Melbourne's top 10 vegetarian restaurants

 

Gujjus

Shop 1, 141–147 Waverley Road, Malvern East 03 9571 1188 and 1–13 Watton Street, Werribee 03 9741 1178 gujjus.com.au

Gujjus specialises in the fare of western India, where most of the population is vegetarian. The thalis – silver sampler platters piled with food – will please all lovers of Indian nosh.

Lentil as Anything

1–3 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford 03 9419 6444 lentilasanything.com

It's hard to beat the serene convent setting of this not-for-profit, pay-what-you-think-it's-worth restaurant. Come for the live music, eat buffet-style vegetarian, and stay for the community vibe. Also in Footscray, Preston and St Kilda.

Moroccan Soup Bar

183 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North 03 9482 4240 moroccansoupbar.com.au

Two words make mouths water across the inner-north: chickpea bake. It's a favourite at this institution where meat-free dips, stews and tagines arrive according to the daily banquet.  Be prepared to wait.

Shakahari Too

225 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne 03 9682 2207 shakaharitoo.com.au

Shakahari Too is the younger cousin of Carlton vegie institution Shakahari. The mostly vegan menu features pan-Asian dishes such as udon laksa and tofu satay, but Italy cameos with lasagne and spaghetti.

Shokuiku

120 High Street, Northcote 0403 569 019 shokuikuaustralia.com

There's vegetarian and then there's vegetarian that's also organic and raw. Shokuiku is the latter, blending East Asian tradition with modern nutrition. Expect everything from superfood smoothies and elixirs to rotating salads, noodles and raw desserts.

Smith & Daughters

175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 03 9939 3293 smithanddaughters.com

Staff have to regularly remind diners that everything on this Latin American menu, including 'blood sausage', is 100 per cent vegan. It's the same at Smith & Deli around the corner, their vegan version of the real thing in New York.

Sweetwater Inn

Shop 1, 60 Bray Street, South Yarra 0487 916 082 sweetwaterinn.com.au

You wouldn't expect a bar channelling Australiana to be veg-friendly, but this one certainly is. Smaller dishes might include jalapeno-spiked cheese fritters , while the vegan menu surprises with barbecue 'prawns' and beer-battered 'fish'.

Tofu Shop International

78 Bridge Road, Richmond 03 9429 6204 

Tofu lovers have been coming here since the early '80s, piling plates with a rotating selection of curries, vegetable dishes and stews and ordering falafels to go. Try the tofu ice-cream, weather permitting.

Transformer

99 Rose Street, Fitzroy 03 9419 2022 transformerfitzroy.com

Run by the Vegie Bar crew, Transformer is crusading to give vegetables equal rights on the plate. Creative cooking impresses with texture, flavour and aesthetic – giving meat a run for its money in a converted warehouse setting.

Yong Food Green

421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 03 9417 3338 yonggreenfood.com.au

The mixed vegetarian and omnivorous crowd lining up at Yong's prove it's worth the wait. Dishes are mostly Asian, although cashew cream-topped chia chip nachos are a worthy exception. Save room for raw cheesecake.