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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats

TOP PLACES TO EAT VEGAN IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Updated: May 4, 2023


I cannot explain how excited I was to set foot in Melbourne. Ever since I first met Mike I had been telling him how much I wanted to visit Australia - in fact, it was something I had been dreaming of since I was a teenager. So of course, we had to start in the foodie capital, Melbourne. Mike is a big sports fan, so he was excited to be here in the home of Australian sport - there was even some big cricket games on while we were visiting: we loved soaking up the atmosphere of the cricket fans!


We were a little surprised, stepping into winter in Melbourne, of how much it reminded us of home. It was a little chillier than we had expected - for the first time in our trip, the jumpers were out, and I even bought a hat! But wow, despite being a little cold, the city really amazed us, I could have stayed here even longer! The arts, the sport, the culture, the wildlife... and most certainly, the food!


Eating Vegan in Melbourne

“The great thing about coming to Melbourne is that people talk about Sydney being the food capital but Melbourne is a lot more; it has that residential feel, a feeling of homeliness. When you go to restaurants, it’s known as a creative, artistic city. That’s what you get with the food.” – Ainsley Harriott

Melbourne is known as a foodie capital for a reason - and honestly, eating vegan in Melbourne is not only easy, but also an absolute joy. Some of the places you'd least expect will surprise you with a plant-based recipe, and everywhere you look you will find funky and modern eateries actually specialising in some of the most delicious vegan produce around. This can even be a little overwhelming - so to help you out if you're visiting this incredible city, here is a list of our absolute favourite places for vegan food in Melbourne.


1st: Red Sparrow Pizza

406 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia

We had heard about Red Sparrow Pizza from some Aussies we met in Vietnam, and we were really excited to try it - we love pizza, and we love a funky plant-based restaurant, so we hot-footed it down to Smith Street to check it out. We have pretty high expectations when it comes to pizza, having tried some pretty good vegan ones already - so imagine our surprise when we unanimously decided that this was THE BEST VEGAN PIZZA WE'VE EVER EATEN!!


So not only was this place super cool, it was also fully vegan, with a comprehensive menu of plant-based choices. Whatever kind of pizza toppings you fancy, you're almost guaranteed to find something here that will exceed your expectations - with a great vibe and excellent service thrown in too!


I was positively giddy to find a Hawaiian pizza on the menu. I have missed Hawaiian pizza (my childhood favourite) for a very long time, and this was the answer to my dreams. The dough was incredible but oh my goodness, the toppings!! Firstly, the cheese was definitely the best vegan mozzarella I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve tried a lot!) It was creamy, not too sticky... and it had the stretch! The tomato sauce was rich and tasty, the pineapple was sweet, juicy, and the chunks were a generous size too! The ham was so realistic in its flavour, exactly the flavour combination I remember from ham and pineapple pizzas as a child. Genuinely, this was the pizza of my vegan dreams!

Mike opted for the Salsiccia, a pizza topped with mushrooms and vegan sausage. He was absolutely blown away by the whole pizza, even the dough! We don't know what on earth Red Sparrow do to make the crust this delicious: it's like the most incredibly doughy, tasty pizza bread we’ve had in our whole lives... so much so that Mike stole the crusts that I was too stuffed to finish. He just couldn't let the best pizza crust he's ever eaten go to waste! The toppings were great too: the tomato sauce was rich and tasty, and if this wasn’t a 100% vegan place he would have been suspicious of the sausage, it was so realistic and tasty! Like a good, authentic pizza this was filling, but not overbearingly. Mike even remarked that this was the best vegan pizza he'd ever had - even beating the ones that we've eaten across Italy.


This was vegan artisan pizza, so the price was a little more expensive than takeaway pizzas - but for food this good, it was easy to pay and still feel like we'd had excellent value for money. My Hawaiian pizza cost AU$24 (approx. £12.73, €14.41 or $15.87), while Mike's Salsiccia was AU$26 (approx. £13.80, €15.62 or $17.22). We would absolutely recommend that anyone visiting Melbourne add a trip to Red Sparrow Pizza to their itinerary: you won't regret it!



2nd: The Cornish Arms

163A Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056, Australia

Our first stop in Melbourne was to The Cornish Arms, to grab some proper Aussie pub grub! This is a really popular, vibrant pub that has a massive range of beers, an excellent inclusive vibe, and a massive list of vegan dishes alongside their standard menu. We genuinely loved our trip here - they have plenty of events on the calendar and daily offers on their food too.


Most importantly though, I am so excited to tell you about the food here! Mike chose the vegan parma and chips and wow: this was a truly delicous, plant-based taste of Australia! Thicker than any vegan schnitzel we’ve ever eaten before, this parma was served with a generous helping of Napoli tomato sauce and vegan cheese. It felt so good that this was authentic even down to the melty grated cheese: honestly, their meat and dairy alternatives were incredible. The texture of the vegan chicken itself was squidgy and quite realistic, with a tasty breaded crumb. The cheese serving was generous and exactly what the dish should have. The portion was huge, but we weren't counting the calories here, for this treat of a meal! Even the chips on the side were excellent: they were so well seasoned and perfectly cooked to be fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.


Similarly impressive was the vegan Philly cheesesteak that caught my eye. Now I’ve not had real Philly cheesesteak but I can’t imagine this to be anything but a deliciously authentic take on the dish. I have never known seitan to taste so meaty and tender - whatever they did, they did it good! Like Mike's parma, the portion size was very hearty; as hard as I tried, I actually couldn't finish it all, which made me very sad! The dish was so well thought through, and this showed in all the mouthwatering flavours - the bread wasn’t even just bread, it was garlic bread! The peppers were still crunchy so there was a delicious mix of textures and flavours. This has set the Philly cheesesteak bar very high for me now!


The Cornish Arms run regular promotions throughout the week with different offers on different days. They have a small dessert menu with vegan options, and a great range of drink options including vegan friendly beers. Summer or winter, they even have a rooftop bar that you can check out! The prices are a little high, but the rotating offers mitigate this a little. And for all these incredible vegan products, with such huge portions too, the value for money isn't too bad. Both meals cost $26 per portion (approx. £13.80, €15.62 or $17.22) - but depending on the day, check out if they're part of the promotions for a slightly lower pricepoint! Regardless, I'm certain you will have an excellent time and a tasty meal at The Cornish Arms!



3rd: HOME Vegan Bar

4/699 Collins St, Docklands VIC 3008, Australia

We went to HOME Vegan Bar for breakfast on our last day in Melbourne and oh my goodness, I was so gutted that we hadn't found it before! This vegan bar specialise in brunch foods and their cold-pressed juices. It is a really beautiful cafe: light and airy, and full of plants! We felt so welcome with their super friendly staff and excellent ambiance - this was a place I wished I could have returned to time and time again!


The menu has so many excellent-sounding dishes, but there was only one thing that we both wanted to try when we saw it: their ham and egg muffin! 100% plant based, we couldn't wait to get our hands on this! And oh my goodness, this was epic. I’ve never tasted any vegan egg as good as this - it's no exaggeration to say that this was a truly legendary breakfast. I just don’t know what they did to it! The texture wasn’t the most accurate, but without a doubt the flavour was just like a runny scrambled egg - exactly what you want when you’re waking up in the morning. The whole muffin was phenomenal and for such a good price you can’t deny yourself. This was absolutely incredible.


We paid AU$7.50 per muffin (approx. £3.98, €4.49 or $4.95) which we were more than delighted with, for such an excellent quality product that contained plant based versions of both egg and ham! Other, more substantial options on the menu are more expensive of course, but we were satisfied with the size of this muffin for sure! Overall, this is an excellent brunch location - we only wish we'd found it sooner!



4th: Lord of the Fries

8 locations across Melbourne

It's no exaggeration when I say that we became a bit obsessed with Lord of the Fries while we were in Australia. This incredible fast food chain has branches across the country, with some in convenient places like train stations. Their best kept secret? They're entirely vegan! Their menu consists of tonnes of really delicious and convincing plant-based dupes for fast food favourites, from sausage and egg muffins to burgers and fries. There is enough on here to try a different thing every day and still not get bored!


This was our first trip to Lord of the Fries, so we were really excited and still a little blown away by all the options! Mike chose the classic burger combo, which included a burger, fries and a drink - though he actually paid AU$2 extra to swap the regular fries for shoestring fries (his favourite!) The burger was pretty standard, what you would expect from a fast food burger chain. The texture of the mushroom patty was great, but flavour-wise, it was a little on the bland side. The vegan cheese and sauce were really tasty but honestly, it had a little too much sauce - this burger really suffered from the slip which made it a little difficult to eat! The portion of shoestring fries was enormous - though they were a little over-salted, he really enjoyed the shoestring taste. The garlic aioli sauce that I chose from the selection on the side was really, really delicious and actually started off our current vegan aioli obsession!


Now if there is something I love as much as Mike loves burgers, it is nuggets! So of course, I opted for the nuggets munch box, which included nuggets and fries. I loved that they were served in the red baskets with the red and white paper, it looked really funky - to be honest, the whole vibe here was great! The nuggets were the star of the show: I was really impressed with the flavour and the texture. The crunchy breadcrumb coating gave way to a really realistic chicken-like nugget. I would have preferred more nuggets and fewer fries in the munch box, as the portion of fries was very big and they were too salty. I preferred Mike’s shoestring fries!


Lord of the Fries prices were pretty good for fast food in Melbourne. The classic burger combo - which included the burger, a drink, fries and a sauce, cost AU$16.50 (approx. £8.74, €9.88 or $10.90), and he paid an extra AU$2 (approx. £1.06, €1.20 or $1.32) to upgrade to shoestring fries. My nuggets combo box, which didn't come with sauce or a drink, came to AU$9 (approx. £4.77, €5.39 or $5.95). Pretty reasonable, we thought!



5th: Sister of Soul

73 Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182, Australia

We headed to Sister of Soul, in the super cool St Kilda area, for breakfast before an intense day of sightseeing. First of all, the welcome we received was iconic: the staff here are some of the most enthusiastic we came across, and we definitely caught this guy's positive energy, he was practically radiating it!


The veggie-vegan menu was very, very exciting and we were delighted to have the choice of so many items that clearly had been designed to nourish the soul as well as delighting the eyes and the tastebuds. I chose the smashed avocado, while Mike went for the mushroom toastie. We were so excited to get photographing them when they arrived: this food really was perfect for Instagram!


Mike's mushroom toastie contained a really smooth and creamy vegan bechamel sauce, along with an assortment of mushrooms and spinach. The flavours worked really well together, though the artisan bread was a little too hard and crispy for his taste. This dish was fully plant-based, though there was the option to add eggs if you eat them. It definitely didn't need them though!


Similarly, with my smashed avocado, the toast was a little too tough for me at the crust, but was nice and doughy in the centre. The helping of avo was huge, with more than enough to cover the two sourdough slices. I actually preferred the beetroot, which added a bit of sweet to the tang, whilst the pomegranate seeds added a sweet burst of flavour. I usually hate beetroot, so this was a surprise for me! Feta also isn’t my favourite thing, but their homemade vegan feta tasted more palatable than normal feta in my opinion - and honestly, I felt cool eating this beautiful breakfast.


Sister of Soul's prices were a little steep for us, so visiting would be a treat rather than a regular thing. The mushroom toastie cost AU$18 (approx. £9.54, €10.77 or $11.90), whilst the smashed avocado was $20 (approx. £10.60, €11.97 or $13.23). All in all though, this was a good experience, and a great place for a very cool breakfast. The food was tasty and the place had a lovely ambiance with the friendliest staff!



6th: Schnitz

20 locations across Melbourne

If you've been following our blogs you may already know about our trip to Schnitz: this is the restaurant chain that we headed to to get our taste of the legendary Aussie dish, Parma (or Parmy, if you're outside of Melbourne)!


We were so excited to try this dish, which offers a lot of the things that we like in a meal (vegan chicken, breadcrumbs, plant-based cheese, and of course, CHIPS!) In Australia, a parma consists of all of these elements, with a generous layer of Napoli sauce between the battered schnitzel and the cheese. Schnitz offer a vegan parma on their menu, although confusingly it doesn't specifically mention the vegan cheese or the vegan mayo that are available on request. But never fear, the staff we spoke to were very happy to oblige our plant-based taste buds!


Though we were a little underwhelmed by this parma, mostly because of the presentation and the fact that we would have loved a plant-based chicken fillet and grated vegan cheese, there's no denying that these flavours were worth trying. It's great too, to have this vegan-friendly version of a national dish so readily available across the city, and the country, in a popular chain restaurant.


It may not have been our favourite vegan parma in Melbourne, but it was definitely the most convenient, and pretty reasonably priced too. Schnitz's vegan parma and chips cost AU$15.90 per portion. This is approximately £8.56, €9.59 or $10.64. We thought that was quite reasonable for a meal in Melbourne, and so we recommend it especially for families, as they often do family deals. The majority of their dishes are meat-based, with just a few vegan alternatives, so if you're looking for something to eat in an omni-heavy group there really is something for everyone here.



7th: Europa: The European Cake

81 Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182, Australia

We happened across Europa by chance while we were wandering through St Kilda and taking in everything that this quirky area has to offer. Not only is it only a couple of minutes walk to Luna Park, it is also the home of Melbourne's arts scene, and this really shows. It's a hotbed of fun vegan eateries, as well as cool places to hang out and soak in the vibe.


Really, the last thing we had expected to find was such an array of vegan baked goods. There were a few bakeries that offered plant-based cakes, breads and pastries: we chose Europa because of the huge selection they had. In fact, when we entered this bakery, they had an entire cabinet full of every kind of vegan cake you could possibly fancy. There were so many flavours and types of cake on offer, it was super difficult to choose! As a vegan I'm used to having maybe one or two options, so this blew my mind. They even offer vegan hot chocolate. This genuinely was such a treat and a great surprise. Even though we weren't super hungry we were adamant that we had to indulge here!


Ultimately, Mike chose the Roasted Walnut Chocolate Brownie, while I had the Chocolate Raspberry Mud Cake. Both were delicious, the brownie was really gooey with the yummy added crunch of the walnuts: it was everything you'd want from a brownie and more! The Mud Cake was impossibly moist and chocolatey! I loved this cake: the icing on top was rich and creamy and it was so beautifully presented. It was very sweet so I wouldn't have wanted it to be any bigger, but the raspberry on top really set off the flavour too.


The prices were a little on the expensive side but I think this is acceptable for such a delicious and specialist indulgence. The brownie cost AU$8 (approx. £4.24, €4.79 or $5.29), while the mud cake was AU$8.50 (approx. £4.50, €5.09 or $5.62). Be aware though that this is not an entirely vegan bakery: the vegan options are limited to the things in the vegan cabinet: the staff are friendly and helpful and will advise you if you're unsure.


Where is your favourite place to get plant-based food in Melbourne? Are there any new places or old favourites that we've missed? Leave us a comment to let us know (and others who might be visiting too!)



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