for dinner or a hearty dessert. If you like pumpkin, this might be the best dish you've ever had – if you don't, this might change your mind.
These recommendations are just one person's opinion. If you've got an idea for the best vegetarian meal in Melbourne, share it with us in the comments. Fair warning, though: if you claim anything's better than the Pumpkinopita, you're objectively wrong.
By Kat Roberts - senior reviewer Tuesday, 16th of August @ 04:17 am
Anything from Vegibar's (on Brunswick Street) special board. Thank God for all the vegetarian restaurants in Melbourne because the vegetarian options on most other restaurant's menus leave much to be desired.
By Kelly Botha - senior reviewer Wednesday, 17th of August @ 09:25 am
By Anonymous Thursday, 18th of August @ 02:55 am
1 for the Vegy bar on bruswick, I'm not even a Vegy and i like it :)
By Richa - reader Friday, 19th of August @ 03:17 am
Vegebar on Brunswick st
By sroma - reader Wednesday, 24th of August @ 07:17 am
On Victoria Street there is a great place which is vegan. I can't remember the name, but it has happy, peace or joy in the name. It's just next door to Thanh Thanh (which is also great). On google maps it's showing as "rice". Decor is terrible, but the people are really sweet and the food is great.
By gmorw - reader Wednesday, 17th of August @ 02:24 am
For a luxurious, totally up-market vegetarian treat, Jacques Reymond on Williams Road South Yarra does the best vegetarian degustation menu going. Nothing is too much trouble - it is edible art!
By bronn3 - reader Wednesday, 17th of August @ 08:29 am
Just discovered a new place on High Street, Northcote. It's called Disco Beans, lovely Japanese veggie food. It's very budget decor - but delicious food!
By miranda - reader Wednesday, 24th of August @ 10:53 pm
Soul Mamas in St Kilda is the best place for vegetarian food. Where else can you find a vegie buffet with great beach views.
By Anne Molenaar - senior reviewer Thursday, 29th of September @ 09:49 am
Yong Green Foods
By tores - reader Saturday, 2nd of June @ 10:25 pm
Vegie Bar and Lord of the Fries
By lynmw - reader Friday, 26th of August @ 08:41 am
Tofu tight wrap at the vegie bar
By Gen Wilson - senior reviewer Sunday, 1st of July @ 09:27 pm
Yarra Valley herb farm & restaurant in Lilydale , cnr Maroondah Hwy & Victoria Rd. vegan & vegetarian. I'd suggest booking - Donna D
By donna - reader Saturday, 4th of August @ 11:49 pm
To update some info: Trippy Taco is now on Gertrude St and Anne - Soulmama has (unfortunately) closed!
By BrunswickMum - reader Saturday, 17th of August @ 11:18 pm