People are choosing plant-based eating for its softer step on the earth, concerns about animal cruelty, and the health benefits of a vegetable-rich diet. Plus, the rise of the flexitarian means you might not be a full-time vegan, but where you can, you opt for more plants on your plate.
And as more people embrace vegan eating, the dining options that are meat, dairy and animal byproduct-free are multiplying. Only a few years ago, vegan dining meant a whole lot of pulses and sprouts, but now Sydney is home to plant-based burger shops, classic Italian pizzerias that showcase cheese and meat alternatives, gelato shops that favour coconut bases and a growing contingent of fine diners offering fancy degustations for vegans.
Cool with eggs and dairy? Check out the best vegetarian restaurants in Sydney.
Got a mixed group? Head to one of the 50 best restaurants in Sydney.
On a budget? Have a look at the 50 best cheap eats in Sydney.
The best vegan restaurants Sydney has to offer
After a plant-based restaurant with fine-dining cred? Yellow is your best bet. While they still have dairy and eggs on the menu, they can adapt most dishes to cater for vegans, and plants are truly the star of every single dish.
Anyone who is holding fast to ideas of plant-based eating that centre on unseasoned vegetable protein needs to wake up and taste the strawberry and eucalyptus sorbet. It’s every bit as refreshing as Paperbark itself – a highly accessible, sustainable, beautifully styled, and downright delicious take on vegan dining.
This CBD spot has your yum cha cravings covered. The only thing missing is the rumbling trolleys, but in exchange you get to eat your cruelty-free sui mai out under the shade of a giant fig tree in Cook and Phillip Park.
Turns out pizza without cheese is still bloody excellent, and Gigi Pizzeria slings some of the city's best wood fired, plant-based pies.
The queue forms early at this trad-looking trattoria on Bondi Road, and it's for the gnocchi – but definitely not the kind that nonna used to make. The entire pantry is plant-based here, so you find butter, milk or cheese in a single menu item, but you will find everything you know and love about Italian food: garlic bread, crunchy arancini, pillow-soft gnocchi, tiramisu and panna cotta. Gone is the guilt, but the goodness remains.
It’s a brave move for a boutique hotel to make its food and beverage offering nut-and-plant-based (or perhaps an indication of how far we’ve come), but a very worthwhile one.
At this burger bar the big twist is that everything on the menu has a twin that’s starring veggies in place of meat. Love the crunch of a fried chicken burger but not the agricultural practices? Here they’ve cooked big chunks of seasoned cauliflower and encased it in a thin, bronze shell that shatters with each mouthful.
Vegetables are delicious in their own right, and at Little Turtle, an all-veg Thai restaurant on Stanmore Road, they are banking on the fact that it’s not chicken that makes a tangle of hokkien noodles delicious.
RaRa boasts not one, but two different vegan ramen options on its concise menu and they both pack enough punch to convert even the staunchest tonkotsu fans. The soy shio is the lighter of the two, delicately garnished with sliced grilled tomatoes, while the miso variation is creamier, richer and more complex. The good news is you can't go wrong either way.
Anyone who thinks vegan can’t be fun needs to both update their opinions from 1998 and also get to Bad Hombres, stat. It's a Mexican Chinese mash-up nailing snacks, tunes and booze, the key elements to a good time.
It was a regular – a vegan diner who has been visiting fortnightly for a decade – who sparked executive chef Richard Ptacnik’s experiments with animal-free dining.
This long-standing vegetarian eatery on Crown Street also has a dedicated, and expansive, vegan menu, including vegan wines. A visit isn't complete without an order of the edamame and coconut moneybags.
Surry Hills has long had Yulli’s to cover your veggo nights out, but there’s now a daytime destination in the Shift Eatery, a vegan café and delicatessen peddling super sandwiches, tiny sweet treats and solid coffee.
South King Street is earning itself a reputation as Sydney vegan’s home turf, and one of its prized players is Golden Lotus, a Vietnamese eatery.
You know a place has its meat-free options sorted when you find you prefer the vegan version of your favourite Thai dish. The massaman curry here is a ripper.
A few years ago if we’d have told you that the first floor vegan restaurant in an old pub was packed, while downstairs at the bar you could count the punters on one hand, you wouldn’t have believed us.
Even the most ethical eater craves junk food from time to time, but rather than pushing it until you cave, indulge your fast food cravings at Soul Burger, the all-vegan burger bar taking Sydney by storm.
Back on Glenayr Ave there’s a pocket-sized establishment selling golden, flaky pies with not an iota of meat in them. They even do mash and gravy for extra comfort points.