Byron Bay: Where vegetarian and vegan cuisine shines
More and more Australians are embracing a vegetarian or completely vegan diet; in a research study by Roy Morgan, around 2.5 million people in Australia reported a mostly vegetarian diet. Although the numbers are not known, it’s also estimated that there are around 400,000 to 500,000 Australians who follow a vegan diet.
Byron has had a long history with vegetarians and vegans, and has always done so with gusto. In recent times the options available have increased dramatically and span breakfast, lunch and dinner ‒ from casual venues through to more stylish settings. Most restaurants in the town now cater for these dietary/lifestyle choices as more veg-friendly patrons visit and move into the region. Even the omnivores amongst us are increasingly embracing many meat-free meals whether it be for health, environment, financial or animal welfare reasons. Anyone who has made these veg-friendly lifestyle choices will be spoilt for choice in Byron Bay.
Check out our favourite Byron Bay non-meat eateries.
Our favourite vegetarian and vegan restaurants and cafés
1. No Bones, 11 Fletcher St
Since opening in 2018, No Bones have made it their mission to change the way that people think about vegan food. No Bones is a funky dining space that is popular with locals and visitors alike. Among their menu selection you can find delicious offerings such as organic mushroom gnocchi, butter chick’n curry and fysh tacos. They also have a range of vegan desserts as well as some alcoholic ones like their Salted Coconut Espresso Martini. No Bones has a lunch kiosk also offering tasty vegan treats, it is located near Woolworths in Byron Bay and called No Bones Little.
2. Wok This Way, cnr Carlye St and Keesing Lane
A sister restaurant of Yulli’s, Wok this Way focuses on Asian street food with a vegan twist with many gluten-free options. Check out the robustly flavoured ginger shiitake mushroom gyoza served with chilli soya dipping sauce, Tom yum fried rice with grilled shimeji mushrooms, wild rice puffs and fried kale, or grab a chocolate matcha lava cake with fresh strawberries and nut crumble served with house-made watermelon sorbet for afters. The menu oozes with many tantalizing options and the venue is tucked away in a nice quiet location in the centre of town.
3. Yulli’s, 3/8 Byron St
This is vegan heaven: all dishes at Yulli’s Byron Bay are 100% vegan, with many gluten-free options. Modern Asian flavours are paired with a vegan wine list, local spirits and cocktails, as well as the Yulli range of kombucha and beers. Yulli’s also offers Yum Cha lunch on weekends. You can also find a Yullis in Surry Hills, Sydney. Yulli’s is also located in a quiet street in the heart of Byron Bay with plenty of parking nearby.
4. OCA, 1/6 Tasman Way
Organic Cuisine and Arts (OCA), Oca is a tribal house of the Indigenous people in the Amazon. It’s where the community gathers to share food, ideas and express creativity. Open for lunch and dinner, OCA offers vegan and vegetarian cuisine made from scratch and with a low carbon footprint. Try the Napoli cassava gnocchi served with pesto, delicious wood-fired pizzas, smoky broccoli and pumpkin, burnt aubergine and organic cheddar or vegan cheese. The cafe offers a friendly, rustic atmosphere within the Byron Bay Arts & Industrial Estate.
5. The General Store, 26 Bangalow Rd
A local institution with plenty of cool vibes, the Byron Bay General Store (open 7am to 2pm) offers scrumptious vegan buckwheat waffles served with coconut ice cream and local organic bananas, topped with sticky date sauce, maple syrup and seasonal fruit. For more substantial fare, try the vegetarian Lordy burger with a free-range fried egg, haloumi, spinach slaw, tomato, battered potato cake, haloumi and smoky relish.
6. Vagabond, 1 Porter St
A warm and inviting space located in the courtyard of Habitat in the northern end of the Byron Bay Arts & Industrial Estate, Vagabond offers a range of delicious vegan dishes, superfood juices and smoothies, that are perfect for breakfast or lunch. Creative soul bowls, soups, salads and stir fries are guaranteed to get your body buzzing with goodness.
7. Manna Haven, 97 Johnson St
This non-profit restaurant located in the heart of Byron Bay specialises in delicious vegan food made from fresh, local produce. They offer regular favourites plus daily specials including Vegan Lasagna, Chickpea Tikka Masala and an extensive range of salads and desserts. Meals are ready-to-eat – so if you are looking for a quick and tasty lunch option this could hit the spot.
8. Cardamom Pod, 8/7 Lawson St
Byron Shire’s original Hare Krishna restaurant, with vegetarian and vegan dishes ‘prepared with the purest of consciousness, and offered with devotion’. Tuck into a tofu curry or a hearty lentil moussaka and soothe your tastebuds with delicious mango lassi. Tempting fresh salads and a stunning range of sweets are also available and along with the hot food, are all prepared ready-to-eat. Cardamom Pod has expanded to additional outlets including Lismore, Mullumbimby and Broadbeach.
9. Elixiba, Feros Arcade, 23 Johnson St
Elixiba prides itself on offering a unique, fresh vegan menu with all meals made from scratch using wholefood ingredients and infusing every meal with love and care. Try the delectable Orange Sesame Cauliflower Nibbles, Jackfruit Caesar Salad and Noble Nachos, or choose from an extensive drinks menu that includes botanical beer, organic wine and sublime hot chocolate and chai. Exliba is also located in the Sunshine Coast.