Lettuce enlighten you.
Lettuce enlighten you.
The Gold Coast restaurant scene has been quick to catch up to the increasing number of people jumping on board the vegetable train. Thankfully these days, we need not venture far to find our plant-based fix, with a plethora of veg-vibing establishments all vying for our affections.
As the masters of mind-blowingly good meat-free eats, these veritable veggie experts are in a legendary legume of their own.
While we may be guilty of throwing the word ‘institution’ around a little liberally at times, Cardamom Pod (and it’s crew of certifiable whole-food wizards) is a name known the coast over as a haven for plant-based folk and those craving nourishing nosh.
While we sadly bid adieu to the original Broadbeach location (and then a fond ‘hola’ to Nude Amigos in the same spot – coincidentally also offering a considered assortment of vibrant vego options) – thankfully the name lives on through the second Pod residing at Brickworks Ferry Road. Get your fill of creative and colourful all-day eats such as the Buddah Bowl, Blinged Out Avo Benny, and if we really must choose – the French Toast *never* fails. There’s a reason this place has been around for years, go discover it for yourself.
Where: 3/3 Brolga Avenue, Southport
The delightful folk at Blendlove believe nothing is worth eating, if it hasn’t been created with love and let it be known that everything they create there, is worth eating. Co-founders Riki-Lee and Sharlene pride themselves on serving the tastiest, freshest and healthiest plant-based food on the Gold Coast. They whip up their treats in-house without the use of refined sugars, artificial colours or preservatives. Plus, keeping us plied with our daily Blackboard coffee fix earns them a bunch of extra brownie points in our books (guilt-free, sugar-free ones, of course).
Where: 253 Ferry Road, Southport
Mermaid’s middle-eastern eatery, Falafels, has since expanded from its initial exclusively meat-free menu, but its primarily plant-based roots remain (as do the legendary falafels we know and love, praise be chickpea).
This small but mighty neighbourhood noshery specialises in fresh and flavour-packed portable bites with a mediterranean focus – all plied with secret-recipe sauces, dips and house pickled veg. The famous hand-crafted falafels have a rep as the best you can get your mitts (and mouth) around on the Coast. Available any which way you like – Plate, Pocket or Salad – aka stuffed in a pillow of pita, or perhaps piled atop a throne of veg, tahini and hummus (or not, for the #hummushaters… we’re told they’re out there… #blasphemy).
A trip to Falafels will give you allll the feel-good feels (namely satisfaction).
Where: Shop 2c/1 Lakeview Blvd, Mermaid Waters
Temple of Spices
Ahhh, vego curry, how we love thee. A wholesome, hearty, hug in a bowl – and for many of us, the gateway dish to discovering that meat-free can be mind-blowingly good, yes? Mermaid’s resident spice slingers, Temple of Spices has quite the rep for treating local diners to incredible Indian eats – including a dedicated menu of main-character vibing veg/vegan dishes to tempt anyone and tantalise every tum. Quell those cravings and chow down on chutneys, coconut rice and your choice of protein swimming in creamy, spice-laden curry – your tastebuds will be happy as Lassi. And for anyone considering skipping the Vego butter? That gets a big yeah, naan from us.
Looking to bolster your meat-free meal with an all-out feast? Spice up your night and split one of the plant-based banquet packs with your Dahl-ing (thank us later).
Where: 2468 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Tian Ran Vegetarian
Meaning nature in English, Tian Ran provides the purest of vegetarian and vegan Asian cuisine. Their meals are free from meat, dairy, alcohol, garlic, onions and MSG and they also offer a gluten-free menu. The team are passionate about providing quality food and make their meat substitutes with soy, wheat, yam, seaweed and mushrooms. Serving wholesome helpings of healthful eats made with love, that in no way compromise on flavour or satisfaction – and impressively so, considering the restricted ingredient repertoire. Don’t believe us? Just check their reviews #amustvisit.
Where: 2468 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
The Milkman’s Daughter
The funkiest little vegetarian joint around is Mermaid’s The Milkman’s Daughter, tucked away on Alfred St and serving up some of the very best (and most stacked vego food). The interior is as cool as they come filled with cascading greenery and terrariums built into tables, you’ll be Insta-snapping up a storm. The entirely vegetarian menu is made up of both all day breakfast and lunch options and my word, will you be hard up to make a choice.
The Farmers Breakfast is a perennial fave among frequents – but you ‘batter’ believe the loaded Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, piled with vanilla turmeric custard, granola, walnuts, passionfruit, berries, pistachios, lemon zest has to be one of the most bonkers brunches going (in the best of ways).
Where: 2/43 Alfred Street, Mermaid Beach
To the uninitiated, the Dalas Kitchen specialty of salads, sodas and sweets seems to strike the balance of naughty and nice eats – but as it turns out, its just nice.. and nicer – with the latter comprising of sparkling water topped homemade soda syrups and raw sweets.. so get amongst it guilt-free, y’all.
One of adulthoods greatest tastebud revelations remains that salad can be both nourishing and oh-so-satisfying (for those of us who grew up knowing ‘salad’ as sad iceberg and token tomato slices slapped on your plate, anyway). Dalas Kitchen is of course, serving up the former – Nobby’s wholesome eats dispensary delivers our daily veg-vibing, summery side-dish and salad fix, all 100% ready to tuck right in. Because sometimes we need a star salad without that whole cleaning-every-pot-and-pan-we’ve-ever-owned song and dance, right? #exhausting. So go on, grab some of that goodness to-go and get in that daily 2&5 in the most soul satisfying of ways.
Where: 2247 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach and Pavilions, Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach
A crew that’s especially keen on their greens, delivering crafted plates of plant focused, whole food eats that are also downright delicious. Their foodie philosophy of ‘sometimes naughty, mostly nice’ – is an approach we can wholeheartedly support, especially since they also happen to serve a killer marg #ourkryptonite (and also something we get around with gusto).
In their ever-tasty eight year tenure, they’ve amassed an army of loyal local fans (both vegans and meat eaters alike) that would follow them *almost* anywhere for their flavour-filled fare. Which is lucky, since they recently relocated little further south, making the move from Miami to Talle… and yeah, we can manage that – anything for our Cauliflower Wings (and coconut marg, lbh) fix.
Where: 268 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Tallebudgera
It’s a vegetarian institution on the Coast and if you haven’t been there, you haven’t lived. With everything from Creamy potato bake, saucy layers of veg-laden Lasagne to an array of salads and desserts, there’s always something tasty to try and a line up of people waiting to get in on the goodness. Eat in or takeaway and definitely don’t forget to indulge in the lemon, mint and ginger refresher, it’ll make your day.
Where: 20 James Street, Burleigh Heads and 72 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Psst – specifically seeking eateries sans animal products entirely? Check out our lineup of the best vegan GC restaurants here.
Words by Kellie Leader.
Okay so the vegan eats movement has totally blown up on the Gold Coast, and we’re loving the ever-increasing variety of restaurants proving that plant-based fare is anything but bland-as-bruh.
If you’re looking for a list of local nosheries that can convert even the most passionate meat and meat by-product enthusiast into a bona fide vegan fare fan, read on friends….
Kuan Yin Tea House
If you’re one of those peeps who thinks eating vegan is all about tasteless rubbery tofu, get yourself down to Kuan Yin Tea House immediately! The ultimate IYKYK, this place is fast becoming a local institution with some of the best vegan eats in our ‘hood. Serving the most insanely delicious Thai inspired vegan food, do yourself a flavour (not a typo) and order the BBQ Pork Fried Rice. Now open Monday to Sunday, see you there every day and twice on Sundays!
Where: 152 Scarborough Street, Southport
One of the OG vegan restaurants on the Gold Coast, Greenhouse Canteen’s menu is as good as it gets. They’ve got a botanical bar so that you can order a selection of vegan cocktails, wine or beer and the space is always packed with good vibes. To eat, we’d go for the Jackfruit and Sour Cream Enchiladas or the Sweet n Sour Tofu Larb. Also, if you feel like eating at home, Greenhouse does takeaway and for a gastronomic gift, they even sell vouchers. Hint hint….
Where: 1916 Gold Coast Highway, Miami
It’s vegan. It’s Mexican. And ‘nuff said #BetterTogether. An all-time vegan fave on the Gold Coast for many moons, Goodness Gracias serves up plant-based Mexican food in a vibrant Palm Beach space with mexcellent service to boot. Eat-in or takeaway and choose from delicious eats like burritos, tacos, nachos and plenty of tasty sides and salads. We’re regulars here, and it’s always top-notch nosh (say that after a few margis).
Where: 1114-1116 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Blendlove started with two gals just trying to make a difference to people’s health through plant-based food. Created with love, they blend only the finest ingredients to produce a collection of whole, nutritious treats that are vegan, and free from gluten, dairy, preservatives, artificial colours, and refined sugar. Basically free from everything….except flavour! A local fave, educating the GC that raw and whole foods can be a party in your mouth. An Insta-worthy one at that!
Where: 253 Ferry Road, Southport
Lord of the Fries
If there’s one thing we can get behind, it’s a fast-food venue made up primarily of potatoes. Well colour us happy because Lord of the Fries is precisely that. Finally fries that aren’t drowned in beef tallow and juiced up with gluten, aren’t cooked in cheap’n’nasty oil or smothered in watered down tomato sauce, and haven’t been sitting in a bain-marie since the beginning of time. Praise be! Slinging vegan fries a-plenty, Lord of the Fries is also serving up Veggie Burgers, Onion Rings, Vegetarian Nuggets and Vegetarian Hot Dogs. Plus, everything is kosher and Halal. Hallelujah!
Where: Paradise Centre, 8 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise
The Hidden Cherub
Tucked away in our much-loved Miami, you’ll find laneway bar/plant-based eats venue: The Hidden Cherub. Decked out with a sleek, industrial-esque look and greenery dripping from the walls, this warehouse style restaurant is a Vegan Vibe! While the drinks here are the main event (as they should be!), the 100% vegan packed food menu is filled with delicious share plates, burgers, tacos, salads and sides. In terms of burgers, get stuck into The Californian (just trust us) and sharesies some Sticky Buffalo Wings and Beef Tacos. Mouth-watering goodness at its best.
Where: 2/29 Lemana Lane, Miami
Cardamon Pod at Southport Is a favourite amongst Gold Coasters (and influencers), offering both mouth-wateringly yum vegetarian and vegan choices. All about clean eating, the menu is lit with Insta-friendly, tastebud titillating nosh so good it’ll knock the socks off even the most discerning vegan diner. We recommend the Mumbai Wrap, Life is a Berry Peach Pancake, and the Snicker Acai Bowl because duh – Snickers. There’s also plenty of raw treats, organic coffee and gluten-free options too. All dishes are almost too pretty to eat….emphasis on ‘almost’.
Where: 3/3 Brolga Avenue, Southport
Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant
Okay it’s vegetarian, it’s vegan….and it’s YUM CHA! Nothing pleases our palette more, and the fact that this place has been around for yonks it a testament to its deliciousness. Whether you dine in or takeaway, Easy House will send your tastebuds into a tizz with the likes of Deep Fried Wontons, Steamed BBQ Pork Buns, and Pan Fried Shanghai Dumplings. Not a yum cha fan? No probs, there is also a vast array of traditional (but vegan/vego) fresh, flavour-packed Asian dishes and banquet options.
Where: 90 Markeri Street, Mermaid Beach
Doko Demo V
The Bali-vibing Doko Demo V 2.0 is even more amazing than the OG, and we are here for it! Offering an entirely vegan wholefoods-based menu, Doko Demo V is the work of Head Chef Jared Peck. Whether you’re seeking an uber tasty plant-based breakfast, lunch or dinner, this little gem is bursting with beautifully prepared dishes that are both healthy and of the eyes-are-bigger-than-your-belly variety. The Spicy Pepperoni Pizza goes down a treat, as does the No Beef Lasagne with garden salad, and the Unreal Scallopini. Wash your feed down with the Dokodemo cocktail because one must stay hydrated….
Where: 2 Sunlight Drive, Burleigh Waters
Umm with ‘Midori’ in the title, this place immediately had our attention. A Reedy Creek based trove of plant-based Japanese food, Izakaya Midori is a winner winner vegan dinner. There are dishes like Spicy Lime Karagee, Japanese Curry Rice, Midori Ramen (not the booze just to clarify), and Smoked Edamame to name a few. You can also grab things to takeaway and the service is next level. Sold? Of course you are!
Where: 50 Woodland Drive, Reedy Creek
Words by Bianca Trathen.
Vegetarians and vegans, guess who’s back? Back again? Nope not Shady, but Doko Demo V and yep, tell a friend (or a good spud-ie) because the new digs are positively radishing! Serving up multicultural vegan cuisine like a boss, we’ve been rooting for Doko Demo V 2.0 to be as unbeetable as the original noshery…and we’re pea-sed to confirm it’s even better! With not mushroom for improvement to begin with, they’ve come back like a kale-force wind and yes, these vegan puns are super corny.
Once sitting pretty in Miami, passionate owners Jared Peck and Vian made the big decision to shut up shop and relocate their booming business to escape ongoing tram constructions. Recently reopening in West Burleigh, all we can say is Miami: 0, Burleigh: 1, as this plant-based pearler is a winner winner (faux) chicken dinner! Even if you’re a carnivore from way back, we recommend you live on the veg and try this place because you’d never know meat had been given the flick. The flavours – and meal presentation – are tofu-king good.
Vian has nailed the interior design and along with her builder Greg, has created the perfect look and feel for this Bali-vibing breath of fresh air. Step inside and you’re instantly drawn to an authentic eye-catching bamboo bar with thatched roofing. There’s a vine-covered white vertical veejay wall housing the kitchen with a cool “Meatless doesn’t mean tasteless” aqua neon sign, and we’ll cheers to that.
There’s plenty of gorgeous greenery, festoon lighting, and a mash-up of wooden booths, funky tree slab tables, and old-school chunky timber tables and chairs. Accommodating 70 people, dining extends to an undercover outdoor area with plenty more seating, and a statement tree wallpaper adorned wall with peach neon “All Lives Matter” sign #TrueDat.
Now the most stressful decision you’ll face is do I go for breakfast, lunch or dinner because both menus will take you to your hap-pea place. Jared also dons the Head Chef hat and friends, this man is a wizard in the kitchen. For the most important meal of the day, we couldn’t go past the Taro Pancake Stack with fresh fruit salad, vanilla ice cream and maple which we might also order for lunch, because it’s an all-day breakky menu! And hey, we can go all sorts of non-conventional here because the lunch menu is also available from 7am, and this is like the exponentially levelled-up, meatless version of a post Melba’s Maccas hit at sunrise! We’ve picked the Works Burger with cheese, onion, lettuce, egg, tomato, beetroot, onion, pineapple, sriracha mayo, and bbq sauce on a charcoal bun with a side of Potato Fries. I can’t believe it’s not butter meat!
For dinner, how about an entrée of Pan-Fried Dumplings with special soy dipping sauce and some BBQ Pork Buns peas and thank you? Then, choose from Burgers, Wraps, Pizza, Pasta and a tasty selection of other plant-based pleasers. The Spicy Pepperoni Pizza with smoky bbq, onion, capsicum, jalapeno, chilli flakes, cheese, and sausage goes down a treat, as does the No Beef Lasagne with garden salad, and the Unreal Scallopini with garden vegetables, mash potato, brandy, and mushroom cream sauce. And for something sweet, we’re ordering the Pot Plant Ice Cream because it combines our two favourite things and srsly, it would be rude not to.
Cocktails always deserve a shout-out, especially the Dokodemo with watermelon juice, vodka and mint but if it’s too early for booze (does anyone else hear crickets?), they do a mean coffee, shake, tea, juice and Hemp Kombucha.
Yep it’s official – we’ve rediscovered our culinary soil mate #EatBeansNotBeings.
Where: 2/2 Sunlight Dr, Burleigh Waters, Qld, 4220
When: 7.30 – 3.30 Tuesday – Sunday, 5pm – 9pm Friday – Sunday
Words by Bianca Trathen.
Images by Brittany Kreskas.