Saturday, April 5, 2008

Reader Request: Vegetarian Guide to Melbourne

This is a guide of where to find cheap vegetarian food in and around Melbourne. I live in the city and grew up in Fitzroy so its mainly focused on those areas. A reader asked me to do this, so here it is.

Now I thought it was kinda easy really to find veg food here in Melb, but I have been a vegetarian for 10 years so maybe I just have lots of experience. Here are some of my fave veg places or places with a good selection of veg offerings. Most restaurants here in Melb have a vegetarian menu or will whip you up something special if asked, but this is a guide to my fave places with at least 1 good veg item on offer. Just watch out at Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants because even the "vegetarian" stuff has fish oil or chicken stock in it...I mostly avoid these places now, but I do love Vietnamese Pho and a good Laksa so I occasionally make the odd exception here and there, but I won't list these places because they are not vegetarian even though they pretend to be.

Veggie Bar

378 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

Every single thing on the menu here is vegetarian and sometimes even vegan. The menu advises you with little symbols as to which is what. I had my 13th birthday party here just as I was first becoming a vegetarian. My uncle and grandparents complained so much (its unheard of for them to have a meal without meat in it) but I loved it. My previous sharehouse was right next door before I moved to Tokyo... so this became my regular place. You get really HUGE portions for about $8-$12 depending on what you get. I love the Mexican Burrito the most and Henry loves the Gado Gado which is a selection of steamed veggies served with a satay peanut dipping sauce.


376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

Amazingly yummy pizza's with lots of veg offerings.
Mind you these are not the normal pizzas that you expect from "Mr Pepperonis" or something, these are gourmet and only come in 1 size, but its more than enough for 1 person.
Best times to visit are
Mon to Fri 11am-4pm
Sun-Thur 7pm-11pm
Why? Because all pizzas are $4.
I love the El Greco which is Hollumi cheese, lemon and olives. So good. Or the Bianca al Pomadoro which is Feta, Mascapone and cherry tomatoes....mmmmmm my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I miss living 4 doors down, I used to basically live here!

Camy's Shanghai Dumpling House

25 Tattersalls La, Melbourne.

Good and cheap Dumplings in this dirty but cool establishment. The man who runs it is so funny, he makes you squeeze in to fit 8 people to a 4 person table and makes you leave as soon as you are finished, there is to be no digesting here!...They also play Happy Birthday REALLLLLLLY LOUD every hour or so which just makes this place even more surreal. The steamed mushroom and veg dumplings are about $6 for 20 which is enough for 2 that's a meal for $3 each. WOAH right? I feel a bit bad about doing that however and always order a coke and some veg spring rolls...making our order $9. Sometimes we really go crazy and get pumpkin cakes which are little fried mashed and sweet pumpkin circles for $3... So we spend a crazy $12 on a meal for 2 in Melbournes CBD.

Yoyogi Japanese Cafe
211-213 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

This place is not the best Japanese restaurant in Melb, thats for sure. But for shear convenience and cheap-ness it always wins. My Japanese housemate wouldnt even call this Japanese food, he thinks its that bad, but I have noticed all Japanese think all Australian Japanese food is bad no matter Japan there can be no difference in taste to certain dishes at all so if something here tastes a little different its "wrong", the main difference between Japanese food in Japan and here is here it has more taste because there are more ingredients like vegetables with soba is unheard of in Japan but at most Japanese restaurants here they do a soba salad which my Japanese visitor thought was so strange she took a photo of... Anyway back to Yoyogi cafe, they have a vegetarian Bento Box which I used to like...before living in Japan. Now I ask for the tempura and soba set without the fish. Mmmmmmm soba noodles how I miss you. This is almost as good as my fave place in Shinjuku to eat tempura and soba, but not really. I think its about $9-$11 for the set. The name of this place is cool too, as Yoyogi park is where I got married and where I hung out most weekends when living in Tokyo. Also I love how they have plastic food in the window, it reminds me of Japan.

Don Don Japanese Take Away
321 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Soba salad. The BEST place for lunch in Melb for sure. Its always busy but the service is quick and cheerful and the food is soooo yummy. Vegetarians should watch out though, the tofu curry has chicken stock in it. Meals are about $5-$7.


384 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

"Vegetarian Special" photo courtesy of Food Fawning

When I used to live on Brunswick Street this too was a regular haunt of mine. It used to be called "Veg out time" and everything was 100% vegetarian, but they changed owners and now its called Bala's and they have a selection of both vegetarian and meat dishes. I always get the yellow tofu curry, its so bloody good. I think they do some chickpea curry's and eggplant ones too, those are my favourite. There is a different seasonal selection every night of different yummy curries. I think a meal set like the one above is about $8 or $9.

1 comment:

  1. serious yum dude!!!! thanks so much for your awesome suggestions. will be going out to all of these :) I am a happy vegetarian.


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