Melbourne's Healthy Restaurants & Cafés for Guilt-free Indulgence
Your insides will love you as much as your taste buds with our list of Melbourne's best healthy restaurants & cafés.
Overindulged a little lately? No judgement. But if you just so happen to be craving some of the nutritionally balanced good stuff – you'll be happy to discover that the Melbourne restaurant scene has lightened up of late. Long gone are the days when healthy meant boring. Now, eateries across the city are delivering inspired dishes that are all kinds of fresh, lean and tasty. Here are Melbourne's healthy restaurants and cafes to go to for the ultimate guilt-free indulgence.
If healthy eating to you means bland salads and not a lot else, then prepare to be schooled by Shoku Iku. The term itself literally translates to food education and that is exactly what owner Yoko Inoue set out to do. While the menu changes daily, expect to feast on raw, vegan plates enhanced by traditional Japanese macrobiotic philosophies. Ready to join the superfood revolution? The Shoku Iku store has a premium array of superfood blends, tonic herbs and longevity supplements to take your health to the next level.
120 High Street, Northcote
Eating clean is not always the easiest when you have 30 minutes to grab a quick bite before heading back to the office. If you find yourself lining up at one of the city's many fast-food joints a little too often, NOSH could just be the answer to your prayers. Located in Melbourne Central, their tasty wholefoods focused menu uses seasonal, locally sourced ingredients to serve up fresh, nourishing bowls of goodness. Feast on one of their picture-perfect poke bowls (the poke party is a winner), or grab a couple of their spicy salmon nori tacos to go if you're in a hurry.
Level 2 Melbourne Central, 211 La Trobe Street, Melbourne
Summer got you craving a smoothie bowl? Look no further than this sprightly little superfood bar in the heart of the city. With vibrant acai bowls, raw treats, bagels and buddha bowls (all vegan of course) that are begging to be photographed, the challenge lies with choosing just one. Grab a green smoothie post-workout or treat yourself to a deluxe acai bowl for a flavour explosion that is guaranteed to start your day off right.
Shop 6/120 Spencer Street, Melbourne
From researching menus ahead of time to the awkward encounters with staff explaining that it is, in fact, an allergy and not a lifestyle - being a coeliac is hard work. If you or one of your brunch buddies is part of the one in seventy Australians living with coeliac disease, Seedling's 100% gluten-free cafe should be on your radar. All the usual cafe suspects are on offer including cakes, smashed avo, salads and acai, as well as paleo and plant-based items.
275 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Chances are if it's good for you, it's going to be served in a bowl or some sort of glass jar and Heal. Thy Self Co. nails both. Their whole foods focused menu takes the best local seasonal produce and serves it up to absolute perfection. If watching The Game Changers has you trying to eat more plant-based (we know we're not alone), this cosy cafe in the heart of the Yarraville Village makes it beyond simple. Snickers smoothie anyone?
26 Ballarat Street, Yarraville
The venue itself might be snug but that hasn't stopped the guys at Hunters Roots from serving up fresh, clean eats that are big on flavour. The rotating seasonal menu is made entirely in house and has you covered for breakfast, lunch and everything in between. Not so salad-y salads, smoothies and raw treats all come with ex-personal trainer/co-owner Jeffrey Chew's tick of approval, so no matter what you're in the mood for, your body will thank you for it.
26 Katherine Place, Melbourne
If you're newbie when it comes to healthy dining in Melbourne, this is a pretty good place to start. Believe it or not, vegan haven Yong Green Food is as popular with carnivores as it is with their plant eating friends. Specialising in all things raw, organic and biodynamic their colourful menu is made up of the kind of nourishing fare – everything from umami laden Japanese curry to punchy kimchi gyoza – that’s so good for you; it’ll practically leave you glowing.
421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Paying tribute to the ultimate symbol of off the grid living, this Elwood eatery's humble origins started just there - in a Kombi van. With a community that is considered family, Combi's relaxed, roll with the punches vibe is backed by one hell of a menu. Organic eats come in the form of superfood smoothies, Vegan Buddha Bowls and thick-cut toasties which all pair perfectly with their organic, fair trade coffees.
138-140 Ormond Road, Elwood
Trust us; no one does salads like these guys do. Fitzroy's favourite Mediterranean style deli has gained a cult following thanks to the likes of roasted spiced cauliflower with chickpeas, and heavenly pesto spiked farro, fetta and almond. Their fresh and flavourful dishes will leave you feeling full and wholesome in equal measure – the holy grail of healthy dining in Melbourne.
304 Smith Street, Collingwood
Warming, soulful and oh so nourishing – Moroccan Soup Bar’s veggie filled stews, soups, tagines and salads are the stuff of local legend. Packed with authentic North African flavours and all the vitamins your body could need, diners are encouraged to bring Tupperware to house their leftovers. This charming eatery is strictly alcohol free; so there’s no temptation to cross over to the dark side.
316 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
Claiming to offer customers ‘decadence without the guilt’, Raw Trader serves up organic, raw, vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free desserts. With so many banned ingredients, it would be easy to assume that this eatery is equally lacking in flavour. Think again. From chocolate beetroot mudcake to cashew and coconut based donuts and a winning granola – it’s time to re-imagine sweet treats.
10 Sutherland Street, Melbourne
This vibrant younger sibling of fellow healthy restaurant in Melbourne's north Shakahari is an ode to the health power of a plant-based diet. Opened due to high demand and using only fresh and natural ingredients, you’ll find a fascinating combination of flavours on offer designed to turn even the fiercest of carnivores. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
225 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne
Who says pub grub needs to be heavy? Not the folks at Green Mans Arms, an entirely meat-free pub nestled in leafy Carlton. Featuring an Israeli inspired menu, with most ingredients plucked from the owners’ Yarra Valley farm, dishes such as polenta cakes, golden beets and their famous flat bread tacos feature unexpected flavours that offer a truly delicious take on veggie fare.
418 Lygon Street, Carlton
Who can say no to protein smoothies that taste like Snickers and pub grub without the grease? Gone are the days (thank god) where watching what you eat came at the expense of flavour, options and overall enjoyment. Melbourne's healthy restaurant and café scene is not only thriving but putting some of our comfort favourites to shame and our insides are better for it. Looking to give the healthy thing a go at home? Check out our top picks of healthy food stores, dinner recipes and tips on staying healthy during the festive season.
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