Flavourful, filling and fresh, there’s a veggie meal here to suit any taste or time of day.
If you’re grabbing and going, the Amano bakery has a range of delicious vegetarian sandwiches, with summery fillings like chargrilled eggplant, capsicum and havarti cheese for $9. But if you’ve got time to sit down, a variety of dishes will tempt you – get in before zucchini season is over to try their organic ricotta-stuffed courgette blossoms, with Canterbury walnut agrodolce and mint ($22) or the pipe rigate (a fat, curved shell pasta made from extruded semolina), with Far North sweetcorn, chilli and coriander ($24).
Our Customs St stalwart has recently shaken up their menu, with healthy, plant-based dishes playing starring roles, from the antioxidant acai bowl with granola, chia seeds and berries and fresh fruits ($16), to the street corn fritters with salsa and ‘avonaise’ ($18). We’ve also got our eye on the halloumi and avocado rosti, with sautéed spinach, salsa rosa dressing and smoked yoghurt ($18).
Also freshening up their menus recently is L’Assiette, who now offer Le Vegan breakfast platter of avocado, roasted portbello mushroom, vine-ripened tomato, spinach and toast for $19, vegetarian galettes and omelettes, and a perfectly balanced vegan buckwheat salad for lunch, with cucumber, mint, tomato, olive, roasted capsicum and toasted hazelnut ($22).
You can assemble all sorts of veggie-friendly tables out of a selection of Cafe Hanoi’s tasting plates, but if you’re after something that more or less arrives in one bowl, we recommend their aromatic curry with new potato, lotus root, heirloom carrots, eggplant, beans & peanuts w fried curry leaves ($23). For something a little more lunch-sized, try the crispy kumara rice paper rolls, with cucumber, pickled cabbage and herbs and hoison peanut sauce ($11.50) or the twice-cooked tofu stuffed with shiitake mushrooms and served with Imperial fresh tomato sauce ($15).
Some people say that veggie burgers aren’t true burgers, but we reckon the Better Burger Mushroom burger puts that theory to rest. With a herby, peppery crumbed crust on the mushroom patty, it’s full of savoury flavour, alongside fresh lettuce, tomato and onion rings. ($8.50 for the burger, $13.50 for the combo).
Ortolana’s ‘market garden’ menu concept makes it home to a number of sophisticated vegetarian dishes, including the fazzoletti (handkerchief pasta) with carrots, goats cheese, macadamias and burnt butter ($28) or the Agria potato gnocci, with snow peas, ricotta, basil and lemon ($30). A creamy burrata surrounded by roasted capsicum, caponata and romesco is summer on a plate for $24.
Southern food is best-known for its barbecued meats, but at Orleans, if you’ve got a real hunger on, you can get an oozing mac ’n’ cheese burger or a mushroom po’ boy for only $12, with a side of curly fries for another $9. Their towering Waffle Stack ($35) can be rendered as a veggie option, and if you’re after something a little lighter, the marinated beetroot salad with caramelised beetroot, feta, almonds and balsamic ($16) has a Southern kick without all the calories.
A poké bowl is loaded with good veggie stuff like cucumber, carrot, edamame, pineapple, crispy shallots and coconut chips to start with, so it’s easy enough to top it with organic tofu instead of fish or chicken, and turn it into a vegan sensation.
At the takeout counter end of the store, there are several boxed salads to choose from, including the Provenance box (eggplant, sweetcorn, mint yoghurt, candied macadamias and croutons), the Local box (tomato, cucumber, apple and feta salad, lemon vinaigrette) or the Vegan box (zucchini, broccoli, quinoa, toasted almonds, avocado), all satisfying enough as a stand-alone meal. Around the cafe side, the torn pasta with summer squash, ricotta and parmesan ($23) is a summery medley of flavours, and the feta and lemon croquettes with pea crush, courgettes, charred onion aioli ($23) are light and fresh. The breakfast menu has a range of veg-friendly options, including the halloumi, snow peas, quinoa, romesco and walnuts topped with smashed eggs ($22) or a classic eggs bene with seasonal greens ($20).
Easy to eat on the run, a falafel pita ($10.50) is a go-to vegetarian lunch. At Pita Pit, they come in a variety of options, including sweetcorn and coriander, beetroot and mint, garden and super grain. If you’re trying to avoid bread, all the combinations are also all available as salads ($11.50).
There are loads of vegetarian choices in the tray section of Smart Sushi, and in this hot weather, cool sushi may be just what you’re after, but if you feel like something warmly nourishing, there’s also the tofu donburi with rice and fresh vegetables ($14) or the Inari (marinated deep-fried tofu) or vegetable tempura udon noodle soups ($13.50)
Spicy cauliflower, the veg-friendly alternative to Mexico’s iconic spicy chicken bites, has quickly become a staple on the often-changing menu. But there’s no shortage of exotic vegetarian options, including jackfruit and toasted sunflower seed quesadillas ($18), calabaza flowers in turmeric batter with almond crema ($7), potato croquetas with green onion, almonds and smoked cheddar ($8), and crispy chickpea and pumpkin salad with chipotle dressing ($19).
Ebisu caters well to the vegetarian market, with a full vegetarian or vegan tasting menu. Plus, you haven’t really lived until you’ve tried their miso-glazed eggplant ($19) or their unbelievably crispy-on-the-outside soft-in-the-centre agedashi tofu ($16).