There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of ramen and nowhere does it better than Shop Ramen (329 Smith St). You may have to put your name on the waiting list to dine in but once you get that bowl of homemade ramen noodles with free-range chicken broth (vegan options are available) it’ll all be worth it.
Step into '80s New York for some comfort food at Evie’s Disco Diner (230/232 Gertrude St). Slink into a booth to enjoy the likes of mac and cheese loaded fries, buffalo wings and jalapeno poppers. Vegans are well catered to too with a range of plant-based alternatives to the classic favs.
Tucked into a backstreet behind Brunswick Street stands one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs, the Rainbow Hotel (27 David St). The venue has been serving the locals craft beers and parmas for over 150 years and does them bloody well. Head into the beer garden for a mid-week steak to carry you through till the weekend.
For a dinner to mark an occasion, Transformer (99 Rose St) does a relaxed yet refined fine-dining experience with innovative plant-based plates that showcase seasonal produce. The ‘feed me’ will take you through stunning dishes without you having to choose a thing and deliver you the crispy chickpea panisse with truffle salt, nutritional yeast and macadamia (a favourite that’s particularly hard to forget).
In the mood for Indian? Mukka Restaurant (365 Brunswick Street) has you covered with a range of curry pots, street eats and grills, bread and rice. Grab a dosa for lunch or a slow-cooked goat curry for dinner. Vegetarian? Try the tandoori mushroom skewers for a lighter bite or the palak panner for something more filling.
If you’re looking for somewhere to take a date, Rice Queen (389-391 Brunswick St) provides the ambience with low-hanging lanterns that light up when the sun goes down. The bar sells bespoke cocktails and the kitchen serves up bites to impress with the yellow crab curry and crispy tofu as notable winners.
Renowned award-winning chef Shannon Martinez puts vegan food on show at Smith & Deli (111 Moor St). You’ll want to get there early on a weekend as a lot of the sandwiches sell out and you don’t want to miss the Wiggum which is a salt and pepper tofu sandwich with tangy barbecue sauce, chipotle aioli, pickles and slaw.
For a casual bite before a comedy show at the Catfish, Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteak (30 Gertrude St) in the back end of the venue serves up traditional Philly cheesesteaks where grilled beef saddles up with cheese and onions in a hoagie roll (tofu options for the vegies and vegans).