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Cheap Eats Sydney: Vegetarian Meals That Won't Break the Bank

The meat-free movement is having a bit of a moment in Sydney. But it's not just vegetarian joints serving up delicious plant-based fare, there are plenty of eateries offering meatless menus, or at the very least, a solid range of plant-based plates that don’t fall under ‘salads and sides.’ What’s more, going green no longer means splashing a ton of cash every time you eat out. Thanks to the growing demand for meat-free meals, there are plenty of places dishing up delicious veggie delights on the cheap. From nachos and bean burgers to stir-fries and salads, here's where to fill up on virtuous vegetarian fare without blowing the budget.


After landing on the South Coast, Pilgrims has made its way to Cronulla’s sandy shores. The well-priced, all-vegetarian café serves breakfast and lunch daily, plus a Mexican-themed dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights: think nachos, tacos, quesadillas and burrito bowls. If you’re there during the day, order a wholemeal toastie or the Bliss Burger – it’s legendary.

Cronulla, Milton, Huskisson

Zeus Street Greek

We hope you’re hungry, because you’ll want to try everything at Zeus Street Greek. Begin with the spanakopita, tzatziki, or spicy feta, and then move onto the Stavros Stavrou pita. Stuffed with olive tapenade, caramelised onions, tzatziki, tomato, parsley, and grilled halloumi, it’ll convince any carnivore to have a bite (or three).

CBD, Surry Hills, Broadway, Rosebery, Drummoyne, Dulwich Hill, Gladesville, Cronulla

Photo credit- Mamak
Photo credit- Mamak

At this award-winning restaurant, the food and  prices are the same you'll find served from the street carts of Kuala Lumpur. You may have to wait in line, but don’t worry – it moves quickly. Once you’re in, order the crispy yet fluffy roti canai, and chase it up with kari sayur, a vegetarian curry with lentils, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and eggplant.

Haymarket and Chatswood

Soul Burger

Sometimes, you just need a burger. When the craving strikes, Sydney’s first plant-based burger joint absolutely doesn’t disappoint. The grilled Portobello mushroom burger is our pick, with lettuce, tomato, Spanish onions, roasted peppers and basil pesto. The falafel and chilli ‘beef’ burgers are equally satisfying. Whatever you decide, wash it down with a coconut shake – the coconut ice-cream is made fresh daily.

Randwick, Glebe and Parramatta

Sitchu tip: Looking for vegetarian fast food in the CBD? Go to Lord of the Fries, which is famous for its burgers, hot dogs, fries (naturally) and homemade sauces.

Mother Chu’s Vegetarian Kitchen

When you’re in the city, stop in at Mother Chu’s, where a steaming bowl of stir-fried noodles with veggies will set you back less than $10. If you’re still hungry, opt for the crispy tofu with miso sauce, or tempeh stir-fry with walnuts, snow peas and broccoli. At this no-frills eatery, service is quick, making it perfect for lunch breaks. 

367 Pitt Street, Sydney

Daily Eats

Whether you’re a committed vegetarian or just dabbling with Meatless Mondays, Daily Eats caters to all. The wholefoods café serves up plant-based meals such as the Green Seasonal Bowl, brimming with sautéed veggies, kale, avocado, poached eggs, apple, sumac and tamari seeds, plus extras like halloumi. Pair yours with a Single O coffee, and a not-so-cheeky slice of gluten-free cake.

Shop 14, 425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

Shanghai Night
Shanghai Night
Shanghai Night

For authentic Chinese food, go to Shanghai Night, a dumpling and noodle house  that’s buzzing every night. The food is excellent, the portions are generous, and the prices are low. Order the steamed vegetarian dumplings, then follow up with the baby bok choy in oyster sauce, or the mixed mushrooms with seasonal veggies.

275 Liverpool Road, Ashfield

Blossoming Lotus

With locations in Newtown (Sydney’s vegetarian capital) and the city, your traditional Thai fix is never too far away. This vegetarian eatery doles out delicious rice, noodle and curry dishes, but the buffet is the way to go. Choose a base, and pile it high with soy meats, vegetable buns, rice paper rolls and sticky rice.

Newtown and Chinatown

Sitchu tip: If pho is calling your name, Golden Lotus’ vegetarian version is amazing.

Laurie’s Vegetarian

In Bondi, this rustic eatery is the local go-to for hearty, homestyle meals. Laurie’s serves up a range of soups, pies, salads, hotspots, curries and burgers, all of which are packed with plant-free goodness. The prices are beyond reasonable – we’re talking $6-$12. Seating is limited, so grab takeaway and take it down to the beach!

286 Bondi Road, Bondi

Emelia's Vegetarian Restaurant

A local institution, this humble vegetarian restaurant converts even the most dedicated meat eaters into veggie lovers. Emelia's on the Northern Beaches turns out delicious vegetarian, Mexican cuisine every night of the week. With a huge variety of delectable dishes (salsa FTW), the hands-down crowd favourite is the nacho roll. Filled to the brim with chilli bean spread, corn chips, grilled cheese, light sour cream and salad, for just $12.50 it is equal parts delicious and thrifty.

41 Griffin Road, North Curl Curl

Sitchu tip: Make sure to leave room for dessert- the chocolate honeycomb cheesecake is where it is at.