Posted: 5 Jun 2014

Fitzroy’s top 5 vegan restaurants

It might be hard to believe for Melbourne’s hip young thangs, but this city’s vegan dining scene was rarely more than rabbit food served by dreadlocked hippies in tie-dye tees. It was all rather dull.

But in Fitzroy – Melbourne’s spiritual home of veganism – menus without a skerrick of animal product have jumped into the mainstream. In fact, this new breed of vegan restaurateurs reckon more than half of their customers are committed meat eaters looking for something different.

This long-time omnivore has enjoyed the whole food goodness of all of these menus, especially the deliciously cheeky faux meat dishes at Smith and Daughters – the new kid on the block. All of these five are packed out at weekends and some week days, so it’s best to go early.

1. Smith & Daughters

Mo Wyse and Shannon Martinez of Smith and Daughters

175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, 9939 3293

Owners Mo Wyse and Shannon Martinez are the dynamic duo behind this rockin’ diner, where the focus is on fun rather than fundamentalism. Just look at their photo (right). Try their crispy-fried ”tuna” (seasoned, shredded soy protein) and green pea croquettes with garlicky aioli. Perfect drinking food to match the killer cocktail list. My dining companion honestly thought it was real tuna.

Full from 5.30pm on any given day with ambience plus, just when you thought this 20-year-old institution of great vegan (and vego) food couldn’t get any better, they go and announce their plans to open Raw House in 2014. We are excited. But before that happens (and starts a swathe of rawsaurants across Melbourne. We hope.), you can get an awesome, reasonably priced raw and regular vegan meal here in a space that makes you feel so very very NORMAL!  (i.e. how you don’t feel when invited to your boyfriend’s parents’ house and they try to feed you chicken.) Can’t go past the Raw Pad Thai and god-damn, those raw cheesecakes are outrageously good.

VERDICT: Squish yourself in to this noisy, popular veg destination.

Where: Vegie Bar | 380 Brunswick Street in Fitzroy | 03 9417 6935

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2. Vegie Bar

380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, 9417 6935

Still going strong after 20+ years, the Vegie Bar (pictured above) always seems to be jam packed. This is the big mamma of vegetarian food, offering plenty of vegan options in generous proportions. The raw pad thai is a delicious dish regardless of your food mantra.

3. Yong Green Food

421 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, 9417 3338

Feel like a pick-me-up? The Asian-fusion vegie/vegan menu is full of surprises, like the cult-level “rawsagna” (zucchini/mushroom/avocado/cashew cream/raw walnut bolognaise) and the strangely good mock salmon roe. I always feel better after eating in this cosy joint.

4. Trippy Taco

234 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, 9415 7711

Find Mexican-style street food on the entirely vegetarian menu with loads of vegan options. The spicy char-grilled tofu burrito is my choice. Fast food with flavour and no junk.

5. Madame K’s

367 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, 94156099

This vegan diner offers all the greatest hits on its Asian menu – Thai curries, Indonesian gado gado salad, Chinese fried rice and Japanese soba noodle. They also home-deliver through Melbourne’s inner north.Lola Berry

Got a sensitive tummy or food allergy?
Check out Lola Berry’s restaurant guide

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