All I did in Melbourne was eat and drink. It’s true. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I had been in Asia for the past two years, but nothing sounded better to me than chugging craft beer and stuffing vegan creations into my face.
And, as I slowly discovered while sipping on coffee at trendy cafes and drooling over cruelty free cupcakes, I loved everything that was hipster too. If you happen to be heading to Melbourne, check out my favorite spots.
This quirky little taco shop serves up both vegetarian and vegan fare and stocks their fridge full of Jarritos and the ridiculously tasty Bundaberg ginger beer.
They make cocktails, offer Churros for dessert and have a vegan option for every dairy ingredient on the menu. They even have vegan cheese and sour cream for the loaded nachos which I happily ate in a matter of minutes.
Location: 234 Gertrude Street in Fitzroy
Price Range: 7 to 12 Australian Dollars
Hours: 11 am to 9 pm
After the torture that is Asian beer, my cravings for hops and flavor were finally satisfied at this brewery and restaurant. They had quite a few beers on tap but we tried the Raspberry Wheat, Belgian Pale Ale and their seasonal beer that tasted like Christmas pudding in a glass.
The dining area was enormous, filled with groups of friends, a DJ who was extremely impressed with himself and a server staff that actually seemed to like their jobs. The menu isn’t vegan but I got a bucket of fries and their Lentil Dahl without yogurt. An added bonus, they offer beer classes so you can learn all about the process.
Location: 222 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Price Range: Food ranges from 6 to 30 Australian dollars and beer ranges from 4 to 12 Australian dollars depending on the size.
Hours: 10 am to 11 pm
We headed to De Clieu because it was rated as having some of the best coffee in the city and we wouldn’t dare argue. I had the cold drip and Josh had a latte and they were tasty and strong enough that I couldn’t stop talking about my inspirations and life goals at a rapid speed about halfway through my cup.
They offer soy milk in all of the coffee concoctions, have raw vegan desserts and a food menu that meat eaters and veg heads can both enjoy.
Location:187 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Price Range: Most meals range from 15 to 20 Australian dollars and coffee ranges from 4 to 5 dollars.
Hours: 7am to 5 pm
Since becoming vegan, walking into this establishment was the highlight of my entire life. I thought that living in Ubud, Bali where there were vegan restaurants on every corner was incredible, but Smith And Deli topped even that.
As a vegan, I never thought that I would have the chance to eat a chicken salad sandwich, potato salad and Christmas cookies ever again. However, my lunch consisted of all of them and I would have eaten there for every meal if they weren’t closing for the holidays.
They had vegan shrimp on skewers, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel sandwiches and vanilla cakes that looked like frosted pillows of joy. This building is honestly the best place a vegan could enter in the whole of Melbourne.
Location: 111 Moore Street, Fitzroy
Price Range: Very varied depending on what you order. Mostly affordable.
Hours: 8 am to 7 pm but closed on Sunday and Monday.
Restaurant breweries are fantastic but when you are looking for that specific vibe that only a tap room can exude, Moon Dog Brewery is it. It’s a little dark, full of mismatched decorations and hides its inner workings behind an old fashioned book shelf. Seriously, you have to pull out the right book for it to open, but don’t do it because the brewers really don’t appreciate drunk patrons fiddling around with their stock.
The guys working behind the taps are passionate about their beers and will let you try them all before buying while giving a little lesson on how they were made. I had the Cucumber, Grapefruit IPA and it was lovely. Don’t worry, there is usually a pizza food truck outside that will bring a pie right to your table.
Location: 17 Duke Street, Abbotsford
Price Range: Around 5 to 9 Australian Dollars depending on beer and size.
Hours: From 4pm to 11 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 12 pm to 11pm on Saturday and 12 pm to 8 pm on Sunday.
After having dinner and a beer elsewhere, Foresters Hall is a place to head to if you want to stay up into the wee hours of the morning drinking craft beer and dancing to 80s music. They have an overwhelming selection of craft beers from around the world, a pool table and live music every once and while. I got a cherry beer made in Australia as I can’t resist anything labeled as a Christmas specialty.
Location: 64 Smith Street, Collingwood
Price Range: Food prices range from $10-$17 Australian dollars and beers are about $5-$12 depending on what you choose.
Hours: Monday-Thursday from 4pm to 2 am, Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 4am and Sunday from 12 pm to 2 am.
As the creation of the same people who run Smith and Deli, I knew that Smith & Daughters would be worth the hungry walk. I think I may have squealed a little when I saw vegan queso dip listed on the menu but I contained my cravings for vegan junk food and went with the fabulous artichoke salad instead.
There are loads of regular tables but also a large communal one that seemed to be a great place to socialize on the weekends. I wish I had more time in Melbourne so I could have gone back on a Saturday night for one of their Elderflower Margaritas!
Location: 175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Price Range: Average to high
Hours: Open from 6pm to 12am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 10 am to 1am on Saturday and 10 am to 10:30 pm on Sunday.
I stumbled upon this one on my way to Smith & Daughters and was drawn in by the perfectly swirled icing, gleaming at me from the display case. I didn’t see anywhere on the sign that the place was vegan but decided to ask if they had a dairy free option anyway.
When my inquiry was answered with “They’re ALL vegan,” I stared at the girl behind the counter, mouth agape for way longer than she was comfortable with. I got a salted caramel cupcake, a flavor that I have been missing since taking the vegan plunge. I left there feeling very merry indeed.
Location: 261 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Price Range: The cupcakes cost around $2-$3 Australian dollars
Hours: Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 8pm, Sunday and Monday from 11 am to 5 pm and Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am to 6 pm.