If you’re heading down under to spectacular Sydney and you want to know where to find the tastiest plant-based treats, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be giving you my take on the vegan food available in this sunny city and revealing the top 3 vegan restaurants in Sydney!
Keep reading to find out which restaurant tops the list and where you can find some of these cracking dishes amongst many others:
- Pure burger perfection with a juicy, meaty mock-beef patty, gooey cheese, crisp onion, fresh lettuce and lashings of tabasco ketchup and chilli mayo.
- Shoestring fries with plant based bacon bits and a blinking handsome creamy, rich cheese sauce.
- Caramelised banana and chia pancakes with orange infused poached berries, pistachio crumble and maple syrup, in a stack so impressive that it could pass for a piece of art.
Lets face it, we both know you’re just here for the epic vegan food (and who can blame you? I am too). However, if your inner tourist is trying to break free and you want to know where to get the best photos of the giant operatic armadillo, amongst other things, click here for ‘Sydney – The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary’.
Now, on to said epic vegan food.
If you’re here from IG, you could be forgiven for feeling like you’ve already been to Sydney. It seems as though at least 1/3 of plant based Instagrammers live in Sydney – perhaps it’s home to the world’s biggest vegan family?
I went to Sydney expecting two things; to experience a sunny, cheerful corner of the world, and to leave at least 2 stone heavier with a belly full of vegan treats.
I had visions of every second building serving plant-based pancakes, burgers and doughnuts. Cheery blonde Australians stood outside ultra cool IG-able cafes, ushering me in to sample the delights they had to offer. I could picture myself rubbing my belly and exclaiming ‘I simply couldn’t eat another thing!’.
Reality check. Sydney isn’t quite like that!
I know I’m stating the obvious but IG does have the ability to distort reality. Despite it turning out that, in fact, there isn’t vegan food on every corner, and that trainers are essential to schlep across town to hunt out the best vegan treats… it is still blinking awesome! Sydney has A LOT to offer.
I excitedly bounced off of the airplane after a 20-something hour trip from a remote island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. I should have been exhausted but there was something in my mind that was pepping me up more than a double espresso before a visit to a kitten hotel.
We zipped around the unexpectedly straightforward and quiet Sydney airport and got shimmied through customs by a cheerful airport employee who luckily saw the funny side of us carrying contraband (it turns out a traditional Tongan leaf-fan is a no-no – you can see said fan in the A Vegan Visit to Sydney vlog).
We boarded the train to the city and rocked up at our hotel which looked like the Ritz in comparison to the spider infested shack we’d just spent 10 days in whilst in Tonga. We were on top of the world and we hadn’t even reached the best bit.
I picked up the phone (to use the internet not to make a call, this isn’t the 90s), tapped in my order for the restaurant across the street and awaited the ‘knock knock’ on the hotel room door. The knock came, I opened the door and let out a little squeal of excitement…. Hello Vegan Domino’s.
I ate my Domino’s, jumped back on the plane to the UK and that was that. Only joking but seriously though vegan Domino’s complete with dairy-free cheese was 95% of the reason I went to Sydney.
Guys. GUYS. GUYS.
It turns out vegan Domino’s is even better than I thought it was going to be. How often does that happen?
I kept it simple with the spicy veg trio – baby spinach, fresh tomato, red onion and vegan cheese topped with a sprinkling of chilli flakes. I’ve had Domino’s once before in my pre-vegan days and recall it being a similar price to my first car but this seemed really rather reasonable at sub $10.
Other than the price, I can’t remember my first encounter with Domino’s so my taste buds were a blank canvas. I was expecting a pizza that resembled the oven-cook versions from the supermarket but boy was I wrong.
The pizza sauce was flavoursome with a rich and punchy herby-tomato flavour. The cheese was deliciously gooey and the base soft, squishy and satisfying.
The melt-in-the-mouth garlic bread oozed with perfectly seasoned garlic butter. I was in heaven.
Domino’s fake-away here I come; this was a recipe re-creation that just had to happen!
*** Recipe re-creation ***
Vegan Domino’s Pizza Fakeaway – Soft, squishy dough, a rich tomato sauce and an ooey, gooey cheesy topping with fresh veggies and a sprinkling of chilli.
Domino’s Garlic Bread Fakeaway – Impossibly soft baguettes oozing with perfectly seasoned garlic butter.
Bodhi in the Park
I had heard such wonderful things about Bodhi that as we approached the restaurant for dinner, I felt excited. The outside is beautiful at night surrounded by trees lit up with pink lights and the restaurant decor is tasteful throughout.
The restaurant is next to the stunning cathedral and Hyde Park and can be a little tricky to find, basically look between the cathedral and the swimming pool and you will see the steps that lead down to it.
Bodhi has an entirely vegan, pan-Asian menu and has been around for three generations of the same family.
Here’s what we ordered:
- Crispy chicken skewers served with coriander, kaffir lime leaves and a sweet chilli, lemongrass sauce. The chicken was realistic and the flavour pleasantly spicy, however one skewer would have been ample (they served three) because they were a little bit greasy and sickly.
- Tempeh sliders with an Indonesian sticky soy glaze, wasabi red cabbage and apple slaw. The sliders were sticky and sweet; absolutely delicious and I’d certainly have them again.
- San choy boo of asian herbs, shiitake, sweetcorn, water chestnut, spicy tofu, carrots and edamame. This dish was a salad of sorts with greens, beansprouts and salsa. Unfortunately it didn’t have much flavour and was quite disappointing.
- Japanese yuzu cheesecake with flamed mandarin segments, black sesame, a walnut biscuit base and edible flowers. The texture of the cheesecake was fantastic but the flavour so mild that it was almost non-existent. I wasn’t keen on the chargrilled mandarin segments but the presentation was good.
The meal was perfectly ok but unfortunately disappointing on a couple of the dishes. The service was also fairly poor – it was friendly but we felt abandoned and struggled to get the waiters attention on a number of occasions despite the restaurant being quiet and there being several staff gathered at the bar.
The menu had some fantastic sounding dishes and as we were leaving it seemed to be getting much busier so I feel as though we were probably unlucky in our experience – this restaurant is award winning after all!
Happy as Larry
If you are staying in the Central Business District (‘CBD’), Happy as Larry could be a good option for breakfast or lunch with a few good vegan options.
The breakfast tea comes in the loveliest of set ups on a wooden board complete with doily, a rustic cream tea pot and a mini milk bottle of dairy free milk. The coffee is also cracking.
The chef made the porridge vegan and it was served with strawberries, poached pear and blueberries with maple syrup. They also had an acai bowl, avocado toast and several buddha bowl-style lunch options.
Happy as Larry is located in The Met Centre which also has a Mexican burrito bar serving vegan cheese and a coco-whip stall with lots of delicious plant based options.
Lord of the Fries
Well this was a FIND!
Lord of the Fries is a vegan fast food outlet located near Darling Harbour (which is worth a look), along with several other outlets in Sydney and Nationwide. They have a selection of burgers available in both mini and regular sizes along with hot dogs, fries, a range of sauces and milkshakes. The also offer a ‘beyond meat’ upgrade.
- The ‘Mini Spicy’ with a mock beef patty (their own recipe), cheese, onion and lettuce topped with tobasco tomato sauce, jalapeños and chilli mayo. It was juicy, meaty and absolutely delicious; pure burger perfection!
- The ‘Melbourne Hot Dog’ is a classic with mustard, ketchup, cheese and onion. It was proper comfort food with the perfect toppings – it’s not going to blow you away but if you’re after a food truck style hot dog, this is a winner.
- An Oreo Cookies and Cream Milkshake. Creamy, sweet and refreshing with an almond milk base and a good helping of that classic Oreo flavour. Just a shame about the plastic!
The HB sampled all three and said it was quite possibly the nicest vegan meal he’d ever had, he loved it!
It was a shame that the restaurant itself let the food down a little – it was quite untidy with handwritten signs stuck over menu choices and items missing from the menu that we found out about after we’d ordered. The staff were also messing around behind the counter and didn’t seemed overly interested in customers.
*** Recipe re-creation ***
Cookies and Cream Freakshake, inspired by Lord of the Fries – An indulgent vegan ice-cream milkshake made with vanilla ice cream, cookies and dairy free milk, jacked up with vegan spray cream and crumbled cookies.
We visited Nutie in the CBD, which was a cute little cafe offering coffee and cake. They’ve since moved but have two other locations in Sydney and have branched out into brunch and savoury offerings too.
Nutie had all sorts of delicious vegan cakes on display in the counter, such as vegan wagon wheels and chocolate slices, along with a mix of gluten free, baked, vegan and non-vegan donuts.
The HB ordered the cookies and cream slice, which was very substantial with thick chocolate and a chunky, coconutty bar. I opted for the vegan lemon meringue donut which was baked and quite dense, almost like a heavy cupcake with a sweet and tangy glaze. It look me by surprise because it wasn’t what I was expecting but I actually really enjoyed it. I can safely say I am a baked donut convert!
*** Recipe re-creation ***
Vegan Wagon Wheels, inspired by Nutie Donuts – Layers of fluffy vegan marshmallow, tangy raspberry jam and sweet biscuit, smothered in silky smooth dark chocolate. Perfection!
Speedos Cafe is located in Bondi and on a sunny winter’s morning it was clearly the place to be for brunch; it was heaving.
Despite a crammed cafe and rather frantic staff, the service was very quick so clearly they were geared up for it. Interestingly the price on the weekend was 10% more than on weekdays.
There were a number of vegan options on the menu which sounded out of this world. What about the Gay Time Waffles with Oreo crumb, winter berries, salted caramel popcorn, fig, peanut and vanilla ice cream to name just one?
I ordered the caramelised banana and chia pancakes with poached berries, pistachio crumble and maple. The berries were infused with orange and the chunky pancakes were in one heck of a stack with caramelised bananas sandwiched in between. It was a piece of food art!
The flavour combination of the toppings complimented perfectly with tangy berries, sweet bananas and the moreish nutty crumble but the pancakes themselves were a little chewy and I wondered whether perhaps they were pre-prepared.
The location of this cafe is great – at the north end of Bondi near to Ramsgate Avenue and running along the beach front.
The HB is a very understanding chap. I’m regularly dragging him to obscure places in search of vegan food and he just goes along with it, quietly sighing and bringing out his ninja outfit when we hit the really dodgy streets.
Soul Burger in Bondi wasn’t in a dodgy area (I’m not sure ‘dodgy’ can exist when the minimum house price is $500k) but it was a 25 minute walk from the beach into a more residential area of Bondi.
Soul Burger are a plant based burger chain with a number of outlets in and around Sydney. Their menu is the stuff of vegan junk food dreams with a range of burgers (meat free chicken, pork and beef, falafel, ‘fish’, tofu and mushroom), hot dogs, salads and sides such as BBQ wings and drumsticks.
The HB ordered the cheese burger with a gluten free bun. Unfortunately it wasn’t all that nice – the bun wasn’t great and the cheese made the meal too salty.
I ordered the ‘beef’ burger with smashed avocado, it was enjoyable but wasn’t very ‘beef-like’. It had quite a herby flavour (perhaps enhanced by the herb mayo) and the texture was slightly crumbly. Had you served me this burger two years ago I would have been ecstatic but these day us vegans are very spoilt with the incredible options that are on the market!
I also ordered the cheesy bacon fries which are shoestring fries loaded with dairy free cheese sauce and plant based bacon bits. They were blinking handsome! The bacon bits were up there with the best vegan bacon I’ve tried and the cheese sauce was creamy and rich. It was a beaut of a dish.
To drink I opted for a light and frothy strawberry coconut milkshake which had a delicate flavour and just the right amount of sweetness. It was delicious.
Golden Lotus is a 100% vegan restaurant located on King Street, Newtown, which is a short train ride from the CBD. We headed there on a Saturday evening and by the time we arrived this busy foodie street was already in full weekend-swing.
We exited the train station and were immediately hit by blaring music and the bustle of busy bars. We tried to act confident like we weren’t 5/10 years too old to be there and I swiftly silenced the 8pm bedtime alarm that had started ringing in my bag.
Golden Lotus is a popular Vietnamese restaurant and it was practically full when we went so I’d recommend booking if you are going on the weekend. The entirely vegan menu is extensive and has a range of dishes including every type of imitation meat you could want from duck and chicken to beef and fish, as well as tofu and veg-only dishes.
I ordered the duck pancakes to start, sweet and sour fish for main and banana fritters with coconut cream and ice cream for dessert.
The duck pancakes were simple but delicious with crispy ‘duck’, sliced cucumber and a sweet, sticky sauce in a paper thin wrap. The HB said they tasted just like the real thing!
For my main I opted for the imitation fish in order to try something different and it was really very good. The texture was similar to that of aubergine and it had a very mild fishy flavour. The HB said it was an excellent imitation and the only real difference was that it had slightly more texture than real fish. The sauce was sweet and tomatoey, and the stir fried veggies were perfectly al dente.
I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to discover that they had vegan banana fritters on the menu. Banana fritters are a childhood dessert favourite and something that I haven’t had since going vegan. They were perfect and just as I remembered them – crisp on the outside with gooey, sweet banana on the inside. They were served with coconut cream and a scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream made from soya milk.
The service was friendly and quick with the food coming out within minutes. My only criticism is that our food came out in stages and not all at once but I appreciate that this is how some restaurants operate. The meal really was beautiful and you would be mad to miss this restaurant if you are visiting Sydney.
So without further ado, here are my…
Top 3 Vegan Eats in Sydney :
- Golden Lotus – A fab vegan restaurant where you can enjoy a wide variety of delicious Vietnamese dishes – don’t miss the banana fritters.
- Lord of the Fries – Cracking burgers and shakes receiving high praise from vegans and non-vegans alike!
- Domino’s Pizza – Cheesy vegan Domino’s with garlic bread has just gotta be done.
- Cookies and Cream Freakshake, inspired by Lord of the Fries – An indulgent vegan ice-cream milkshake made with vanilla ice cream, cookies and dairy free milk, jacked up with vegan spray cream and crumbled cookies.
- Domino’s Garlic Bread Fakeaway – Impossibly soft baguettes oozing with perfectly seasoned garlic butter.
- Vegan Domino’s Pizza Fakeaway – Soft, squishy dough, a rich tomato sauce and an ooey, gooey cheesy topping with fresh veggies and a sprinkling of chilli.
- Vegan Wagon Wheels, inspired by Nutie Donuts – Layers of fluffy vegan marshmallow, tangy raspberry jam and sweet biscuit, smothered in silky smooth dark chocolate. Perfection!
If you’re heading to Sydney soon, don’t miss the blog and vlog ‘Sydney – The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary’, which is available on the blog and on YouTube.