Vegetarians are no longer being relegated to the culinary fringe, with many mainstream restaurants offering vegetarian menu options or even entirely separate menus. Here, in no particular order we've put together our top 10, gathered from a mix of price points. Some may may fit the "casual and health oriented" stereotype many of us hold, while others may prove more of a surprise.
Deer Duck Bistro
It's a little ironic that a restaurant with such a carnivorous name would be a place that caters for vegetarians, but in addition to the regular five and eight course degustation menus on offer, Deer Duck's chef Minh Le has put together vegetarian versions. Vegos can tuck into dishes like "textures of potato" and "eggplant caviar" with labna, 63 degree hen egg, lavosh and asparagus.
Details: 396 Milton Rd, Auchenflower, (07) 3870 848, deerduckbistro.com.au
This neat little modern Vietnamese offers vegetarian options of some of its best sellers for both lunch and dinner. Try the banh mi, a light, healthy pho, fresh rice paper rolls or spring rolls. There's also a winning lemongrass tofu vermicelli salad, vegetarian Vietnamese crepes to wrap in lettuce and dip in spicy sauce, as well as the classic green papaya salad, with tofu replacing prawns.
Details: 15 Cracknell Rd, Annerley, (07) 3255 9778, cafeomai.com.au
"We cater for all dietary requirements," the menu at this smart city restaurant claims. Certainly vegetarians will find the menu here has lots of appeal, with dishes such as sweet corn agnolotti with brown butter, almonds and sage or roast zucchini flowers with toasted cauliflower, dukkah, smoked eggplant and wild rice, all available in both entree or main sizes.
Details: 28 Market Street, Brisbane, (07) 3236 4855, maltdining.com.au
Su Life Vegetarian
In an unprepossessing location overlooking a car park, Su Life has a surprisingly comprehensive menu of pan-Asian vegetarian (and vegan) dishes. Even meat eaters will appreciate the taro and sweet potato roll in a lacy fried coat, crisp bottomed vegetable dumplings and crumbed xing bao mushrooms. There's also a wide range of not bad faux meat/seafood items.
Details: Shop 3, 2120 Logan Road, Upper Mount Gravatt, (07) 3349 5995
Known for being a torch carrier in the organic movement, Mondo is also a mecca for the vegetarian diner. There are always a good range of vegetarian options on the menu, such as twice-baked goats' cheese soufflé, poached pear, pickled celery and walnut salad as well as potato and parmesan gnocchi with asparagus, pine nuts, poached egg and pecorino. They also offer a vegan menu.
Details: 166 Hardgrave Rd, West End (07) 3844 1132, www.mondo-organics.com.au
Most menu items at this American-inspired diner come in vego versions too. Okra tacos are spiced up with chimmichurri, black bean and corn salsa, fried green tomatoes sit on a slider, with grilled cheese, mashed sweet potato and chipotle mayo and sides include pickled fried vegetables, "mac 'n cheese" and a simple beetroot salad if all that southern goodness gets too much.
Details: 427 Logan Rd, Greenslopes, (07) 3324 2917, shadypalmscafe.com
Goats cheese panna cotta with braised witlof, beets and turnips, quinoa, candied peanuts, wattle seed biscotti and Pernod vinaigrette and mushroom fricasee with potato puree and Pommery mustard mascarpone are just one of the dishes on the Bacchus vegetarian degustation menu. There are six courses in all, plus an amuse bouche and petit fours served with coffee.
Details: Podium level cnr Grey & Glenelg Streets, South Bank, (07) 3364 0843, bacchussouthbank.com.au
Botanica opened earlier this year and won an instant fan base by supplying just two things and doing them well; freshly made salads and cakes. The menu is constantly changing depending on whim and season, but includes a slew of imaginative vegetarian salads in take-home packs varying from "eat at the desk" size to a side dish for a small family.
Details: Shop 9, 1 Enoggera Terrace, Red Hill, (07) 3367 3334, botanicarealfood.com.au
Chef Alejandro Cancino's is proof in the pain perdu that it is possible to cook meatless meals with great imagination. Hailing from Argentina and a vegan himself, Cancino who was awarded the Brisbane Times Queensland Good Food Guide 2013 Chef of the Year offers five and seven course tasting menus that may be spare in their description but will but far surpass expectation.
Details: 181 Mary St, Brisbane, (07) 3229 2271, urbanerestaurant.com
Not just vegetarian but vegan. The huge weekend breakfast for two; scrambled tofu with spring onions and capsicum, hand cut chips with rosemary sea salt, grilled mushrooms and more will keep you going long past lunch. The meatless "burger" are gathering a bit of a cult following too. There's plenty of sweet treats in the cabinet to have with your soy latte afterwards.
Details: Shop 2B 229 Lutwyche Road, Windsor, (07) 3855 5755, greenedgeonline.com.au