Best cheap eat
Zucchini dumplings – either boiled or fried, filled with shredded ginger, tofu, black fungus, ginger and coriander. Brilliant with (or without) chilli sauce, $12.80.
ShanDong Mama, Melbourne, facebook.com/shandongmama
Egg McMartinez – egg, bacon, cheddar on an English breakfast muffin, $7.
Smith & Deli, Fitzroy, facebook.com/smithanddeli
Best dude food
Ribs with 'slaw and mac'n'cheese. $31. Be warned – the ribs are particularly ribby, leading to the occasional customer freak-out.
Smith & Daughters, Fitzroy, smithanddaughters.com
Spelt and seed steamed bun, fried organic tofu, pickled cucumber and gochujang mayo, otherwise known as the "I can't believe it's not a fried calamari bao", $7.50
Transformer, Fitzroy, transformerfitzroy.com
Best raw vegan
Banana pancakes, topped with fresh fruit, raw and activated Nutella and plant-based cream of the day, $15.50.
Shokuiku, Northcote, shokuikuaustralia.com
Chocolate navel gelato: a vegan chocolate base layered with navel orange sauce, one of about four vegan options on offer (from $4.20 for a single cone).
Miinot Gelato, Pascoe Vale South, miinotgelato.com
Best big night out
Shane Delia's Middle Eastern restaurant Maha is the vegan-friendliest fine diner in the city (think Turkish red lentil dumplings, or zucchini falafel with heirloom tomatoes, black Aleppo pepper and Tunisian brik.) Dinner starts at two courses for $55 and goes up to six for $120.
Maha, Melbourne, maharestaurant.com.au
Best mock product
Poached eggs at St Kilda newcomer Matcha Mylkbar – with the same nutrition profile as a hen's egg but made from all sorts of non-chickeny things such as sweet potato, coconut milk and linseed oil (for the yolks) and agar-agar and almond milk, $10
Matcha Mylkbar, matchamylkbar.com
Best down and dirty
Vegan Mac Daddy, originally called, the Big Mock – otherwise known as a (sort of) virtuous Big Mac, $18
The Cornish Arms Hotel, Brunswick, cornisharms.com.au
Best use of tofu
Tofu asado burrito with char-grilled tofu, vegan cheese, salsa, salad, guacamole, lime, $12.50
Trippytaco, Fitzroy and St Kilda, trippytaco.com.au