Fast food options
There was a cult following for this vegetarian fast food chain before it even opened on Karangahape Road earlier this year, thanks to its reputation for cruelty-free deliciousness in Australia. The fries are loaded and the burgers imaginative.
Calling themselves simply “that awesome vegan place”, Mr Shankly’s currently operates as a pop-up, appearing at street food markets on the reg. Comfort food is their thing: nachos, dumplings, wedges, daal and tacos, all gloriously free of animal products.
Operating from a mobile food truck made of upcycled materials, Wise Boys champion environmentally friendly eating habits through generously sized, loaded vegan burgers, from Spicy Mex (with a kidney bean patty, sweet and chunky homemade salsa and corn chips) to Tempeh Trap (grilled tempeh with caramelised onion and balsamic mushroom, egg-free lemon aioli and relish).
Fine pizza by the slice, with as many as eight vegan varieties on offer at any time, plus a variety of vegetarian options.
The best vegetarian restaurants
Petra Shawarma’s owner Dalal Omar is herself a vegetarian, so there’s a good selection of meat-free Jordanian dishes on offer, mostly featuring falafel as the star component. There’s a ban on shop-bought mayo, and with Omar’s light, homemade garlic sauce, you don’t miss it. Don’t leave without a juicy wedge of home-baked baklava.
The thalis at Shubh are excellent value – take your pick of several vegetarian curries, to which roti, rice, pickles and raita is added, and you’ll get change from $10. The samosas with tamarind chutney are also very good, and the bean and potato curry is addictive.
Ras Vatika has been serving its super-cheap vegetarian delights in the same spot on Dominion Road for 14 years. The masala dosa is great, and so are the thalis, and the street snacks come with generous servings of fresh herbs. When available, the patra (taro leaf rolls) are a highlight, and you should definitely try the pistachio-sprinkled rose lassi.
A completely vegetarian cafe, Big Sur serves hearty classics like hotcakes, fritters and eggs on toast, but monotony is warded off with international influences, from Japanese-style salads to Indian-spiced fritters.
Japanese expat Mayumi Abe’s cafe has long been championing vegetarian, fair-trade and organic food on the shore. Mimosa’s menu has lots of vegan options but our favourite dish is the comforting Japanese-style curry with potato, carrot, onion, spinach and mixed-grain rice.